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Chapter Three PDF & Blogdump

Chapter Three PDF & Blogdump published on No Comments on Chapter Three PDF & Blogdump
Click me to go to the PDF on Patreon.

First thing’s first — Chapter Three is done, and is available as a PDF over on Patreon, free of charge. Share it with your friends and stuff!

Second thing’s second — we’re taking a small, five-comic break from Ramen Empire to showcase a new D&D-themed comic we’re making, at the end of which we’re hoping to collect a few opinions about. It’ll be a nice break for Zach and me, and it’ll give us a chance to edit chapter four before we start posting it.

It’s been a long, strange trip through chapter three and I’m both proud and confused with what we’ve made so far, which I suspect is the inevitable result of creating content slightly behind a never-ending publication schedule. We’d love your thoughts overall! I find myself liking certain parts better than others, but don’t want to corrupt anyone’s impression of the arc.

Civilization VI has been released, and it calls to me like a siren song, but as a perpetually broke artist / writer duo, Zach and I are resisting its malicious summons through the sheer power of poverty. It’s a dubious blessing, since neither of us have been consumed in the maw of Civ, while on the downside, neither of us have been consumed in the maw of Civ. That said, the Civ V: Vox Populi mod is an incredible gaming experience if 4x history psuedosimulators are your bag. It’s a far more complete and satisfying Civ experience, in my opinion, than Brave New World, and has a professional-tier development team behind it. It addresses most of Civ V’s critical weaknesses — particularly in the AI department — and feels like a professional product, not a mod. I’ve played a LOT of Vox Populi, though, and am itching to find some extra spare change to pick up Civ VI. Alas, shelter and food come first.

We started a new D&D campaign, and I’m trying a different approach to DMing. I’m proud of the campaign packet I wrote, but I intended it to be published at the DM store, and even though I’m only about 1/4th of the way through it, I can already see that the 40+ pages I wrote are completely useless for quick reference. I’d been organizing events and locations together, and all of that write-up is absolutely unusable garbage. Eloquent garbage, though, if I do say so myself. I’ll be re-creating that document after we finish playing through the packet, but I’ve got a good idea of how to make it useful. It’s a mixture of a social campaign and a dungeon crawl, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with folk (and, you know, having a for-money product to sell in the DM Guild.)

In other news, I finished lettering Honeypot, and it’s going to print. I’ll update this with a link once I’ve got one. The Wonderfunders are an interesting group to work with, and this’ll be my first time lettering a real, honest-to-god comic book instead of online strips. It was a good experience. I want to do it again, soon, but I’m also in the camp of “my labor needs to turn into money so I can eat” and I don’t anticipate making a lot off of Honeypot. The sales are divided between the publisher, writer, pencil artist, ink artist, colorist, editor, and (sitting off the end) the letterer, and while I don’t regret the experience in the slightest, community comic creation is very clearly not a get-rich-quick scheme.

I noticed that despite an angry comment or two directed our way for having endorsed Clinton (here and on Facebook), our readership has actually gone up, and I do appreciate whichever of our gentle, honest, good and true readers are responsible for this. I’m absolutely not capable of remaining unpolitical. At the same time, I’ve got thick skin, so if anyone is down to rumble (in a civil fashion) in the comments section, bring it on. ^_^

All right. That’s it for the blog dump. See you guys in a few days!


“Make America Great Again” is Newspeak.

“Make America Great Again” is Newspeak. published on 2 Comments on “Make America Great Again” is Newspeak.

You’ve seen the clip from The Newsroom. Or maybe you haven’t. Here.



It’s a good speech, but there’s an insidious implication behind it, and it’s the same implication behind the phrase “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA, as the nationalists over on /r/the_donald put it.

At the heart of what makes the phrase problematic is this question: in what decade was America great?

Was it the 00s, when the Patriot Act started us down a road toward becoming a police state?

Was it the 90s, when the mass incarceration of blacks picked up in serious?

The 80s, with the failed experiment of Reagonomics and the cold war?

Go down decade by decade and you find more of the building blocks that got us to our present situation. So when someone says they want to “Make America Great Again,” what are they actually saying? If we’re looking at reddit’s Trump supporters, then we’ve got to accept that this population is mostly a migration from 4chan, and that it’s inherited those racist undertones. And overtones. And midtones. Great America was segregated America and Slave America to those folks, but their opinion doesn’t matter. There are non-racist Trump supporters who also fling MAGA around. (There are almost certainly no anti-racist Trump supporters, but rather, Trump supporters who have no vested interest that they’re aware of in actively participating in racial oppression.)

So what greatness are the people who aren’t actually saying MAGA as a way of saying “Make America White Again” hoping to return America to? There’s a rosy-eyed view of the decades sandwiching World War II as a beacon of freedom, but that deliberately ignores that the good things included a massive tax rate on US corporations, that there was a goddamn reason people called Reagan “the Teflon president,” and that we had a sorry propensity to assassinate leaders that threatened the every entrenching establishment.

There was never an overall American golden age. Claiming that there was gives power to historical revisionists who have vested interests in lopsided distributions of power.

So what does MAGA mean?

Nothing. It’s crowdsourced Orwellian newspeak that locks people onto the highly charged emotional raillines that make supporting Donald Trump feel good. “Great” has no real definition, and “again” refers to no concrete point in time. The call to action itself is even devoid of meaning; “make” in the imperative voice here asks people to return to a time that didn’t exist and to perform an empty set. This is the actual definition of newspeak. It is blackwhite designed to trigger bellyfeel.

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