Gods and Monsters and More!

Hey, folks! Long-time readers may remember me talking eons ago about a book called “The Emerald Sword.” I’m still working on it, but NOW I have come up with a plan to have the final draft done in just ten short weeks.

Ok, ten regular-length weeks, but you get the idea.

The novel is about a fiery redheaded girl who embarks on a quest to save her family from an evil wizard and his skeleton army and winds up embroiled in a conflict that may lead to the destruction of all she holds dear. Plus, there are werewolves, fairies, dragons, buffalo, and maybe even some chocolate if I can squeeze it in there.

Depending on how the agent hunt goes, we could be looking at publication as early as 2020 or even later! Whoopee!!

Space Dracula stands on an asteroid in space.

Space Dracula approves of this message. (I made this one years and years ago. In MS Paint. So, yeah.)

I’ve also been working on making the site more accessible to my blind visitors and those with slower internet connections. PLEASE let me know if you have trouble accessing any part of this site! I’ve been adding alt-text and image description to all my images. A bunch got erased on accident and had to be either replaced or junked indefinitely (don’t leave me alone with computers). So now most of the images on this site should be friendly to screen readers. I’m only now getting started with this sort of thing, so please be patient and let me know if I’m doing this right.

I haven’t added descriptions yet for my Bubblegum-Man and In His Spare Time comics. I’ll be working on those soon!

Finally, I’m toying with the idea of putting In His Spare Time up in the comic space. Probably plow through some of my back catalog before posting new material. Let me know what you think.

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Defending Escapism

I’ve posted on this topic in the past, on my old blog. My feelings haven’t changed.

Escapism is often decried as immature or irresponsible. As if to say someone locked in a basement filled with spiders, frantically trying to find another way out, is somehow guilty of sloth.

Escapism is a perfectly rational response to a world filled with evil. Engage and defeat evil if you can, of course. But if you cannot, escape is a valid second option.

The human desire to escape to a better world could be seen as evidence that we are not meant to be here. That we are meant for heaven. As the good book says, our hearts know no rest until they rest in Thee.

This is not to say we should not work for a better world. Or at least that we should work to help our own neighbors where they are. But there’s only so much we can do. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. And we are so tired.

In the meantime, we have Star Wars and fantasy and superheroes to sate our yearning for a better world.

Let no one mock our escapist fantasies, our dreams of a better tomorrow. Come my friends, tis not to late to seek a better world!

Concerns Regarding Disney’s buy-out of Fox

It’s a simple enough concept. Power and trust have an inverse relationship, at least where the human race is concerned. This has been true in government, business, and religion with few exceptions.

Today, Disney purchased Fox Studios. X-Men, Fantastic Four, and I assume everything created by Groening and McFarlane now owned by a single company.

This is reason for concern. Monopolies hurt consumers by limiting choice. A monopoly on art, however, would limit culture.

Imagine it. All geeky movies, all scifi franchises, controlled, filtered, processed, and packaged by a single entity with a single vision. And it wouldn’t stop there, of course. Soon, tv, books, magazines. Everything under one umbrella.

Not just geeky stuff either. All sit-coms, dramas, period pieces. Every historical picture telling only one version of a market-adapted, corporate-approved history.

Imagine new and veteran writers, both struggling to find room for professional publication. How will they gain wider audiences if their voices do not align with the vision of a publishing monopoly?

Sure, there’s blogs and vlogs. Things go viral all the time. But for now at least, the prospect of paid work resides almost exclusively with traditional publishers. The industry is changing, yes. Patreon and self-publishing software and platforms make it easier than ever for artists to go independent. In other words, to flood the market with free and purchasable content.

Guess which is more popular online?

Maybe I’m exaggerating. I hope I’m wrong. But answer me this: Would we as Americans be ok with exclusively state-sponsored, state-owned media?

If so, this is not the country I thought this was.

If not, why are we ok with Disney owning all our movies and TV shows? All our content?

Should one company have final say on what American (popular) culture looks like?

In the meantime, I hope my fellow writers are either busy Disney-fying their voices as quickly as possible or else preparing to hang on to independent thought as long as possible. Let the record show I shall ever belong to the latter camp.

“I bow not yet before the Iron Crown, / nor cast yet my own small golden sceptre down” –J.R.R. Tolkien

Snowpocalypse III: The Snowening

Hiya, kids! Down here in Georgia, we’re experiencing Snowpocalypse III: The Third One. Eagle-eyed readers will recall the original Snowpocalypse back in 2011, which served as the precursor to Snowpocalypse II: Snowmageddon in 2014. Now the winter weather is back. It’s Snowpocalypse III: With a Vengeance!

All of us at Conq Comix/Optimist’s Umbrella are having a grand day out in the snow.

Here is Darth Vader, leading the troops to conquest:

Leading

Uh oh! Looks like somebody crashed on a forbidden tundra! Yoda and R2D2, heads just barely over the snow, walk through a frozen plain!

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Meanwhile, Mr. Freeze gets his revenge on Batman and Robin, using his freeze ray to encase them in snow!

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Here, Vader confronts Luke Skywalker at last! Behold, Luke Skywalker, fallen in the snow, his lightsaber out of reach, as Vader looms over him!

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“Join me. And together we will rule the North Pole as father and son!”

As Batgirl and Mr. Freeze argue over the power of his ice cannon…

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Here, the Green Lantern Corps assists Superman with the construction of the Fortress of Solitude:

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Meanwhile, it appears Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker have resolved their differences.

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A redeemed Skywalker and son make snow angels!

And Yoda and R2D2 have repaired their ship.

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“Be back, we shall!”

Join us after the holidays, when we go to the beach!

 

Real Talk

Gonna talk feminism for a second. Feel free to check out.

Was just thinking about something. In 3rd grade, my friend K wanted me to hold her medication bottle for her because she didn’t want a bulge showing in her jeans on class picture day.

That’s messed up, right? She was freaking 8. Who told her what societal expectations of women were? Who was holding her to them?

Anyway, she went through a LOT as we got older. I hope she’s doing alright now.

I dunno. I got nothin’.

That’s all folks. Read my comic. It’s funny, and there’s aliens and lasers and magic and stuff.

I Dreamed a Dream


Justice League comes out soon. I, for one, can’t wait. DC took such a risk starting their cinematic universe with Wonder Woman. Now I hear Justice League takes place in a world where Superman’s already dead! Talk about risk.

It’d have been nice to have seen Man of Steel. It’s a shame that project got cancelled. I heard it was really something, but the studio just couldn’t settle on an ending. Why, I heard one draft even had Superman breaking Zod’s neck!

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Still from Man of Steel, never officially released.

I know, right? It’s one thing throwing him into an abyss, but breaking his neck? Is this Superman or Rambo?

Anyway, thank goodness no one saw that Dark Knight Returns adaptation they made. I think it was called Darky Darko and the Space Troll or something? Can you imagine if they’d tried to base a cinematic universe off that? Yikes.

bvs

Batman confronting Superman in Darky Darko, in case you didn’t get a chance to see it during its rather abrupt run.

I mean, it’s an ok film, but there were some major “huh?” moments. I don’t regret seeing it (twice), but I’ve no desire to see it again. I hear Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck reprise their roles from “Darky Darko,” but obviously with different backstories. I mean, a world where Batman and Superman hate each other? Who’d want to watch that? Yeah, in Justice League, they’re gonna be best friends. Well, so long as someone casts a rez on Superman.

But yeah, the new Justice League movie should feature Wonder Woman prominently, as she’s the flagship character for the DC cinematic universe (much like Iron Man is for the MCU).

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Wonder Woman was the first official movie in the DC cinematic universe, setting an inspirational, colorful tone.

Could anyone have predicted Wonder Woman’s success, coming as it did just five years or so after Dark Knight Rises? It was so smart of Warner Bros. to recognize that, while a grimdark tone works great for Batman, not all DC characters should be treated in the same way. I think that’s part of the reason we never got to see Man of Steel: Supposedly, they were going to make it similar in tone to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Can you imagine? A brooding Superman? Eesh. That may not have gone over well with a lot of people.

Thankfully, Justice League, the second-ever installment in WB’s DC cinematic universe, debuts November 17 of this year. It looks like there’ll be plenty of action, laughs, and drama. I guess we’ll see what happens!

Seriously, though. I really enjoyed BvS, Man of Steel, and Suicide Squad. They may have their flaws, but they are fun movies! May even wind up buying BvS on DVD or Blu-Ray someday.

Just Messin’

I like to play rpgs with folks online. We were talking about comics and fantasy novels, and I mentioned it’d be cool having a comic about our game. It’d work better than a novel, since we’ve had so many characters show up for 1 or 2 sessions, only to vanish later on. That kind of thing is nonsensical in a book, but it happens all the time in comics. Then you get one of those little captions at the bottom. You know the kind. They were more common in the comics of my youth.
Where is Bloodwing hurrying off to? Check out Dark Riders: The Scourge #1 in stores now! 
That kind of thing.
Image result for bloodwing xmen 2099

I started reading comics in the 90s. Of course, Bloodwing’s a real character!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking it’d be cool to release a comic that started at issue 173. I’ve never understood the obsession over issue 1s. The first couple issues are always the roughest. I like a comic with a few hundred issues in the bag. Shows they got staying power. The comic’s not going to just disappear in a month.

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Right, Transformers: Generation 2?

The Road Ahead

Hiya, kids! Well, Bubblegum-Man #3 is currently updating. We’ll be putting up a page a week until the end of December. That should keep y’all slimy and satisfied. After issue 3 ends, I’ll start putting up issue 4 and 5 as soon as I can. Hopefully, we won’t have as much of a break as after issue 2. Once the current story arc is completed, I’m going to see what we can do to get a store up and running. I’d like to start selling T-Shirts with the Toxic Inc. logo (that fancy smiley-face with skull/crossbones thing up at the top there), but moreso I want to make a full-color graphic novel collecting the first Bubblegum-Man story arc: The Archon Invasion.

I have some ideas of what could come next for the world’s Stickiest Superhuman, but for now, consider the saga closed with the end of issue 5. Should be a fitting conclusion. I may be posting some old In His Spare Time comics up top, so keep an eye out for those as well.