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Well, I'll be buffered.

Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary has always had a sensible approach to the workload that comes with publishing a comic strip online. On several occasions, he said something along the lines of "You need to be three weeks ahead; anything less and you're living hand to mouth". I don't remember if he used the three weeks as a benchmark before or after he quit his managerial job at Novell. I'm sure the number won't stay the same for him throughout his hopefully long cartooning career, and I'm sure that they won't be the same for everyone, everywhere, ever. I can now conclude that for me, it's two weeks. I am now two weeks ahead where just a short time ago I was working on the comic for the next day, and it's a big relief. The fact that I effectively cheated to get this far ahead does not diminish the relief in anyway. I am off the conveyor belt, and good riddance. It's a significant next step towards coming up from under the pile of stuff-to-do that's been overwhelming me.

What have I got? Tomorrow and on Friday, we'll see the final installments of this nitpick story. I'm happy with how that turned out: out of the nitpicks grew a two-week exercise in characterisation and containing a story in a small number of pages. It's not a great work by any standards, not even my own, but I had fun with it and I hope it's been fun for the readers as well.
Then, we get to the big cheat: starting on Monday, I'll start running the nine episodes of the sequel to Courtly Manners which was written by Geir Strøm sometime in 2003. The nine episodes were drawn between then and December of 2004 at a rate of less than one installment a month. They were colored by December, 2004, but not lettered and prepared for the web; the reason I don't feel too guilty about cheating is that doing those things was still a good day's worth of work. At the continued, enhanced publication pace of 5 updates a week, those will last until March 31, by which time I should have my backlog of work cleared, my taxes done, and the tenth page ready. Possibly even more.
Setting up a series on Modern Tales brought with it a bit of extra work. I'll do without a logo graphic this time around, because the Modern Tales pages already have a perfectly good Modern Tales brand on them, but I did do some promotional graphics for the Modern Tales front page:
big promo graphic

small promo graphic
as well as some banner and skyscraper ads which will show up in the usual places when the series starts running. I don't know if I'm actually getting any better at making these. For something based on existing artwork from the comic, they're not bad, and the cut-off lettering could end up being a distinctive look.

Also, I've created a homepage at xepher.net for the series. http://rocr.xepher.net/courtly/ will be the official home of the series for the purpose of linking on other comics-related websites. I'll keep it lean, and won't confine the comic to that place; in addition to Modern Tales,the series will run on rocr.net and, using the magic of the Multiblog plugin, on the Xepher.net mirror page - that way I can maintain separate RSS feeds for ROCR and Courtly Manners while still presenting everyone who actually visits a website with the latest thing I've done. I haven't set that last bit up yet, though - will do so shortly before the series goes live. Geir will be given access to the Courtly Manners section to muck around in as he sees fit; however when it comes to retrieving his password to the Movable Type installation he's on his own.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 16, 2005 8:08 PM.

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