Here is the final mission patch for the Saturn Moon Survey, the mission that is in the background for my comic Icefall. I’ve had this in my head for a while, but this is the first time I got it down in color.
Now back to working on the cover for Chapter 1. So much to do before Friday… so little time!
Orbital debris seems to be on a course moving a bit faster than ISS. I’ll try to take more pictures if it swings by.
Well played, sir. Well played.
Teri, after a good day’s work, ready to hit her sleep-sack.
This was my sketch-work in between comic work tonight. Blue pencils were my warmup and inks for the break. Might throw some colors on these inks as a cooldown later. How does it look?
I wanted to take this time to announce that my webcomic Icefall will be launching on Friday, April 5! As circumstances have shifted things around, I will be operating on a weekly update schedule, every Friday, with a bonus update on the first Monday of each month. So you can come back on April 8th for a new page, and another new page on April 12.
ALSO: as an effort to promote the comic, I’m planning a couple of convention appearances this year.
The first will be Animaritime 2013, here at my home city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Dates are Friday to Sunday, June 28-30. I’m in the process of registering, so I hope to have table details soon! UPDATE: Animaritime’s Artist Alley sold out a mere four hours after registration opened today. Due to work/timing conflicts on my end, my registration got in too late. I’m on a waiting list, but at the moment it looks like I will not be attending as an artist.
The second is the Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival (DCAF) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is a relatively new convention, the first of its kind in the Maritimes, I’m given to understand. No date thus far, but last year it was in mid-August, so I’m expecting a similar date this time out. As of this writing, registration hasn’t yet opened up for it, but I expect that will change within the coming months.
And now, a question: I’m admittedly a stranger to the convention artist alley scene. As much as I’d like to have a nice shiny Chapter 1 in floppy comic form, it’s currently looking like that won’t be the case - this would be my first foray into getting a comic printed, and I can imagine all sorts of things that can go wrong between now and the conventions. Of course, I’d be happy for things to go right first time around and have print versions ready - if that miracle occurs, I’ll be sure to announce it here.
In the meantime, I’m looking into producing some promotional art and materials for the artist alley. I’m considering the following items so far (listed from easiest to hardest):
So: any thoughts on the items listed above? Which would you like to see from a beginning comic creator looking to push his webcomic? And are there things (that can be easily and cheaply made) that I haven’t thought of?
Final inks for the Chapter 1 cover for Icefall. I’ll be re-inking it digitally in Manga Studio before applying colors. How does it look?
And so it begins… sorta.
Rough pencils for the Chapter 1 cover of my webcomic Icefall. (Reminder: comic starts regular updates March 1st!)
I should be writing the next few hundred words of the Icefall Chapter 2 script, but I need to get something off my chest. Recently, I read a blog post where a comic artist I admire was plugging some of the comics of 2012 she admired. One of them was Saga, which she called a good sci-fi comic.
Whether Saga was good is something I will leave to others, as I only saw one issue of it. It is well-drawn, and in that I’m in agreement with the artist’s praise.
But! It is not a science fiction comic. Not at all. Despite the fact that there are robots, and spaceships, and rayguns, and aliens, Saga is a fantasy comic.
Which leads me to the issue I feel I must address: Fantasy and Science Fiction are separate genres, with separate rules, and while each can borrow furniture from the other, the rules of each keep the two genres from ever really mixing.
What pushes Saga firmly into the fantasy camp is the presence of magic as magic. It’s a supernatural element, front and center in the story. That’s part of what makes fantasy stand apart of all other genres, the contact it has with the supernatural.
Science fiction - like science - cannot have supernatural elements, because the supernatural cannot be proven or dis-proven by experiment. Instead, it draws its wonder from the natural universe. While characters can have religious beliefs, and while one can have godlike beings or civilizations, one can’t have actual gods running around in a science fiction story. Honest-to-goodness magic isn’t permitted.
Again, this is not a value-judgement against Saga, just against how people are labeling it. Nor is this a “my genre can beat up your genre” post. I do have a preference for science fiction over fantasy, but - largely thanks to webcomics - I can and do enjoy a good fantasy tale. But I bristle when someone looks at the trappings in a story and label the genre based on the trappings alone. Spaceships and ray-guns do not make a story science fiction, no more than surgically grafting wheels, lights, and a horn to a person would make that person into a car.
Fantasy is more than welcome to borrow from science fiction all it wants. Want a spaceship? Here, have a dozen. Need a robot character? Go right ahead! But I worry that if we keep mislabeling stories like this, we’ll forget the underlying differences between the genres, leading to a diluted mixture that is shiny only on the surface, but dull and muddled underneath. And, given that there are stories that only one genre or the other can tell, and themes that only one genre or the other can touch, this means a loss of diversity in storytelling and thought. To lose such diversity because we were not careful would be tragic indeed.
It’s been a number of months since I stated Icefall was going on hiatus, and I’ve been rather silent since then. My apologies; of all of my skills, being social is one of my weakest. I’ll see about doing better in keeping you all informed.
First up, some good news. The hardest part of fixing Icefall is complete. I’ve re-plotted the story, reworked the characters, and have all of the needed events and props lined up where they need to be to move the story to its conclusion. All that’s left is the most tedious part: finishing the actual script and drawing the pages.
I’ve scripted all of Chapter 1, and thanks to a couple of people more comic-savvy than I, I have polished it through a couple of drafts to a much better story than it would have been otherwise. Getting everything to fit together - character, plot, setting, and theme - was harder than I imagined it, and I found some surprises along the way. For example, a couple of characters who were going to be only spear-carriers in the old story, have stepped up to become proper supporting characters. No rest for the weary, though, as work on scripting Chapter 2 has begun. More importantly, I’m busy with the layouts and the pages for Chapter 1, so I can finally get a good idea on when updates will resume.
Now the bad news: it will still be some time before updates resume. I’ve decided that, in order to insure the comic gets finished, that I need to have all of Chapter 1 drawn before pages start going up. Based on my current rate, I expect to have all pages penciled by the early/mid January 2013 on the outside. Digital inking and toning of pages should be finished by mid-March. So I am planning for a web-relaunch on Friday, March 1st, 2013.
If you’re wondering why it would take me so long to complete a 26-28 page comic, well, I can answer in two words: day job. I’m employed full-time as a janitor, which takes up to 8 hours a day - 10 if you include travel time too and from work - and I work 5 days a week. This is sufficiently demanding of my energy, and is sufficiently different from my comic work, that I have to recharge and shift mental gears before I can start drawing. On the plus side, the day job means I have the resources I need to complete the comic, put it up on the web, and get it printed.
Of course, I expect my work process to streamline a bit between now and March 1st, so hopefully it will not take as long to produce the remaining 3 chapters of the story.
Lastly, a bit of news neither good nor bad. I’m also redesigning the andrewcrispcomics.ca site to support Icefall exclusively. My earlier plan to use the site as a platform for several short comic stories isn’t as feasible as I first thought, primarily due to the fact that the ideas I’m attracted to for stories don’t translate well to stories under 80 pages in length. I’ll be changing the comic URL to reflect this, as well as revamp the website design completely. I’ll let you know what the new URL will be before the launch. This is mostly a relabeling not a move, as I’ll still use the site I have on Smackjeeves to publish the comic on the Web.
Thank you all for your patience and attention so far. If you have any questions about the comic, feel free to ask.