Posts Tagged ‘Suburban Jungle’
If you’d like to get in early on the Suburban Jungle ten-year retrospective, No Predation Allowed, I have set up a Kickstarter project to cover the printing costs. Besides acting as a kind of “pre-order” for the book, depending on the funding option you choose you can also get a copy of the “Dreams of Summer” portfolio, NeverNever books, or a commission from your ever-lovin’ blue-eyed cartoonist!
If you can’t help with funding, that’s okay too, just help me spread the word about it! Thanks, everyone!
Way back in 2001, I had what we like to call in the business “a massive hard drive failure.” Among the various things that were lost were the high-res color versions of several Suburban Jungle strips (more or less the entire “Goody Awards” story arc). Fortunately, I’d sent high-res grayscale versions to Plan 9 Publishing for the release of Love Bites, and of course there were low-res color versions up on the website, so it’s not like the strips are erased from history. But this does leave me with a dilemma … for No Predation Allowed, which is intended to be full color, do I run the high-res grayscale, or the low-res (and thus super-fuzzy) color?
My preferred answer is to “re-colorize” the high-res copies, and if time allows that is in fact what I’ll do — but I’m rapidly running out of time if I want to get these things done by AnthroCon. Given how much of the first volume is already in black and white (since the first year or so of strips were mostly in black and white), using the high-res grayscale strips will work if I have to punt … but it’ll be one of those things that just gets under my nails and bothers me forever. So we’ll see how it goes. I may end up burning some midnight oil on this. The 10-year collection is going to be pretty much the capstone on a major endeavor of my life’s work, and I really want to get it right.
Gotta love positive reviews! Thanks for the kind words, fellas. Not sure what you were getting at re: “body movements” near the end, I’ll give it a re-listen and see if I can figure it out.
As you might imagine, I’ve been very distracted recently, and so this piece of news almost slipped through the cracks — but I can’t let that happen! Bad Dog Books has released Roar, Volume 3, which includes my latest short story, “Blackbird Singing In the Dead of Night.” It’s a murder mystery starring Squash and Stretch, Suburban Jungle’s pair of mustelid gumshoes, and was a lot of fun to write.
Among other things, this is a biggie because it’s my first piece of prose fiction to be published by someone other than myself, and so is a step into new territory for me. Time to update the bibliography!
This is the latest in a series of big changes that have come at me fast and furious, with very little time to process one before I’m in the midst of another. I’ve passed so many crossroads in the past year-or-so that I’m amazed I haven’t stepped sideways into another dimension.
A week from today will be another one: Thursday the 17th is when we bring down the curtain on NeverNever for what I expect to be the final time. It’s been a long and twisty journey, and in many ways it feels like the last steps are the hardest, but I’m happy to see it get a proper finish and I’m grateful for all the hard work Sue, Richard, Higgins, and Tiffany have put in to help bring it to fruition over the years. Of course that also means that it’s time to crank out Attack of the War-Cats as fast as I can to get it done by Confuzzled. My usual book printer has unexpectedly gone belly-up on me, and the plan I was looking at with Amazon appears to have developed a few holes as well, so I’m now scrambling to figure out what to do on that front. I’m sure I’ll find something, it’s just a matter of being able to sit down and hash it out.
What comes next from there? I’m not sure. The ending of NeverNever is significant in the larger picture of my “creative life” because it will be the first time in a long time that I didn’t have a comic running in some form, even if that form was sporadic updates. I was expecting the new steampunk comic to pick up more-or-less on the heels of NN shutting down, but as time goes on I’m finding it harder and harder to stick with that, for a variety of reasons that I don’t really want to go into here. So I’m trying to decide what to do next.
Right now I suspect that the next step will be more short fiction. I have some ideas burgeoning for Roar Vol. 4, and I also think short stories could be a good way to flesh out some of the myriad “characters in search of a plot” ideas I’ve got going, from Brigid and Greg to Not-Dead Darby and the Reagent Man. It might also work to get the juices flowing on the steampunk comic idea, for that matter. The main thing is to keep moving; I’ve been treading water for far too long now, and it’s time to start making progress again!
Fame is a strange beast. Hardly news, but the past few days have been a series of reminders of this fact.
I spent the weekend at Further Confusion, a convention where I had previously expected just about everybody to know who I was and what I’ve done. After all, Suburban Jungle was in on the “ground floor” of webcomics, was one of the most high-profile furry comics for years, and ran for a decade. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been going to FC (and AnthroCon) every year for most of that time — and yet, when asked “Do you/have you read The Suburban Jungle?” most of the people who came by the table either hadn’t heard of it, or had heard the name but never looked at it. This has radically changed my view of my status in the fandom … but I am still processing it.
Meanwhile, the navel-gazing loonies at Wikipedia continue their irrational crusade to convince the world that webcomics don’t exist; T.K. Dye was hit rather hard by his discovery yesterday that Newshounds had been declared “non-notable.” Now, Suburban Jungle fell to that particular axe long ago and after two or three put-it-backs and take-it-down-agains, I frankly got tired of dealing with the whole mess and stopped arguing about it. I’m much more interested in being talked up at TV Tropes, where the SJ article is rather sketchy compared to the Newshounds entry, on the grounds that TV Tropes is a place more likely to be frequented by people interested in my work.
Finally, in a much more micro-level, this morning had an odd happening on FurAffinity. Graveyard Greg, who is like the Aaron Spelling of the internet, pointed people to another user by the name of Kadath, whom I’d never heard of. Looking at Kadath’s page on the site, however, I discovered that he had over 10,000 followers.
This immediately led me to two burning questions: 1) how the heck did this person get 10,000 followers, and 2) how is it that somebody could have 10,000 followers but I’d never heard of them? It’s … flabbergasting.
Nothing against Kadath, he’s a fine artist; but unless I’m missing something major, he’s not somehow worlds above plenty of other artists I know. Does he just really know how to work the social media? What’s he doing that hundreds of other just-as-good artists aren’t? I’m not comparing him to myself here — my relationship with FurAffinity has been one of reluctance and so I consider myself lucky to have the ~135 followers I’ve got. But I am thinking of somebody like Chad Krueger, who is GOH of the upcoming MegaPlex and a great artist, but only has ~500 followers. I mean, wow, 10,000? That’s more people than attend AnthroCon.
The second half of the question points to a thought I’ve been wrestling with for a while now, which is, “How are people hearing about these things?” Certainly furry art, like anything, has trends — you can’t go to a con without being hit over the head by Blotch at the moment for instance — but I always feel like I’m the last one to hear about them. And with 10,000 followers, one has to assume that Kadath is well-known is some circle or other — but not well-known to me! So where? Who? I don’t remember seeing any ads or hearing any W-O-M references, and until GG’s post the name “Kadath” to me meant Lovecraftian Dream Cities, not furry art. So where are these 10,000 people hanging out that they all know him?
Obviously, as a producer of comics and art, I want to get my own stuff out there and talked about, but that’s not all there is to it. I’m also a fan — who would put up with all the baggage if they weren’t? Who knows what kind of cool stuff I might be missing, just because I’m not anywhere that it’s being talked about?
Some rambling here. If you’d like to skip to the good stuff, there’s art at the end!
For all who stayed…
It’s been a year and a bit now since I wrapped up The Suburban Jungle, and time to check my progress compared with what my plans were for the year.
The first thing that comes to mind is that writing didn’t really go as planned. I did do a short story that I was quite pleased with, and a lot of trying to hash out various novel ideas, but I never could really come up with something that got me fired up and excited, I suspect at least in part because I had so much difficulty making the “concept” behind the book match what was actually coming out when I wrote. That, and my recurring difficulty with plot, which I’ve written about elsewhere. At the end of the day, for just about each project I tried to pick up, I ended up deciding it needed a little more time to bake and that I’d come back to it.
The next thing that comes to mind is how much I missed doing comics. Back in August Arclight Adventures grabbed hold of my brain and shook me around until I caved in and started working on it — only to hit a wall in November called “familial crisis” (le sigh). Fortunately the familial stuff has ebbed again for the moment, and once the seasonal frantic convention prep is out of the way, I can get back on it. Right now I expect Arclight Adventures to run for about eight issues over the course of two to five years depending on how well it goes and audience reaction.
That said, I do miss Suburban Jungle, and I know there’s going to be more of it someday. Just the other night, Tiffany demanded that I draw her, so the characters are still there bumping around in my head, even if they don’t have any major plots brewing at the moment. But it needs some time away, so that I can let the old series become set as its own thing and then start a new story fresh, instead of succumbing to the temptation of just doing “more of the same in a different format.” There are some core elements of Suburban Jungle which honestly were completely played out by the end and would only be baggage now. By having time away from it, and doing different stuff instead, I hope to be able to come back fresh to the new series and give it its own life.
Then, there’s the issue of conventions. Now, I love conventions, but there are problems I’m going to have to come to grips with moving forward. MammaLlamaDevil, who has been my superlative business partner for the past (mumble) years, is gettin’ out of the convention biz as part of a major life-restructuring. While I wish her nothing but huge success, that does put me back where I was in 2001-2002, having to create merchandise, wrangle vendors, and work the table more or less on my own. She’ll be there for Further Confusion, thank goodness, but for AnthroCon I’m going to have a half-table solo. Sirfox and I have requested to get the same table, which should help, but I will still have to face my worst nightmare: i.e., trying to handle money, interact with people, and keep drawing all at the same time. It may sound fatuous, but I know from experience it’s going to be tough going! Fortunately, Mrs. Gneech will be at Confuzzled, which will be a big help there. I have enough trouble with US dollars — I can’t help it, math is hard! — I don’t want to know what trying to deal in pounds will be like.
Speaking of Confuzzled, I did promise at the top of the post that there would be art at the bottom of it! So here you go: convention mascot Brok the Badger gets tough with a goon! (Click through for larger view.)
To be honest I suspected my GOH days at conventions were probably over, so to not only be invited again, but to be invited overseas, still blows my mind. It has also been a major source of inspiration for me to keep going on the artwork. I don’t do it for the money, obviously — I do it for the fans. And to know that it still means something to people is huge.
So what are my plans for 2011? Right now they consist of finishing off the unfinished business of 2010 (i.e., Attack of the War-Cats and No Predation Allowed), getting Arclight Adventures off the ground, and to continue trying to make the writing work. That ought to keep me busy for at least a week or two.