Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Inspiration - Comics

First of two posts on inspiration -- this one for the 24 hour comic. Then a post on NaNoWriMo, and maybe another post on reconciling it all???? Well, one word at a time:

I just got, and read, the 2006 24 hour comic highlight book. This is a "highlights", in contrast to a "best of" collection. The intention is to show a nice cross-section of what is produced on 24 hour comics day. I found it pretty encouraging. Plenty of cool stuff in different styles; different levels of detail.

Of course part of the idea of 24 hour comics is to come in with no set agenda -- no pre-made plot or script. Nevertheless, from page 3 of the book, the familiar visages of Mayberry Melonpool and Ralph Zinobopp looked back at me. In other words, it's okay to come in with existing characters and situations.

Not that I necessarily have a stable of existing characters and situations to draw from these days. Maybe I'll do a post of all the sets of characters I've created over the years.

I have my drawing table set back up. I have sketch pads and pencils and art books setting out -- if I turn 180 degrees from my computer desk I'll be at my drawing desk.

And I have lots and lots of books of comic strips. Of course, superhero comics have also inspired me, but my drafting skills aren't at the level they would need to be for something that realistic. So, my comic strip heros, in terms of both writing and drawing....

Have to give a shout-out to the late, great Johnny Hart, who just passed away.

Jim Toomey, creator of the hilariously twisted Sherman's Lagoon (hey, anybody besides me think that Thornton was the real inspiration for the tropical polar bear on Lost?)

Frank Cho, amazing draftsman and author of the truly unique Liberty Meadows. Frank is the world champion at drawing women whose breasts are bigger than their heads.

Corey Pandolph, creator of the sublime Barkeater Lake. I recently purchased an original Barkeater Lake drawing.

Walt Kelly, who managed to sometimes fit a dozen or more jokes into a 4-panel strip. Walt was a master of dialogue right up there with Shakespeare and the Coen brothers, and also an incredible social satirist. And he draws the world's sexiest skunk.

Gary Trudeau, creator of characters that you come to know and love, characters who can exist for years and still be interesting, even though they don't have any super powers (well, maybe Zonker and Duke have some super powers...)

Well, that'll do for now. I have those books in front of me. When I get some time to spare (won't be real soon), I will start sketching. Watch this space for the results.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Just for grins, I searched for my name on, and it turns out I show up in the index of two books. So I bought them. One of them just mentions me along with the other Rogue creators, but the other, Twisty Little Passages by Nick Montfort, actually has a paragraph quoted from my Brief History of Rogue. The book looks pretty interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

But wow, this Nick Montfort guy. In 2002, he wrote a tale, called 2002, which contains 2002 words exactly. And the whole story is a palindrome. I'm just in awe. Given the incredible constraints he laid out for himself, the story is remarkably coherent.

I mean, okay, it doesn't seem all that coherent at first blush. You have to twist your brain around to accept the awkward syntax. But, there's an actual story with characters and things that happen, and there's an introduction and a conclusion. The story is about how the year 2002 played out for our hero, Bob. If I pull this creative triathlon off completely, it still will not be as cool as Nick's story.

Go look at it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Once again I am a published author (I had an article published in SunWorld magazine back in the '80s). Now I am published on a webzine! The latest issue of Roguelike the Magazine is out, and it has an article by me about Roguelikes and Javascript. At last, my writing will be accessable to literally dozens of readers!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Maybe сыровата is a compliment?

Just discovered a post from a russian blogger named Arvi the Hacker, which contains a mention of the Seven Day Quest.

According to the computer translation of his post, to his taste, my game is somewhat damp.

What do you suppose the odds are that this amounts to high praise in the Russian culture?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Still, at least it's only somewhat damp, right?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Name The Short Story Contest

Okay, for the two of you reading my blog... :)

As promised, I have uploaded a short story I wrote back in aught-four. It's not my best story, but that's what you get for free.

It's about 2600 words, which is just a bit more than I will need to write every single day in November for NaNoWriMo (gack!)

I realized as I dug up the file (off the hard drive of my old computer), that I never gave this story a name.

So, read it, comment on it, and help me come up with a name for it!

Here is the link: