Jul 07 2014

Good Night @AnthroCon, We Love You :)

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Heading to bed with another AnthroCon sinking slowly in the west. Normally I drive back on Sunday, but this time, partially at Sirfox’s request, we’re staying until Monday. That’s probably a good thing, actually, as I could really use a sleep-in before driving 5 hours to get us back to VA.

All in all, it’s been a good one. :) No super-high highs, but plenty of nice little moments. As I mentioned on Twitter, Uncle Kage introduced me to Lee Tocker (the voice actor of Snips and Steven Magnet on MLPFIM) by describing himself as a fan of mine, which I was quite flattered by. I also got to see some of my regular crew, such as Buck Turner, InvisibleWolf and Derrick, Teiran and Fuzzwolf, LionKingCMSL, Mooncat, and several others. I got to chat some with RebelSquirrel, which I enjoyed; met Xylo, the new director of the InterventionCon dealer room, who was one of my neighbors in the dealer room; and Path, the chair of Furry Fiesta, who has declared that I am stalking him by virtue of him being everywhere I was about to go anyway (including my own hotel room).

Sales were nice and solid, too. Not quite up to my peak perhaps, but definitely better than last year. I have nearly sold out of several older items and need to work on creating new product before InterventionCon, but having new books on the table was a great feeling. :) I am also getting better about working all of my table materials into a manageable set that can be carried to and from the venue in a single rolling suitcase, as opposed to the enormous stacks of boxes of yesteryear. Some of that was Kerry’s tendency towards sprawlingness, but a lot of it was just me being disorganized and muddle-headed.

Weight-wise, I was a little over my daily point allotment each day of the con, but not by very much, and I easily made it back up in activity points from walking all over the place. I did have to go to one of the leatherworking vendors and ask them to add a couple of new holes to my belt in order to tighten it more, which I’m hoping is an indicator of success on that front.

Tomorrow (er, later today?) when I get home, I’m going to start posting pages of Rough Housing to my FurAffinity account, on recommendation of the FurPlanet guys. I’ve also got to crank out pages for next week and get some commish work done, so I’m going to be a busy, busy Gneech when I get back! But a happy one. It’s very nice to finally be doing my proper work as my real job. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get my boss to increase my salary. ;)

So g’nite AnthroCon, we love you. :) And good night to the rest of the world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech

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Jun 12 2014

Her Majesty’s Secret Spellcasters

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So the general opinion is that the “necro” in “necromancer” refers to death– traditionally necromancy is the ability to speak with dead spirits, for the purpose of lifting curses, busting ghosts, whatever. This has led to the image in popular fantasy of necromancers being gothy types who hang around in cemetaries raising zombies and the like. Which works as a trope, but… it could go another way.

Another meaning of the original root “necro” is “dark.” Not dark as in “evil,” dark as in “obscure or hard to see.” i.e., hidden, secret. Necromancy by that meaning is therefore not “the deathly arts,” but rather “the secret arts.” Which could be anything! The secret art of turning lead into gold? Sure. The secret art of getting that fifth dentist to recommend sugar-free gum? Anything!

This of course leads me to ruminate on the word “secret.” What are secrets, exactly? They are things you carry with you. Your secretary carries your correspondence (and your secrets). A secretion is something that has been deposited on you. The Secret Service is not “secret” in the sense that people don’t know they’re there– far from it– they report to the Secretary of the Treasury, and they “carry” the President safely.

(Historical note: The Secret Service was actually founded to combat forgery after the Civil War; it wasn’t until the assassination of Pres. McKinley that they were given the task of protecting the President.)

This leads me to a vision of a fantasy setting in which an important personage (Queen, Emperor, Prime Minister, whatever tickles your fancy) is protected and served by a small cadre of elite necromancers (in the sense that they study secret arts), sort of James Bond meets Harry Dresden if you like. I can see this working particularly well as a steam-fantasy setting a la Gail Carriger.

However, I don’t have the time to write this at the moment, so I’m setting the idea free by writing it up here and putting it into your head. I might come back to it later, we’ll see.

-The Gneech

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May 01 2014

The Full Cobain

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c/o Fleen

The Mighty Godking Goes Full Cobain

Writing a pithy post that adequately sums up my feelings about all of this is essentially impossible because a certain subsection of nerds seem determined to never, ever stop being terrible people, and put all of their energy into being terrible people, and make sure that they win simply by exhausting anybody who’s even halfway decent.

…but I do have one response, and that is to take a page from Kurt Cobain:

“If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of a different color, or women, please do this one favor for us… Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records. –Kurt Cobain”

I write a blog, I does a Twitter, I make comics. And this one goes out to the dickheads out there who seem determined to make life as difficult as possible for fangirls and geek girls and girls generally: don’t read my stuff. Just pass it by. I will make do without your eyeballs, attention, and (when there is opportunity for you to spend) monies. You are not needed; you are the fleshy little wart on the ass of Life, purely extraneous and mostly unpleasant, and I don’t want your business.

And for everybody else who makes comics – or other nerd stuff – you should be telling these people the exact same thing. You’ve probably been implying it anyway, but it’s time we all vocalized it.

This is a good policy, and I hereby adopt it, and attempt to spread the word.

-The Gneech

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Apr 21 2014

Some Thoughts on @AwesomeCon and @InterventionCon

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So AwesomeCon was this past weekend, and it was very cool; pretty much the same experience as the San Diego Comic-Con, except not quite as packed beyond capacity and making you hate life because you couldn’t move for all the people in the way. If I could be sure it would never grow any bigger I’d happily make it a regular thing, but as this was only its second year, I suspect my hopes are going to be dashed in that regard. If I had one real beef about the con, it’s that it could use more SF/fantasy, gaming, and especially more ART, instead of just being an unrelenting drum of “comics, comics, comics.” (A con the size of AwesomeCon really should have a good art show, but it’s only their second year, hopefully that will come with time.) What makes Dragon*Con still worth going to, as horribly huge and unwieldy as it has become, is the broad swath of fandom. Where were the Tim Powerses, Seanan McGuires, and Neil Gaimans?

Seeing the huge response to AwesomeCon, OTOH, just reinforces my opinion that InterventionCon needs to kick it up a notch or it will eventually perish. I realize and fully support that they don’t want to become just another giant dealer hall in a convention center with no personality, and that their intended focus is on creators rather than attendees. I dig that and I’m all for it. But without attendees, really, how are you going to get creators to come? Going to a con requires a significant investment of time and possibly also a significant investment of money– for someone operating on tight margins (as most indie fandom creators are), there has to be a certain amount of confidence you’ll recoup that investment or they’ll just give it a miss. It doesn’t have to be sales, it could be networking or learning new skills or what-have-you, but again, how can you network if nobody is there? (Which could also be handily summarized by asking where are the Tim Powerses, Seanan McGuires, and Neil Gaimans…)

This year, I went to AwesomeCon purely as an attendee– I didn’t even bring business cards– mostly because I am sorta rebuilding my whole operation from scratch and wanted to learn the lay of the land, but also given all the upheaval my life has gone through in the past year I just wasn’t up to doing anything more. But the chances are quite good that I will try to get an artist’s table next year, especially if I can find someone to go in with me (running a table solo is a lonesome and exhausting activity). It would certainly be handy to have a largish local con to go!

-The Gneech

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Apr 08 2014

New Patreon Subscription Level Added

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I have added a new “Subscription” level reward to my Patreon campaign. At the $3/month level, you will receive new comic pages directly by e-mail as soon as they are drawn, usually a week to a month before they appear on the website.

Of course, I’ll need a valid e-mail address to send it to. ^.^’ But this will be kept private and never shared with anyone.

Thanks, supporters! I really appreciate it!

-The Gneech

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Mar 31 2014

Commissions and Workload

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If my records are correct, I still owe two people commissions from January; I can only apologize, offer an explanation, and let you know my current plans.

In November of 2012, my mother had a stroke while in the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. In the time since then, my sister, my wife, and I have been spending increasing amounts of our time tending to my mother’s health and affairs, first taking care of her at my sister’s home, then transitioning her to an assisted living situation and selling her house. And while my mother’s personality was altered by the stroke and her mobility was noticeably limited, she was until recently doing relatively well.

All of that changed in December, when my mother took a nasty fall and went into the hospital again. Although she initially seemed recovered from that and was fine at Christmas (except for a nasty bruise on her face), she had some bleeding on the brain that we were not aware of at the time. In late January, she fell again, and it was a fall she did not recover from. During the month of February, she was in a rehab center, where she eventually simply stopped eating and would not willingly take care of herself– and the staff of the rehab place would not push her. Laurie, my sister, and I did what we could to mitigate the situation, but Mom’s doctors were frustratingly unhelpful despite my sister’s best efforts and Laurie and I were up to our elbows in settling Mom’s house in order to make sure her assisted living stay would be paid for.

By the time we got Mom back to her home at the assisted living facility, she had lost too much weight, and her body began to shut down. For a few days it seemed like she might perk up, but it was like once she was back in her own room and knew her affairs were settled, her body just let go. She passed away in the early hours of last Tuesday, and her funeral was this past Friday.

I didn’t post about this much while it was going on, for various reasons. First, it seemed to happen so fast, and while we were in the middle of it all there was no way to know what was going to happen. Second, for the past several years, it seems my online persona has been a never-ending series of these situations, starting with my father and going on from there, and I simply didn’t want to subject my readers to any more. (And there’s no denying, my life has been a bumpy ride since 2007 or so. But after a while, even tragedy becomes “normal” if it never relents.) Finally, well, what free time I did have, I wanted to devote to doing productive things. My writing and art have to some extent a shield I’ve used to keep myself focused and running. (“Can’t spend the day screaming at Kaiser Permanente, I’ve got NaNoWriMo to do!”)

But this is why my January commissions in particular got stalled. Since January, my full-time job has pretty much been taking care of my mom or her affairs, and everything else has fallen increasingly by the wayside. I am amazed (and glad) that I’ve managed to actually launch Suburban Jungle and not miss any updates during all this– faltering right out of the starter gate would have been painful for everyone.

Of course, now my mom’s estate has to be settled, but compared to the day-to-day workload of caring for her, that seems a relatively easy task. So now I can turn my attention back to what is supposed to be my day job: writing and comics. So here is my plan:

The first half of April will be spent rebuilding the Suburban Jungle buffer by finishing off the first issue so it can be in print by AnthroCon. During the third week of April or when the first issue is done (whichever comes first) I will turn my exclusive attention to finishing off my outstanding commissions and getting rewards out to my Patreon subscribers. Laurie and I will also be at AwesomeCon in Washington D.C. April 19-20, but purely as attendees, I won’t have a table.

Where things go from there depends on how this plan works out. ;) But as I’ve said before and I will surely say again, I am very grateful for everyone’s patience and wish to assure you that you will get your commissions as soon as I can make it happen. I haven’t forgotten!

-The Gneech

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