Shattered Visage

Production of ATC has halted at 16 years, three books, and 652 story pages. The comic is estimated to be 50% complete by page count and approximately 10% complete by total CG assets.

The views and interests of the author at 40 do not align with the views and interests of the author at 23. An attempt to address differences was made with the Mastering Pass in late 2016, at which time it was realized that the project was no longer an expression of the author’s outlook and could not be rebuilt as such without rearchitecting it from scratch.

The decision to end production was not taken lightly, nor was it made in haste. To continue, even without the aforementioned issues, would have necessitated a substantial investment in CG assets – requirements more in line with a film or open-world video game, infeasible for a comic produced by a single individual. In 2017 an extended period of time off was taken to heal and to get a fresh perspective, initially with the intent of figuring out how to continue the project. During that time it was discovered that life without ATC was much more enjoyable than life with ATC – so much so that work on the final version of the website, and this final blog post, were deferred for over a year. Work was scheduled for August of 2018 but thinking about the project at that time resulted in a nervous breakdown that took months to recover from. Wrapping up production is a major step in that recovery.

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 is done the faster we’ll get to see what comes next.

With your help there will be a next.

That was a HOOT!

This post title was brought to you by Rocko’s Modern Life.

Earlier this week Ian from Top 100 Best Graphic Novels shot me an email with a couple of questions regarding ATC – my answers are included with an ATC synopsis in his year-end writeup, The Best Webcomics to Follow in 2014 (Part One). Go check it out! :)

In other, more local news – a new version of the website is live! It’s the third and definitely final release of 2013, and will hopefully last for at least a few weeks. I’d prefer it to last for all of 2014 but that’s, like, fifty years in internet time and if I think of a better way to do things you can bet I’ll jump on it. V12 is an iteration on V11 with a cleaner presentation and a pseudo-mobile version – I’m using a couple of mobble checks to feed mobile devices an augmented stylesheet and different ad locations. The mobile sheet isn’t business-card-sized and doesn’t use @media queries – it sticks the left sidebar to the top of the page and that’s pretty much it. I may extend it further if I ever get a tablet or a phone with a bigger/sharper screen. I’m digging the new look, and I’m digging the speed boost and performance gains I wound up getting by working through the initial display issues. The site’s looking good, and as usual it’s the best version ever!

Here’s the v12 build log. It’s a lot shorter than the v11 build log. That build log really whipped the llama’s ass.

Alcohol, Tobacco & Cantaloupes

December – Asset development and pre-rendering of pages TV 2.10 through 2.15, then 2.07 through 2.09.

January – Quit smoking, which really throws my game off. Asset development continues; key asset for TV.2 scene one matures; the rest of the TV.2 script is “applied” to page templates. A to-do list the size of the moon combined with a depression from hell cause asset development to bog down into a vacuous suck-pit of suckiness.

February – I scraped through January with a bit of piecemeal freelance, though the landlord claims to have never received the rent check written against that work (and has yet to cash the replacement). January was a thin, wavering trickle of paying work – February kicked off with a torrential BLAST of contracts. A month of managing three (and then four) different clients and three to six related projects pretty much killed any ATC time, though this past weekend I finally had a Moment of Clarity and stepped over The Great Art Block From Hell like it was nothing. TV 2.01 has been rendered and ready for line art for almost a week. It looks sweeeeeet. Unfortunately I still need to cook up the environment for TV 2.00 (chapter cover) and 2.02-2.06, and it might be some time before I can get to that.

March – I haven’t decided what’s next – either the TV.2 scene one exterior environment or the ATC v.10 website, which is a fairly well advanced paper design that promises to be a massive structural departure from the previous nine iterations. I know that once I finally pull the trigger on TV.2 I’ll ignore site mechanics until it’s done, and the site as structured has some issues I feel a new version would effectively address. Version 10 would also be a chance to play around with some buzzword-compliant web development concepts that I haven’t had a chance to use on the job (yet!). Concepts that I think would be a huge boost to site navigability and malleability. Both the site and the remaining environments (not just scene one) are going to be a lot of work, and I’d like to get both done before ATC turns 10 in May.

Of course, I’ve said I’d like to get a page of TV.2 up in February, and that hasn’t happened. That page is ready to draw, and I would have drawn it already if I didn’t have such a sizable pile of contract work to gnaw through. I’ll likely be busy-busy with that through March, after which I should hopefully just be regular busy.


ATC is nine today.

To celebrate, I’ve posted production pages 515 through 519 in one block, timestamped 16:20. In part because that’s when I hit “post” on all of them. In part because 4:20, dude.

That’s pages five hundred and fifteen through five hundred and nineteen, as opposed to DCR chapter five pages fifteen through nineteen. Those… are a few weeks (or months) away at this point.

Now… back to work!

Words to live by.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs (1955-2011), 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Yes Virginia, there is a webcomic.

17:06 -!- Nomikos [~nemo@etc] has joined #dotnet
17:06 < Nomikos> Booyah
17:06 < Nomikos> ATC is updating again? I must’ve missed that
17:10 < Nomikos> I’m glad, thanks.
17:10 -!- Nomikos [~nemo@etc] has left #dotnet []