25 September 2012

The Mask of Dooooooom

When last we saw our plucky heroine, she was living in her mother's basement, dreaming of creating a webcomic of her own. A lot of things have changed since then, in unexpected ways. I'm living in my own apartment now, in a completely different city. I'm working full time, and best of all, I'm in love with an amazing woman.

My partner is astounding. She is smart, a bibliophile, has a sharp and wicked sense of humor. She's physically beautiful, but spiritually and mentally even more so. None of that should surprise those who have known any of my past girlfriends. But there is one aspect of her life which might be a surprise... she's chronically ill.

The details of her illness aren't relevant to what I want to say here. Let's just note what is relevant: my darling wears a mask in public to protect herself. She needs the mask, and the protection it provides. It's not an affectation, or an exaggeration. Recently, she wrote a blog post about living behind the mask, and asked what her friends thought about it. I didn't respond on her blog, because she likes to keep our relationship quiet. (She has good and sufficient reasons for that; let's not get bogged down here in that).

I met my partner on the internet. I first knew her through her eloquent writing. I first knew the life of her mind. And so my image of who she was had already formed when I met her body. The things she wears to funtion in daily life, the braces, the cane, the gloves, the mask... none of those things detract in the least from the beauty that I see when I look at her. The light that is inside of her glows so brightly... it illuminates all the aspects of her life with grace and beauty.

To me, the mask is just clothing. She wears trousers, and shirts, and masks, and each of these covers and protects part of her body. The mask is not a common article of clothing in our society, but I'm a Nihonophile, and in Japan, health masks are not uncommon. And just as I enjoy when she wears a pretty brassier, I like that the mask she wears is feminine and pretty.

There are two things about the mask I do not like.

The first is that it's a limitation for her, and I don't like that the world has imposed that kind of limitation. For her sake, I wish that she didn't have to remember where she put it down when she came in the house. I wish that I didn't have to remember to get a last kiss before we left the safety of the house. I wish that she could walk around bare faced.

Of course, I also wish that she could walk around bare breasted, but that's a different discussion.

The second thing I don't like about the mask is the way it changes how people deal with her. The mask makes people behave like asshats to her. I don't mind the stares from little kids... they're still learning about the world, and they're curious when something doesn't fit in the pattern they're developing to understand.

I hate the things that ostensible adults do. The uneasy shuffling away, the fear, the outright rudeness. The accusations that she's not really sick, but just faking because she's lazy, or wants attention.

The mask is, of course, not the cause of those actions, any more than the brassier is the cause of rape. The mask is just the visible trigger. The invisible mechanic of society causes the behavior.

If I could, I would fix the things which have gone wrong with my partner's body. I would take away the need for the many medications and the external devices. I would create a world where we could walk around together, wearing whatever we wished to wear, leaving off whatever we wished to leave off, and neither a mask nor a bare breast would garner the least change in the respectful way that people treat each other.

But I can't. So I walk with my partner, and I give her all the support and love I can, and I enjoy her clothes, and her amazing sense of fashion, and I hope that my love and support make a difference.

24 February 2012

The Characters... of Doooom!

I've been spinning Blackrock Fief around in my head.  (You spin me right 'round, right 'round like a record, baby...).  I've decided that, for long-term viability, I'm going to borrow a technique from Escape From Terra -- to whit, everything will not be a single, continuing story.  It will be episodic, with episodes told from the point of view of various, closely related characters.  Not unlike a Kage Baker novel, actually, now that I come to think of it.  

Blackrock Fief initially appears to be a Japanese neo-feudal society with robots in the lowest social orders.  Truths about the Fief will be exposed as the series goes along.  Most of the exposition will happen in segments told from the perspective of Suzuki Umeko, like the initial teaser you can find by looking back through the archives here.

So here is a Personae Dramaticus for the characters I need to design first:

  • Umeko: 8 year old girl, the youngest child of the Suzuki family.  Viewpoint character for the first segment.
  • Sakura: 25 year old woman, oldest child of the Suzuki family.  She's getting married in the first segment. A constable.
  • Hikaru: 17 year old boy, middle child of the Suzuki family.  Training to be a Samurai under the tutelage of Uncle Happy. Sometimes sullen, resentful of Sakura's easy authority, but loves his sisters very much.
  • Kimiko: Adult woman.  Mother of Sakura, Hikaru, and Umeko; wife of Ken'ichi. Appears the same age as her eldest daughter.
  • Ken'ichi: Adult male.  Father of the siblings, also appears mid-twenties. Samurai, wears two swords through his obi.
  • Uncle Happy: Adult male.  Hikaru's sensei in the arts of war and philosophy.  A bit tsundere. Fond of the Suzuki siblings, but believes children should be seen and not heard.
  • Nomin-San: The ubiquitous robots.  1.5 meters tall, white plastic and purple-anodized aluminum.

I've already done a little bit of design work, and here's a preview of the Nomin-San robots:

As always, I'm interested in any feedback you have to offer.

19 February 2012

The Art of Doooooom!

After a week of reading, I've finally read all the way through the archives of Questionable Content... and yes, I do realize I'm probably about the last person in the entire frakkin' universe to realize how cool QC is.  Which leads into my next journal / comic development topic: monitization.

A number of years ago, I wrote a serial on the web.  It was niche fiction... okay, okay, it was Furry Slice-of-Life... don't judge me! Anyway, it was very popular among its niche.  (At the time, I was a regular on FurryMuck and FurToonia, and I knew that I would have an audience among my mucking friends.  Some people have noted that there wasn't any real reason why the serial had to be furry, and they're right... it could have been _any_ college kids in _any_ college town.  I just happened to make it furry to appeal to _my_ college friends). And though it was popular enough to get me invited to be on a panel at a convention, I never made a single cent off it.

That's not strictly accurate.  During the time it was in publication, I tried to do the merchandising thing, and got coffee mugs printed up with a logo an artist friend of mine was kind enough to design for me.  I eventually made enough money to pay back the investment I'd made in getting the mugs in the first place.  These days, as I understand it, there are places where one can offer merchandise without a massive opening investment, and they'll even handle the shipping for you.  Win.

I know there are web cartoonists making their comic their sole source of income... and I also know that for every one who does, there are probably a thousand who only do it for love.  And that's fine.  I want to do a web-published graphic novel because I want to share my creation with the world, and have other people read it and enjoy it, and maybe occasionally send me an email saying how much they enjoyed it.

Now, based on the number of comments I've received on this journal, in comparison to how many page views I've received, I'm guessing that last one isn't very likely to happen, either, but... you know... it could. In a world where magical unicorns sprinkle dust from their horns....

Anyway, as I was saying, I'm doing this because I want to do it, and maybe that's enough.  I mean, all I really want out of it is a gazillion dollars and groupies... but it's okay if I don't get that, too.  I mean.  I guess. If I gotta do without, I gotta.  That's life.

When I first started doing my serial, I was over-ambitious, and promised three updates each week.  By the second week, I realized that was just not possible, and I dropped to updating every Friday.  Now I look at what I want to do with art, the Ukiyo-e style in which I'd like to do it, and I wonder.  If I promise once-weekly updates, will I be able to keep up with the schedule?  And if I do, will that be updating often enough to keep an audience?

Okay, I know that I read once-weekly webcomics such as Three Panel Soul and Absolutely True Tales of Lesbian Drama, but I have also observed that these comics are less likely to be written by someone who is making any kind of money off them than strips like Girls With Slingshots which publish weekdaily.

I know, I know, I'm putting the cart before the horse, but these are things that go through my mind.  I should just shut up and write, and practice drawing, or start building my sets and characters to do it in LightWave.  I guess I'm just trying to argue myself out of the thought that no one's going to read it, and no one's going to care whether I do it or not.

So.  To sum up.  Webcomic good.  Making money from webcomic, better.  Know how to write.  Working on art.  No Earthly idea how to make money.

16 February 2012

Jenny's Maunderings of Doooooooom!

I filed my taxes today.  I'm in that enviable portion of the population who gets back more from the IRS than we paid, because we made so little money over the course of the year.  No, I'm not kidding.  In related news, TurboTax sent me a bill for $0.00 for helping me file.

It's been a rough few years for me. I was just thinking this morning that I used to be interesting.  I've lived in some of the biggest cities on the planet, done some exciting things, kept company with some fascinating people, slept beside some beautiful women.  But the last few years, I've pretty much solidly been broke, lonely, and ill; living on the charity of relatives, and feeling worthless and broken.

And I promised to keep this blog on web comic development, but that stuff up there is important for understanding the place where I'm coming to this from.  I'm seriously depressed, and think I may be permanently broken, but I'm trying to find something creative that I can do, something worthwhile to drag me out of the pit where I don't get out of bed, before I become some kind of Brian Wilson tribute band.

Anyway, I mentioned before that I'd about 80% decided on one of the options to pursue.  That option is Candidate Five, Blackrock Fief.  One and Three, There Shall be Blood and The Delicate Art of the Sword respectively, are projects that Jane and I have talked about developing together.  I don't know what the status of that is, but... Jane's got right of first refusal, and until I hear from her that she's not interested in going further with them, I'm not going to preempt that.

Candidate Two, the unnamed space opera, may see further development as a fic podcast.  I don't know.  It's deliberately written as a Mary Sue, with the viewpoint character representing me, and Jane representing, well, Jane.  It was intended to amuse Jane.  Unfortunately, she's kind of incommunicado right now, so I don't know if it did.

That leaves Candidate Four, Gloaming Eos, or Candidate Five, 玖藩/Blackrock Fief. Frankly, though I could do Gloaming Eos, it doesn't speak as clearly to me as Blackrock Fief. I've spent enough time working with geriatric populations that I could write a slice-of-life / romance thing set in a place like King Hall... but the truth is, I've spent enough time working with geriatric populations.  It's not my True Calling; it's just something I've had to do to feed myself.

So it looks like it's Blackrock Fief.  And... I have more to say about that, but I need to think about it some more.

15 February 2012

Jenny's Writings of Dooooooom!

My mom showed me a journal-toy, and I couldn't resist playing with it.  I promise this BlogThing won't become a bunch of memes.  Most of it will be focused on my webcomic development, and this is sort of tangentially related.

I write like
Neil Gaiman
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I put in the Blackrock Fief text, and got this back, which made me squee with joy.  If there is anyone in the world I would like to write like, Neil Gaiman would be him.

I'm still thinking about which of the teasers to develop further.  I've 80% settled on one, but I'm not going to mention which one, as I'm still getting some great feedback trickling in from John-Michael on the Saber Forum, and I'd like to hear everything he has to say before I make a final decision.

While I'm thinking about it... I wanted to talk a little bit about the fine art of critique.  Years ago, I was in a wonderful writer's group run by my long-lost friend, M. Leigh Martin (Leigh, if you have a google alert set up for your name, write me! I miss you!) She had noticed that many writers' groups are set up to be a sort of cruxifiction of the writer, and came up with a way to avoid that... she had everyone give their comments to the writer in notes, and then let the writer lead the discussion of the story, asking for more information, and more thoughts, from people on the things that interested her about the feedback she received.

I thought it was brilliant.  But Leigh also said something that has stuck with me, and become a part of my personal philosophy: The worst possible review is "I like it."  It's okay to lead with that, but don't stop there!  If you don't give me places that seemed rough, things you'd like to see done differently, how can I grow as a writer?

So I'm really appreciating the in-depth feedback John-Michael is giving me.  And I wouldn't mind some from the rest of you, too.

12 February 2012

Webcomic of Dooooom! Summing up.

Okay.  So, that's five candidates for further development, and hopefully, in six months or a year, I'll have developed one of them into a script, which I'll then illustrate, and post at a rate of a page a week.  I am inspired by Gina Biggs' Red String, if you'd like an example of what I'm talking about.

I see that people have looked at them, but with the exception of Abby, no one has commented here.  (By the bye, if you don't know her, Abby Arsenic is a player for the Arizona Derby Dames banked-track roller derby league.  I love roller derby.  The women who play it are tough, and sexy, and confident, and it just rocks my small, self-centered world).

So let me talk a little about the considerations, here.  I am not a great artist.  Of course, many web comics start with substandard art, and XKCD is virtually defined by its poor art. I am a good writer, having spent many years honing those skills. Is a well-written but badly-drawn comic worth reading?  You tell me.  (No, really, I mean it... tell me!)

Do you really have no opinion about which of the teasers I've posted should be developed?  Do they all suck so much that you wouldn't read a web-published graphic novel developed from any of them? Tell me.

I have some experience with LightWave, and if I were to develop either #2 or #5, I might use it for the graphics, instead of drawing them.  Indeed, in my mind's eye, I see Blackrock Fief as being done in a sort of Ukiyo-e woodblock style that I'm fairly certain LightWave could do with the right shaders.

But I need encouragement... and raising page counts with no comments aren't very encouraging.

11 February 2012

Webcomic of Dooooom! Candidate 5: Kuhan (Blackrock Fief)

I first noticed the Nomin on the day of my older sister's wedding.  It was my first time wearing something other than the common child's samue, and I was feeling very grown-up in my kimono. Certainly, I had seen the Nomin before, toiling in the fields outside our village, or carrying the sedan chairs of those too old -- or self important -- to walk.  But that day, as I hurried down the dirt road toward my Aunt Nene's house, I lost one of my wooden clogs and had to turn back a step.  That's when I noticed it.

Nomin-san had paused in his work, minding a hedge.  He stood still, one white plastoid finger outstretched, his green, slightly luminescent photo-receptors focused on the butterfly perched on the end of his finger.  I watched him, really examining one for the first time, from the ceramaplas covering his torso, marked with the Mon of our barony, to the kon-painted metal of his feet. After a breathless moment, he raised his hand, and the butterfly on the end of his finger flew off.  He watched it fly for a moment, and then turned back to clipping.

I wedged my foot more firmly into my clog, and hurried down the road.  When I arrived at Aunt Nene's house, I found my father standing with some of the other Samurai of the village, their laughter unrestrained on this day of celebration.  I approached, and stood by my father until he glanced down at me.  "Well, Plum Blossom?" he asked, smiling.

"Papa, why would a Nomin stop to watch a butterfly?" I asked.

"They wouldn't," Uncle Genki said, not unkindly.  "They're just machines, Blossom. They don't have feelings."

I nodded.  "But..." I started.

My father interrupted me.  "Your mother will need help getting your sister into her shiromuku. Go and help her, please."

"Yes, father," I said, and turned away.  I knew what I had seen, and discovering the truth behind it would change my view of our world forever.

This is the fifth, and probably final teaser.  Again, if you'd like to see a webcomic developed from this, please let me know.

WebComic of Doooom! Candidate 4: Gloaming Eos

It was the first day of spring when I drove up the coast road.  The first day it had been warm enough to put the top down on the car, though I still needed the seat heater.  As I crossed an old, steel bridge, the navigation system said, "Turn right onto river road," and I did.

In the email, my new employer had said the house looked like a Tudor folly.  I hadn't quite understood what she'd meant, but then, as I came around the bend of the river and saw it across that wide front meadow, I suddenly understood exactly.  I pulled into the circular drive, marveling at how much someone had spent on making the place fit the aesthetic sense of a by-gone era.  There were a few cars parked along the inside curve, and I joined them.

"Hello," said a woman's voice, warm and friendly.  A moment later, the woman herself came out of the porte cochere.  I took my gloves off, and smiled, getting out of the car, taking a moment to study her.  She was slender, with hair that might once have been quite red, but which time had faded to almost brown, and then threaded with silver... though, if I were to be honest, I would have to admit that there was as much silver as copper.  She wore a long tweed walking skirt, and a sheer silk blouse over a camisole in the palest shade of purple. "Hello," she said again, as she came within a few steps.  "Is that a Lotus Super Seven?" she asked, sounding surprised.

"Caterham," I answered, still smiling.  "But a Super Seven, yes. My father built it for me from a kit, when I was in high school."

"But it's so quiet!" She shook her head.  "If the camera at the corner hadn't seen you coming...."

I grinned.  "Do you want me to tell you, or show you?"

"Oh, by all means, show me!"

I reached down and opened the lever holding the hood closed, and opened it.  "A twelve-cylinder, hydrogen fired Stirling cycle engine," I explained.

"That never came out of a kit!" she protested.

I shook my head.  "My father built that from scratch," I explained.  "Took him four years. He saw the gas shortages coming, and bet on hydrogen."

She laid her hand on my arm.  "He loves you very much," she observed.

"Yes, ma'am," I said, "He did." I closed the hood back up.

"Oh, dear," she said.  "I'm sorry." She paused a moment.  "Oh, where are my manners?  I'm Esther King, and this is King Hall. I imagine you're Sakura Nixon?"

I nodded.  "Yes, Mrs. King.  Your new director of nursing, subject to approval."

She looked at the car, and at the leather-covered wooden trunk strapped on the back, under the roll bar, and smiled.  "Oh, I think you'll do very well," she said.  "You obviously value old things, and that's what King Hall is... a collection of old things."

If you would like to see a webcomic developed from this teaser, as always, leave me a comment and tell me what about it you like. If you hate it, leave me a comment about that, too?

10 February 2012

Webcomic of DOOOOOM! Candidate 3: The Delicate Art of the Sword

Monday meant Aikido. It's a martial art, from Japan, like Karate. But where Karate is a 'hard' martial art, making use of punches and kicks, Aikido is a 'soft' art, all about redirecting your opponent's attacks. It is also true that Monday meant school, but I had few friends at the Bluegrass Country School for Girls, so I moved through the day without noticing much about it.

November was in the locker room at the dojo when I arrived. "Hey," she said, braiding up her electric blue hair. November is one of the Winter triplets. They're hafu, half Japanese, half European. You can tell them apart by hair color.

"Hey," I said, dropping my gym bag on the wooden bench. I looked at her with a critical eye. "Dye your hair again?"

"Yeah," she answered, pulling the braid over her shoulder, and looking at it, critically. "I can't seem to get the color I want to stay. It starts off like this, and within a couple of weeks, it fades to teal." She stuck her tongue out a little, showing what she thought of teal.

"Hmm," I said, pulling off my sweater. "I don't know anything about it," I confessed. "If I dyed my hair a wild color, the Nuns at school would reenact the Passion of the Christ, with me in the starring role." I tossed my shirt on the bench, and started digging around in my gym bag for my t-shirt.

"Ooooh," said January, the white-haired triplet, coming out of the bathroom. She'd already changed into her gi. "Flagellation! How fun!"

I found my t-shirt, and stuck my tongue out at January. "I'll whip you sometime, see how much you like it."

"Don't," advised green-haired December, coming out of the bathroom, "unless you want a girlfriend for life."

We laughed, and the Winter triplets made their way out of the locker room, leaving me to finish dressing.
There weren't a lot of girls at our dojo, at least in the afternoon intermediate class. I understand that, across the board, there are more women than men active at dojos, but you wouldn't know it from the after-school crowd at ours. On the mat that afternoon were the Winter triplets, Jenny the quiet girl from our Biology class, and me. And half a dozen boys, but I try to ignore them as much as possible.

A lot of times, when people think of martial arts teachers, they think of little Asian men with inscrutable faces. Our sensei was a middle-aged white lady, with dark hair that was starting to go grey, and smile lines. She reminded me of someone's grandmother -- which didn't keep her from being a very serious martial artist.

We spent an hour on our lesson, then broke up. One of the things I don't like about our dojo is that it doesn't have showers, so in the locker room, I just stripped and toweled off. "Boy," November said, shaking out her braid and fanning her sweat-damp hair, "Sensei was hard on you today!"

"Not really," I shrugged. "Using me as the demonstrator for techniques is a mark of trust. She trusts me to fall right, and to learn from what she's showing us as she's doing it to me."

"Whatever," January said, pulling a t-shirt over her head. The shirt had the words "I taught your boyfriend that thing you like." She pulled a sweatshirt on over that, and added, "I just know I hate it when she does me that way."

"Says the girl who wanted flagellation, earlier," December noted wryly, zipping up her hoodie.
January stuck her tongue out, and December responded in kind. November just shook her head, and looked at me. "You in for sushi?"

I picked up my wallet, and looked inside. "Mmm. How about Szechuan, instead? They have a student menu, and that's about my budget today." Days when I had aikido, I saved the money my parents gave me for school lunch, and ate with the Winter sisters.

They glanced at each other, doing that silent polling thing, and then November nodded. "Szechuan's good," she agreed. "I like their teriyaki bowl."

We picked up our gym bags, and headed for the door. "Ugh," January said. "Teriyaki from a Chinese place is just not right."

December grinned. "It's for round-eyes like Sigrun," she teased. "They don't know any better."

"How do you say 'bite my shiny metal butt' in Japanese?" I asked, laughing.

If you've read this far, and you'd be interested in reading a webcomic based on this teaser, please leave a comment. If you've just read this far, please give me some sign you're out there.

09 February 2012

Webcomic of Doooom! Candidate 2: Space Opera

We were asleep in the jungle. We kept it in microgravity, so my upper right hand was holding a palm frond unconsciously, and Jane was snuggled up behind me, her tendrils wrapped around me, and her hand cupped around my upper left breast.

"Captain Grey," said Josephine, the ship's Expert System. It waited a moment, and then repeated, "Captain Grey."

"Yeah," I said, opening my eyes before she could repeat it. "Go."

"Captain Grey, I have picked up an anomalous signal," Josephine said.

"Anomalous in what way?" I asked. Jane stirred, and I rolled in the air, snuggling sleepily closer to her.

"It is a radio frequency signal which is not binary, but seems to be intelligently pulsed. It is repeating, within a three-sigma margin of error, though the frequency is shifting erratically."

"Uh-huh," I said, running my lower left hand over Jane's thigh, taking joy as I often did in the contrast between the blue of my skin and the green of hers. Vaguely I remembered that I had put SETI related signals into the list of things Josephine should wake me for. "Play the signal."

Jane ran her fingers lightly through my hair, and then we both started. There... in the static... was something we had never thought to hear again, and would never forget. Bursts of static... short, pause, short, pause, short, longer pause... long, pause, long, pause, long, longer pause... repeating.

"Localize that signal!" I instructed. I kissed Jane, and flipped around, using one foot to push lightly against her knee, pushing me towards the open hatch to the ship's spine, and her back towards the palm tree. A moment later, she'd pushed off the palm tree, and followed me out.

As ever, please comment if you'd be interested in reading a webcomic based on this teaser.

08 February 2012

WebComic of Doooom! Candidate 1: There Shall Be Blood

Some long-dead Earth philosopher had said, or written, or recorded a soundbite to the effect that most men lead lives of quiet desperation. From her lofty height of sixteen years, Aiko MacBeth believed it to be true. Not only men, she thought, but women, fuzzy asexual creatures from Arcturus, and probably even Hermat as well. Some dealt with it by crawling into a bottle. Aiko dealt with it by crawling into a SimPod.

They'd been introduced this year, the holopods. Some bright boy at the Colonial Office had done the math on one hundred and six thousand people sharing thirty-five SimDecks, and realized something had to change. Instead of SimDecks, the civilian areas of the station now sported the latest and greatest, SimPods. Three meter hemispheres in form, a whole bank of SimPods could be stacked in the space once taken up by a single SimDeck.

She stepped in, and the world changed. Color went away, leaving only shades of grey. She was in her apartment in Chofu, a down-scale neighborhood of Tokyo. She dropped her school backpack beside the wardrobe. Opened, it revealed her clothes. She stripped out of her school uniform, and replaced it with a man-tailored white linen suit and crisp silk shirt.

Not that it would stay crisp, she thought, sliding her Shansi type 17 pistol into the holster concealed at the back of her belt. Not this time of year. She stepped into the kitchen of the little apartment, pulled a highball glass out of the cabinet, and a bottle of Suntory white label from beneath the sink. Two fingers worth of single malt changed location from the bottle to the glass, and then into her gut. It was enough to take the edge off, without taking her edge. She returned the bottle to its hiding place, washed the glass, and left it to dry on the sideboard.

Outside it was raining. A Honda T360V with an advertisement for udon noodles painted on the side splashed through a puddle. Aiko picked up a newspaper, and held it over her head. Down the street, she could see the hot neon sign of the Mikado Club shimmering in the rain.

A voice spoke from the air, "Incoming communication. Kagurazaka Miyu. Do you wish to accept?"

Aiko sighed. "Yes," she said. Miyu was a pest. If Aiko didn't talk to her, the girl would start banging on pods until she found Aiko, and that would ruin the illusion, certain sure. There was a chirp as the line connected. "What?"

"Konbonwa!" the girl said. Which was a point in her favor. Miyu might be a pest, but at least she spoke Japanese. «Are you in a holopod again? What are you doing? Is it that Noir scenario?»*

«Yes, Miyu,» Aiko said, rolling her eyes. «And no, Miyu, you can't play with me!»

«Well, in that case, I guess I'll have to go spend time at your father's shop,» Miyu said. «I'll tell him all about my day at school, and....»

"All right!" Aiko said, switching back to Terranglo to capitulate. "Computer, permission granted to link my pod with Kagurazaka Miyu's pod."

There was a shimmer in the air. Miyu stood there, still dressed in her school uniform, but with a katana thrust through her obi.

"Elvis Christ, Miyu," Aiko said. "This isn't that kind of game. Katana were banned in the Meiji era. And can you try to not look like a rube?"

Miyu shrugged. "Who cares what I look like?" she asked. "No one's here to see me but you."

"I care, alright?" Aiko sighed. "At least let me disguise it." She made a gesture the computer recognized with one hand, and opened a control surface that floated in the air. A few deft touches, and the school uniform was replaced with a kimono.

"Ugh," Miyu said. "Here, let me do it." She took the control surface, and made more changes. After a moment, she was dressed in a cheongsam. "There."

"You do know this is Tokyo, not Hong Kong, right?" Aiko asked, sarcastically.

"So what?" Miyu asked rhetorically. "You're wearing boy's clothes. What are you supposed to be, some kind of gangster?"

"I'm the number three trigger man in Tokyo," Aiko bragged.

"So I'm your moll."

Aiko laughed. "You know what a moll is?"

"I'm a gun moll, okay? Not the other kind." Miyu looked annoyed for the first time. "What are we doing here, anyway?"

"You're annoying me," Aiko answered, "and I'm on my way to pick up a job."

«Shiny,» Miyu answered. «Let's do it.»

"Computer," Aiko called, "resume scenario." The rain began to pour with renewed vigor, and the two girls ran across the street, towards the glistening neon sign.

*Angle brackets indicate text in translation.

If you've read this far, please leave a comment to indicate whether you'd be interested in reading an ongoing webcomic based on this teaser.

07 February 2012

Jenny's WebComic of DOOOOOOOOM!

Of doooooom amuses me, so you'll probably see more of it.  Right up until it bores me, and then zonk, no more Doooooooom!

I have long wanted to work with comics.  I am jealous, among other things, of people who live in Japan, because they have a lively and thriving amateur comics scene, the dojinshi of ComiKet and other fame.  There in Japan, a writer (such as myself) can go to the local manga cafe and advertise for artists, and in time, might well find some.

Here, on the other hand, in the Wilds of Tteenneessee, artists seem to be much scarcer... and much more hunted-after... than writers.  I don't know... perhaps in the Japan that exists outside my head, it's that way, as well.  The upshot of this, however, is that over the years, I've had a couple of artists say they were interested in working with me on a comic, but nothing ever comes of it.  Usually, I don't even see a single character sketch.

So I've decided that, if I really want a web comic, I'm going to have to do it all myself.  And that has led me to declare Operation: Jenny Draws! I'm going to spend focused time over the next six months to a year improving my drawing ability.  I probably won't bring it up to the level where I feel as confident with drawing as I do with writing, but I've spent a lot of time working on my writing skill.

So.  I have IDEAS (of DOOOOOOOOM!) about what I should do a web comic about.  I'm sort of tempted to have a web comic where I do individual chapters that follow a particular storyline, and wrap it up, before jumping to an entire new world.  I suspect that wouldn't do much for having steady readers.  After all, people who come back every week want to know what they're going to get, right?

Anyway, over the next few days, I'm going to plop out written teasers for webcomics I might do.  Your job, should you choose to accept it, is simply to tell me whether or not you would read a web comic that grew from that teaser.  Since I only have one follower at the moment, I'll know whether or not you've chosen to accept the challenge, Michael. 

01 February 2012

This is My Blog Thing... of DOOOOOOOOOOM!


Hi! I'm Jennifer! People don't tend to like to say "Jennifer" though, so let me mention right up front that my preferred shortening is Jenny. You see, my family name is Linsky, which is surprisingly Irish, not Polish. But growing up, I early discovered and loved the "Cat Club" books of Esther Holden Averill, and her heroine, Jenny Linsky. I guess I could have rejected that, and wanted to be Jen, or Jeni, or some other version, but instead, I embraced it! I love black clothing, and red scarves with dangly bits!

At the moment, I'm thinking that this blog will mostly be here for people who want to offer comments to me because of my comments someplace else, so this will likely be the only entry. Sorry about that!