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!
Sluggy Freelance Original Art Auctions are currently running until December 10th, I'll get them out ASAP. I'm planning on doing a bigger auction in January with some of the Anima and more early Immortal King art, FYI!
Time RetCon ("Retroactive Continuity"), AKA "how old are these guys anywho?":
Time works weird in the Sluggyverse. To be honest it feels like Torg and Riff were kids-to-teens in the 80's, college-age in the 90's and pretty much have stayed 20-something forever after that (with Zoë being slightly younger and Gwynn will never admit her age anywho). Normally this isn't a problem, but since I established Riff being a kid of the 80's, and also showed him around that age when he spoke of his fathers return after Tombsy's accident, Wilcott's discovery of the books should have been in, maybe 1983, not 1972. I was thrown off by my internal concept of Wilcott being the adventuring archeologist of the 70's. The downside here is there are 70's elements in the art, but since I defined Riffs age to a decade, the easiest solution is just to change the panels in the comic for November 22. "793 Years Later" becomes "804 Years Later", and "Sinkhole Excavation in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. 1972" becomes "Sinkhole Excavation in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. 1983". I picked 1983 because that's the year the A-Team started and I pity the fool who didn't have Mr. T on their Trapper Keeper. This slight change shouldn't effect anything else, and I apologize for missing it. 'Immortal King' is requiring a lot of plot-ball juggling! But clearly I'm a writer who loves to juggle. Time to break out the chainsaws!
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!
A State of the Comic Message: August 2021 is looking to be OK! Well, the comics themselves are OK. But some things are not going to go 'as usual'.
The Comic: The two-comics-a-week is looking steady (although I may skip a week for much needed family vacation), and I'm slightly ahead on scripts for a change (YAYYY!), but as usual for covid, I'm behind on EVERYTHING else.
Everything Else: Normally I reopen the store in August, but I'm just not going to be able to do it until probably October. I also wanted to have Megatome02 back in print by now, still hoping to have it for the October store reopening. And I'm hoping to have Book 22 ready to ship in time for the December holidays. I'm behind on sending out Pawnz & Bookmarks, sending out emails, cleaning up some parts of the site... heck we haven't had an original art auction in over a year (maybe two?).
Hope: Here's my light at the end of the tunnel. September. This September my kids should be back in school and my wife in the office so I'll have my normal seclusion needed for focus. I'm hoping, unless there's some variant triggering a massive lockdown, that I'll be able to get on top of the pile like I haven't done since 2019.
I also was created with a ridiculous amount of hope baked-in, against all evidence to the contrary. Hope, try, possibly fail, rinse&repeat. That's my coat-of-arms. I'm OK with this, been doing 'dumb-hope' for over twenty years! ;)
In Conclusion: So not a lot of fanfare for my August birthday or the comic's anniversary, as in years past, but I'm ready to push myself hard in September, with results in October. The comics themselves are great, and I'm happy with the results so far with the most complicated story I've ever told. Thanks for reading! And you D20+ Defenders ROCK!
The next few Pawnz & Bookmarks, like the last few, are all tied to the upcoming Sluggy Freelance Book 22, The Research and Development Wars! Lab-coat Schlock, Dr. Newguy, Plot Twist Teresa, and a character I enjoyed quite a bit despite not seeing much 'screen time', Weasel Gothka! Thanks to all Defenders level 2 and higher who will receive the digital copies and level 3 and higher who receive the physical copies, mailed for free. To all of you defenders, of any level, I can't thank you enough for showing love and support through the uncertain times we've been experiencing. You are all nifty.
Hey all! Last comic's Reactions Forum thread reminded me of something I lose sight of from time to time, and that is just how complicated my stories are. Immortal King suffers from this perhaps more than any other. Big thanks to GUIGUI for clarifications in that thread.
In most stories the reference links beneath a strip are there to put the subject in a larger context and let you dive deeper if you wish. Everything you need to know should be contained in the story, and if I notice otherwise I'll directly recap what's needed to know in the strip.
This one feels trickier. Like there is SO MUCH referenced material, it feels needed to understand whats going on. But any attempts to recap on such a massive scale would be a huge endevour, and an annoying word dump (which I never do :P )
In my mind the Liberliganus subsections were a self-contained story of a family surrounding the creation and evolution of the Book of E-ville. Did you need to know who Quint's moon goddess was in the bigger context of the Sluggyverse? No. But I think it's cooler if you do. Simularly, 'Roomies' will be the story of a couple of irredeemably despicable jackasses trapped together for way-too-long, but with the reflinks you will see where these comics intersect with the Sluggy Freelance timeline, and will be given additional timeline information. All the questions, like "Why rip pages from the book instead of using the spelll of binding/inbinding" "who is Ozzid?" and "why was there two versions of Kozoaku (big version and lil' bug version) at the same time in the ref links?" These will all be answered in upcoing comics. If you do deep reference dives you should be able to work out the last made-up question, but all should be answered in time without the need of a ref-link dive.
Having said all that, I feel your pain. I will try to make things clearer and simpler as I go forward in Roomies, while simultaniouly underwstanding it won't be enough for everyone.
Please remember the Reactions Forums can be used to express confusion and ask questions about the current strip that don't involve speculaton. And I'll remember I need to do my job better. :) Onward and Sideways!
Hey all! For January and February of 2021 we have the Research and Development versions of (Slaw)Teresa and Monicruel! Research and Development Wars is the current theme as I get to work on Sluggy Freelance book 22!
Following that theme, Tadius and 'Kaka' (glares at Torg) will also be showing up in book 22!
Wow, what a year! Thank god we are almost through it! We can all agree that 2020 sucked lemons and it's time to move on!
I want to thank everyone for continuing to support me through this difficult year. A lot of small businesses have suffered and floundered and I appreciate that you all stuck with me and allowed me to continue this Sluggy Freelance thing here! Defenders, word-spreaders, Sluggy shoppers, it all helps. So thank you!!!
Being creative was extremely challenging this year to say the least. As much as I loved having my wife and kids home and safe, it made it harder for me to work (I really need an empty house to create). So developing story lines and scripting comics became more of a struggle than ever before. On top of that, I had major computer issues, like my fairly new laptop deciding it did not have a hard drive anymore, thanks 2020. While I tried to use an older computer to accomplish my tasks, it was even more frustrating because it could not do what I needed it to do and I struggled with that too. I appreciate your patience with me. And I *did* succeed in publishing Sluggy Freelance Book 21 and getting so many of them into your hands despite technical issues. It's been a mental struggle too, I think we can all relate to that. I'm hoping to find a better brain in my stocking. Yep, I'm kinda over-visualizing that metaphor too. :)
I wish everyone a super Happy Holidays, belated and otherwise, and a Happy and Healthy New Year! Come on 2021!
Sorry to fall so far behind but I'm finally caught up! The Pawnz and Bookmarks for October and November will be mailed out and digitally released in January! December and January pawnz and bookmarks will hopefully go out in February and I'll be all caught up AT LAST! For October we have Shika "Noogy" Nogeyama in her casual attire seen in these two comics. The next bunch of pawnz will be focused on the upcoming Sluggy Freelance Book 22 to be called "The Research and Development Wars"! We start with Clyde & Blinky in their R&D Wars Crushestro inc. versions! And I can think of no better way to ring in a much-improved 2021 than one of my personal favorites, 'Slaw'Teresa!!!
I HAVE BOOK 21 IN HAND! I'm positively thrilled with the nearly 300 page epic Sluggy Freelance book that needs to be in your collection! Huge thanks to the staff at Ka-Blam for taking care of me through some Himalayan-sized bumps in the road!
IMPORTANT: If you are a Defender 20+ level 4 or higher (and been so for three months or more) you're getting a Book 21 sent to you free! We will begin sending these books on Monday September 28th so make sure your mailing address is accurate!
So WHAT'S NEXT?
For the next few weeks we will be getting the free copies out to the eligible Defenders. Once that is under control we'll announce a Store Opening date. Probably early to mid October. And a short time after that we'll make it available at Indy Planet.
Also I'll be sending out the Pawnz and Bookmarks I've owed some of you Defenders since February. If you're getting a free book too, I'll just throw the bookmarks and pawz-postcards in the same envelope. If for any reason you've 'opted out' of mailed swag in the past, you'll STILL receive the book. AND IN ALL CASES THANKS SO MUCH FOR BEING A DEFENDER 20+!
August and September Pawnz will be sent in October.
International Mailings: If you're outside the United Sates I'm not sure how dependable international mail is moving at the moment. It might be fine, but I need to do some legwork first. I may email you directly if I suspect an issue or to give you a tracking number. I do not want to send you things that never reach you. Because logic. ;)
Hey guys! After careful consideration I’ve decided to resume strips. I’m going for one a week. Three reasons for this:
1) I am well on my way to finishing the book, but because of the sheer size and scope of the book and the UNPRECEDENTED 15-16 page bonus story, it requires more time than I’m willing to have you all wait. This book may be the one of my proudest achievements. It’s been a back-crushing anxiety-driving labor of love, but I can finally see the finish line! It’s going to be so worth it when we all have it in our hands!
2) You guys have been waiting weeks and I don’t want you to disengage any further from what will ultimately be a very meaningful story.
3) There's rarely been a week without Sluggy Freelance comics EVAR. I’d hate to break precedent and have a month without strips. It feels like letting the pandemic win a little. Screw you, coronavirus!
So for those reasons I’m switching from 'no comics' to 'one comic a week'. The next two comics should land on July 22nd and July 29th!
As far as the book being off to the printers, I think It’ll be by the end of July, or not far past that!
Hey all! I'm getting sleep again (THANK GOODNESS). This hiatus from the strips is working! And I've completed step one in getting back on top of the pile! Let's talk Pawnz and Bookmarks!
A NOTE ON MAILING PAWNZ & BOOKMARK MAIL REWARDS!: I haven't sent out any physical rewards (Pawnz-Postcards & Bookmarks) since February due to the pandemic-caused-postal-chaos that has ensued. I think domestic mail is under control now, but that there are still issues with international shipping. I need to do more research when I have time! In any case I'm going to send all rewards out eventually, never fear!
YOU CAN NOW OPT OUT OF PAWNZ & BOOKMARK MAIL REWARDS!: Several of you have expressed that you're pledging at a higher tier to keep the strip going, and not because you want postcards and bookmarks in your mailbox every month. Well now you can Opt Out here! https://login.sluggy.com/subscription_profile also found from hovering over yourusername -> Subscription Profile. THIS WILL NOT OPT YOU OUT FROM RECEIVING EARNED BOOKS! If you earned a free Sluggy book I'm damn-well going to see you get one, and you can't stop me!
So here's the Pawnz & Bookmarks for June, July, and August!
June has already passed but as long as you were a Level 2(or higher) Defender by mid June, you will have this little NOM-possesed Bun-bun in your digital collection, and a nifty NOM bookmark to use on the site! Level 3 or higher gets the physical postcard (allowing you to cut out and fold your own little pawnz NOM-Bun-bun) and bookmark mailed to you once I resume mailing! The “Safehouse: The NOM” story appears in the upcoming Sluggy Freelance Book 21, 4U City Red.
July is special, and as long as you’re a Defender of the right level by mid July you’ll get both of these guys! FROG and CORSICA! Same deal as for June! Level2+ for digital copies, Level 3+ for physical copies as well!
More Details (optional read): When the store reopens, the digital Frog Pawn will be available in the Sluggy Store for $0.99. So Corsica is the Pawnz of the Month, and Frog is a Store Item. Frog is close to core-cast so I wanted him available to all. But I really wanted the 2+ Defenders to have both at once, and the 3+ Defenders to be able to make the cut-n-fold amphibian couple as a set, so this was the simplest way to make that happen. If that's confusing don’t worry. Anyone can buy a digital frog for a buck soon. Defender Level 2+ you’ll have Frog and Corsica digitally free, Defender Level 3+ you’ll have Frog and Corsica postcard mailed to you free.
For August 2020, and for Sluggy Freelance’s 23rd Anniversary, I can think of nothing more fitting than the irascible Frog unleashing an angry tirade! The Angry Frog Bookmark, Pawnz and Postcard! Nifty!
And that's Pawnz & Bookmarks DONE! On to Book 21!
This news story is actually two recent headline updates that were taking up too much room.
6/26/20 UPDATE: Head’s-up everybody! I don’t know if you read the “Light Switch!” news story in the news section below, but I’ve fallen back into ‘Light Switch OFF’. My severe insomnia is making work near impossible. I haven’t gotten to the ‘Pawnz & Bookmarks’ for this month even though this month is almost done because I’ve been pushing to complete Book 21 work in the background. The anxiety from falling behind on first the ‘P&B’, and then the book, and soon on the strips, is causing anxiety that's causing the insomnia that is increasing the anxiety.
This circle of stress-anxiety-insomnia may cause delays in future strips. With everything going on in the world I have nothing to complain about but I did want to explain, if for no other reason, that your understanding may help me lower the anxiety. I’m putting all this pressure on myself and I’m having a hard time willing it away to get a solid night’s sleep.
Anywho I HOPE to reveal the June P&B before the end of June, I HOPE to get the book off to the printer in very early July and I HOPE to keep the comics coming Tuesdays and Fridays but all bets are off until the Light Switch goes back ON!
6/30/20 UPDATE: IT’S WORSE! Yep, the insomnia train keeps on rolling. Its hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but it really feels like losing your mind a little bit. Thanks to all of you who reached out to me to let me know everything’s OK.
I've made a tough decision on how to proceed. After today's comic (June 30th), I'm on ‘vacation’. I'm not going to the beach or anything (I hate swimming in a soggy mask!), but will allow myself to try to sleep stress free. As soon as I feel up to it, I will create the Pawnz and Bookmarks for June, July, and August. After that, when I feel up to it I will complete the bonus story work on Book 21, wrap it up, and send it off to the printer. And only then will I resume strips. With the self-imposed weight off my shoulders we should get back to business as usual! I'm really excited to tell this story and don't want my deteriorated brain-from-insomnia to screw it all up!
Could this mean no new strips in July? I sure hope not. And I may change these plans especially if I start getting sleep and feeling better. In the meantime wish me luck, stay golden, and be kind, empathetic, and smart.
I hadn’t been sleeping for a couple of weeks. Maybe 3-5 hours a night? And my usual power-naps that I could always rely on for a nice hour midday had just stopped working. Then, as inexplicably as it started, it stopped. My naps worked, I got 8 hours some nights, and I was like, “Wow, THIS is what it’s like to not be exhausted all the time! I remember this!”
The thing was, I didn’t realize during it how exhausted I was. I was functioning at 40% thinking I was at 80%. Now, it’s like a light-switch flipped on. My reality is completely one thing. Oh, now my reality is completely another thing.
So (as blog-post reading defenders already know) I’m normally not able to write in a house full of people. I used to have an empty house half the day and ability to go off to a hotel in writing emergency situations. No more of that. I’d been coasting on Anima scripts I had done in 2019. Chapter 73 was a blank sheet of paper, and try-after-try I couldn’t fill it. I knew what I wanted to do with Chapter 73, but it was ambitious and required focus I could NOT achieves. I was seriously concerned there’d be no knew scripts, and thus no new comics at all in June.
So my family worked with me to create the best environment possible for me to avoid distractions and interruptions and gain focus. No guarantee it would work, but our best shot. And then after 48 hours the light flipped on. I went from a reality where Chapter 73 was a blank sheet of paper to I GOT SCRIPTS! Not just any scripts, ones for that ambitious story I wanted to tell!
The blank sheet is no longer blank. The road map is drawn from start of journey to destination. I WILL have to work out some kinks along the way. Like, if I have writers block or script issues and delays, it’s in hammering out the specifics, which is still hard to do in a house full of people. BUT I HAVE THE GENERAL PLAN ROCK-SOLID! I love that light switch in the on position. Chapter 73, The Immortal King, begins Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020. 6/2 UPDATE: Due to unforeseen delays Chapter 73, The Immortal King, begins Friday, June 5th, 2020.