Schlock Mercenary Basic Training

Schlock Mercenary Basic Training
Friday, January 6th, 2006

If today is your first day reading Schlock Mercenary, you're in luck. Everybody ELSE who reads this strip had to slog through 1000 strips' worth of back-story in order to get caught up to the beginning of "Book I," but you, you lucky dawg, get the chance to fast-track it with Schlock Mercenary Basic Training. In just six short pages you'll meet the key characters, learn what makes them tick, and figure out everything you needed to know in order to begin the story from the 1001st strip.

"Why," you ask, "do I want to begin from the 1001st strip.?"

"Because the artwork sucks a lot harder for the first 1000 strips than it does for the second 1000, that's why."

The first Schlock Mercenary compilation will begin with the 1001st strip. If it didn't, children might pick the book up and expose themselves to my early artwork. The thought of those virgin eyes running with bloody tears makes my heart stop. Really, it does. Besides, the books wouldn't sell very well.

So there you go. The barracks are filling up for Schlock Mercenary Basic Training, but since they're VIRTUAL barracks, there's always plenty of room. And I promise that there will be no PT required.

(I know, I know... it hardly qualifies as Basic without PT, but I'm trying to raise an army on the cheap here. I can't afford to be discouraging the recruits. Pipe down, you, or I might just start asking for push-ups.)

New Artwork Auction!
Monday, January 2nd, 2006

Sandra just posted this auction over on eBay. It's the original line art from my contribution to Blank Label Comics Guest Week at PvP. Go have a look!

And regarding PvP... Scott Kurtz is one of the best cartoonists is the business, and his comic is one of the most consistently funny strips on the web. I've been buying his print comics now for over a year, and they're household favorites. PvP is one of my daily reads, and I recommend it unequivocally.

(Note: Scott is also a personal friend, and I'm honored to count him as such. But even if I hated him, I'd have to love his work. Oh, how that would burn...)

I Resolve
Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Well, that's it for the first half of the aughts. In another four years we'll be putting aught-nine to rest, and we can FINALLY have a decade that people can refer to without using antiquated nomenclature (except for those people who regularly shop for ammunition, for whom 30.06 is pronounced thirty-aught-six, and who might object to "aught" being called antiquated.) We're halfway to the tens! Granted, as a decade goes, even the tens will sound pretty lame compared with the two-syllable decades like the twenties.

I wonder if our next trip through the seventies will be better than the last one. Are all three-syllable decades doomed? Does anyone here have an opinion about the 1870s?

Nomenclature aside, this is the time of year when pretty much everybody who uses the Gregorian Calendar on a day-to-day basis muses upon what could be done better in the year to come. By mid-Februrary, of course, most of these goals, resolutions, and aspirations will have been forgotten, much like that VCR remote that fell off the back of the TV last November. When was the last time you checked behind the entertainment center of your soul?

It would be nice if our resolutions didn't so quickly gather dust. If we're serious about changing ourselves, we need to recognize that perfection, that asymptote against which we strive in hyperbolic approach, is only approached through iterative refinements. Per John Henry Newman, "To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." More often than once per year, I expect.

At any rate (of change?), there are things that I resolve to do or to be in 2006. Some of these are worth sharing with you folks. Others are too personal, too sacred for public consumption. I'll just state for the record that those things exist, lest you adoring fans ascribe to me attributes of which I'm less than worthy. I don't mind the adulation, but it gets a little embarrassing.

I'll start with the stuff you care about:

  • I resolve to put out a dead-tree collection of Schlock Mercenary comics this year. I've been working on it for longer than I care to admit, but I haven't been working hard enough, fast enough, or nearly effectively enough. I believe I've learned enough to change that.

  • I resolve to have a larger buffer of comics this year than last year. I will work further ahead, and I will take advantage of that lead-time to create comics that are BETTER than what I've been creating. Maybe that means refining my artwork. Maybe I'll tighten up my plotting a bit. Regardless, I can see where there is room for improvement, and improvement is what I plan to fill that room with.

  • I resolve to live more healthily. You probably don't think you care much about this, but you should -- If I get sick and die, there goes your Schlock fix. I need to lose about 25 pounds of fat, put on about 15 pounds of muscle, increase my strength and my stamina, and gain a couple of hit-dice. The low-carb diet coupled with exercise has been great, and I plan to stick with it... right up until the point that I discover further iterative change is required. I hate vegetables, and I may have to begin taking that hatred out on them by eating them, and all of their filthy green friends.

  • I resolve to be a better husband and father. You care about this one, too, because my family is the reason I'm happy, and my wife is the reason I'm able to cartoon full time. My resolve here is unwavering, but the plan of attack is a little nebulous. For now all I can say is "I'll pay more attention." Hopefully I'll see the places where I can improve, at which point nebulosity yields to substance.

And that's it for the public list. I'll leave the items on the nail-biting-and-nose-picking list to your altogether too active imaginations. I'm sure I'll end up fancied as an absolute monster, but I prefer your imagined monster to the real beast.

Have a happy and safe New Year, everyone. May you plumb the depths of your own resolve and find the tools you need to chip away at your own faults this year. Take the hype out of hyperbola, and kick some ass back in asymptote.

Looking for previous blogs?
Here are links to the The $100 Christmas Report and Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Me. I suppose I could resolve to get a full-blown blogging engine, complete with archives, trackbacks, categories, and all that running here, but since that's technical work I've outsourced, all I'd be resolving to do is nag somebody who is not getting paid enough. (Hi Chalain! I'm resolving not to nag you, but instead to say helpful things, and to find a way to pay you more!)