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Bartholomew is the writer monkey. All hail the writer monkey.

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February 18, 2014 will not, for some reason beyond my ken, live in infamy.

For me, it was a safe and warm night with friends, and I cannot scrape that from my skin. The Amber Alert came, and loudly, like a tornado siren through the living room, and I texted the details to all of my friends. Zach was arting. I was writing. We figured it was a custody battle gone wrong, or an accident. Then the alert repeated–two or three times more as the evening pressed. 2008 gold Ford Ranger. 1YF454. For a single, absurd moment, I consider going out and looking around. Instead, I boot up Civ.

At work the next day, as the shift comes to an end, my supervisor tells us what happened. I’d never gone to the news, and had basically forgotten the alert. A little girl, Hailey Owens, was abducted in broad daylight, with witnesses to see, and then ultimately slain. It sank in very slowly. While I was playing a video game, a child was being tortured. The full extent of my effort against this thing was a handful of text messages.

I hid in the restroom to cry.

The rage I have for this is not a thing that can become words. The tongue and the pen together cannot tread the levels of hellish betrayal that this so-called man biled upon she who should have been his ward.

The effective community involved in this abduction was so large; and that is what truely fuels my despair. The Amber Alert–GOLD FORD RANGER 1YF454–spread to people from hundreds of miles around. Police knew exactly who and what to look for. Neighbors set chase, even, by some accounts.


The combined power of human technology and love and bravery failed, and lost to something small, and which deserves no language but will receive it anyway.

Mark the day. February 18, 2014. That is when darkness won.

Hailey Owens
Requiescat in Pace

no words

It’s happening…!

It’s happening…! published on No Comments on It’s happening…!

Fiverr is an amazing and weird little boon. Zach opened a sort of doodle factory over there and immediately found himself rolling in work, otherworldly requests, thanks mostly to the internet at large. We’re raising our prices on certain aspects of illustration as soon as Fiverr levels us up, so take advantage of the cheap rates now. This is what you might imagine I’m saying, except I’d love for Zach to have time to produce a comic.

If you’re keen, his work is appearing here, where he designed one Beach Mick, and here, where he made an avatar of a man throwing a bomb.  There have been others. Many others. We aren’t sure where they go, honestly. We just know that, occasionally, someone does not think we have rendered their girlfriend sexily enough. Such a thing drains my liberal sensibilities though, and suddenly, thinking about it, I feel faint. Lawdy.

We want to make a long-form comic book.

We want to make a long-form comic book. published on 2 Comments on We want to make a long-form comic book.

Or at the very least, we have other I.P. we want to develop. Take a look at these pictures and drop a comment saying which of these you’d be interested in reading.

The first one is fairly self-explanatory.


It’s inspired loosely from Paranorman and Invader Zim, as well as conversations Zach and I have about making vampires into properly frightening monsters again.

The other is a buddy-cop story about a sociopath and a psychologist who have to deal with fairies in a psych ward. It’s basically supernatural Sherlock Holmes.

PreviewLet us know below which one of these you’d be interested in seeing; comment below, tweet us, or catch us on Facebook.



Writers writing

Writers writing published on No Comments on Writers writing

The comic is late, you may have noticed.

Our first reboot arc, Buffalo Soul, is done! It will lead directly into our second arc, and we’ve got big plans.

First, as my good friend Paula said of our first arc, Things! Are Happening! And that’s kind of spastic and hard to follow, essentially the worst traits of Girl Genius and Megatokyo Year One without the things that make those addictive web munchies. A big problem was our pacing–the segments focused on Daphne fell apart. But it wasn’t just pacing–it was a lack of character. Daphne and Lilit were both incredibly cardboard, barely even one dimensional.

So writer monkey is taking some time to flesh things out for arc two for the week of Murica Day, with a special focus on character and pacing, and less of a focus on slamming past plot points.

Zach is writing the comics for this week. That’s why they’re late. Don’t judge him! Being funny isn’t easy. and he has a real job.


Defiance published on No Comments on Defiance

I’m ready to talk about Defiance in a meaningful way, I think. I wanted very dearly to love the show, because it fills the gap in both content and aesthetic left empty and gaping when Firefly was canceled. More than this, though, it sought this noble and wondrous joining of my two favorite media; TV and Video Game. But with the show’s utter dependence on the clichéd, I am left not with the organic thing I craved, and not with a show I can adore and a world I can escape into—literally, thanks to the elaborate game tie-in—but with a show I can merely watch.

I’ve not tried the video game; the show did not convince me to. Perhaps it is a worthy experience on its own; I do not know, and refuse to speculate based solely on internet hear-say.

Actor Grant Bowler does an admirable job of filling his role; I believe his lines, and he comports himself as I imagine a Lawkeeper must. I think very highly of him as Joshua Nolan. And I am a very big fan of the world he’s acting in—an Earth broken by war, alien terraforming, and dystopia. Moreso am I pleased at the positive messages behind the show’s portrayal of sexuality; for example, Defiance’s prostitutes are not only shown as being in a legitimate business, but as generally good people. I’m down with that liberal jibe, so long as it doesn’t become a moral truncheon disguised as a story—and so far, the balance is decent.

What breaks the show for me, though, is that I can usually call what’s going to happen two commercial breaks before it does. By itself, this isn’t bad—I loved Monk and I’m a fan of Castle and other such shows that necessarily suffer from being watched by people who know how to read foreshadowing. And since this show is, in many ways, the structural descendent of Eureka, this might not even be a legitimate complaint.

This predictability is coupled with a cast of incredibly unsympathetic characters, though; Irisa, The Lawkeeper’s teenaged ward, is a raging psychopath, which makes it really hard for me to care that she’s the chosen one, and in making it hard for me to care, makes it much more obvious and distracting that plots about chosen ones aren’t especially uncommon. The same applies in many ways to Datak Tarr; he’s everything that’s bad about Snape, without the stuff that made me root for Snape—which would be fine in some respects if he was actually the villain instead of a foil for The Lawkeeper. The show has villains, and they’re very good at cackling behind their black capes and twirling their waxen moustaches. The problem is that they’re cackling at people I don’t like very much.

Nothing says "Gripping Sci-Fi" like a bunch of folk who hate each other posing for a photo.
Nothing says “Gripping Sci-Fi” like a bunch of folk who hate each other posing for a photo.

The show’s overall arc promises something unpredictable and wild,  and this gives me a lot of hope for an improvement in season two. I think, given that Defiance will always be hard-pressed to perform well in the shadow of Firefly, just because of its aesthetics and themes. And a lot of the series I love had very rough first seasons—I’m looking at Star Trek: TNG when I say this, but there are others. With this in mind, I’m waiting patiently, with just a touch of eagerness for Defiance’s season finale.

Waiting and hoping.

Ch-ch-ch Changes!

Ch-ch-ch Changes! published on No Comments on Ch-ch-ch Changes!

So, good news. Very soon, we’re changing how Ramen Empire works. All the comics before a certain date are going into an archival that won’t be attached to the main comic. At this point, it’s pretty clear that we rebooted. We’re going to divide the comic up into stories of 8 or 16 strips (depending), complete with cover art, and with gag strips in between.

Once I get the technical problems associated with this out of the way, we’ll have two comics running concurrently, though neither of us are prepared to talk about that other comic. Mostly because it keeps coming to blows.

It’s okay, though–Zach hits like a big Marshmallow.

What? That? Oh.

I, uh. I fell down some stairs.