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.
3/23/2020: This is a hard thing for me to write about, but it's time to let you all know one of the reasons I've fallen behind on everything but the strip itself lately. My father-in-law, Jules, passed away last week due to congestive heart failure and lung cancer. This has been especially hard on us due to the daily shifting restrictions put in place due to the pandemic, effecting the hospital, and then hospice, and then the funeral.
Level 2 and Higher Defenders: Bookmarks and Pawnz of the Month Update:
I'll let you guys see the Pawnz and Bookmarks as I finish creating them. FOR NOW scripts come first!!!
Hey guys! The store is closed for the holiday! Thanks for the exhausting outpouring of orders, and it was a joy to send all the free book 20's out to the level-4-and-higher Defenders. As you may remember I have Book 21 pretty much laid out. I look to early 2020 to create the bonus content (the 4u City Amber story), and when that is under control i should be able to let you know when the store will reopen. Until then, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season and be nifty to each other.
The Sluggy Store will open Monday at noon, Eastern Time! Here's what you need to know. The store will carry the usual beanie Bun-buns (which have NEVER stopped being awesome), an eclectic size-selection of shirts, AND ALL OF THE SLUGGY BOOKS!
SOLD OUT (as of 8pm 12/4) BUT AT INDYPLANET SOON: SLUGGY FREELANCE BOOK 20 "4U GREEN - 4U BLUE": At a whopping 272 pages, this is the largest Sluggy Freelance book ever! (Megatomes count as multiple books).
MEGATOME 2 "LITTLE EVILS": Still sold out. But I'm offering some "Scratch and Dent" versions. Readable, but cover-damaged, and much cheaper than the upcoming re-release of "Little Evils".
ALL THE OTHER BOOKS TOO!: We'll have the usual Megatome 1 "Born of Nifty", and Book 9 "Dangerous Days". On top of that we'll also have a very limited supply of books 8-7, and 10-19.
You may miss out if you don't order ASAP!
The store opens Monday, December 2nd. The International Deadline, if you want your Sluggy stuff by Christmas, is Thursday, December 5th. Not much time. Also limited supplies mean, even though the Domestic deadline is much later than Thursday, books may become sold out quickly. Even Book 20. No matter where you live, if it's important to you, please order ASAP!
Sluggy Freelance Book 20, "4U Green - 4U Blue" is off to the printers as we speak! It comes in at a whopping 272 pages, and the 14 page bonus story happens at the end of the book, between "4U City Blue" and "4U City Red", entitled oddly enough, "4U City Indigo".
It is pretty cool, and connects to the upcoming bonus story in Book 21 entitled "4U City Amber!" I somehow sense a theme. But I digress.
As soon as I get the printed books in my hands I'll start putting together signed copies for Defenders who meet the requirements to get a free book sent to them (which I believe is maintaining a Defenders membership for 4 months at tier 4 or higher). The rest of the books will go in the store, and the store will open.
The Sluggy Store will finally reopen when I have Book 20s ready to sell. I also got a small quantity of all the books from Ka-Blam (Books 7-8, and 10-19). I get the feeling these might go fast so please order as soon as the store opens!
When will the store open? I will give you as much of a head's up as I can when I'm going to open the store. I might not have books in my hand until the end of November! Worst case I think will be December 2nd. Important thing to note here is the international orders cut off day (Priority Mail International, Arriving by Christmas) is Dec 7th! that means I'll need all international orders in by December 5th. That's less than a week from the end of November, so PLEASE order ASAP when the store opens! Hey, if I didn't cut every deadline so close you'd wonder who I was and what I did with the REAL Pete!
I'll reiterate: I will give you guys as much of a head's up as I can on the store opening date!
A note on signed books: I've been mentioning for years now that I am discontinuing the option for signed books. After careful consideration I've decided to allow it for Megatomes 01 and 02. I hope that I'm not letting too many of you down. Signed books are available as an upper tier Defenders reward, and believe me you Defenders have more than earned it! You guys saved the comic! 'Defended', ya might say!
SLUGGY FREELANCE MEGATOME 02 (Books 4-6):
I have not yet reordered Megatome 02, so the only store options for now will be Hardcover Megatome 02s and maybe some 'ding-n-dent' softcover ones if I can dig some up! Hopefully I'll have a shiny new Megatome 02 in the next few months! And maybe a Book 21 since it's mostly done now! We'll see how it goes!
ORIGINAL ART AUCTIONS:
It's been a looooong time since my last original art auction. This is the only one I'll be running in all of 2019 so I'm making it an extensive one. It'll start November 18th.
And that's what I've got for Books, Store, and Auctions.
Here's the upcoming releases:
Become (or remain) a Defender20+ tier 2 or higher from October 14th to the end of October to be eligible for a digital copy of 4U City Green Torg and the 4U City Green Bookmark. Tier 3 or higher to have them physically mailed to you! Keep defending through the end of January 2020 to get all four 4U City Sets! Earn a pawnz and bookmark set each and every month, they get digital released and physically mailed bi-monthly! Thanks for keeping Sluggy Freelance going into the future! You guys are amazing!
Hey all! It's August and, as usual in August, I'm behind on EVERYTHING! It's always a busy month and you'd think I wouldn't be caught off guard EVERY TIME but here I am again. THIS time, instead of stressing, I'm just going to keep truckin' and persevere, as long as it takes. I'm behind on PAWNZ and STORE and BOOKS! Let's tackle them.
Behind on Pawnz: As per last news story, the Drake and Tyler Pawnz and Bookmarks should be in the mail to qualifying Defenders. These will go out in September, or maybe even October, to allow me to focus on the books. We've been doing the new system for almost two years now. I know you know I'll get you your stuff even if it takes a bit. Having said that, here's the pawnz for August and September! I'm going for a summer theme. Crushestro and Monicruel, trapped on Shankraft island, holding on to summer like we all wish we could.
Behind on Store: As you may have noticed the Sluggy store is closed more often than it is not. It's become a drag on my schedule so i tend to open it when i have elbow room in general, or when I've something new to show, like the books I'm currently working on. I truly apologize for this, it WILL open again, probably when there's a Sluggy Freelance Book 20 to sell! Maybe a Book 21 too!
Behind on Books: The books are laid out (Book 20 completely, book 21 mostly) but I'm stuck on the bonus story extra content for each book. I LOVE providing a lite extra story set in the time frame of that Sluggy book. It's important to me, and I think it's important to you. Here's another reason for delays. Sluggy books used to be around 128 pages. The last awesome compilation, Book 19, was 200 pages. Between books 20 and 21 I've laid out, combined, over 500 pages!!! And thats pre-extras! Pre bonus stories! This is where I finally make leaps ahead and start catching up my decade behind on books.
And for the record, 4U City is one of my proudest literary achievement. The Minion Master bits were superb, and the Safe house hamster-nom parts were a blast to compose. But 4U City is beyond compare. Sluggy Freelance Book 20 and Book 21. Over 500 pages. Stay Tuned!