Page 660: Fire -24-

A callback to the wardrobe scene, which is an unintentionally well-positioned bookend. That scene started on page fifteen of Earth, this scene will end with fifteen pages left of the chapter. There’s one page left but it’s only half complete – it’s a single-page scene transition and while the assets for the next scene have been built I haven’t actually done anything with them yet.

Tech note: The suit pack attaches to a surface on the back of the suit and clips onto a pair of hoses above the shoulder blades. Those hoses run up the back of the neck to the helmet collar, where they clip into the back of the helmet. This is why the suit neck is stiff and “up” – if it were just the fabric the collar would be resting on the shoulders as there’d be nothing to hold it up. While this design may have a few issues one problem it does not have is exterior hoses. Anyone who’s seen 2001 knows that those things are the space fiction equivalent of Checkhov’s gun.

Speaking of Checkhov’s gun – Thad’s gear was intentionally left here both to write it out and to preserve it as a potential plot point later on. Leaving it behind was a thing that needed to happen – it works thematically in that Thad is literally and symbolically leaving his old life behind, and it works mechanically in that it’s less stuff to draw, fewer objects to track and account for, and it would have been a boring-for-me third wheel in the next book of the series. Better to leave it behind, where it might do some good.

In the spirit of leaving things behind, foreshadowing, and references to cultural artifacts I find cognitively harmonious… panel six is a deliberate reference to The Prisoner. It’s not the first (Greymalkin’s jacket), or even the second. It could be thematic, the way that the deaths of Beef Knuckleback are thematic, or it could just be a thing.


Spending holidays on the comic has been a thing from the beginning. Past Fourth of July pages include:


Production renders for the next scene begin this afternoon. The next page will be finished in two to three weeks – I aim to get the entire scene rendered, then drawn and processed in a single block, much like this one only with much less line art. I’ve spent the ATC work sessions of the past several weeks getting assets built and edited – while I plan to go into more detail in the metadata of the respective pages the short of it is this: the final reference models of the book have been built. Future work can and will use new techniques.

For those who are curious about what’s going on with the next scene – I’ve been posting test renders and development work visible to $10+ patrons on the ATC Patreon page.

Blog: Send Me Your Money!

In early May I created a Patreon account. I’ve made it thirteen years without asking for help, and if I want ATC to keep going, well… I’m gonna need all the help I can get. I’m gonna need you to send me your money!

Apologies to Suicidal Tendencies – the song popped into my head while writing copy for Patreon and it seemed like a great opener for the related ATC blog post (this bit here), so I ran with it.

This post establishes the existence of the Patreon account and firms up the ATC production roadmap. The roadmap is planned to be the first blog post to the account once I take it live. I feel that it reads a lot like a pitch for a fixed amount of funding – a budget, if you will – and in some ways it is. While ATC was planned as a seven book thing and for a very long time was dreamed of as an ongoing series, I can’t see past the end of the current book. It has been in production since 2007. ATC is a trilogy until it’s done. I have to finish it; I can’t move on with my life until I do. I can not see or plan for what comes after it until I, myself, am after it. I am Ahab. Creative fatigue and financial stress have really put the zap on me. My costs are fixed. My freelance income is not. Freelance is a fickle beast – on the one hand pants are optional on the other the work commands and utterly exhausts the creative impulse. I am asking you to buy time. The more you pledge the more time I’ll have to spend on ATC instead of some hungrier thing. The faster this particular leg of the project isĀ done the faster we’ll get to see what comes next.

With your help there will be a next. Read More →