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Work: Chronicles of the Witch Queen discussion Archives

July 27, 2005

Charts

Webcomicsnation is now nearing its official launch, and in anticipation, the home page now shows a chart of the most visited comics. Two charts, actually: one for the day and one for the entire time the server has been live. Chronicles of the Witch Queen isn't on it, but who knows what will happen after that site has its official launch with The Double. On the other hand, the removal of the other series from the site won't help, initially.
Let's try to get it on that chart in the first week, eh?

August 1, 2005

The Double has started

double1-thumb_.png
The Double by Daniel Østvold and Geir Strøm has started. It's the first story in the Chronicles of the Witch Queen series. The Double will update on weekdays until it ends in mid-October. And it will be bloody good!

I've got a few urgent things to do today, but I will be back later to say a little more about the project, and make some changes to the website.

More on The Double

(Crossposted to Talk About Comics with minor changes)

My involvement with Geir and Daniel actually dates back about 10 years. Geir's brother knew me through music fandom, and one day dropped a mention of his older brother being the writer of a comic with a Norwegian painter. He told me it was a bit like the comic I had online at the time, The Stone of Contention. I was a fanzine editor at the time, and thought it might be interesting for the fanzine, so I contacted him, asked him to send me some stuff, and soon enough a big package from Daniel arrived in the mail. Several packages arrived in the mail, with solo comics work from Daniel, brochures showcasing his paintings, sculptures and installations, and, eventually, a CD of his music. But the most striking piece of work was the fantasy comic Geir had written for Daniel, looking totally unlike any other fantasy comics, with intricate, low-contrast page layouts, complex backgrounds and architecture, and characters that looked stiff at first but came to life as the comic progressed. Dobbeltgjengeren was an album-length story that fit right into the mood of the early Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan books but had its internally consistent universe that owed nothing to the traditional sources of fantasy art. Later, I would learn that nearly every character in the book was based, visually, on someone Daniel knew, which was probably why the character art worked so well (Geir, by the way, was the visual inspiration for the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel although his personality is totally unlike that of the good Baron. Also he lacks the Baron's quiff and porn star moustache).
I decided to translate the book into Dutch and publish it. Six months or so after the complete version of the story arrived in my mailbox, De Dubbelganger was done. I would have liked to say it was a small-press success, but alas. I still have half the print run on a shelf in the hall of my apartment.
De Dubbelganger was a flop, but that didn't stop Daniel, Geir and me from coming up with sequels. In the magazine I edited, Impuls, a Christmas story set in the same universe became a Christmas supplement. Geir sent me a script he thought I might want to do, featuring a character from the first story, and that became The Eye of the Underworld. Characters from the series showed up in my Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, and vice versa. Finally, that crossover was followed by two Courtly Manners stories featuring characters from both series.

Also, Daniel recorded a musical version of Dobbeltgjengeren, in English, in my home town, with a cast of singers and musicians that I helped put together.

Over the years, I tried to revive the book. When Joey Manley first came up with the idea for Webcomics nation, back when it was still a very different idea from what it turned out as, I immediately thought of making a group website with all the material from the series brought together in the correct chronological order, instead of scattered across different websites as it is now. During the Long Wait, I mostly forgot about the idea, but when the launch approached, I started thinking about it again. Daniel and Geir approved of the concept, so starting today, The Double gets a new lease on life, in English, updating with five large pages a week. New material is also in production. It's going to kick arse.

August 7, 2005

Cheese and beef


Two more cast images for the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site, both in minimalist outfits. The one on the left is Kel in Courtly Manners 1, at the pool. The one on the right is the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel in his running outfit in Courtly Manners 2. You can tell it's the running outfit, and not the swimsuit because it lacks the bow tie.

I've decided that instead of taking down the Courtly Manners comics in anticipation of their resurrection as free comics in 8 or so months time, I'll leave them up as a subscriber bonus. I'm even thinking of putting up more things to lure in subscribers. But I'm still considering subscriptions to Chronicles as no more than a sideline, a reward for people who choose to send a bit of money our way. The bulk of the work will be free, and hopefully paid for through advertising, commissions, merchandise, passing the hat, etc.

August 8, 2005

Musical additions to The Double

While configuring daily installments for The Double (my role is to be the editor/publisher/site manager for the series. I letter the comics using a cross between Geir's original English script and my Dutch translation, tidied up so Geir's Norwegianisms don't appear) the other day, I realised that I couldn't stop talking about the songs Daniel recorded to go with the comic a few years ago. Something about the way he could just lift lines of dialogue verbatim from Geir's English script and make them work as songs.
I then thought "well, the last time I mentioned a song that was supposed to go with a comic on that comic's website, people asked me where they could hear the song." So I asked about bandwidth availability on Webcomics Nation, upon which Joey Manley assured me that when he said "unmetered bandwidth", he really meant it; and I asked Daniel about permission to use the songs online, and he gave it. So The Double now comes with songs! Despite Joey's assurances, I've kept the quality at a modest 80 kpbs, just in case the songs get downloaded by thousands of people simultaneously, which is what we want, really. But they do sound pretty good.
One song, "If Only Dreams Could Be For Real", has been added to an already-published archive page. The second, "Come, Come", goes live today. A third, "The Spirit", goes live tomorrow. I'll add at least four more during the publication of the series.

No, I'm not linking to them directly. The songs go with the comic.

In other news, I've finally been able to restore Geir's access to this blog using MT-medic. Let's hope he starts posting here again soon.

August 18, 2005

A Walk in the Park mp3

Over on The Double, there's a new MP3 up, "A Walk in the Park" featuring singer Alex Gache as the ever-popular Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel. As I wrote in the blurb:

What better way to present the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel than through some strutting, prancing, preening rock'n'roll? Singer Alex Gache's French accent adds to the mix, as does Daniel's guitar tone, his best on the entire album. Alex sings it in a way that's halfway between Mick Jagger and Lou Reed - with a slightly different mix, this track would sound like the Dandy Warhols and be a huge hit.

Also, dig that distorted electric piano in the second verse.

September 28, 2005

Side-projects update

It's been a while since I wrote anything about the two side-projects I have going on, Chronicles of the Witch Queen and The Lives of X!Gloop. Both projects chug along so smoothly that they don't attract a lot of my attention.
The Lives of X!Gloop now has nearly all the previously-published material online. The latest comic on the site is from 1990 or 1991 and was published in an amateur zine called Furore shortly before it changed its name to Impuls. There's two more weekends' worth of material before I get to the point where I have to decide about scanning in the unfinished, unpublished stories from 1992-1994. I may even have a shot at finishing them! So far, the comic hasn't attracted more than a few dozen readers, which is more than they got at the time. Doesn't bother me – it's not like I'm doing a lot of work on the site now.
Chronicles of the Witch Queen isn't getting a whole lot of readers either, and that does bother me a bit. The Double, the first story to make its online debut on the site is a week away from being finished; it will be followed by a remastered version of The Eye of the Underworld which has been online for years in a different location. The Double was made by my friends Geir and Daniel, and like the print edition from 1996 it was made ready for publication by me. I did a better job on the web version than on the print version, but both have got a lower readership than they deserve, and I do feel I've let my friends down twice in that respect. Compared to five years ago, it's a lot harder to get a webcomic noticed. Or maybe I'm less willing to play the "join in a dozen scattered online communities and plug" game than I was five years ago. It does look as if, like publishing zines, that sort of thing is something one should only do for a limited period of time in one's life before moving on to something else.
Anyway, The Double is really good, right? Go read it.

Continue reading "Side-projects update" »

October 5, 2005

The Double is finished!

The last episode of The Double has appeared on the site today. Read the whole story from the beginning, if you like.
The next series on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site will be The Eye of the Underworld, written by Geir and drawn by me. Many of you will have seen this story before, as it's been online on one of my old websites since 1997. I've cleaned it up a bit though, and it's still a fair bet that the people who haven't seen it outnumber those who have...

October 6, 2005

The Eye of the Underworld has started

The Eye of the Underworld has started. This, the second story in the Chronicles of the Witch Queen series, has been published online elsewhere, but for this rerun it has been remastered.

The Eye of the Underworld was conceived in a meeting between myself and writer Geir Strøm in Ranheim, Norway in 1996. Specifically, it was conceived in a meeting I would later remember nothing of. In Eye, the alchemist Ioannes is sent on a mission to the Arab subcontinent to retrieve a magical artefact from the possession of the Caliph. But for all his ability as a necromancer and maker of humunculi, Ioannes is no James Bond. And when a young, sensibly-dressed thief starts interfering with his work, he's in trouble.

The Eye of the Underworld will update on weekdays, running for one month.

October 18, 2005

Alcydia and Christmas at Blocksberg.

I've been working on the two sequels to The Double. Five pages of the Christmas special Christmas at Blocksberg are now lettered and ready to go. They weren't exactly easy to do, but I still got a week's worth of material finished in less than a single working day.

A few weeks ago, I got a CD in the mail from Daniel, with his scans for Alcydia, the long-awaited serial that he and Geir have been working on as a parallel story to the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story Guðrún. Here's a glimpse at Daniel's rendition of the Rogues:
The Baron and Company meet Tamlin, Ragna and Jake

November 4, 2005

Another one finished.

The Eye of the Underworld wraps up today on Webcomicsnation. For a series I drew eight years ago, it's pretty good, actually. Go read it from the beginning if you didn't follow it during its one-month run.

Eye was just beginning to reach the lower rungs of the Webcomicsnation All-Time Top 100 in the past week. Again, quite good for something that has been available online for years although with something like 2 billion people online it will be a while before everyone has seen it. Compared to The Double's performance (peaked at #30 when there was less competition, now at #56), it's even more of an achievement, because The Double was new to more of my and Geir's regular readership and was twice as long, meaning twice as many pages to count towards its ranking in the top hundred. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that as with all online ranking systems, there's a power distribution going on: Position #96 has less than half the pageviews of Position #56, and the Number One comic (currently the political satire comic Neil Lisst) has something like 20 times the pageviews as Number 56 (However, if Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan were a Webcomicsnation comic, it would trounce the Number One day after day).

The next long story will have even more competition, and will be even shorter, but we will nevertheless try and get Christmas at Blocksberg into that Top 100 as well. However, that won't begin to run until December. Next week, we'll have a quick two-pager, Thousandstab, followed by some sketches, previews, odds and ends, posted irregularly. There is one other two-pager in my archives that I will try to prepare and post, but I haven't been able to find it. If and when I do, it will show up on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website.
Update: I have found good source images for Staff Cutbacks and it will appear on the website next Wednesday and Thursday.

November 7, 2005

Thousandstab

Thousandstab
Thousandstab has started over on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website. It's only two pages so it'll only run for two days, but I still thought I'd mention it. We won't be going through the whole promotional rigamarole for this week's two short stories, though.
Art by Daniel Østvold; script by Geir Strøm; dialogue editing, lettering and web editing by Reinder Dijkhuis.

November 8, 2005

Return of the son of oops

I had made a brain fart in my lettering of the punchline to Thousandstab, reducing it to nonsense. It's corrected now. In the future, I will send the lettered files off to Geir and Daniel for proofreading...
Sorry, again, for my recurring scatterbrainedness and incompetence.

November 9, 2005

Staff Cutbacks and memories of Impuls

Staff Cutbacks starts today on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website. It almost didn't make it there. It wasn't until last Friday that I found usable source images for it, in the master copy of the zine it was originally published in.
Staff Cutbacks originally ran in the 21st issue of Impuls, a tiny magazine that I was editor of from 1994 to 1998. Issue 21 was the "Devil" special issue so it contained a devil story by Geir and Daniel, and The Wife in the Hole, Geir's adaptation of a Saami folktale with art by me. It was also to be the final issue of Impuls, at least until contributor Filip Remkes resurrected it a year or so later.
By 1998 I had become terribly disillusioned with zine editing. It's something you have to do for only a few years, because eventually your sense of perspective will kick in and you realise that you're not accomplishing much with putting out a publication with a print run of about a hundred. Even a modestly succesful webcomic can easily reach ten times as many people, without all the legwork involved in schlepping paper to smelly comics conventions. And giving the contributors an unpaid print run of a hundred copies isn't really much better than not publishing them at all. So I quit.
Interestingly, looking at the material in Impuls 21 again seven years later, I find that many of the contributors are still working in comics or illustration, and are doing so on at least a semi-professional basis. Mark "RayMan" Horemans, Robby van der Meulen, Tommy A, Roy Spraakman, Robbert Damen, Maaike Hartjes (who was already quite succesful at that time, but I'm still proud to include her among the lineup of that final issue), Steven De Rie and myself - we're everywhere now. And Daniel's still doing his mix of sculpture, painting, multimedia, music and comics; I wouldn't count him as a professional cartoonist, but when he puts his hands to it he's quite good at it, which is why I'm still trying to help him break through.

November 11, 2005

Odds and Ends at COTWQ

After three months of continuous updates, we're taking a break from regular comicry over at Chronicles of the Witch Queen. We'll be updating, though, with sketches, previews, Odds and Ends. Because no Webcomicsnation website is complete without a behind-the-scenes feature.

November 16, 2005

COTWQ Odds and Ends

So today we've got the original version of the first page of "Alcydia" up on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website, and it turns out that nobody is more surprised than Geir, who emails:

Oy! You've actually got the missing first page of "Alcydia"!

Daniel redrew that one because he'd lost the original. I still think the first version is best, actually.

I think the new version is pretty good, but you'll have to wait until January to see it. I do wonder if Page 22 was redrawn for the same reason though... the original to that was really good. See it in a day or two.

November 23, 2005

[COTWQ] Daniel's sculpture

Starting today at Chronicles of the Witch Queen, we'll be showing some of Daniel's sculptures based on the comics. These were exhibited in Oslo in the mid-to-late 1990s, mostly as part as installations.
In his day job as a fine artist, Daniel is, I guess, a modern surrealist or magic realist. He works in a variety of media: painting, music and sculpture. His paintings tend to be large and use pale, translucent colours. His sculpture, on the other hand, is made at a small scale using paper pulp. Daniel's arthritis caused him to lose strength in his hands, so he can't work with tough, heavy materials. Paper pulp, while not durable, is lightweight and easy to move, so it's served him well in his temporary installations at galleries. Daniel reuses the individual pieces in different installations; especially his renditions of the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel (to be shown on the site later in the week) have shown up in different places over the years. Characters from the comics used in the sculpture groups also show up again in the paintings, on record covers and in animations.

When I visited Oslo in 1996, I saw both Daniel's work room and one small exhibit in a gallery there. The small scale, simple colors and materials make the installations look like worlds built with toys, like you used to do as a kid. Childhood nostalgia is a big theme in Daniel's work.

A quick reminder and explanation for new readers:
Chronicles of the Witch Queen is a collection of comics by Geir Strøm, Daniel Østvold and me, set in the same universe. They're humorous fantasy comics about the Undercity ruled by Queen Elspeth, the Witch Queen. Currently finished stories are:
The Double by Geir and Daniel. Servants Prudi and Tapper become embroiled in a Countess's plot to become Witch Queen instead of the Witch Queen.
The Eye of the Underworld by Geir and me. Queen Elspeth sends the alchemist Ioannes von Kildenbusch out to retrieve a magic jewel from the palace of Caliph Iznobezzer.
Thousandstab by Geir and Daniel. A short tale of enchanted household objects.
Staff Cutbacks by Geir and Daniel. Countess Alcydia can't get good staff, or get rid of the staff she doesn't need.
Courtly Manners by me. Duchess Guðrún introduces two debutants at Queen Elspeth's semi-annual ball. Paying subscribers only, for the time being.
Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race by Geir and me. Against all expectations, Kel and Krakatoa are reinvited to Queen Elspeth's little do. Little do they know they're being used as part of a dastardly plot against the Queen. Paying subscribers only, for the time being.

The current series of Odds and Ends is an extended filler before our Christmas story starts running in December. It contains sketches, alternate pages and artworks derived from the Chronicles of the Witch Queen comics.

November 26, 2005

[COTWQ] Extra update

Daniel sent me so much stuff to run on the website, and the sculpture pics are so popular, that I've decided to post some extra updates this weekend. So today and tomorrow, there'll be new Odds and ends.

December 1, 2005

Sketchbook Bonanza

I don't do convalescence well. I find myself looking for things to do and end up doing the sort of work that I would otherwise have put off. It's not that I concentrate better when a virus has taken the edge off me; I just don't find the distractions as compelling as I would when I'm healthy. Here's what I've been doing:

I've been working on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan archive listing page with Mithandir. This involved restructuring the database entries for some of the chapters and changing the tagging code for that page. The work isn't quite finished – Mithandir says he'll look at the tagging code and fix the final oddities tonight – but it's good enough to link to it on the other content pages, so I've done that as well.

Cover to the latest sketchbook
I have liberated a bunch of sketches from The Book of All Things, the sketchbook feature I used to have on Modern Tales. This used to be available to subscribers only, but has been unavailable to anyone since the Modern Tales crash in March. Most of the material will now go to the Sketchbook section of my own Gallery, where it arguably belonged anyway. I've added a large number of storyboards, panel layouts and sketches to the Rite of Serfdom Sketchbook subsection. I initially thought this would take about an hour, but there was much more material there than I remembered. The Rite of Serfdom Sketchbook now contains 52 items, and there's more on my hard drive.
T.S.Sullivant Wallpaper stuff
I've also created a subsection for a series of sketches I did for a wallpaper in imitation of early newspaper cartoonist T.S. Sullivant a while ago. The finished wallpaper is now free and can be found in the Artworks section.

A third batch of sketches in the Book of All Things consisted of storyboards for Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race. Those will now be re-run in the Odds and Ends section of the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website, over the weekend and beyond. I'm thinking of making Odds and Ends a permanent feature to run on the site whether there is other new content there or not. I'm not sure if I have enough material, but I expect something will show up.
Today and tomorrow, by the way, Odds and Ends features Adventure a Daniel Østvold solo comic from 1998 in which Countess Alcydia and a Wolfman pass into the real world to harrass Geir and Anne-Kristin. Nice stuff!

Update: One more set of drawings liberated from the Book of All Things: A small selection of Life Drawings. I have more, but I'll need to find them before I can add them.

December 2, 2005

Livejournal feed for Chronicles of the Witch Queen

From the Department of Putting Things Inside Other Things:

I've set up a livejournal feed for Chronicles of the Witch Queen. It's at http://www.livejournal.com/users/witchqueenchron/. As of the time of writing, it hasn't updated yet, so I don't know exactly what the feed will look like. I expect, though, that it will put the large COTWQ comic images above the livejournal cut. If that doesn't scare you, you can subscribe and have all Chronicles of the Witch Queen comics show up in your Livejournal friends list.

Because I had to get a paid Livejournal subscription to be able to create the feed, I'll probably make some more use of Livejournal's feed-creating abilities by adding feeds for this blog and Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan.

Update: The feed has now updated, dropping a dozen or so entries into my Livejournal friends page. Interesting...
I have found out that the scheduled Movable Type updates for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, which are what supports the RSS feed for that comic, haven't updated since late October. I'm looking into fixing that. Of course, I'll eventually want the RSS feeds to come out of WillowCMS as well, and may have to wait to create a Livejournal syndicated account for the comic until that is done, but I do want to have the MT-based feed functional again.

December 5, 2005

Christmas at Blocksberg

First page of Christmas at Blocksberg. Click to see full-size
Christmas time is upon us, so over at Chronicles of the Witch Queen, we're running a seasonal story. In the dark days of December, witches ride out on a Wild Hunt! But then they like to follow that up with a cozy evening around the Christmas tree unwrapping presents. One year, though, Santa goes missing. Will Queen Elspeth find a replacement in time? And just what is Countess Alcydia up to? Read all about it in Christmas at Blocksberg! Art by Daniel Østvold; writing by Geir Strøm.

There is a livejournal feed for Chronicles of the Witch Queen. To read the comics in Livejournal, add witchqueenchron to your friends list.

If you have a website you want to liven up with a seasonal comic, you can use our Tooncast: cut and paste <script language="javascript" src="http://www.webcomicsnation.com/tooncast.php?series=blocksberg"></script>into your website

Continue reading "Christmas at Blocksberg" »

December 14, 2005

Christmas at Blocksberg now listed at onlinecomics.net

Onlinecomics listing for Christmas at Blocksberg. If you like the comic that is now being Tooncast at the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan site and have an Onlinecomics account, please do us a favour and make it a favourite so that more people will discover it.

As always, if you're a cartoonist with a comic listed there, and you happen to know that I like your work, you can alert me if your comic isn't among my favourites. I don't do reciprocal links or reciprocal fave-ing as such, but I want to be thorough about supporting comics I like in all possible ways. I'm sure the same goes for Geir.

Addendum: It's also listed at The Webcomic List.

December 22, 2005

COTWQ: The home stretch

We're in the final few days for Christmas at Blocksberg, which will finish on Christmas day. So far, we've seen the disappearance of three different Santas and their imminent elimination by an infernal machine called the Nickswhiskersnipper.

I've taken out an ad for the comic on The Webcomic List in the hope of getting the comic into the Webcomicsnation Top 25 for the final few days. Originally, my plan was for the Tooncast on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan home page to take care of that, but it doesn't look like the pageviews from that are getting counted. It's still a good way to give a short-running story some more exposure though. As for the ad, the Webcomicsnation system doesn't allow me to track it, but a real change in the visitor numbers will be easily visible. If I decide the ad works well enough, I will have some more made for the future series.

Next up in January: Alcydia, the story of a kidnap and diplomatic incident in Iceland. Sound familiar? There may be some delays before we start running it as Geir and I are both still swamped and Daniel is spending December in France without internet access. I'll run some more Odds and Ends to fill in. When Alcydia finally starts running it'll keep us in regular updates until March, and one of the things Daniel is working on is a sequel that will see us through another month. And there are two other special projects coming up on the site...

December 24, 2005

Christmas at Blocksberg wraps up today

Christmas at Blocksberg wraps up today with an extra Saturday update. Of course, we get all the Christmas cozyness you could possibly manage to bear, with all the voices grumbling "Bah, Humbug" effectively silenced. There's a cameo by a popular Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan character as well, and I think it is that cameo that led to ... the work we ended up doing after Blocksberg.

But that won't come online for at least another week. I originally had the next comic planned for the week of January 2nd, but I feel I've been stretching myself a little too thin. Expect the launch of the next Chronicles of the Witch Queen serial in the week of the ninth, with a second one being launched the week of the sixteenth. Until then, we'll run some more Odds and Ends.

Read Christmas at Blocksberg from the beginning (16 pages)

December 31, 2005

[COTWQ] Delays

I've been very quiet here lately because I've been too busy even to complain about how busy I was. My work for Hello You! in particular has been unexpectedly difficult this month.

As a result, there'll be delays. Dunno about the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story following The Green Knight's Belt yet - that one may be delayed by a few days. What I do know is that the next Chronicles of the Witch Queen projects will have to be delayed by a month. The work involved (editing work by Daniel and Geir and remastering old work by myself) was easy to do while I wasn't drawing any new webcomics myself, but now that I'm back to doing new art, I can't fit it in anymore. So I'll wait until that ROCR story, Headsmen, is in the bag and I'm back to serialising old work at rocr.net, and then concentrate on preparing those Witch Queen serials again. I expect to be able to do the work starting the middle of January, so I'm reasonably sure serialisation in February is doable.

I've got New Years' resolutions, plans and targets for the next year, but I'll hold off on writing about them until tomorrow.

March 20, 2006

Time and space - Observations from an Uber-slob.

In my last post, I let slip that I had a bit more time than I used to. Some readers may ask "does that mean that we'll soon be seeing new Chronicles of the Witch Queen material?" Or not. It's not like that website had hundreds of eager readers when it was still updating daily. The answer, I'm afraid, is "no", anyway. I'll start the site up again when I'm sure I can do a decent job of it.
Over the past few years while working on my comics I've let a lot of things go to hell. The most important of those things is still being dealt with by the cleanup project - yes, I think of it as a project.

At the risk of boring you to death with tales of rooting through shelves and drawers and dragging out huge bags of paper... actually, I don't think that's boring at all. I find removing all the clutter and cruft that's been accumulating in my flat very liberating. Also, there are companies out there that offer advice and help to the incurably untidy, so there must be something interesting to say about it, especially from the perspective of a master-slob.

In that other post, I mentioned that I was making headway, but the shameful secret is that the things I was managing to clear up were all overflow spaces: the main desk, the disused old desk, the disused drawing board, the floor. All of these were covered in paper, and piles of it. They're now clear, mostly. Clear enough to use, anyway. But the places where paper legitimately should go, the bookshelves and archival safe, are still overloaded, one of them with about double the weight it should maximally support. So I'm looking at their contents wondering if there's anything in there that might not pass the "what if I moved house?" test. Digging through some promising areas, I found quite a bit of handwritten (i.e. illegible) work by myself such as old term papers, as well as handouts from my University days. I kept those all those years because I was never sure which of these I would want to use again in my later career; it's now clear that only the medieval and renaissance literature stuff has anything to do with what I'm doing now, so that stays and most of the rest of it goes. It's not enough to keep those shelves from groaning, but it's a start.
I'm also looking at my unsold minicomics inventory with my mind on the same question, "Would I take that along if I moved house?" I'm not sure I would. But I'm uncomfortable with the implications of that. A few years ago, Indigo Kelleigh announced that he would destroy any of his old Circle Weave minis that he didn't sell by a certain date. I was shocked by that... it's just not something I could imagine myself doing. I suppose I'm like a Terry Pratchett dwarf in that - always wanting words that are written or art that is produced to remain (Note to self: Is it wise to post this somewhere where Adam will read it?). These days, I'm not so sure. If those old, unsold books are dragging me down, perhaps I should let go of them. Before I get to that point, though, I will try to sell them at a deep discount. I've already updated my Small Press Swapmeet listings accordingly and will announce a proper Spring Sale when I am ready to start taking preorders for the Headsmen mini.

Okay, about those master-slob observations. I've got two.
One: I suspect the minds of tidy people work very differently from those of folks like me. For tidy people, seeing a piece of rubbish or a stray sheet of paper lying somewhere is a constant annoyance and an eyesore. Until they remove it, they are bothered by its presence. When, on the other hand, something is cluttering up my space, I stop seeing it after a while. It becomes part of the background. This can take on an extreme form. When I got the extra bookshelf in December, I overhauled many things in the house and started "seeing" clutter again in quite a few places, for long enough to get rid of some of it. I threw out an old laser printer that I hadn't used in a year or two because it had been malfunctioning. But it wasn't until this week that I finally threw out the large cardboard box that that printer originally came in. That box had been slightly more useful than the printer because I could keep stuff in it, but I had already emptied it of said stuff back in December. Until I started the most recent bout of cleaning, I didn't "see" the box. Somewhere between my eyes and my brain, the connection got lost and with it the notion that in front of me was a large piece of clutter I could throw out.
Two: I'm trying to prevent slipping back into my old cluttery ways by not buying a lot of stuff for the time being, and by processing any incoming mail immediately. That's harder than it seems: most of my snail mail is from my bank, my insurance company, the housing corp or the local government. All of it can be divided into the following catagories:
* Useless mass mailings. Those make up the majority.
* Useful mass mailings. That is, mailings whose purpose is clearly to advertise, but the offers contained in them are such that they may save me money, improve my insurance coverage or - best of all - reduce the overall amount of incoming mail.
* Documents I have to keep: Updated versions of my insurance policies, or bank statements, or, in one memorable case, an apology from the housing corp for a mistake they made.
* Documents I may not need to keep but which I need to take action on. "Comply with this regulation or Else" mail from the local government, or the thing that the housing corp later apologised for (a complaint about the neighbours' polluting their back yard with garbage and dog shit had been sent to me instead of them).
Both my bank and my insurance company are very bad when it comes to sending me stuff I don't want and don't need. It's not a big problem right now, but when I was in a state of constant hurry, I would often leave mail from them unopened for a long time, having got burned too often on the content-free feelgood magazines that are apparently the latest, greatest thing in corporate PR. As a result, I've occasionally missed out on real offers that were useful, or on information that I really needed to know. Human beings are not good spam filters and spam filters that mimic the learning habits of human beings don't work. The only exception to that is Google's spam filter, which takes into account the experience of many many users. Unfortunately, I don't see that translating back into the meat and rock world.
One or two more observations popped up in my head while I was working on this post, but they've slipped my mind again. I'll post them separately when they pop back up, hopefully in shorter posts than this one.

In addition to cleaning, I'm also using the time I have now to work on my tax returns and get lots of exercise. Once I'm done with those things, I'll get back to Chronicles of the Witch Queen.

May 29, 2006

Courtly Manners now free

I had originally intended to wait until all the other Chronicles of the Witch Queen comics were done, but what with the delays and the slow schedule the next two stories will eventually be serialised at (real soon now, my pretties), that would take forever. So I made the changes today: Courtly Manners and Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race are now free for everyone to read. These were the last of my comics that were behind a subscription wall, so I can now write off the subscription model as something that, on the whole, hasn't worked for me.
Now all I need to do is restore the epic poetry they used to come with...

Continue reading "Courtly Manners now free" »

June 5, 2006

Guðrún remasters start

Intro to Gudrun - click!

The first, introductory, page of the remastered edition of Guðrún is now up over on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website. The whole 64-page story will run there in three full-page installments a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. When it's done, I'll replace the installments that are on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan website with 800-pixels-wide half-page installments from the new master files.

Guðrún is the story of Duchess Guðrún's kidnapping in Iceland. Tamlin's gang join up with the infamous Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel to find out what exactly has happened and rescue the Duchess. I wrote and drew this story between 1998 and 2000 and still like it a lot. Considering how I usually hate my old work, that's saying something.

June 6, 2006

Alcydia starts at Webcomicsnation

Alcydia page 1 - click!

Alcydia by Daniel Østvold and Geir Strøm has started on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website. It will run in full-page installments on Tuesdays and Thursdays, until finished. Alcydia is intended to be read parallel with Guðrún, which relaunched yesterday. In both stories, Duchess Guðrún of Dungill Fens is kidnapped during a stay in Iceland, and it's up to Tamlin's gang and the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel to find and rescue her.

Many thanks to Adam Cuerden for his editorial input, especially in the second half of the story.

June 7, 2006

Guðrún, continued

Gudrun introduction page 2
Just to remind you that there's an update for the remastered Guðrún today. Page two of the series introduction.

June 8, 2006

Alcydia, continued

Alcydia page 2 - click!
Page 2 of Alcydia is up.

June 9, 2006

Guðrún remasters update

Gudrun page 1, properly - click

There's a new page of the remastered Guðrún up, and with this one, the story begins in earnest. A hapless traveler trudges through the snow... what danger lurks in the frozen forest?

June 14, 2006

Correct order for Chronicles of the Witch Queen stories

The correct chronological running order for the Chronicles of the Witch Queen stories is as follows:

  1. The Double
  2. Christmas at Blocksberg
  3. The Eye of the Underworld
  4. Thousandstab
  5. Staff Cutbacks
  6. Alcydia / Guðrún
  7. Courtly Manners
  8. Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race

Webcomicsnation doesn't offer any means of changing the order in which stories are shown on the front page - they're shown in the order their database entries were added to the site. This may change in the future, I hope. I like being able to move blocks around like I can do in WillowCMS.

July 25, 2006

"Stepping in my piano"

The phrase "The baron [...] has a regrettable habit of stepping in my piano", used by Countess Alcydia in the comic named after her attracted some comment on the RoCR forum. No, I don't know where it comes from either; presumably it's a Norwegianism. It's a wonderful expression nonetheless, one of those that need no further explanation, and one that the English language really needs. I would like to take the time to urge you all to use it in conversation at the earliest opportunity.

August 27, 2006

Alcydia tooncast

Alcydia is now shown on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan front page as a tooncast, below the regular comic. I had my doubts about doing this, because the only available spot for such things is below the fold on the front page, but after experimenting with tooncasting The Bare-Pit in that spot, I found out that people did notice and read comics posted there. So I'm giving it a shot.

I've been hopeless at giving Alcydia and Chronicles of the Witch Queen in general the promotion they deserve, and I hope that this will in some way make up for it.

Update (August 27): There was an outage on Webcomicsnation, slowing down the loading of my front page, so I took the tooncast out again.

October 26, 2006

Alcydia ends today.

Today, some ten years after Geir, Daniel and I first discussed the concept of having their characters and mine crossing over, Alcydia ends. If you haven't read it yet, why not go to the beginning of the story, sit back, relax and enjoy the devilish laughter rending the night over Iceland? Countess Alcydia orders you to!

October 30, 2006

Guðrún ends today, for the second time

The remastered edition of Guðrún ends over on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site today.

As far as I know, it's still very rare for any webcomic to be remastered, though reruns with commentary have occurred in a few places. Guðrún was the story with which I finally got serious about publishing Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan online six years ago. But that doesn't mean I immediately got it all right;the digital cleaning, lettering and resizing were done very clumsily and no high-res masters were kept from which I could re-do the work. So I eventually bit the bullet and re-scanned the whole thing from the original art. The new version looks a lot better, even though, in many ways, it's "rawer" - there is less tinkering with the analog art than there was the first time around, simply because it's no longer needed to make tiny scans presentable or preserve bandwidth.

I'll still need to replace the image files on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan site. To do that, I'll go back to the master files, cut the pages in half and upload those half-pages at a width of 800 pixels instead of the 600(-ish; getting a consistent width was one thing I did wrong at the time) pixels wide images the site has now, so that the originally-intended presentation is left intact and any pages containing comments can be preserved. That's a bit of a chore, but I'll get around to it eventually.

Potentially the best thing about the project: I now have lettered master files that are suitable for print, if anyone's interested...

November 1, 2006

Repost: Chronicles of the Witch Queen running order

Now that all stories are complete, it's time for me to repost this:

The correct chronological running order for the Chronicles of the Witch Queen stories is as follows:

  1. The Double
  2. Christmas at Blocksberg
  3. The Eye of the Underworld
  4. Thousandstab
  5. Staff Cutbacks
  6. Alcydia / Guðrún
  7. Courtly Manners
  8. Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race

Webcomicsnation doesn't offer any means of changing the order in which stories are shown on the front page - they're shown in the order their database entries were added to the site. This may change in the future, I hope. I like being able to move blocks around like I can do in WillowCMS.

March 13, 2007

Chronicles of the Witch Queen gets a write-up, er, talk-up

Fesworks has reviewed Chronicles of the Witch Queen in his regular mini-webcasts of reviews, and given it a very favourable rating. I can't cut and paste from an MP3 here, but the review itself is only sixty seconds long so there isn't anything stopping you from listening to it.

I'm sort of amused that he avoided trying to pronounce our names though...

I'm also very pleased by the readership Invasion is getting on the COTWQ site. It's a modest number compared to what the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan main site pulls, but considering that the COTWQ version is merely a mirror, it's doing very well and is likely to hit the Webcomicsnation network's daily top 25 pretty soon. Evidently some people prefer to read it within Webcomicsnation, because it's a system they already know, it has lots of reminders to people telling them the comic has updated, and doesn't have the intimidatingly large archives that ROCR.net has. I may have to rethink my strategy for the COTWQ site in response to that, and mirror more of my work there.

May 1, 2007

Invasion fan-art-ish things

I've put up a batch of fan art for the crossover story Invasion over on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site. Or at least, I call it fan art, but five of the six pieces are actually preliminaries made by other participants in the crossover: Caitlin Woods and Gothia, both of CameoComic. The sixth one is by co-blogger and Dangerous and Fluffy writer Adam.

Like basically every other cartoonist I have an ego the size of a planet, so if you can draw even a little bit, send me more!

August 17, 2007

Kidnapped Princesses by Geir and Daniel

The Double and Alcydia artist Daniel Østvold has updated his Kunst.no pages (in Norwegian) with some pictures of recent fine art projects and a preview of the sequel to Alcydia, Kidnapped Princesses.

Daniel works fast when he has the opportunity to, but he usually has several things on the boil at any time, so it's nice to see that he has been working on a new comics project. As usual, the script is by Geir. I have no further details than what it says on the pages, which is basically that Countess Alcydia has been settling into a new line of business, kidnapping prinsesses for fun and profit. I hope we'll be able to run it on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen web site late this year.

August 28, 2007

Employment!

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that starting on Monday, I will be working full-time at Globaltextware, a software localisation company in Groningen. What this means is that I'll be resolving my financial problems, and, even better, I will be resolving them doing intellectually stimulating work, within my degree, in a work environment that I've tested thoroughly over the past week, and with no commute whatsoever. It's the best job offer I could possibly get.

The bad news is the same news. The job is full-time, so there will be very, very little time left for cartooning. If I want to go on running on a regular basis as well, and maybe seeing some of my friends some time - you know, this thing people call having a life - I will have a few weekday evenings when I'm not too tired, plus the weekends except when I'm taking part in a running event. I'll be very lucky to produce one update a week.

I'm at peace with that, mostly, though it makes for a wrenching and scary change in my life. I've got some plans for dealing with that, though, which will allow me to keep my connection to the webcomics world, or at least those part of it that I still like, alive. Here's what I think I'll be doing.

White House in Orbit: I will extend the moratorium on posting new Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan material on my main site, rocr.net by another three weeks. During that time, I will post two more White House in Orbit stories: "In Space, No One Can Hear You Groan", and "Target: The Emperor", from 2001 and 2003, respectively. These will run daily, taking us into the end of September, which will be my trial period at the new job.

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan: The "Invasion" storyline will be moved to the crossovers section of the archives and left unfinished for the time being. Occasional updates may show up on the Webcomicsnation mirror, but don't hold your breath. "Feral" will continue to be published on Modern Tales at a rate of one update a week - except this week and the next when there'll be two updates. When I start posting ROCR updates on the main site again, what I post will be the new "Feral" pages, which will appear on the main site at a rate of three a week until caught up with the Modern Tales publication. Confused? Yeah, me too. I can just about keep up with the different schedules. Meanwhile, the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan re-run on the webcomics site Drunk Duck will continue at its old pace of one update a day, with material queued up until the end of May, 2008.

Lives of X!Gloop: Two years ago, I posted some of my earliest comics, a surreal series called The Lives of X!Gloop on my site. These are now being rerun on Drunk Duck as well, also at a pace of one update a day until I run out. I just might scan and process the unpublished pages from that series as well - that's the sort of job I can do when I'm knackered out from a day's work.

I'll post a summary of the above as a front page announcement tomorrow, so don't worry if you can't keep track of everything.

November 12, 2007

Good news and bad news about Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan

Invasion will resume on November 21, on my Chronicles of the Witch Queen site, after a four-month hiatus.

Feral will go on hiatus again for a while. The front page at rocr.net will run substitute content.

The reason for these changes is that I'm still trying to find my way around how to combine cartooning with a full-time day job. For the past two months, I've been drawing Invasion pages at home during the working week, while working on Feral in my studio over the weekend. That way, pages and projects wouldn't get too badly mixed up or have to be transported too often, but the upshot of this is that I've done mostly digital work on Feral, with the buffer of pen-and-ink art running out, while a pile of pen-and-ink originals for Invasion slowly grew on my desk. I am now doing digital work on those, with help from Drooling Fan Girl who does the colour flats, and they will be finished just in time for a three-updates-a-week schedule starting on Wednesday, November 21 and continuing until that buffer also runs out.

Note how the links above all point to the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site? That's also an adaptation to the new situation. While the CMS on rocr.net is a lot more flexible than that on Webcomicsnation in many ways, it doesn't readily allow me to treat storylines as standalone graphic novels running more or less concurrently (it can, but I'd have to put in time to make new templates). So to keep the two storylines a little more separated for everyone, I'm focusing more on posting and promoting my comics over there. I have moved most of my Project Wonderful-based promotion over to the new storylines at COTWQ, which has the additional benefit of pushing Feral into the Webcomicsnation popularity charts (and occasionally some of the other stories as well). I'll knock that Templar, Arizona off the number one spot yet!

December 5, 2007

Invasion - apologies for the broken archives!

So I just found out that for the few weeks I've been herding readers to a site whose archive pages are badly broken.

Apologies, all. I'll explain the problem and why it will take hours to fix when I have a few minutes, and I'll fix it when I have a few hours. It's not hard to figure out what all the broken pages have in common. In the mean time, you can read a non-broken archive of Invasion on the main site.

Update: The problem's been fixed automatically, which I hadn't expected to be honest. If you don't mind, I won't go into the background of the problem after all.

February 5, 2008

More about the art sale, plus Expecting to Play

OK, I'm going to stop showing those line art scans for already-published comics on the front page. It's not doing the popularity of the site much good for me to keep showing you pages you've already seen, albeit in a different form. So, time to move on. I am, however, going to keep pushing the art sales and keeping you informed about them.

First, I want to nip one misunderstanding in the bud: the sale of my original work is not another sign that I'm quitting the comics for good. This time around, I've studiously avoided saying things like "your purchase of the art will help me get back on track" because right now, I can't make such promises. I honestly don't know when I'll be ready to get back to working on Feral or Invasion - only that I'm too busy having a life right now, and I'm not going to get back to having all my waking hours dominated by the need to keep those comics updated. So if you want to buy art, buy it because you like it, not because it subsidizes the comics.

Having said that.... it would be foolish of me not to mention that any money earned from the sales is money I won't have to make some other way, and that raising, say, $2000 from the art sales overall would free me for a month. So if you're swayed by that, do take a look and see if there's an original you'd like to have framed on your wall or collected into a portfolio collection.

That brings me to the second point. Contrary to what I wrote the other day, registration at ComicSpace may be a bit of a hurdle after all. Calvin definitely thought so. I would like to reassure everyone that registration is easy and does not result in spam, and will also allow you to add me as a friend within the ComicSpace system and mark my galleries as your favourites, raising the profile for future sales. If only I'd known a year ago, during the ComicSpace hype, that I'd be using the site this way, I'd have pushed it harder at the time.

I chose ComicSpace for its efficient uploading process and sales automation. If you know a site that allows me to upload whole batches of images, price the items they refer to and handle the sales process automatically, and doesn't hide images according to some arbitrary policy on so-called "mature" imagery, please let me know.I'll investigate it and offer an alternative sales channel if I like it enough.

Meanwhile, on the front page... tomorrow I'll start showing a solo Daniel Østvold comic, Expecting to Play as part of Odds and Ends. This comic has only a tangential relationship with the rest of Chronicles of the Witch Queen but is a lot of fun in a surreal, demented way.

February 8, 2008

Expecting to Fly - Daniel Østvold comic on Chronicles of the Witch Queen website

Page 1 of Expecting to Fly

Now running on Odds and Ends: Expecting to Fly, a surreal solo comic by Chronicles of the Witch Queen artist Daniel Østvold. Fans of Moebius' Airtight Garage series and other improvised, stream-of-consciousness stories will love this comic Daniel made in the mid-1990s, featuring himself, the Mephistophelian figure of Ray Tel Soccio and the floating heads of the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel and the Homunculus from the Chronicles of the Witch Queen comics.

As an artist working in several disciplines, Daniel has always been keen to connect all the various art forms he has worked in, and this series connects seemlessly to his sculptural work, which over the years has been exhibited in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and elsewhere in Europe, his fantasy comics, his autobiographical comics and his musical projects, all of which were referred to or otherwise incorporated into the free-flowing plot, set simultaniously in Izmir, Turkey, and the 26th level of consciousness.

Expecting to Fly will update daily through February, completing its 28-page run on March 5.

Odds and Ends is the section of the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site where the contributing artists let their hair down and show off some of the things they've done that are tangentially related to the main series, as well as sketches, character art, concept art and other fun stuff. Other chapters in Odds and Ends show work by Reinder Dijkhuis, Calvin Bexfield and guests. Tooncast available.

About Work: Chronicles of the Witch Queen discussion

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Waffle in the Work: Chronicles of the Witch Queen discussion category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Work: Courtly Manners discussion is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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