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Hi. I’m not dead. Neither is this comic.

The past two months have been crazy: I finally did all the shipping from the book 2 kickstarter, did all the shipping from my store that’d been backed up by that kickstarter, went to three conventions and a wedding in four consecutive weekends, and then basically hid in my living room with the lights off playing a video game.

I’ve been working on the entirety of chapter 20 in one huge file, skipping back and forth. You’ll see why as it slowly unrolls; if you’re a Patreon supporter, you can get a preview of it here. Right now I’ve got the next two pages drawn, so I’m going to actually have some stuff in the buffer for once – let’s see if that serves as a spur to keep me drawing while I’m hanging around New Orleans next week visiting my mother!

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Here are some close-ups of the books Tom and Rita are reading. Click for full-size.

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 4.14.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 4.13.59 PMThe title of Tom’s book is a terrible machine translation of “Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum: A Memoir”, which is a title swiped from a King Crimson song off of one of their later albums. It contains one of my favorite guitar solos ever, right after Adrian Belew says ‘Play it for me, Spider-fingers’.

And while I am making you listen to King Crimson let me also include one of my favorite songs of theirs of all time: Dinosaur. I find myself singing this every now and then in a certain kind of mood.

 

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I agonized over the song Tom is singing the end of for a while. (Yes, it’s Tom – he’s got a new Hat. There’ll be some dialogue on the next page mentioning his name.)

See, it needs to sound good. On the next page, Rita’s saying it sounds beautiful. But let’s be honest; my strength as a writer is not in writing lyrics. So I didn’t want to have something half-assed that I try to convince you is beautiful.

I experimented with censoring it, but that felt weird. It gave it extra significance that it doesn’t need to have; it’s just a bit of texture to this sequence of ‘lots of time passes in the green world’.

Ultimately I just decided to go with the final line of what’s clearly a longer song, and a bit of onomatopoeia for distorted guitar playing. Which is basically swiped from the last riff of King Crimson’s “Dinosaur”; the Skylands are very definitely a prog-rock fantasy world, so of course Tom is a prog-rock guitarist.

Next page status: 1.5 panels out of 3, maybe 4 done.

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I think it is time to admit that I am out of clever page titles for a while. I’m spending so much time jumping aroubd back and forth drawing this chapter that I kinda have no inspiration left for those. Not that it really matters now that the site’s really emphasizing the chapter rather than the individual page.

Next page status: 6 panels, 3 finished, 3 partial. Damn it feels good to be back in the groove of putting out pages on a regular schedule again.

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I was tempted to build a 3d model of this flying pirate ship to get this up-shot looking right, but I won’t be drawing it any more after this. Not worth the time. Instead I just looked at some pirate ships on 3dwarehouse.sketchup.com in their 3d viewer and eyeballed it.

I can’t help but think that this is a pretty cool artifact of living in the future. I can look at a 3d model of a pirate ship without ever even leaving my browser.

Next page status: 150 and 151 are done; 152 has a sketch and will finish this chapter at long last!

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Next page status: 152 has a sketch and will finish this chapter at long last!

(I’m posting this ten days before it goes up; I think the likelyhood of me getting page 152 done before then is PRETTY GOOD.)

EDIT. Yep, 152 is in the can. And I’ve been sitting on my ass for the past couple of weeks playing video games and being mopey so I’d better scramble to get the next few pages together.

ALSO! In response to the number of people speculating about just who that face in the last page was, I have this to say: Vg vf gur Tbqqrff, naq vg vf nyfb abg gur Tbqqrff. Ure ahzore vf Nyrcu-0. uggc://ra.jvxvcrqvn.bet/jvxv/Nyrcu_ahzore. Lbh jvyy frr zber bs ure va puncgre gjragl-frira. (Rot13’d for your protection, in case you don’t want even the tiniest hint of a spoiler.)

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At long last, this is the final page of chapter 20! Patreon backers got to read it ten days ago.

This chapter has taken forever. Not surprisingly, really: it’s got a complicated thing going on that required me to lay the entire chapter out at once, plus dealing with three back-to-back conventions followed by a wedding, followed by a visit home just as I was starting to get a rhythm again, followed by a lot of fighting seasonal depression now that it’s starting to get dark around 4:30 here in Seattle. These last few pages were finished a while back; here’s hoping i can maintain this buffer for a while. Maybe even increase it. I’ll need some buffer for certain really complicated pages planned for chapter 26.

I’ve also been getting some work done on Secret Project P. Here’s hoping I can get that done before the window of opportunity for it closes.

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If you're enjoying this comic, please consider buying the book, supporting me on Patreon, or telling your friends and/or favorite tastemakers about it. Thanks!

This comic is finished; you may want to check out some of my other comics as well.

Also! It's currently on Kickstarter!