It’s just a flesh wound. GORE HUMOR IS BEST HUMOR!

Greymalkin is referring to Russian Roulette. Given Beef’s record one can safely assume that he’s already tried both temples and has moved on from The Deer Hunter to try out other brain-scrambling entry and exit wounds. The man does have a chronic life allergy, and this page indicates that being death prone may be more of a hobby than a series of unfortunate-yet-hilarious incidents. THIS TOTALLY COUNTS AS BEEF’S DEATH FOR TRANSITIONAL VOICES even if it did happen offscreen. He’s now four for four if Observer Effect counts as a separate installment, and three for three if it doesn’t. I still have no idea how he’s going to die in ATC book 4 but dammit I’ll work it in somehow.

The wound location is an intentional matchup with the last panel of the previous page. Were this a movie or OAV or whatever the scene would progress as a precisely aligned jump cut. NOT DEPICTED would be Beef’s likely conversation with Tantek re: events in the Bedlam basement. This is what should have happened to Thad at the climax of The Dualist, minus the yellow blood and the gray skin and the regeneration.

Continuing the overall cold war theme established by Beef playing Russian Roulette in a truck rebuilt for SIGINT, Tantek is reading His Master’s Voice. It has a similar premise to Contact, only instead of a touchy-feely message of hope and talking to aliens and whatever it starts off not doing that and then slowly mutates into a lengthy diatribe about the state-level mutually assured shittiness of the Cold War. The MacGuffin is excellent and the book is worth reading for that alone.

Technically, I think this is the first page – in recent memory, anyway – to feature a separate GORE PASS. That was done by slapping a 100% self-illuminated black shader with a black texture map featuring white splatter onto the environment and rendering another pass of the first three shots, after which the results were touched up and shooped over to yellow in post. Time consuming but effective – and probably the easiest bit of the page believe it or not. This one took the usual three days (rendering, line art and cleanup, shading), only this time around they were three full days due to a combination of post-PIX exhaustion and some poor choices made during the initial rendering prompting me to throw out a fully shaded panel three and start over. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve tossed renders and kept the line art – the netting visible in water -16- and -17- looked good there but just did not translate well for this page, so I dropped the shade for a cleaner presentation.

This is the first page to be rendered against a non-black ambient background color – RGB 50 50 50 instead of the usual 0 0 0 for the first three panels. I’ll be using black in space and aboard the Daedalus for the remainder of the book to maintain some degree of consistency, though I may try non-zero values for future scenes aboard the Sabrosa, as there’s still some room to maneuver there.

I’m over the hump on asset creation for the next page and the page after that – I still have to finish the major asset, though as of around midnight-thirty this morning the geometry is ready for attaching/grouping and cleanup. The cargo bay took eleven days end-to-end, the current asset (the Castores) is entering day four. I still have to model an additional asset, two sets of reference objects, and do layouts to get this chapter past 3.19, so I don’t expect to do much production drawing over the next two or three weeks.

My friend Tim threw me a mention in the most recent Nerd Exchange podcast, so if podcasts are your thing then go check that out. I bumped into him at PIX and probably wouldn’t have stuck around as long as I did if I hadn’t!

Mastering notes, 2016.12.07 – Changed the label on Tantek’s book to something written in Rhodhe.


  • A former United States Army Ranger, Tantek has been with Thule Garrison since the Waking God Protocols field trials of the mid 1990s. He works well with Raven Lockheart, typically functioning as muscle though...

  • A black ops field agent who – for reasons unknown – masquerades as a deputy from the fictional Antrim Police Department. Beef is slightly death-prone, and has been killed by Greg and Ornix. Beef...

  • A former Soviet military officer, Greymalkin disappeared in southeast Asia in the spring of 1968. He surfaced in late 1969 as an adviser and fixer for Michael West, succeeding West as head of Thule...

Glossary Articles

  • Templar Heavy Truck

    At some point during the 30 years between his Soviet military service and the events of Dead City Radio, Greymalkin acquired a number of Russian-built heavy trucks. The question of whether these vehicles are...