While the first page of Observer Effect serves as a condensed bootstrap for ATC as a whole and pages two and three apply broadly to the existing books, pages four and five relate to character motivation in The Dualist. Specifically, the attitude that Thad and Ornix have towards the Templar and how that came about.

Cutting a year-long story arc down to two pages was no easy feat – these are the highlighted highlights, the super-important bits. The script started off as a completely different two-page thing and briefly exploded into a 4-8 page digest before getting whacked back down to two pages, focusing strictly on how Thule Garrison deploys Beef Knuckleback and how two individuals under observation eventually react to repeated attempts at stimulation.

There’s an absolute ton of Thad/Ornix/Templar backstory – enough for a DCR-length installment, were I so inclined. I’m not. At this point I’m quite eager to get back to moving things forward. The point of Observer Effect is to fill in some critical contextual details, not the entire backstory – and in that sense, this page accomplishes its task fairly well.

The page has also accomplished its technical mandate – the first two chapters of Dead City Radio are comic strips stacked into pages, so the Observer Effect layouts from here forward have been developed with that in mind. Line art and shading match-up will take place later in the installment, at a plot-appropriate point. The transition from 2012 give-a-shit line art to 2005 don’t-give-a-shit line art won’t be seamless, but it will be cushioned a bit.

Three different locations, three different seasons, three different wardrobes, fourteen panels – sixteen if you count WHAM! and WHAM!!. Observer Effect is, among other things, an exercise in information density. And it doesn’t get much denser than this.

2012 10 21, 17:01 – Rendering finished yesterday. The process started early last week and progressed in fits and starts. I had to intentionally shift focus away from other projects, which turned out to be one hell of a struggle. I revised the layouts a bit to cut down on the complexity – overall the CG looks solid and hopefully the line art will as well. Given my schedule I don’t expect to have time for line art until next weekend.

I’d intended to keep build logs out of OE pages – the ability to do that is somewhat predicated on the pages coming into existence rapidly. Build logs evolved for a reason – freelance work is highly irregular, and I’m in the middle of a work spike that has thoroughly annihilated my free time. A page like this would probably take a full day for CG and a full day for line art – due to my work life being what it is, the CG side took a couple of weeks from asset acquisition and prep to readiness, and line art will probably take two to three days as per usual (prep/pencils/inks, cleanup, shading).

There’s rather a lot that needs to be said about what occurs on this page (and the next) – as per usual I’ll tack that above the build log. And I’ll probably write it after the page is finished.

’69 Charger model courtesy of new_world_media.

2012 11 01, 02:26 – Pencilled and inked on the 28th, cleanup on the 29th and 30th, line art socketed into the page on the 31st, shaded between ~2300 on the 31st and 0225 this morning. Too busy to do proper documentation until tonight, and I should be working on other stuff. Base shading is complete; I’m going to knock off early for once. Will hopefully have time to spit-shine, blurb and post Thursday afternoon or evening. Ready to go otherwise.

2012 11 02, 01:36 – Gonna push off posting another day. It ain’t the first time! Today’s been exhausting on the paid art front, and I want to give it a fresh-eyes once-over before I toss it on the interwebs and move on to the next one.

2012 11 02, 14:34 – Page passes muster. Posting, then getting on with the rest of my day.


  • 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 traumatic Awakening in the summer of 1997 was just the beginning of Thad’s emotional problems. The disappearance of most of his Pittsburgh friends a few weeks later compounded his issues and, while he...

  • Ornix doesn’t let trivial things like ethics and morality get in the way of his loyalties or sense of reality. A longtime friend of Thad and a fellow “victim” of the Templar Waking God...

  • 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 South Jersey punk with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Templar-forged Master’s degree for field work, Raven posed as a high school guidance councillor during the early stages of the Waking God...

Glossary Articles

  • Charger

    The Charger is a rusted, barely-working 1960s muscle car driven by Ornix Khan. While the vehicle is a fairly effective bludgeon, Ornix isn’t above trading up for a vehicle that gets better mileage when...