As you guys know (and as explained in the last news story), I've restricted myself to one comic a week until I've caught up with mailing out pawnz and bookmarks to eligible Defenders, and have sent Book 22 (R&D WARS) to the printer. I'm over a year behind on both projects and that is too long!
I've broken the "Pawnz and Bookmarks" situation into five sets. Here's where we stand...
SET1: 2021-11,12, 2022-01 (Edda, Anise, Farahn): In the mail! (ALSO DIGITALLY RELEASED)
SET2: 2022-02,03,04 (Yffi, Chilus, Ozzid): at the printers being printed, should arrive by next week! (ALSO DIGITALLY RELEASED)
SET3: 2022-05,06,07,08 (Olebelle, Basphomy, DemonKiki, Aylee) ready to send to printers after Set 2 arrives without error.
SET4: 2022-09,10,11,12 See below! Still need to finalize bookmarks...
SET 5: 2023-01,02,03,04: Design phase.
As long as SET4 goes out, this goal will be met! (ongoing they'll be sent quarterly, so Set 5 will go out in May and be on time)
The Book 22 situation is a little more free-form. The general layout is all done and has been for a while. I'm done locating and laying out the extra existing content (sketch filler art, corsica files, etc.) although I'll need a day or two for final-final layout review when everything else is done. I need to design the opening pages (title page, "where we last left our heroes" and the like), cover design, and, most tricky, the bonus story content. I've moved forward on all three of these fronts, but its slow-going, just thumbnails and concepts. Once I have the opening pages, cover design, and, at least a script for the bonus content, the timetable should be more safely estimateable.
I'm anxious to get back to more comics each week, and I deeply appreciate your support through this and through all the recent turbulence. I'm lucky and honored to have you guys. We will get there!
Here's references for "Krohnus" and "Pete" if you need them.
So it feels like Halloween was just the other day. "Hey kids, did you enjoy your Halloween? Nice costumes!" Suddenly I get tapped on the shoulder : "Pete, you need to get those turkeys in the brine!" I'm like, "it can't be Thanksgiving already?!?" This is followed by my wife saying "No, Thanksgiving was days ago, you were supposed to announce store order deadlines because it's almost Christmas." "Oh well, what day do international orders need to be placed by?" "Yesterday. Deadline has past" Me: "Fuuuuuuhhhh....."
So this is how time has been going for me lately. Speeding by while my creative output has slowed down.
The current story-line, Immortal King, has been a culmination of so much of Sluggy lore coming together and being revealed, and it’s been a lot of work. It’s more involved then just about any other story. Although this process is more difficult, I am really happy with how it is coming together.
But coming to the end of the year, I find myself over a year behind on mailing out physical Pawnz and Bookmarks to eligible Defenders, and we've been two years without a new book (I'm not counting re-releasing Megatome 02).
Being a one-man show, things can be difficult, take longer and I can get behind on tasks, but this is way too far behind. It has been stressing me out and it has to stop. I have a solution, and it’s not great, but it is the better than falling further behind or stopping the comics all together.
Starting next week, I will restrict myself to one comic a week. The weekly comic will mostly land on Wednesdays. I will NOT increase comic output until a) I'm caught up to the plan of quarterly Pawnz and Bookmarks releases, and b) Sluggy Freelance Book 22 'R&D Wars', is off to the printers.
How long will this take? I honestly don’t know, and I don’t want to guess wrong. Did I say how much I hate to do it? For me, it extra painful because we are hitting an action-climax, and the momentum is going to drop from slow to a trickle. Grrr.
I remember the frustration from when I did this "one comic a week" thing last February-ish. So I understand this will be difficult for you as well. But I feel strongly I need to do this to attend to the eligible Defenders who have been supporting the strip and deserve the book and bookmarks and pawnz rewards.
Plus I want to catch up with the books! I’ve never been more proud of my publications than the books for the 4U city saga, including the bonus stories in Books 20 and 21. I look forward to the relief I’m going to feel when I have Book 22 in my hands and know I’m on top of the pile.
Thank you all again for your patience and support! I couldn’t have made 25 years without you guys. And let me say “Happy Holidays and Happy New Year” now because I’m going to start gift-shopping and reach for the egg-nog (squishy-nog?) and then realize its February. Stupid Time God.
Victory Lap! I can't tell you how jaw-dropping it is to realize I've been lucky enough to do this for 25 years. This milestone is worthy of celebration.
And it almost didn't happen. I've been so busy, tired and stressed, I didn't think I'd have time to do anything celebratory beyond some kind of animated strip. But with the help of my family, we came-up with a design that turned everything around. Big thanks to my daughter Leah for helping me design, render, and then animate the 25th anniversary "statue" art. We're using it as the main-page-parallax, in the comic itself, and hopefully you'll be able to purchase it as a poster in the store! One of the many reasons for the store's delayed opening was I wanted to proof the quality of the poster and also have the product in hand before taking orders.
Thanks to Shirt Guy Tom, Joe Sunday, and my daughter Leah for throwing together last minute artist-trading-cards to help me celebrate the day. There are so many people I could have and should have reached out to, to join in, but as I said, this was very last minute. Maybe I can do something bigger for the 30th Sluggy Freelance Anniversary (assuming I haven't wrapped everything up by then and the amazing Defenders are still supporting the comic)!
Speaking of, five years ago I was almost done because the comic was not financially viable. I didn't know how I was going to complete the story, but it wouldn't be as a webcomic. You New 20+ Defenders changed everything. And that support kept Sluggy Freelance afloat through events like the pandemic.
Unfortunately, times are getting more difficult and thanks to my old brain, my creative output is a little slower. I still have so much more to do, but I need your help! Please consider becoming a Defender if you're not already. You pay per strip I make, at a maximum of 12 strips per month. At the lowest tier that's only $6 a month max. That's the cost of a single fast food value-meal for a month of Sluggy goodness. It really makes a difference! Thank you very much for your consideration!
Anywho, after my victory lap around my house (causing the neighbors to stop and stare), I'm back to the drawing board, literally! ;)
One last thing. Everyone's getting a free digital bookmark! Just log into sluggy.com and you'll notice it is already added to your collection. Cheers, my friends! It's a good day.
I'm finally, finally, FINALLY making headway on Pawnz and Bookmarks! Below are all the Pawnz and Bookmarks I have so far for this year.
REMINDER ON PAWNZ AND BOOKMARKS: If you become a Defender by July 15th, at level 2 or higher, you'll get the digital a Pawn and Bookmark of July's Demon Kiki! At level 3 or higher you'll also get a print-version mailed mailed to you free! You'll also get each monthly release thereafter.*
*I say this with the caveat that I haven't sent out any physical rewards in over a year. Half the issue involved a... discussion with the printer, and that discussion took many months to resolve. The rest is me slowing down. But I am determined to get everyone everything I owe, and most of you are long time readers enough that I often fall behind on things but always catch-up, eventually.
In my hands I have everything needed to send all defenders what I owe them through October 2021. I just have to organize and force my loved ones to stuff envelopes! Then I have to get November 2021 to August 2022 printed, and then get that sent out. Doable!
As far as the digital versions go, I've released everything up to November 2021. You should see the rest released in the next week.
I hate that everything is taking so long, but I love that it's finally getting done! Thanks again for all you defenders and your years of support. I keep saying it, and I keep meaning it. You Defenders are awesome.
So I missed some parts of continuity in the last strip or three. It happens, especially Immortal King: Roomies & Roomies 2, that covers… all of my 20+ years of archives…, and it gets under my skin when it does. So I have a personal need to do a fair bit of retconning (retroactive continuity) in the last few strips, even though it has no bearing on the main thrust of the story.
This will effectively be a couple of rows attached to existing strips as well as some alterations. No additional strips. I’ll let you all know when they’re live. My schedule is strangle-tight so to do this I’m going to postpone the original art auctions by two weeks, as well as taking longer to catch up with Pawnz and Bookmarks.
I’m determined to keep the story moving forward now that we’re finally out of the ‘Farahn & Bug Show’ so my priority is to have no slowdown in new comic output.
Onward and Sideways!
UPDATE 3/22/22: Retconning DONE! Adjustments and extra content for comics of February 16th, February 23rd, March 2nd, and March 4th. Not required reading but represents missed connection points between the current story and comics of the past!
What did I do in February? Why I almost got on top of the pile!!!
AUCTIONS (Updated 3/8): The big "catch-up" original art auction will start March 25th with an Anima Set, followed by an Immortal King set March 31st. Then we should be back to normal auctions, a couple a year.
PAWNZ POSTCARD AND BOOKMARKS: Worked out things with the printer and now have all needed printed Pawnz and Bookmarks in my possession! I hope to start shipping them out soon, but don't have a date yet. I hope to have new Pawnz and Bookmarks announced by the end of next week!
IMMORTAL KING: "Roomies Part 2" should wrap next week, followed by one more slight detour before we get back to the gang and everything coming together.
MEGATOME 02 REPRINT: Ready to go! It has the same content of the old Megatome 02, but with a matching spine to the other books and has been reformatted to be handled by my book printer Ka-Blam Printing. I hope to contact them soon to see about a turn-around time.
SLUGGY FREELANCE BOOK 22 (R&D WARS): Mostly laid out! All comics and sketch art is in! The real difficulties lie in the bonus story (and sometimes the cover) so its still a while before it can go to press, but overcoming the initial layout is a big win for me.
All in all, taking February to book-focus (and other things too) has worked out really well. Thanks to you guys for your patience!
Hey all! Most of you long time readers have probably noticed two (or more) themes with me.
1) I'm always falling behind on everything besides the comic (and sometimes the comic itself)...
2) I always assume a story is going to move faster than it does.
In both cases I "get there" eventually. So what do these two factors have to do with February 2022?
1) Behind on things:
AUCTIONS: The big "catch-up" original art auction I planed for early January has been bumped to mid February. That's easy enough. the second one is harder.
PAWNZ POSTCARD AND BOOKMARKS: The printer I've used from the beginning for all the printed Pawnz Postcards and bookmarks have failed to complete the big order I placed in November. Uncharacteristically they are pretending it didn't happen. I have hope I can get them to finish the job because they've been aces up until this point. I may need to find a new printer. In any case this situation is costing me time and putting me further behind. Nevertheless but I will mail out every one of these postcards and bookmarks out no matter how many of them stack up. BTW the Pawnz for January is Farahn himself, and February will be the Wizard Yffi. At least I have the art for Farahn ready to show!
2) "The Immortal King" story is not moving fast enough for me:
I've mentioned it before, but I feel like I've been spending too much time with Farahn. I thought it'd be easy to move the 'Roomies Part Two' story quickly by now, focusing on the few intersection points with Gwynn and the gang. The good news (at least for me) is I just need a few strips more. But that's still going to take most of February, because of the February Book-Focus!
See the previous news story for details but basically February I'm only going to run one comic a week so I can spend the rest of the time getting the next Sluggy Freelance book under control, and getting the reprint of Megatome 02 ready! Also hopefully the big original art auction I mentioned.
The Future: Once 'Roomies Part Two' wraps (in February I hope!) I have one more little side flashback story to tell, and then it's on with the gang and the main event. What form that will take I can't even suggest, because this is a big story, maybe the biggest, and I've gotta "check my notes" big-time at every step!
As always I appreciate you all sticking with me even when I fall behind and/or the narrative slows down. As always I'll do my best! Here's to Book 22 getting back underway!
2021: Well this year was definitely better than the last for my household. I am still having a lot of trouble keeping on top of my tasks. I’ve felt like I’ve been getting less work done with more effort. But you know what? I keep trying different things and I’m silly enough to believe I can crack the code and get back to 12 comics a month (not including February, reason listed below) while managing monthly Pawnz and bookmarks and keeping new books coming. Anywho I think I’m heading in the right direction now.
Early 2022: The Catch-up Auctions! Some time in January I hope to put up some art from the last two years of stories. This should be great for collectors who pick up a thing or two every auction or so. But also I’ll probably be releasing a lot at once, it should be very affordable for everyone who wants to participate.
Early 2022: February Book-Focus: It really bothered me to not get any books out in 2021. To help rectify this in 2022 I’m going to spend February mostly focused on Book 22 (the Research and Development Wars) and setting up for the re-releasing Megatome 02 Little Evils through IndyPlanet. I’m going to probably only run one comic a week in February to facilitate this. I’ve done this sort of thing in recent years and it works!
Defenders: The Defenders 20+ members keep this comic going. At 50 cents a strip, that's a maximum of $6 a month (IF I manage 12 strips in a month, I've been averaging 7 to 9 the last few years). Without the support I've gotten the last 4-ish years through Defenders 20+, I do not think this comic would still exist. Plus the ad-free archive-dives probably pay for themselves in joy! Join today for joy! (heh) OK end minor promotion. If you are a defender? Thank you!!! Also there's a new Defender Blog with more insight on Immortal King and the future!
Immortal King: I know it probably feels like we’ve been spending too much time in the past and not enough with Gwynn and the gang. At least I feel that way. And I loathe writing for Farahn even more than the Bug (he’s a creep). I’m moving through it as fast as I can narratively allow and still show everything that needs showing before we return to the gang and their fight. Hopefully soon!
Whelp, that's about all I got! I'm happy to having a little time between work to really spend quality time with family. I hope you all get what you need out of this holiday season. Please be kind to each other. It's not hard to do!
I'm finally making headway!!! It's been a tough year-plus, trying so hard to keep on top of the pile and falling behind at every turn. But I'm finally finding my way out of the woods!
Good News: The Sluggy Store will finally open again on November 11th (roughly noon eastern time). Born of Nifty's (Megatome 1, containing books 1-3), Dangerous Days' (Book 9) in soft and hardcover, and plush beanie Bun-buns galore for all who want 'em!
Bad News: There is nothing new in the store, and almost no supplies of the other books (other books are available from IndyPlanet). I was hoping to get Megatome 02* back in print, and it's almost ready to go, but won't be ready in time. So there are a handful of other books (like Book 13 and Book 19) and a couple of shirt designs with limited shirt options. BUT Getting the Store open in in of itself is a victory to my soul.
*Side note: I do have some Megatome02s in hardcover left!
Sluggy Freelance Original Art Auctions are BACK! The last auction was two years ago (November 2019) and it looks like there's been some changes to Ebay. I've started slow with just three pieces. This is kinda a test run to make sure everything runs smoothly.
IF IT DOES: Then I'll run a bunch of them starting the week of November 15th. These auction sets will contain
1) original art from where we left off with Anima.
2) original art from the start of Immortal King.
3) recent Immortal King comic art.
REMINDER: Even though there will be nothing new in the Sluggy Store, the auctions allow an opportunity for you to own a unique piece of Sluggy history. That's pretty nifty.
I've been way behind on announcing Pawnz (& Bookmarks) of the Month and way behind on distributing them too! But I have a plan. When my house is full of beloved holiday guests for weeks on end unintentionally interrupting my workflow, I'm going to make them stuff envelopes (which I'll mail out in early January). So by then I'll be all caught up! And here are the Pawnz I was behind on announcing, all Immortal King Themed! I'll update this news image when I finish with the bookmark designs and such!
I lost a lot of files from a November 2020 computer crash and still haven't dealt with that even though it was a year ago and files need to be recreated for future books. Book 22 is barely laid out. I owe a lot of people a lot of emails and a few people some artwork. it's been continuously weighing on me. But getting the store open, auctions running, and catching up on Pawnz is lifting my spirits in a significant way! It means a lot. As do you all to me. So instead of doing my usual "Onward and Sideways", I'm going to say, just this once (lest it become a trend), Onward and Upward!