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  1. Panel 1:
    Everything in this room is exactly as I had left it. Nothing has been moved. Nothing has been added. Nothing is missing.
  2. Panel 2:
    Both the physical and cybernode cores are secure. There have been no attacks, no probing for weaknesses. Even the spam filters are working.
  3. Panel 3:
    Yet I cannot shake this sense of impending doom. T3h forces of darkness are gathering, I just cannot see them.
  4. Panel 4:
    <Do you think it's true?>
  5. Panel 5:
    <I don't know. I'm trying to get independent verification.>
    <There have been so many false reports.>
    <I hear it was posted anonymously on a bulletin board.>
    <On three different bulletin boards. We were unable to trace who posted it.>
    <I read the post. It listed GPS coordinates.>
    <They point to a small anime/game store in that location.>
    <Do you think... maybe...?>
    <I have mobilized members who live in the area to verify. We should be receiving reports shortly.>


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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

< Seraphim >

doin the happy dance!

"happy dance"

Thursday - August 28, 2003

[Seraphim] - 03:14:00 - [link here]

Finally, the news is out. We found out that the Dark Horse/Megatokyo publishing agreement had been signed, sealed, and delivered while on the Bluewater bridge on our way to Canada. I found it really difficult not to blurt out everything during the CN Anime convention. After several weeks of keeping the secret and constantly monitoring what I could or couldn't say - it was almost too much for me. Each panel we presented had the obligatory 'What about Volume 2?' question. Gah, don't ask me! I wanted to do my happy dance. Lucky for everyone, I have forgotten, both mentally and instinctively, the happy dance and the little song that went with it.

When Fred first mentioned publishers I was clueless. All I knew was from my childhood of reading 'Nancy and Sluggo' and 'Archie' comics and more recently the library debate about whether comics and graphic novels belong in libraries. Personally, I would have thought that debate was ended with the release of the Maus novels by Art Spiegelman, but alas. Our trip to San Diego Comic Con didn't help and after we returned I convinced Fred to take me to a local comic book shop to do some research. Fred ended up wanting to leave long before I did. I'm really impressed by the quality and variety of genres published. There is more out there than superhero comics and imported manga titles. The publishers, from large to small, and the independent comics are supporting a creative community of artists and writers.

While Megatokyo is the latest addition to the Dark Horse titles, they have been publishing unique and artistic titles for two decades. Fred and I were impressed with their reputation and commitment to high quality publishing. I love their eclectic selection in style, story, and format from the chibi 'Lone Wolf and Cub' to the 'Ring of Nibelung'. I am also particularly fond of the "What's Michael' series. Many years ago, before Megatokyo was even an electrical impulse crossing someone's synapses, Fred got me a copy in an effort to gently introduce me to his world of graphic novels, manga, and anime. He knows I'm a sucker for cats. I've taken up his passion and added the librarian twist with an interest in intellectual freedom and the efforts of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Friends of Lulu organization which promotes female creators and increasing female readership. I've also poked around and found other interesting sites, like Sequential Tart, an amusing and informative site that works to raise awareness of the influence women have had on comics.

Fred and I couldn't be happier with the partnering of Dark Horse Comics and Megatokyo. They are genuinely interested in preserving the originality of the story and artwork of the online version in the published format. We are also looking forward to a large initial release in January to national chain bookstores and independent comic book sellers in the American and Canadian markets. Of course, most of the work still needs to be done ^_^;;

In the process of composing this rant I have, to my chagrin, remembered the origin and history of the happy dance. It actually started off as the 'show off dance.' As a child I had tons of warts and every time I went to the doctor he would give me a safety sucker for each one he removed. This usually meant I had a least a dozen from one visit. I would get home and stand on our front porch, which was very stage like, and dance around with my sucker in front of all my friends chanting about 'I've got a sucker ha ha ha you don't have one' or some such.. Then I would drop the safety sucker, which has a HANDLE, into the rose bushes. But that didn't bother me because I had gotten so many and I would run in and get another and proceed to dance and drop it again. This cycle continued until I was out of suckers. I usually only got 4 or 5 licks in being a clumsy child. By then all my friends had left because I was so very obnoxious. Of course I got my comeuppance in the end but I feel bad that my friends never stuck around long enough to see it happen. Over the years the happy dance turned into a kinder and gentler expression of celebration with no taunting chants. And the dance is far more entertaining than Fred's at the Naze Nani panel at Anime Central ; )


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