DJB treehouse mock-up

You may have noticed that, between the book talk and music essays and such, I try to blog about topics other than my personal dilemmas; I would hate to create the kind of self-indulgent blog that's of no use or interest to anyone but myself. That said, a personal blog is the place to put down some of your personal feelings and musings- especially for someone like me, who writes a lot but usually has to abide by certain topical constraints. This is the place where, instead of worrying if something is 'appropriate for the readership' or not, I can just jot down whatever. So I've decided that I won't hold back from strictly personal blogging on occasion, but I will tag it 'personal' and let readers decide to read it or dismiss it as they see fit.

The header image is a piece that I'm working on for Dark Juice Box, a project that has become problematic as of late. A few months ago, I had realized that just because ''Sterling'' is always going to be a sporadic comic, that doesn't mean that I'm strictly incapable of doing a regular webcomic. I look at something like XKCD, and think "you know, I could really do that." My MO has always been to attempt something incredibly ambitious and fail, rather than attempt something more feasible and succeed. It's just part of my nature to be that way, but enduring all the fail does get tiresome; nothing teaches you like failure, but it's not worthwhile if you can't turn those lessons into something better.

The idea behind DJB was that it was going to be a much easier comic to do than Sterling, and that updating it regularly would take priority over everything else, something I've never done before. I figured that if a page of DJB took me two or three hours as opposed to, oh, I don't know, twenty, updating two or three times a week really would not be a big deal at all. So I could do DJB, have the experience of doing a real and proper webcomic, and still keep plugging away on Sterling in the background like I always have.

This was all great in theory, especially because I'm a lot older now than when I started Sterling, and there are obvious advantages that come with that. However, the more I worked on DJB, the more I realized that I'd created a monster that didn't fit the format. Instead of a simplistically drawn webcomic, DJB would require lush, colorful images, more vivid than anything I've ever done with Sterling, and if anything, would be far more dependent on the art than Sterling. If you're curious about what this would look like, the whole "Northern Continent" sequence was kind of a test run for the art style in DJB.

So, what do I do now? I like what DJB is turning into, and I think it has serious potential- I always wanted to do a fantasy comic as a kid, and now it feels like I'm doing what I've always wanted to do. But I'm hardly giving up Sterling. Yet, I'm certainly not going to have two sporadically-updating, soul-sucking, time-devouring webcomics- that sounds like the surest recipe for going insane that I've ever heard. I could come up with something else as my "easy" webcomic project, but what, am I supposed to have THREE comics going on? In the midst of blogging, writing for newspapers, and other projects? More insanity. Oh, and did I mention that Sterling needs to be reformatted like a son-of-a-bitch? Forget even adding new art, all of it needs to be cleaned up, and the earlier pages need to be broken up into multiples for better readability. When I started doing webcomics, there really were very few standards for this kind of thing, but now there are, and webcomic readers expect certain things, with good reason. But how can doctoring up the archives take priority over updating new stuff?

Right now, I'm putting off making any decisions on any of this, and focusing on finishing a few projects that have been on the cusp of completion for a while- this includes things like my Nine Inch Nails series, my Parasite Eve series on Destructoid, and most importantly, Kids, Sterling Chapter Two. There are many possible solutions- one is to just save DJB for a couple of years from now when I finish Sterling, so I will actually have a plan for "life after Sterling." Another idea is to not even try to do DJB as a comic, but instead do it as something more like a light novel series with illustrations- that way, I can draw the kind of images that I feel are integral to telling the story, but I don't have to waste hours and hours drawing people doing mundane things like walking to school and opening doors. Both are decent ideas (and come to think of it, I can combine them for maximum effectiveness), but does that mean I'm never to have a real and proper webcomic? That just seems really disappointing somehow.

Anyway, after being on back-burner status ever since I started writing for Japanator, "Kids" is now front and center and will be concluding shortly. What's awesome is, I've drawn every background I need in this chapter already, so I can just borrow that stuff from my image library and focus on the stuff I actually want to draw. Bwah hahah, it's like hacking I tell you.