223: I want to be a Fireman
To the Edit
But which siege of Jerusalem?
Once & Future's back with issue 27. Where last time bounced through most of a year, this one digs into the seasonal nature of the adventure... and I also have to do another time trick to tie everything together. The on-the-fly problem solving of Once & Future is certainly part of the game for me. It's a book which has taught me a lot, in a completely different way than (say) DIE (which is the book I'm most conscious of currently bringing stuff back into my Marvel work – Immortal X-men is almost unimaginable without DIE, for me.)
I mean, one of the main lessons is: let Dan and Tamra do their thing. That's a good lesson to learn.
Anyway: this is a Christmas story, and is all about family, for better or worse (mainly worse).
Here's the first page of the issue...
...and you can read the rest of the preview here. It's available in comic shops and digitally.
Here's a tease for something new.
It's Steve Lieber, Tamra Bonvillain and (when it's lettered) Clayton Cowles. This is a 3 part story for Image's anthology, and it's giving me life. It's very Phonogram, and also very not, and features some absolutely killer pigeons. Just look at that little fella!
Doing more short-form original work is certainly in my head. “What's the least commercial thing I could do?” seems a useful filter to consider things right now.
Rowan, Rook & Decard have just given their July update for the DIE RPG. You can read the whole thing here. It's a lot of good news – the Manuscript is complete, Stephanie is just finishing the last of the art and we're doing some serious work in the layout. However, the latter part does mean some bad news. As Grant writes...
IT'S GOING TO BE SLIGHTLY LATE About four to six weeks late. Which is a shame! But: we want to make sure that it's incredible. We want all the words to be in the right order and to be all spelled correctly. We want the layout to look beautiful, we want the art to be top-notch, and we want the rules to be smooth as silk.
In short: this really matters to us. This is the biggest thing we've ever been a part of and we want to treat it with due respect. Because of that, we're not going to rush it. Unfortunately, that means that we've had to commit additional time to getting it right, which is going to slow the process down.
At present, we're not going to get the PDF ready by the end of the month and have it in a state that we're happy with; we've allocated an additional four to six weeks to give Lone time to get everything right and us time to properly access and sign off on the work. Hopefully this delay won't impact our printing schedule and we'll be able to hit our original deadline with regards to physical copies, or at least something close to it.
One of our core principles at Rowan, Rook and Decard is clear and timely communication with backers and customers, and we strive to be as honest and transparent as possible with you. We'll let you know more info as and when we have it, and provide an updated estimate of timelines when we have better data to work with.
Which is a shame, but hopefully understandable. “4-6 weeks late” is pretty damn minimal for a kickstarter.
(I just got my copy of Blood On the Clocktower last week, which looks excellent, and is over 2 years late. It's like a game from a different world. The idea that could play a party game for 5-20 people is... what? Is that a thing? Can we do that?)
I'll keep updates, but hopefully will be with folk soon.
Immortal X-men 4 is out next week, but Marvel have released some unlettered previews of Immortal 5. Here's a sample page...
...and there's two more in the link. Yes, this is the Exodus issue.
I'm really looking forward to Tom Humberstone's Suzanne: The Jazz Age Goddess of Tennis from Avery Hill. It's about Suzanne, the Jazz Age Goddess of Tennis, and looks amazing stuff. Biography and sports are rare enough bedfellows in comics, and Tom is one of my favourite storytellers. Details and preview pages are here. Speak to your retailer!
Fluxblog be fluxblogging, and Matthew Perpetua's curatorial playlists are a joy. I found The New Indie (2008-2010) particularly interesting, being a period of music I had a strained relationship with at best, and found myself having a lot more time for over a decade later when the war is over. It's telling this is when I was in Plan B, right? Picking fights was part of it. So much seemed to be in too carefully good taste – quirky enough mark itself out, but not so much that it could engender ridicule. Good stuff.
I found myself reading Keith Baker's old article about travel and seeing how RPGs are viewed in different countries. The assumption of a monoculture of stuff like this is simply not true, and it's useful to be reminded of.
When I was about 10 or so, for about a week, I wanted to be Prime Minister. I changed my mind, as I realised I didn't want everyone to hate me. I'd be a Fireman instead.
Today I'm thinking of Johnson, and wonder if he wishes he became a Fireman instead. Or wishing they'd cut to the chase, and just set him on fire.
I joke, as clearly his ego wouldn't allow the idea that he isn't Destined To Rule, and even after all this goes down, the penny is not going to drop. If you're that sort of rich, you don't keep something as small as a penny to drop. He'll keep on lying to us, and he'll keep lying to himself.
It is hugely depressing and I fear for the impact all of this, across multiple levels. I'm reminded of my teenage love of S*M*A*S*H's I Want To Kill Somebody with its very specific caveat: “It's not that I want them dead/It's just that the world would be a better place if they never existed.”
I don't like feeling like this. Yet here we are.
Work continues to thankfully slow down, the game of whack-a-mole becoming more leisurely. Immortal #9 got wrapped off. I wrote the remainder of Once & Future #29, and got it over to Dan. I just finished the first draft of the last two thirds of Death To the Mutants #3, which I'm pleased with (i.e. it's upsetting). That just leaves the back two thirds of AXE #6, and that's the whole event written. There's an epilogue issue, but that's a different kind of job, right? It doesn't write itself, but the writing I've already done writes it, if you see what I mean.
I also wrote the DIE RPG comic for Stephanie, as she's wrapping up the illustrations. Was fun writing some more DIE, but explicitly not with the existing DIE cast. It's an interesting technical challenge in writing, in that we're introducing the characters who are in all the rest of the art – so the details we give will transform the reading of the rest of the manual. This is the sort of thing I live for. Problem solving isn't exactly high art, but the older I get, the more I'm aware I got addicted to problem solving early, and never got over it.
(Probably shortly after I realised I'd make a terrible fireman. Me wanting to be a Fireman now feels strange. Who was that guy? That said, I half wonder whether when I said “I want to be a Fireman” I meant “I want to be Johnny Storm.”)
There is one weird quirk to finally managing to approach clearing my desk. I've been so busy, I haven't had space to make plans. Very shortly, I'm going to have much more space. That's great – I need to decompress, and also get to spend more time with Iris. But I'm also aware that I'm going to do something with it, as my brain does what my brain does. Also: Once & Future 30 wraps up the series for now. Which means for the the first since I entered comics, I won't be working on any books of my own (co-)creation.
And that just won't do.