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Strip 456, Volume 3, Page 121


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< Piro >

It's artists block and writers block!  No, it actually Sumireko and Kaoruko from 'Twin Girls'

"The Terrible Twins"

Tuesday - September 2, 2003

[Piro] - 11:35:00 - [link here]

Y'know, I swear I can feel it when writer's block or artist's block is coming on. There is this little voice in the back of your head that is like an advance scout, whispering that there is trouble ahead. Sometimes, of course, there is no warning at all. That is usually when both are ready to take you out.

My most recent slump, the one I have just dug myself out of, has more to do with positive things than with negative ones, I think. In fact, I think it's partly in reaction to the successful culmination of months of hard work and worry revolving around finding a new publisher for Megatokyo. Finally, to have things all positively worked out with both my old publisher and my new publisher (Dark Horse Comics - see my last rant for more info on this) feels, well, pretty good. It's a good kind of feeling that actually makes me feel somewhat more secure, more confident in my work. I almost feel like... my work might not be that bad after all.

That, of course, is when both artists and writers block slams you the hard in the face, rips you out the window and plummets you five stories down face first onto a gravel driveway. Sometimes I think these 'blocks' actually use your own inertia against you, having to do little more than set you off balance, gravity and inertia do the rest.

Well, writers and artist block are a normal part of doing this kind of thing. In fact, it's really just a manifestation of the barrier that keeps everyone from doing this kind of work. It's not because most people can't, its because most people don't stubbornly fight it day after day. Most people have better things to do with their time. ^^;;

Y'know, it also occurs to me that comic/manga artists have it worse than other creative types in some ways. Sometimes I suffer from artist's block, where I can't draw worth a hoot. Sometimes its writer's block, where I can't write worth a damn. The bad days are where you suffer from both, and you just want to grab your hair, rip your own head off and slam it against the wall repeatedly. That's when you go to Target and by a new entertainment center cluster for your TV in the living room and spend Saturday putting it together.

I guess the two kinds of blocks are similar, really. Comic art is this hard to define balance between words and drawings. They work best when they work together, each part conveying something to the reader. In fact, I find that there is a real back and forth between art and writing - often it is the words that inspire the art, which turn around and inspire the words. They bounce off of each other a lot, really. There are no real rules about how the two interact, it's a bit like pulling things out of thin air - only sometimes the air is thinner than usual.

Having said all that, I'm really not that far behind. Wednesday's comic is done, and I'm working on Friday's right now. Since monday was a holiday, I decided that I would take the extra day to try to get a strip ahead again. Like I said in my comments, I really would like to be a little more consistent with the story for the rest of chapter four - there is a lot going on, and I want to wrap it up well. That is, if I don't get slammed too hard by the Terrible Twins again. :P

< Dom >

Dat's gotta hoit


Wednesday - September 3, 2003

[Dom] - 01:00:00 - [link here]

A few notes before I get to the meat of this rant, also known as "the story of how Dom got hit in the back of the head with a metaphorical piledriver".

First, the first pics of Sega's elusive Kunoichi are out. Every Shinobi fan wanted a piece of this at E3 but was denied, but TGS attendees will be lucky enough to see the heir apparent to Hotsuma. But I'm a patient man. I know that I'll soon be dashing along walls and slashing up demonic chumps on my PS2 again. Life, as they say, is good.

One of my co-workers recently interviewed John Whitmore, development director for 2015, and he had a lot to say about the making of Vietnam-based video games. It's not something I agree with, personally, but all voices deserve to be heard. Check out his opinions here.

Also, look for my poor, beleaguered Oop-Ack to resume functionality in a couple weeks, as my server guy is having a T1 installed in his pad in that time frame.

Oh. And I take full responsibility for Piro's current costume [there are too many crack dealers in my life, i swear - piro]

Now, on with the show, the story of how Disgaea: Hour of Darkness hit me like a mack truck.

So I get home on Saturday to find that my roommate Cortana is playing a strategy game on the PS2, which has been neglected lately due since I finally got KotOR back from my friend. I've heard good stuff about this game from co-workers, so I sat down and watched. I was never much for Final Fantasy Tactics, but was a Shining Force freak, so I figured I'd at least give it a chance.

Then I saw that the game had a ninja character class in it. "Hmm, okay, I'll play at least enough to get me a ninja," I say to myself, "That should be enough for me."

Then I blinked, and it was 3:30 AM, a phenomenon that is occurring with increasing frequency. I kept telling myself "Okay, just one more level on the Item World and I'll be fine... just one more color chain and I'll be fine..."

Yeah, right. At every turn the game gets more and more complex, and I can't help but play another 2 hours per shiny new weapon in order to get the most out of both the weapon and the game in general. I mean, this thing is insanely complex. I regularly spend 15 minutes trying to work out color chains in my head (I refuse to take notes on a game I'm not writing the strategy guide for) and am still trying to save up enough Mana to convince the Dark Congress that I need better stats. I mean, I'm 20 hours in already, and I'm only on episode 4 of 14. I haven't left the castle for about 8 hours. I have a bad feeling about how much time I'm going to have for eating and sleeping over the next few weeks...

It gets worse, too. I look on the horizon and see the third .Hack game begging to eat up my free time, along with Dynasty Warriors 4 for the Xbox.

It's great to be alive.


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