My mother died last week. There's part of me that wants to tell you about my mother. There’s part of me that wants to dismiss the whole thing, as I am, at heart, an introvert who wants to be left alone to grieve and who understands most of us will go through this sooner or later. The third part, the most demanding yet most unnecessary part (solely because of my messed up brain), is to let you know that this is the reason for me falling behind.
There will be less than 12 strips this month. Any other comics that arrive in April are only because I had scripts ready, and the art-part is a welcome distraction sometimes.
I’ve also decided there will be less than 12 strips in May. I’ve been determined to finish repairing the archives and get the next book ready to print, and actually had a bit of a lead on strips. But then we got that call and we rushed to be by her side. Now I’m even more determined to get that done even if it means falling further behind on strips. I’ll keep you all posted as best I can.
As private as I am, I do want to share a thing about my mom. She filled my childhood with science fiction and fantasy and creativity. She’s the reason I grew into the storyteller I am today, and that creativity carries through to her grandchildren. Thanks mom. We love you and we’ll miss you as fiercely as you loved us.
I spent just about all day yesterday and today scripting. So long I started getting a headache today and had to stop. It's not like I have writers block. I just have... let's call it "character overwhelment". There are so many players in this story with their own goals and agendas and relationships with the other characters in play. Giving each one full attention and following each one around linear events would make the story meander forever. I don't want that. I won't have that.
I actually had a script ready to go for Monday and the next few strips tightly scripted too, but it was one line in the strip that made me pause. I realized that one line fixed a character in a particular point and time that would require a bunch more strips to tell. But if I was clever I could tell that part of the story a better way. And for that I'd need to pin down where everybody was and would be, not just the 'major players' in what's occurring (and the major players may not be the ones you are currently thinking of).
So I said to myself "alright self, let's pin them down. Work them out. See the gaps, see what I missed" and wow was that a rabbit hole. I wasn't tying stings to thumbtacks in a wall of photos like Lemony Snicket in the "Look Away" opening to Netflix's Series of Unfortunate Events (a family favorite), but it was close. It involved a whiteboard, a ton of sticky notes, and four clipboards. And no, you can't see a photo of it, it only makes sense to me anywho. Crib notes for my brain. I digress...
It took all yesterday and today (Today being Tuesday 4/10/18) but I got it 90% done and ordered. Then I looked at the clock. 8pm. I still needed a tight script. One that would not screw up the 10% that still needed hammering out. I knew... KNEW... I had already failed in my mission of getting a strip up by Wednesday. Even if I hacked something together it wouldn't make it in the queue until after midnight and with the new system there ARE no late strips. A Strip after midnight is just NEXT midnight's strip.
I feel terrible. Like I've made a huge mistake by not posting SOMEthing. And a bigger mistake by not taking the time to get this next bit right.
I know for a fact that one thing I was looking forward to about the new system was to NOT have that midnight guilt-deadline on my back every night. It's been liberating shaking that daily midnight stress off. It's chilling to find it back.
Despite how I feel I've chosen my path. To write this "right." The next comic you see here, which may be tomorrow, maybe the next day, it won't blow you away with amazement. BUT the comics that follow should paint the clear and building story it needs to be.
Thanks for having more patience with me than I have with myself. And thanks specifically to you Defenders 20+ for giving me the chance to write better and relax more. I'll get the hang of living outside the cage sooner or later!
3/12: HEY EVERYBODY! WE'RE BACK after the storms and Power-outage! And I'm getting on top of that pile! Here's where we are at:
THE STORE: All outstanding orders are out (or being sent out today)! I've also closed the store for a couple of weeks. Getting some elbow room for March Comics, the Archives Project, and the Book 18 Project.
PAWNZ and BOOKMARKS: I'm finally ahead on this Defenders reward front!
The Kusari-Bun-Bun Pawnz and "Kusari revealed?" Bookmarks Distributed! (That means Digital versions distributed to Defenders 20+ levels 2 and higher. The physical rewards for levels 3 or higher are off to the printers. See the Defenders 20+ Membership Page for details.)
Reminder about these monthly exclusives: The only way to get them is to be a Defender 20+ member level 2 or higher during the month. Actually as long as you are pledging by the 12th of a given month, you're in! For example the only way to get the First Appearance Kusari Pawnz and "KUSARI vs. Oasis" Bookmark would be to be a Defender 20+ level 2 or higher by the 12th of March. That's today when I'm posting this. So for this month only, and because I'm so late on the reveal of the March exclusives, I'm extending the deadline and you can get the March Defenders Exclusives if you pledge at level 2 or higher by Saturday this week (the 17th) and stay pledged until the end of the month.
I am SO intending on doing a matching set to this, Oasis in the black outfit from the restaurant where Oasis and Kusari first squared off. But, alas, there are no Oasis pawnz yet. Or is there?... Check out April's reward!!! FIRST OASIS MODEL!
Another reminder: Level 2 or higher gets all the Pawnz in the store unlocked for free! Unlike the exclusive monthly rewards, you get ALL the store Pawnz ANYTIME you pledge at level 2 or higher. There's not much in the store right now. But there are plans for many more and here's whats arriving in the store in April:
And lastly on the Pawnz and Bookmarks front... in preparation for the upcoming Book 18... here's one of theee stars of that thar book I rekin:
BOOKMARK GOOF: While we're talking about Pawnz and Bookmarks, there's an error I made in the previous news story of my own making. I done-goofed and suggested that everyone should have a Zoë bookmark. Actually no one did! Here's what happened. As a side project for this new way of doing things I get to design cool pawnz and bookmarks each month. They are always done as a set. Pawnz with a corresponding Bookmark. Every time. When we released the Classic Pawnz set to everyone who is logged in, I had created corresponding bookmarks for each classic main character. This many months down the road I assumed we gave those out with the Pawnz because in my mind now they're a hand-in-hand set.
This was NEVER the case. The multiple-bookmarks feature is a Defenders reward and an extremely cool one. These digital Bookmarks can be used to keep track of where you left off with various archive crawls or just a neat way to mark favorites or where you left off. I was surprised to find out that those classic bookmarks were never distributed in any way. So here's what I have decided. All 6 classic Bookmarks have now been unlocked and distributed to all Defenders 20+ Level 2 and higher. And as an apology for my mistake, the Zoë Bookmark has been gifted to all Defenders old and new.
Defenders, go play with the Bookmarks if you have some and haven't tried them out. I think they are among the niftiest of things!
SOME FIXES: RSS news being not-up-to-date? Fixed. New Comic Notification tick-box? Fixed. We're looking into other things as well. And by "we" I mean the dev team because I'm far too busy forgetting who gets which bookmark!
BOOK 18: One thing the storm did was push the book schedule back half a month. But it's still coming together. Its going to be big, like Book 17 was. And it's going to cover everything leading up to Book 19 bROKEN (wow, that is going to be some book)! And a giant Book 20 (4U City) by Christmas is a probability! I'll be caught up soon at this rate!
THE ARCHIVES: There are still many areas of the archives where comics display the top bits of panels from the previous comic. I really thought I would have cleaned them up by now. The plan was for me to fix everything and then have you guys look for and spot the ones I missed. But I just dropped the ball and started juggling chainsaws instead. When I get on top of the March Comics pile I'll have to make the call on whether to focus on Archives or Book 18. They are both important to me, but I almost feel like the archives have been waiting too long and need pole-position.
That was a lot of info! I hope it covers everything! Now I'm off to do all the comics I can! Thanks again!
Because the Zoë pawn is wearing the same outfit in the image for the standard Zoë Bookmark, I went with a storyline-focused bookmark and chose a personal favorite, Safehouse (The Nom).
I'm trying to plan out the year with Pawnz so I don't get caught falling a month behind like I did for the December Pawnz. I'm thinking the Pawnz for February will be something like... well here's a clue!
This will require a new 3D model and a new fold for the printed version but I'm feeling pretty confident I'll be able to get it done and start showing you upcoming months in advance from here on out! What could go wrong?
1/22/18 NEWS: I’m behind on everything! In my defense the magnitude of the comics recently has been draining. And there’s so much blood!
Here’s where we’re at on various subjects:
On emails: I’ve had a lot of emails on my plate that I’ve yet to respond to! I’ll try and tackle that in the next 48 hours!
On The Store: The store was supposed to open early January but I’m bumping it to the first Monday in February. I need to get out from under certain piles before opening that demanding pile back up!
On The Pawnz of the Month/Bookmarks of the Month: I’m late sending out December’s pawnz and bookmarks! They were supposed to go out around January 12th and here it is the 22nd. It was also supposed to be a Vampire-Hunter Riff Pawnz but I ran out of time to design it. In fact what I really need is a Pawnz plan for the year and I’m working on it now. Cool new models with new skins, things you’ve never seen! It will be nifty! But yeah, December’s pawnz will be another week or so. You will get what I owe you. I may go past deadline but I will get it done!
Commenting on Recent Comic Events: OK I’ll avoid spoilery language but a lot has been revealed in the strip at the end of 2017 and in 2018! Things that go back almost two decades! I had yet to comment on that but I managed to put together a new Defenders Blog Post on it like just now! For all you non-defenders I’ll just say THANKS SO MUCH! The reactions to the reveals have been almost all positive and uplifting and it’s gratifying for me to hear all my hard work is appreciated! Sorry for taking 20 years to to answer some of those big questions (which, yes, may have led to bigger questions)!
On Art Auctions: It’s been a while but I hope to have art auctions up and running in a week or two! A lot of nice and ‘sluggy-historic’art lately! Keep an eye out for it
On that important thing I’ve totally forgotten: I’m sorry I totally forgot about that I’ll get back on that when I remember!
I’ll wrap up by saying there’s a new Amazon Go Store where you just grab what you want and you get scanned and charged as you walk out. Hmmmmm….
Hey all! As you probably remember I spent most of the last year looking at having the strip come to an end. But it’s all turned around! In a way hard to articulate, I’ve been rejuvenated, and that is an unexpected blessing.
Now, for this to work, for Sluggy Freelance to continue, this thing we started has to grow. If you could find it in your heart to support this strip... maybe it brings you enough twisted plots, or occasional laughs, or joy in any form… I’m asking you to be a Defender 20+. At level 1, that’s 50 cents a strip. 12 max strips. $6 at most a month. The price of a fast food lunch will cover an entire month of keeping Sluggy Freelance strips coming!
So I’m gonna come right out here and ask that you be my Secret Santa and become a 50-cent Defender 20+. Because that’s all I want for Christmas. Because for THIS Christmas, being able to keep doing Sluggy is a joyful surprise I get to unwrap every day!
IF YOU ARE ALREADY A DEFENDER YOU ARE THE BEST! Thanks!!!
GREAT NEWS!!! Book 17 will be ready to sell when the store opens Noon Eastern Time on Cyber Monday, November 27th!
IMPORTANT- Old School Defenders of the Nifty: Remember back in mid-June when some of you pre-ordered some signed-and-doodled-in Defenders editions of Book 17? I'm going to start sending them early next week!
|IMPORTANT-New Defenders 20+: If you've been a Defender20+ for three months or more...
at Level 4 or Higher: YOU GET A BOOK! It will just show up at your door sometime before Christmas USPS-willing!
at Level 5 or Higher: YOU GET A SIGNED BOOK! It will just show up at your door sometime before Christmas USPS-willing!
at Level 6 or Higher: YOU GET A SIGNED and DOODLED-IN BOOK! I'll be contacting you via the email you used for your Sluggy Account soon for a request! this is new so give me a few days!
Just please make sure you give me a shipping address or it won't just show up at your door!!!
Technically... since the Defenders 20+ started September 1st, it'll be a little less than three full months from when book 17 releases on Cyber Monday, BUT I DON'T CARE! IF YOU JOINED AND STAYED LEVEL 4 AND UP FROM THE START AND REMAIN ONE YOU 'RE STILL GETTING A BOOK SENT TO YOU! Because I love you guys! You Defenders20+ saved the comic and are saving my sanity (at least as soon as my workload calms down, opening the store is the last hurdle I think!)
Tasks for November: Get the store open.
That's AWESOME! I'm ready for some relaxing turkey-time for a change, because it has been a crazy (AND I MEAN CRAZY) last 3 months!!!!
Oh wait, there was some carry-over from Book 17 creation running late in October! I've got to finish reviewing the archives for glitches, and I'm mailing out our first physical Panwz of the Month! For September: Dark Gwynn! Check out this beauty!
Isn't she awesome? Time permitting I'm going to clean her up with some markers in those white corners. I used an X-Acto (scissors work fine. I use an X-acto knife but I'm a trained professional that still has all 20 fingers after 20 years) and I went or Gorilla Super Glue. Not my usual choice for papercrafts but because of the beautiful glossy print I feared PVA glue (elmers) might not hold!
Not good at papercrafts? If you pledge Level 5 or higher, I mail you two copies of each pawnz and each bookmark! One set signed! So you can feel free to mangle one! ;)
|"What's that in the background? There's a physical Pete Pawnz Reward?!?" Only if you 'Pledged to pledge' back in August. If you did, any time you remain at a Defenders 20+ level long enough to earn something mailed to you (Level 3 or higher, at least half a month's worth), I get a note that you get a Pete Pawnz card included in your next shipment for free (One per Pledge-to-pledger)! There's a Pete Pawnz waiting for you, Pledge-to-pledger, whenever you do!||Did You Know: Many Defenders haven't given me a shipping address! If you don't tell me where to send a thing, I can't send a thing! But it's absolutely fine to support the strip without me mailing physical rewards, and I'll assume that's what you want if you don't give me a mailing address! Also that's very kind of you.|
In addition to being unlocked in your site collection, both the Bookmark of the Month and the Pawnz of the Month figure will be printed in full color on glossy cardstock and mailed to you.
Pete will also sign a second print of each one, so you can still cut and glue your PotM together and use your bookmark as a bookmark!
I need to be clear here that these guys are Exclusive to Defenders20+ who maintain their membership at the appropriate level for at least half of that month. Meaning to get Dark Gwynn you needed to have already joined and been at level 2 or higher for the digital version, 3 or higher for the printed version, for at least half of them month of September. To get Psyk (w/Spear of Calmadar) who is on time to be mailed in the next 2 weeks, you needed to have already joined and been at level 2 or higher for the digital version, 3 or higher for the printed version, for at least half of them month of September.
SO IF YOU JOIN TODAY you can still earn the Pawnz and Bookmark of the Month for November: SYLVIA!
And for December I really have a special one in mind. Vampire-Hunter Riff! The only way to get him is to be a Defender20+ Member by mid December so JOIN TODAY! Here's a Classic Riff vs. Sylvia moment!
And thanks so much! At the end of the day, your membership is keeping the comic going. But I really think these rewards are nifty and I don't want anyone who's interested to miss out.
I'll finish with my November Task Chart:
|Task By Priority||Status (11/30)||Notes (Last Checked 11/30)|
|Printed Pawnz/Bookmark of the Month-September "Dark Gwynn"
||Sent 11/06/17||Dark Gwynn Printed Pawnz and Bookmark (September Reward) have been sent out to Defenders Level 3 and higher NOW! (Sorry they ran late!)|
|OPEN THE STORE!||DONE!||DONE!|
|Archives- First Pass
||100% done FINALLY!||Now I just need to complete the second pass before opening the floodgates to you archive divers to help me find any straggling archive issues!|
|Archives- Second Pass
||FAIL||Only certain major stories 'Second Passed' so far. Bumped to Late December|
|Printed Pawnz/Bookmark of the Month-October
|On time! Out by the end of the month!
||Our "on time" system works like this: it takes several days to generate the final reports for October, so I know who gets what. Then I send an order to the printers for that many pawnz and bookmarks which turns around quick. you can expect Pawnz and Bookmarks mailings to go out by the end of the following month. THAT is right on time! Dark Gwynn (September) ran late but that was our first time doing it!|
OK there is a lot I need to get done in October. I thought I might give you guys a running list and maybe let you see as I check things off. Will this be a monthly thing now? Probably not, but I expect most months to be easier than this one! Here's my TODO LIST for October (you know, besides the comic and stuff?) in order of importance:
|Task By Priority||Status (11/01)||Notes (Last Checked 11/01)|
|Sluggy Freelance Book 17
||DONE!||Book off to printer on time for Christmas!
|20 Years of Sluggy Art
||100 pieces of art DONE!||Art Auction Winners should have their art by 11/3 or 11/4!|
|Archives- First Pass
||98% done (bumped to Nov)||Years of Yarncraft (ch57) remains 'unpassed'.(bumped to Nov)|
|Archives- Second Pass
||5% done (bumped to Nov)||only certain major stories 'Second Passed' so far (bumped to Nov)|
|Printed Pawnz/Bookmark of the Month
||Ready! We just need to figure out printing the mailing lables...||Dark Gwynn Printed Pawnz and Bookmark (September Reward) will be sent out to Defenders level 3 and higher within the next few days! Psyk (October Reward) w will be sent soon after, as we work out the 'System'!|
Lots of subjects! This is going to be a long one I think!
I’m Behind on Everything! But I’m catching up with a smile on my face!
There’s a lot missing from the site! Defenders content, contact info, Dialogue Search, etc. And things left to automate too! News Headlines, Forums, Comics Posting; all these things are not automated yet. But we’re making progress, a little bit every day.
On a personal note, I’m feeling my way through the way I want everything to happen in this new lifestyle of mine. There’ll be some growing pains as I flex my elbows and shape my schedule. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now with the new little details in my life, but every day gets a little more shiny! Give me a month or two and we should have our groove back!
On the Comic Itself: I know it’s been cliffhanger after cliffhanger in the strip. I really appreciate the elbow room to tell the story right instead of trying to crowbar it all in by the 25th of August. I really was thinking about doing that. Also I was fearing having to just end things. But as all of this has unfolded I am thrilled to have this happy medium. “The Fall” will run as I always intended! That in and of itself is enough reason to sincerely thank each and every one of you Defenders of the Nifty and New Defenders 20+ for allowing this to happen!
The Store will stay closed for a bit! I’m thinking it won’t open until October! Maybe later! I can’t even think of fulfilling orders until I get Book 17 locked down and figure out how to get all the bookmarks and pawnz out!
Speaking of The Defenders Exclusive Pawn and Bookmark of the Month: Everybody who’s been a Defender 20+ at Level 2 or higher for all of September will get a digital version of the Dark Gwynn Pawnz and the Dark Gwynn bookmark. Level 3 or higher lands you a printed version sent to you.
This monthly reward-printing is new to me, but I’m sure will go smoothly! I’ll keep y’all posted on that! If you want the yet-undesigned Demon-Spear Psyk Pawnz and Bookmark make sure you’re at level 2 or higher for all of October (level 3 or higher for a printed version)! This is a Public Service Announcement.
On to the biggest thing I need to get my tail in gear on:
The Archives- I need to finish my Archives Approving! This is my new top-of-the-list as of today! We fixed a lot of the bouncing and bandwidth issues on the archives and got some calendar navigation in! And by “we” I meant ‘Team Not Including Me’. I said at site launch that “Chapters 48-64: Haven’t looked at yet! Uncharted Territory! New Readers AVOID these Chapters, rows of many strips may just be GONE! (It’ll take me maybe a week to clear these up!)” Well I haven’t had that time yet. Who knew lightened my workload was so much work? No more excuses, I’m doing it!!!
BONUS BEHIND THE SCENES: How We Remastered The Impossible Archives: Here’s some insight on how the bigger archives were created. At one point I was doing one hi-res file per comic. (Back when comics were rarely more than 1 row). Theses would be dropped into books. Then, for the more epic stores I started doing larger comic files. These had to be broken down into multiple pages at book time. Then I was like ‘what a pain in the butt! I’ll just lay these out in book form directly and pluck from them the individual comic files. So some comics crossed pages. Some pages held multiple comics. And the patterns varied over the 20 years Sluggy’d been going on.
We have hi-res pdfs of the books, but sometimes books had different layout, comic order (sometimes holiday stories were moved to the back to the book for example), and the pdfs were sometimes missing filler art, guest artist weeks, and the random wacky things that have fallen into the archives into the years.
So with all that mess, how does one create a higher-res archive?
The team turned a computer into the Ultimate Sluggite! It read every comic, breaking it into slices, pouring over every detail, and matched the low res archives to my hi-res various files. For TWENTY YEARS OF almost DALY STRIPS! That’s 6,696 comics made of 8,445 low res files sliced into 12,215 rows matched against 5,511 high res pages to produce 10,050 matching high res files! THAT’S INSANE! And I dig that one of my biggest fans is a robot forced to be a fan against its will! OK I like to think that way at least!
In conclusion: We’ve done so much! So much left to do! Every day is getting better! THANK YOU DEFENDERS! And this was one long news story!
Hey, there seems to have been some confusion with the plan for you
Defenders of the Nifty who still have time on their accounts. MOST
IMPORTANT THING:YOU ARE NOT LOSING ANYTHING WITH THE NEW DEFENDERS
20+ SYSTEM! You'll still have access to the compendium, the comic
my blog, new blog posts! Everything you had before, FOR THE DURATION
OF YOUR ACCOUNT! It might take us a bit to implement this stuff.
This is basically everything you get with a default Defenders 20+ Pledge
Level 1 Diligent Digbot. You lose nothing.
You're going to need a site-wide login account to access your
ongoing Defenders of the Nifty content. We converted
sluggy.net forums accounts into site-wide login accounts as part of
the new site launch.
If you had a sluggy.net forums account with the same username or
email address, we're already going to link you up automagically.
If you didn't have a sluggy.net forums account, please register a new
login account with the same email and we'll match them up as
soon as we can.
If you did have a sluggy.net forums account you want to keep using,
but it didn't match your Defenders of the Nifty account, please
stand by while we come up with a solution.
Any reason to pledge to the new system then?
A couple! One is that as a "Day 1" Defender 20+ you will get the
the new system like the Evil Clothes-Eating Moths Pawnz Set (with
'that's not a wookie costume' Bert), as well as the exclusive
Valerie pawn and bookmark.
As a thanks for being there for Sluggy in the past, all Defenders of
the Nifty, ever (like, if you subscribed in 2005 for a year and
never again) will get a virtual "inflatable coin":
If at any point you pledge while you still have time on your DotN
account, you'll get a different colored inflatable coin for each
month you had left on your annual subscription.
What do inflatable coins do?
Pretty much nothing right now, but they are kind of pretty. These
will go in a special section of the site collectibles that nobody
else has. We'll probably think of something nifty they can do in the
future, but for now, they're just bouncy shiny badges of honor
saying "I supported Sluggy 20-minus, too!"
Just know I will never stop being thankful for you Defenders of the
Nifty who have supported me for all these years, and I deeply
apologize for any confusion.
Extra note for Defenders who, whether currently active or not,
pre-ordered a doodled in Book 17: In case you were wondering,
because it's been a while, of course you'll get those as soon as
they're printed and doodled in! I'm back to work on Book 17 next
week! And I have elbow room to do it thanks to you guys! (YAY!)
Hey everybody! IT’S THE BIG DAY! Sure, last Friday was the 20th anniversary of Sluggy Freelance but TODAY THE NEW SITE LAUNCHES! I’m very proud to show off the new Sluggy.com and I can’t wait for you to check it out. IT’S AMAZING!
Here’s all you need to know:
Features are still being added to the new site: It’s almost done; but we’re going to finish adding everything and polish it up the next couple of weeks! And there are additional features coming, so if something is missing from the site that the old site had, be patient! And feel free to poke around! And I can’t stress this enough: LOG IN! You must do this to get the full set of nine classic Pawnz. And other stuff like tracking your progress through the new (bigger) archives and placing bookmarks will only work if you’re logged in. The forums login will be your all-access pass to the forums, the store, and all the VERY nifty features of the new site! GO LOOK!
WARNING: The New Archives need some sweeping: Someday I am going to do a post on the magic that needed to happen to make the shiny new archives. And you WILL be amazed! Some serious time, effort, and programmer-magic went into it. But it requires me going in and verifying that the system didn’t drop rows, grab wrong graphics, etc. There can be some weird graphics out there in uncharted territory.
But I will need your help in the near future, you archive-divers out there, to make sure the chapter I have reviewed are good. There will be an easy way for you to flag questionable strips implemented in the next few days.
I’ve been sweeping from both ends, so here’s where I’m at:
Chapters 1-47 (thats books 1-14): Should be good!
Chapters 48-64: Haven’t looked at yet! Uncharted Territory! New Readers AVOID these Chapters, rows of many strips may just be GONE! (It’ll take me maybe a week to clear these up!)
Chapters 65-70 (Mohkadun through today): Should be good!
That’s all I need to tell you but you’re going to find plenty of things on your own! Go look! GO PLAY! But first, LOG IN!