Saturday, December 17, 2011


Last week, I visited a bit with Brandon Graham, the all-around nifty dude who draws King City and Multiple Warheads. He's currently writing a book called Prophet for Image comics, and the roster of artists he's brought onto the project is a murderer's row of new talent, including Farel Dalrymple and Giannis Milonogiannis. The first issue is drawn by Simon Roy, whose work I love very much:

I haven't been this excited about a new comic in... I dunno, forever. Having heard from Brandon what he has in store for future issues, I'm getting a little bit of that kid on Christmas morning feeling. Brandon gives his imagination a very long leash. I suspect that when I'm on my death bed and going over my list of regrets, close to the top will be remorse for not having been as brave as Brandon with my creative choices. If I could save game right now, live out the rest of my life the way it's currently headed, and then come back to today and live out my remaining days Brandon-style, I suspect the second game would be way more fun than the first.

Anyway, here are the first few pages that Brandon has posted on his blog. The first issue (#21, in deference to the previous Prophet series from the '90s) comes out next month. (Oh, and these very beautiful colors are by a guy named Richard Ballermann).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hat In Hand

Does anyone work at, or know someone who works at, a Seattle-area game studio that may be looking to hire a reasonably genre-agnostic concept artist/comic book creator/low-poly modeler? Because I know a guy... oh, who am I fooling? I need a job.

This does not spell the end of Nonplayer -- in fact, this is just about the only way that Nonplayer has any chance of getting finished. And if I turn out to work faster while holding down a day job, I'm going to be kind of mad at myself for this whole meandering sabbatical. More mad at myself than I already am, I mean.

If anyone knows of an opening, please contact me at nonplayercomic at gmail. Resume and portfolio available on request. Apologies for the blog-spam.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Way to Fail

Every thousand years
This metal sphere
Ten times the size of Jupiter
floats just a few yards past the Earth.

You climb on your roof
and take a swipe at it,
Hit it once every thousand years,
'Til you've worn it down to the size of a pea.

Where you gonna be?
Where will you spend eternity?
I'm gonna be perfect from now on,
I'm gonna be perfect starting now.

-Randy Described Eternity, Built to Spill

When you're working on something big, the most difficult part is always the middle bit. Starting a project is easy -- you're full of new ideas, untapped energy, and naively optimistic notions about scheduling. And you'd be surprised what kind of spiritual reserves become available as the finish heaves into view.  But the middle is a drag.

If you'll indulge another cycling metaphor: drawing a (slow) comic is like riding (slowly) in the Tour de France.  The peloton has left you behind, the cheering crowds that lined the streets of the last hamlet can no longer be heard. The next town lies somewhere over the horizon, and the surrounding countryside does not change. There is no way to mark your progress, nor are there other racers against whom to measure your pace. The motorcycle-mounted camera has disappeared with the fast riders, so you don't even get the satisfaction of knowing your struggle is being shared.

There's just the sound of your breath to distract you from the pain in your legs. Occasionally, you pass a lone spectator who has waited patiently by the roadside to clap for you. There's also the rare heckler, who jeers as you wobble past.

But no matter how much the world begins to feel like a demense-covered treadmill, you remind yourself that the finish line is up there somewhere. It may be far away, but every turn of the pedals brings you a little bit closer. It took Lance exactly the same number of foot-pumps to get there as it'll take you.

The only way to fail is to stop.

I'm somewhere in the middle of issue 2 of Nonplayer. With my shoulder back in shape, my work-days are approaching their former length. But I'm comically late -- my milestone schedule mocked me today with the words "End Nonplayer #2." The drastic inaccuracy of that prediction would be funny if it didn't also trigger shortness of breath and a cold sweat. It feels like I'm failing. In slow motion. In public.

But I have to keep reminding myself: the only way to fail is to stop. All the predictions of doom and gloom, the retailers wailing about betrayal, the publisher bemoaning the loss of sales, the general sense of having been forgotten -- it's all immaterial, as long as I don't stop.

You may not see me, but I'm out there somewhere in the dark right now, pedaling. And knowing that there are other folks out there on their own stretches of lonely road, putting away the miles -- that's just about the greatest comfort there is right now. That, and this video.

Don't stop, you guys.