2016
05.16

For anyone who’s interested – I’m making progress on the next chapter but it’s taking ages! I don’t expect to have it ready for release until July.

2016
03.21

Chapter 12 is up.

Poster-Chapter-12

I had originally planned this to be a short 5-page bridge to the next chapter. But somewhere along the way, after adding scenes to improve flow, or just interactions that I found interesting, it ended up closer to the length of a normal chapter! After the usual pre-release worries, it’s taken me a while to hit publish on this one. I know there’s stuff that I’ll end up going back to edit in a year or so.

Whilst trying to write background elements into a sci-fi setting, I’m humbled by how hard to is to comprehend what a profound shift they would create in society and human consciousness. Each one alone could be the focus of an entirely separate story. But for science fiction to be comprehensible it needs strong attachments to the world we understand, and I think it’s too much for both the author and the audience to take on several of these paradigm-changing technologies and their complex interactions at once. I’ve just brushed past a couple in this chapter, but they gave me pause for thought.

Off to work on Chapter 13!

2016
01.18

It’s a brand New Year, with the same old resolutions to break. 2015 was a mixed bag for me personally, so I’m hoping that 2016 will be a little better. For the comic, I’m finally done with the distraction of fixing up the art in Chapters 1-3. I expect this will be an ongoing challenge. Art (as one of my favourite sayings goes) is never finished, only ever abandoned.

As I’m working through Chapter 12, the setup for the main storyline is finally coming to an end, which means I can get stuck into the fun stuff. If you liked Chapter 3, there’s a lot more of that on the way, with much higher stakes involved. Conflict, betrayal and some shrinkage of the main cast list. Happy 2016 everyone! 🙂

Resolute-Dock-Transparent

2015
12.14

Chapter 11 is up! The leave period has taken a lot longer than I expected, but we’re almost back off the ground.

Poster-Chapter-11

I’ve also been taking time to go back and touch up some of the bad art in the first few chapters. I should be done with that by Christmas, and then it’s on to some exciting new stuff for 2016. I hope everyone has a good holiday season, and thanks for reading!

2015
09.20

Chapter 10 is up. This is a short one but it’s still taken several months to draw due to a shortage of free time. For once I’m fairly relaxed about how it’s turned out!

Poster-Chapter-10

I have also switched my drawing over to a new PC. Lots more CPU and RAM, plus my first SSD, is allowing me work faster and with no time lost to blue-screens.

I have a suspicion that much of my ‘morning after syndrome’ is caused by drawing at the wrong time. I was surprised in this chapter when I went back one weekend to add four new panels for pacing and they all turned out well, with few edits required. So I suspect that drawing in the evenings after work when I’m tired has been causing some problems. This sounds obvious, but doesn’t feel so when you’re actually drawing. More studies required!

Lastly, I’m aware that the readership of this comic is still really small. I don’t know if I’m producing anything of value, and I know that any appeal it has will be narrow. But I am enjoying working on it, which is the most important thing, and there is some exciting stuff coming up, so I intend to keep going. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

2015
07.13

Chapter 9 is up. Small warning – there’s some (mild and hopefully fairly inoffensive) nudity towards the end. The leave period is turning out be a lot longer than it looked in the script, but things will get back into space soon, I promise.

Poster-Chapter-09

This has been another tricky chapter to work on and has taken longer than I expected given the number of pages. I hope it’s turned out alright in the end. Trying to present a plausible flow of arguments in the court room scene without it becoming too tedious was a challenge. So was handling the various states of undress in the last 2 pages. I hope I found a tasteful balance. I don’t know how weird page 10 is going to seem to people, but it seemed like a fun idea to play around with. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

There’s some interesting parallels to the first chapter in this one as well. My favourite scene to write and draw was Jyoti’s extra piece of backstory – no prizes for guessing what industry I work in.

I could ramble on but I’ll keep this short. Releases make me incredibly nervous. Thanks for reading.

2015
07.07

I may not be strongly inclined to post between releases, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been busy. This last weekend I finally went through the nerve-wracking routine of sitting down and reading the latest chapter from start to finish in cold, sober silence. I’ve accepted that I’m not in a good position to judge whether what I’m doing is any good or not, but I’d like to think that I still know when something outright sucks and, to my great relief, I don’t think this does, despite some difficult scenes.

The last two chapters I’ve been using a slightly different process, which involves making a pass through the entire chapter for each stage (script → layout -> reference -> background -> line art → colouring -> edits), rather than completing one page at a time. I believe this time-lapsed approach helps to catch more flaws in the art before they’re compounded, but there’s still a lot that gets through, which I’m trying to edit out now.

In spite of family duties, the hot weather and the ever-present drudgery of work, I’m still making steady progress and I hope to have Chapter 9 out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the artist in me can’t let a post go by without pictures, so here’s an example of some of the rough references created for recurring costumes in the leave period. Dressing characters appropriately is fun, and working from a reference is vital to ensure some continuity between panels and scenes. (Hey, I do at least try…)

Post-DressUp

2015
04.05

After several months of work, it’s time once again to stop fretting and editing and release some darn pages. So Chapter 8 is up!

Poster-Chapter-08

You may be pleased to hear that this chapter includes violence and scenes of a sexual nature. It also includes my first attempt at an action scene, which I hope turned out okay. There were so many more panels I could have drawn, but in the end I kept it short and simple. With all the speed lines and sound effects I felt like a proper comic book artist at last!
I also found a legitimate use for the dialogue box heads later in the chapter, and I keep finding that I really like using the colour pink. I should hurry up and get things back into space before it all dissolves into a fuzzy pink glow…

When I have the time spare I’m (very) slowly fixing up some of the art in earlier chapters. Chapter 5 in particular was just awful, I don’t know what I was thinking for that entire 4 month period…

I hope you enjoy this latest chapter anyway. Feedback and advice is always welcome. Thanks!

2014
12.31

So, Chapter 7 is done. These have been a difficult few pages to put together, as the scenes are low key, some of the subject matter is awkward and these character beats aren’t (yet) very relevant to the main plot. On the plus side, it has my favourite pair of panels drawn so far, one of which I nailed first time with no further edits required. Sometimes that just happens and it’s great.
Originally this was the first half of a more well rounded chapter, but I had to cut it down to a manageable size and shuffle some scenes around to make them fit the timeline better. Which means that a disproportionate amount of action and plot development is loaded into the next chapter. I hope this fairly short entry isn’t too offputting as a result.

Aside from struggling to get the tone right for this chapter, I’ve been haunted by the existing pages lurking in the background. When I finished these earlier in the year after so many edits, I thought that I had finally fixed the myriad problems that they had. But every time I look back I find that I was wrong and they’re still full of gaping, obvious flaws. How could I have been so wrong? I’m still struggling to get a grip on this peculiar phenomenon, and I’ll be trying to set some time aside in the coming months to fix up some of the worst offending pages.

For now, it’s time to stop worrying about this chapter and move on to the next, which I’m excited about. It’ll be back on course with the main plot, including a proper action scene and the beginning of a development for one of the main characters that will end very, very badly. I hope everyone is looking forward to a good 2015! Take care.

Poster-Chapter-07

2014
10.12

It’s time to stop worrying and editing, and publish and be damned, so Chapter 6 is up and available here.

I’m afraid this isn’t a very eventful chapter, but there’s a bit of backstory to explain where things started off in Chapter 1 and some more time spent out of uniform.

Any feedback or corrections are welcomed as always. Heaven knows I’ve probably missed a bunch more grammatical errors in such a long chapter. As mentioned, I’m planning to cut the next chapter in half so that it doesn’t take so long between releases. The main plot will resume shortly!

Poster-Chapter-06

-Mark