Code Injection

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.

Get The Big•Big Picture

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.

Amazingly Polite Inquiries

Amazingly Polite Inquiries

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Six minutes ago, Rita1 was in a cafe making a date. Then her stupid thrillseeking ex came back into her life. Then she saw a dragon who acted and sounded just like her get her brains blown out by some wizard. And now this.

Somewhere deep below the neural network that calls itself “Rita”, a tiny subtask is calculating the probability that Tom will have any kind of coherent explanation for this. Even a bad one. It is rapidly converging on zero.

Also I really did not know that Rita1 could scream that loud. Damn.

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And finally – this is the fiftieth page! Thanks to everyone who’s been reading this far; I’d love to hear what you folks out there think. If the comment section isn’t working for you (hopefully it is, I think I cleared up some problems it was having), my email is [email protected], and I’m egypturnash on AIM. Or you could just write a review or critique and post it in your blog; Google will tell me about it pretty quickly!

Threats and Other Promises

Threats and Other Promises

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Further Confusion + mostly finishing off game art project for now – sufficient sunshine + complicated damn pages = OH GOD THIS ONE TOOK FOREVER AND I’M SO GLAD TO HAVE FINALLY GOTTEN TO DO THIS ONE. It’s pulling one of the tricks I’ve been waiting to do since I started this comic.

A Challenger Appears!

A Challenger Appears!

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Hey, it’s a page! It was nice to have an excuse to draw Blue Rita again, even if she was in Red Rita’s palette.

And since this is the first page of the new year…

Also, I went back through the story so far and tagged each page with what character shows up on it! Maybe later I’ll edit the theme so the tags actually show up near the page. But right now I should get some stuff together for Further Confusion.

(I was hoping to have some printed copies of Rita to sell there, but that’s just not gonna happen. I will however have some copies of the first chapter of Absinthe, and a few Tarot decks!)

Encounter Screen

Encounter Screen

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This page took too long. Way too long. A week of distraction followed by two weeks of vacation and a funeral, followed by a week of recovery. Today I finally managed to get together enough sustained effort to do several panels in one day. I’ve got partial scripts and pageflow for the next four pages; hopefully they’ll come a bit faster. Sheesh.

Meanwhile… My old friend Gabe’s been doing this cool little strip about growing up in the seventies. It’s kind of the polar opposite of this story about the future, really. He just came out with a collection of it.

You can pick it up here; if you want a copy. Or get a PDF for five bucks if you’re going all digital.

Triply Redundant

Triply Redundant

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Things I googled for reference while drawing this page:

• David Bowie’s Area
• Rigging diagrams

Also holy crap drawing three tiers on one page takes forever. Now I know why nobody does this multiple-stories-in-parallel thing for very long. It’s going to get worse, too.

A Thousand Pardons!

A Thousand Pardons!

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I decided to make the Panopticon a little less subtle in this page. Please let me know if you can see it – monitors vary a lot!

And hooray for actually getting two pages out this week.


If you’re wondering where “gongoozling” for “operating a warp drive” comes from, well, my exes had this running joke about the “Postfurry Solar System” – a lightly-sketched sci-fi setting full of media-terrorist Martian tigers, politely communist blue Mooncats, glamazon bunnies on Venus, mind-controlling squid on Saturn, etc, etc. When I started going out with them, I of course needed a comic-opera space animal caricature or two as well, and thus were born the bipolar raccoons of Mercury and the cheerfully sideways robot spiders of the asteroid belt. They are generally considered kind of insane; they like to blow themselves up for fun now and then, and are pretty much the only users of the warp drive known as the “gongoozler”. Which… does things… …to your brain if you use it, and has a tendency to occasionally make you vanish entirely instead of going where you want to. Especially if you’re in a gravity well.

…Does “warping too deep in a gravity well is hazardous to your health” have a page on TVTropes by now? Why yes, yes it does. (Warning: TVTropes.)

Protocol Mismatch

Protocol Mismatch

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Ye gods this page took forever to work out. It didn’t help that a lot of my “work on Rita” time this week was spent on putting together some packages of it to ship off to a few publishers – having the Tarot deck get international distribution really spoilt me on all the hassles of self-publishing, and I want to do more stuff that way!

Meanwhile in the “when can I be like Rita1” news, check out this video of Boston Dynamics’ new bipedal robot.

SIG_TERM

SIG_TERM

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I had to draw the top tier twice because Illustrator crashed while I was undoing a Matrix-looking bullet-time shockwave trail on the bullet. Oh well. Note to self: save before playing with blends that involve distortion meshes. And after completing every panel for that matter.

Also hooray, two pages in one week again!

Lossy Decompression

Lossy Decompression

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Looks like I’m getting back on track – I’ve got rough script for at least the next two pages of Rita1’s side, maybe three or four depending on how I pace the visuals, and an idea of where Rita2 and Barrett2’s conversation goes. Will Rita2’s wisecrack defuse Barrett’s mood, or make it worse?

Working in two stories at once like this is an interesting challenge. I find that usually one narrative or the other leads the page, and the other is written around it – sometimes in harmony, sometimes in counterpoint. This time Carol’s question was the first thing written, with the staccato overlaps of Barrett2 and Rita2’s argument coming in second; in other pages, it’s been the lower half that needs to be written or drawn first. I think Rita1 comes first a little more often than Rita2 but I’m not entirely sure, I haven’t been keeping any statistics on this!

Relationship Maintenance

Relationship Maintenance

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On top of everything else going on in my life, I had a kidney stone this week. In honor of this, I declare that every glass shown on this page is full of water. You should probably drink more of it too if you don’t want one. And believe me when I say you don’t want one; the only safeword that pain respects is “morphine”.

(Book text excerpted from The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy; I believe two pages of a novel constitutes fair use.)

Circumlocutions and Lacunæ

Circumlocutions and Lacunæ

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At this point I have pretty much introduced all the elements I want this comic to be About. I’m sure a few more will pop up as I play around with these and try to get to the places I want to take the story and the visuals; I’ve already had things twist and turn in ways I didn’t quite expect.

“Blue Train, LLC” came from a Cibo Matto song that iTunes served up while I was trying to come up with the right name for the Mysterious Organization that Rita(1) works with. It just tasted right.

Frequency Modulation

Frequency Modulation

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After I scribbled out some linear roughs for the first three panels, I really liked the way they looked. Sadly, Illustrator pretty much sucks at trying to simulate using a real brush, no matter which of its several attempts at solving the problem you use. So after a few fruitless minutes reminding myself this was still the case, I printed this page out, grabbed the Zebra brush-pen I had lying around, and knocked out some inks.

It’s not an entirely successful experiment, but it gives this page the right unearthly feel.

Publicly Disclosed Secret

Publicly Disclosed Secret

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Sorry this is getting a little depressing; there will be more action soon!

As an experiment I also put all the pages to date into a very very wide image. This is sort of its native format and sort of not. I don’t think it quite works like that but it’s an interesting failure; one of these days I kinda want to do a comic that does work like that. (Maybe even one that’s one huge continuous image with panel borders over it. Now that’s a stunt and a half.)

Also now I think this should be getting posted at midnight Seattle time instead of midnight GMT. Oopsie.

And finally I decided to add a footnote explaining my c64 video game reference to page 7.