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February 21, 2005

Sonata!

For those wondering about Gossamer Commons, we have the first teaser pic for you all. This is Sonata, as drawn by partner in crime Greg Holkan.

Greg's putting the finishing touches on the first two weeks of strips. Our goal is to have a four week buffer, as I've said so many times you're sick of it. I asked Greg to say a few words, and he did. But of course, you didn't hear him. So I quote:

Gossamer Commons is probably the most ambitious project I've been involved with so far, with a really small private scope that pulls from a very wide mythological base. Things are going to get interesting for me as the story develops and things get wonky. I'm going to get the chance to use some techniques I haven't had a reason to touch yet, and I'm excited.

[Gossamer Commons] looks to be really interesting. The issues we're dealing with regarding identity and behavior are really fun. The artwork gets a chance to reflect that somewhat in that I get a chance to spend more time on the inkwork, and I can use more techniques than I get a chance to use with Nemesis.

This will really test me as an artist, because it's set in a real place I've never visited, and to which I have limited access. Thank goodness Eric seems to have someone out there snagging the occasional reference photo for me.

I just want to point out that Greg uses "wonky" in casual conversation. As I do the same thing, I take this to mean this partnership's going to work.

More teasers as we go along!

February 09, 2005

A Formal Announcement

There are huge numbers of massively talented people in this world. A disproportionate number of them responded to my call for artists for my webcomics doings. This has been an exciting time for me, and I've been humbled at the skill, talent and enthusiasm I've gotten to see.

There are several artists who could have easily been selected, and I'm actually working on a couple of other projects now based on my interactions with some of them. But in the end, a collaborator and partner has been chosen, and I'm excited as anything to announce it here.

His name is Gregory T. Holkan, and his portfolio, art projects and own online comics can be found over at Seppuku Online. In particular, he's got an ongoing comic called Nemesis that's pretty dang spiffy. This new project's highlighting his black and white/pen and ink skills, which are tremendous.

He's also enthusiastic and intelligent, and has already had lots of great suggestions and thoughts, from the thematic to the artistic to the name of the strip -- its working title had been "The State Street Shuffle," but I didn't like it. Greg and I bounced thoughts around and came up with a new title.

So, now we have several weeks of drawing and writing and bouncing stuff off each other and web design ahead of us. We're going to get a buffer and we're going to show what we get to people who have more experience than we do, and most of all we're going to have fun.

And sometime this spring, you're going to get a chance to read Gossamer Commons.

So, I'm pretty psyched.

February 07, 2005

Ways I've Cursed Myself

In plotting out the evolution of the comic strip, I keep thinking oh crap -- this strip will appear and I'll get twenty e-mails saying "hah hah! You went for Cerberus and you landed in First and Ten!"

He who lives by the Snark, dies by the Snark.

February 05, 2005

It's like this when I catch a story, too.

I'm now six weeks into my scriptwriting. By the time I actually have an artist selected, I'll probably have a cool 3 months of scripts written. Now, bear in mind, said artist will have a chance to say what he or she thinks of the scripts and the story -- this is going to be collaborative, not dictatorial -- and so all of it might change along the way. But still, this is a heady brew. I think right at the moment I know how T. Campbell feels.

In a way, it's frustrating as Hell, because I can see this in my mind's eye so clearly. I know exactly how I would draw it, if I could draw. Which I cannot. And I know that no artist can draw what's in my brain. I have my Big Friend Frank taking perspective shots of the Ithaca Commons, so that the artist can at least see what the real life locations look like, but the art won't end up looking a thing like those shots. Nor should it, in the end.

In the end, the results will be better than I could do on my own even if I could draw. I honestly believe that. But I wish... you know?

And yeah, I know. If I wished that much, I should be practicing and actually developing these skills I claim to want.

Part of me wonders if these posts are of any interest. I realize I should be snarking about other peoples' comics, but my brain is so... focused right now. I get this way with stories, too. Everything seems to relate back to them, and they become what I'm mostly focused on during that point.

On the other side of it, I've got lots of good jazz to listen to now. My mother clearly doesn't know what she's talking about, when it comes to Jazz Clarinet.

February 04, 2005

Scribbling in the night, listening to jazz clarinet

I'm listening to a Buddy DeFanco AAC I got off of iTunes, from a birthday gift certificate scored from my friend Bruce that I'm slowly depleting. It's pretty fucking cool -- riffs off of "I'm Glad There Is You" and "There's No You," which if you think about it are two songs that were made to be mashed together by a sextet. I'm writing scripts for my comic strip sekret projekt, which features a jazz clarinetist.

I made her a clarinetist because my mother is a clarinetist. She's not a jazz musician, mind, but I felt a certain kinship to the clarinet based on... well, her existence. So I started doing research on clarinetists... but all the research seemed to tap out around 1945 or 1950. So I called my folks. My Dad mentioned Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw and Pete Fountain. And of course we have to mention Woody Allen, who plays Dixieland Jazz on Monday nights in New York, when he's available. It's why he perpetually missed the Oscars in the 70's and 80's. I mean, sure -- he could have accepted his Academy Award for Annie Hall in person, but damn it, he had a gig. And jazz gigs are hard to come by.

He then gave the phone to my mother. The very person who I decided to make the character a clarinetist for.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey," I said. "Tell me about Jazz Clarinet."

"It sucks," she said.

I kind of blinked. "Excuse me?"

"Jazz clarinet sucks. Oh, Dixieland is okay. The same way Jazz Banjo is okay in Dixieland. And maybe some Swing."

"I hate Dixieland Jazz," I said.

"There you go," she said. "You want a good Jazz instrument? The kind of thing you'd hear Dave Brubeck put his piano talents with? Go with flute."

"Nah," I said. "I never cared for flute."

"Piano?"

"She's a street musician. Keyboards would be a pain in the ass. And don't say saxophone. Talk about clichÈ..."

"All right. Go with Trumpet. Or flugel. Or cornet. Those are good jazz instruments."

"Yeah. Definitely. Still... that's so common. This character's kind of weird anyway."

My mother laughed. "Then make her a clarinetist who's at the forefront of a new jazz movement. It's a comic strip, Eric. If you tell the audience she sounds good, she officially sounds good. No one's going to say she doesn't."

My mother's a smart woman.

Besides, since then I found Buddy DeFranco. And that's good enough for me.

February 03, 2005

This is really coming together. I mean, *wow.*

So, I've got several people interested in the Sekret Project Comic Strip so far. I've gotten tons of character sketches from folks, and people who are deeply interested. I'm getting comments and bits of art and suggestions. It's really amazing.

Now, after I see some character sketches, I'm sending along a sample script for a comic strip to folks, to see how well they can take what I wrote and transmute it into something we *both* did. And I got my first one of those back tonight.

Amazing. Astounding.

This is going to be so cool.

Also, I have the first two weeks of strips written.

January 21, 2005

Good Lord there are talented people out there.

I'm getting ready to hit the road for Arisia. While I wait for my laundry to finish drying, however, I've been going through some of the submissions and sketches I've been getting for my Webcomics Project. (In honor of Chad Underkoffler, who is the master of public secrecy, this is Sekret Project Triple-S. Not to be confused with Sekret Project L, which will be soon published by e23.)

I'm getting some astoundingly good character sketches, based on what I sent out to interested people. (Kate Sith -- your e-mail is bouncing. Please for to let me know if you got the "Pitch" document.) There are clearly very very talented people out there, and I'm thrilled some of them are expressing some interest in working with me.

(If you've expressed interest but haven't received any direct e-mail from me outlining the terms of the project, followed by a pitch document, please send me e-mail at websnark AT gmail DOT com or comment on this entry: to my knowledge, I've sent things out to everyone interested, but there's always a few.)

Sometime later this year, I might be able to call myself a webcomics creator in some way other than ironically. That excites the Hell out of me.