<> Get The Big•Big Picture
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And here’s chapter 9.

If all goes well, the book should be off to the printer soon. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll have it in time for Rainfurrest (though I’ll have Tarot decks galore there!), but it should definitely be in my hands by the time I go off to APE.

I learnt a lot while putting the book together. Hopefully book 2 will go together a lot faster, since I’ll have actually done it before.

<> Weaponized Frippatronics

Hey, two pages in one week! Groovy.

So in things only tangentially related to the comic, here’s more of that DR0NE thing. Episode 2 asks the same question I found myself asking at the start of chapter 2: who’s the Theora?

I laughed at the huge “SYSTEM ERASED” banner. Such a HOLLYWOOD COMPUTING moment.

I think both myself and the people behind this are creating a new narrative cliché, to be honest. Introduce an SP who follows instructions from an offscreen voice, have things go horribly arwy. Then introduce the desk jockey at the other end of that datafeed, and start exploring the relationship between them along with the problems caused by the screwed-up mission.

I don’t think this dude’s gonna end up taking his demisentient robot charge out for dinner, though.

I suspect this show is probably going to go in a very different direction than Rita. It’ll be interesting to see if any other things start to pop up as parts of the nascent “bot-and-control” trope, though. Which is already on TVTropes in the more general form of “Mission Control. (Warning: TVTropes)

<> Code Injection
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Tom2’s shirt is a horrible bastard of a tomcat named Chingado, created by my buddy Jill C.

While this page obviously took a while to draw, surprisingly most of the time it took was spent in looking at the panel I’d marked out as “money shot of Vespa spaceport”, not in actually drawing it.

The main thing I was thinking of while drawing that panel was the Cygnus from “The Black Hole”, especially the way it was all lit up from within. Supposedly one of the main inspirations for it was Gothic cathedrals. (Skip to about 1:40 in this video to see it lit.) I wanted that sense of something massive, without it feeling dead and alone the way the Cygnus did.

Oh, and here’s a high-res copy of it if you want a new backdrop or something.

Cons are upcoming! I’ll have some art in the show at Foolscap this weekend, plus some Tarot decks and other stuff in the print store. The weekend after that, I’ll be behind a table at Rainfurrest, selling art and decks. There’s a slim chance I’ll have copies of book 1 of Rita, but I’m not holding my breath.

<> Viking Funeral
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I was originally going to have some kind of funeral rite being spoken by Gary4 in the first couple of panels, but I couldn’t get something written that didn’t feel like words for the sake of words. So I went with silence.

Also, in an amusing bit of life imitating art, I lost my hat on the bus this past weekend. It hasn’t turned up in their lost and found yet; if it still hasn’t appeared by next Monday when I call them again, I’ll assume it’s gone, and go hunting for a new one. Because winter in Seattle means needing something to keep the drizzle off; everyone thinks you’re a tourist if you use an umbrella, and I’m really just not a hoodie kinda gal.

[Later: Carol’s car used to be a Mazzigatti until Nick said that sounded like a comedy knockoff of Maserati, so I found an Italian cryptographer to namecheck instead – Silvio Micali, one of the co-discoverers of zero knowledge proofs.]

<> Title: 084
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Oh hey! It’s a page!

I’ve been sitting on this new look for Rita4 for what seems like forever, what with all the things getting in the way of actually drawing the comic lately. So it may be jumping the gun a little since she’s naked right now, but I figured I’d share my character/costume designs for her.

These are the first couple pages, where I started exploring. The idea that I wanted her to be dangerously young emerged early. And I figured I’d emphasize her smallness by giving her a tiny, exaggerated hat to contrast with the eminently practical hat her previous incarnation had been sporting. On the right is where it really started to become a Thing, with me settling on a little military-looking hat that made me think of General Jinjur, a character in the second Oz book. It’s not actually the hat that John R. Neil drew on her, but I like it more than his hat, so that’s what I stayed with.

With the hat and hair finalized, I started doodling outfits. In the end I decided to riff on Jinjur some more, and picked up a detail from the stories: her goal was to conquer Oz, and as a symbol of this, she wore a skirt colored like the four quadrants of the country. Whether or not I’ll actually show this in the comic is doubtful, what with the color restrictions involved.

Basically my goal is to play with the idea of “age”; Rita4 and her companions Tom4 and Gary4 are basically Timelords. As such they live a VERY long time with multiple regenerations – tied, in the case of Rita at least, to their hats. So Rita4 here is probably several hundred years old at this point, and yet is manifesting as a little girl. Who behaves in a very adult fashion. (Including bedroom shenanigans but trust me, those aren’t going to show up on-camera. At best there will be VERY elliptical hints that her sex life really hasn’t changed except for a few issues of basic biomechanics. Mostly you’ll just see her smoking cigarettes once she gets dressed and settles into her new persona.)

I need to go back and edit some dialogue at the beginning of Chapter VIII to establish that Rita was on her last hat and thus not expected to come back; I’d originally written it as her having one more hat left, and have since changed my mind. Good thing that chapter’s not in print yet, huh?

(Also here is a drawing of the previous hats of Rita4. I might color this for the bonus material of the second book.)

<> A Difficult Rebirth
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Oh man I am so glad to be uploading this page. It sat half-done for what felt like forever, as I fought seasonal depression. Several times I contemplated just deleting the entire green tier and starting again on those because I kept on looking at them and not liking them.

I bought a huge sunlamp a couple weeks ago, and it’s been helping a lot. And ultimately I decided those upper panels were fine, just unfinished, so I finished them in about an hour and a half. There was another green panel sketch up there, and a couple more brief lines of dialogue, but they just didn’t need to be there.

edit: thanks to nick for TYPO PATROL

<> ? parse error retry from start
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Holy shit it’s another page! Two in one week!

I got this finished Thursday night, so I get to post it for this week. I dunno if I’ll have another one on next Thursday what with ECCC but WHAT THE HELL.

(Also – I’ll be at ECCC! Booth 2503, hidden in a corner among tattooists and autograph sellers and stuff. Next year I gotta grab a booth earlier.)

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This is the last page of chapter IX! At last. It hasn’t been a long one, but it took forever to draw because of life getting in the way. Now to nail down a prop I’ll be using extensively in the next chapter.

There’s a cafe in Seattle called Trabant; I was sitting there when I drew the first panel, and borrowed its name and logotype for the high-end restaurant Carol took Rita out to. If you’re ever in the U District during winter I thoroughly recommend their “Freddy Quimby”, a yummy concoction of chai and apple cider.

Also! If you’re here because you met me at the Emerald City Comic-Con the other week, then hi! (and if you went to ECCC and came home with a very green 9 of Wands card with a galaxy on the back, that’s from my personal Tarot deck that I was using for display – I’d love to have it back.)

If you're enjoying this comic, please consider buying the book (or an e-book on Comixology), 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.