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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.

Project Wonderful: The Outbid, Feature #1

Project Wonderful: The Outbid, Feature #1 published on 4 Comments on Project Wonderful: The Outbid, Feature #1
Puck and Daphne

Project Wonderful is insanely cool; it’s not exactly a good source of revenue for us (We’ve made about $4 USD on it), but it exposes us to a lot of nifty stuff. We’ve had the same ad up for a sort of Ra-Ra Atheism poster for a while, and  while I’m tickled pink that someone is ostensibly making money selling indie posters, the winning bidder on a Project Wonderful ad is invariably the tip of an iceberg of fascinating things. We have the luxury of seeing everything that tries to win our ad space, and some of it is pretty darn cool. So every now and then, I want to take some of the niftier content from the “bid but didn’t make it” group and feature them.

To your immediate left, Puck and Daphne. Yes, Puck, as in Robin Goodfellow. It’s a fascinating comic; partway through the archive, ten in-comic years skip by, (and the blog posts go from Feb 20, 2000 to Feb 20 2013)  serving as a soft reboot for the series and highlighting a marked increase in the artist’s skill. The comic is regularly funny and the color choices serve his (or her–the name ElectricGecko doesn’t exactly make that clear.) comic really well. The highlight of the series? Puck beats the crap out of purple-headed Satan for calling her a crack whore, causing him to win a mayoral election.

Fun coincidence: I first found Puck on a web search for colored text bubbles, because Zach mentioned wanting to use fewer pure whites and pure blacks in the comic. I tucked Puck into my reference material a few days ago, and then checked Project Wonderful this morning to find that it was competing for our ad space.

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes Review

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes Review published on No Comments on Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes Review
A toll in blood! En Garde!

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes was this week’s pleasant surprise. In the fashion of Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic, this stands alone as its own product, so if you’re all about random maps with a more procedural sense of story, thirty bucks has you set in the 4X category for a good, long while. To be clear; now is the time to purchase this game. It’s fantastic.

As in Civ V, Fallen Enchantress has a wide / tall dichotomy, but the execution of it is much smoother, maintaining complexity of decision making without forcing the player to have a deep understanding of his tile count. There are three tile yields: essence, material, and grain. Essence powers and allows enchantments, materials improve construction time, and grain helps level the city up. You can add more grains and materials to a single city (building tall) by using outposts to claim more resources, or you can build more cities to claim the resources.

The decision to play wide or tall is fun, and dynamic from map to map. I’m really excited to see what sort of metagaming comes out of it.

Fire Staff + Meet
Fire Staff + Meat Shields = Dead Goblin-things.

If you’re coming into Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes from the Civilization series, know that the micromanagement is completely gone; you do not have to assign citizens to tiles, nor must you march workers endlessly across your terrain. The game’s focus is exclusively on your Sovereign (your main character), your heroes, and your armies.

Tactical combat feels about right, and has options for speeding up the animations if things start to drag. It pulls most of its inspiration from Master of Magic here, rather than Shadow Magic, with a few notable exceptions: spellcasters must be present in combat (and there are no wizard-tower gimmicks to let your Sovereign cast from afar, at least that I’ve found.) I miss the strategic elements from Age of Wonders, though; it always felt awesome to have six full stacks of units under as many allegiances in a single combat. I understand why that’s not in this game, but hopefully, Stardock isn’t done adding features.

Multiplayer is sorely absent. The in-depth unit customization that’s encouraged mid and late game begs to have human intellects pitted against one another. Alas.

Also, Fallen Enchantress does not have the strong aesthetic appeal that I want from a fantasy title. The 3D models, especially the close-ups of humans in the leader and unit designer are abysmal, though they look acceptable on the strategic and tactical map, and I get a kick watching my units’ looks change as their gear gets upgraded. The color palate for the main strategy map feels off to me. Kudos, though, to the very talented painter who made the 2D backgrounds that go behind units. Those are gorgeous, and in general, a better direction for this kind of game’s art.

And the “post to Facebook” button under every model in the design screen? It kills the mood, Stardock, if you’re reading.

The Sexy, Sexy Cloth Map

Zooming out far enough flips the game into an incredibly sexy cloth-map mode, though. And since the zoom distance that kicks off this mode is controllable, someone looking for a change of visual pace can just play in that mode.

I’m also a little disappointed in the writing. The world of Elemental feels flat—a mixture of clichéd story elements and originality that just veered the wrong way. The dichotomy between the two political has no power in it, unlike, say, the orc / human conflict from the earlier WarCraft games, or the superb and multifaceted racial tensions from Age of Wonders. The races all feel like subclasses of human, rather than fantasy races, and this, I think, diminishes the earliest decision a player makes: “Who should I be?” Rather than becoming draconian, or frostling, or klakon, and getting an immersive experience from the uniqueness of those identities, the player is just picking the humans with the stats they think will work better.Also, questing is hit or miss. Some of the quests are engaging and feel positively epic. Others are distracting, and bizarre—who asks the leader of a nation to go kill rats for them? This aspect of the game suffers a bit from World of Warcraft syndrome: skip the quest text, go kill the mobs, enjoy statistical reward.

The negatives are slight, and the positives are overwhelming. If you liked Master of Magic or Age of Wonders, buy this title immediately.

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