I don't even remember when was the last time I wrote to you all, but I'd like to apologize for interrupting the flow that was "talking about my pitch" ramblings. And I do mean, ramblings. I read my last letter and I kept going "wow, sure would be nice if I could afford an editor..."
Regardless, while I still intend to talk about my pitch, I want to be able to also actually use this to update people! So I'm doing that!
A lot of stuff has happened though, and I do believe I'm gonna forget a lot of it...so I'll link to those when I remember them in a future newsletter!
Meanwhile, here's the goods:
This year I decided to dive a bit into video making and as such, have posted two videos. I've been thinking of another video idea, and mulling over a longer-form one. The problem for the longer-form one is that it requires a lot of research for the topic, and I don't have the time to do it "fast." Rather, doing it slow and methodically -- in other words, not how the internet likes it. But I rather do quality than quantity, and it's not like the internet has ever looked at my stuff long enough to stop!
Here's a convenient playlist for you!
I tried embedding it here but it didn't work out. El oh elle, as the kids say.
I have also another playlist, aptly titled "Stuff where I participated in, yay." Basically videos where I make a guest appearance in some shape, manner or form!
Not much to say on the A&C front; I'm still on hiatus just because I've been doing other stuff: handling a fandom zine, rehauling other sites (as below), finishing a long project (as below), dealing with my very first surgery (I miss my gallbladder) and generally also trying to deal with burn-out + cabin fever from being inside for two years thanks to the apocalypse + idk some sort of depression, seasonal or otherwise.
(Still not thinking of going until 2024, natch. So I'll expect to have a breakdown at some point and just run outside naked.)
Regardless, I have been working on A&C in its way. Besides the obvious slow pace of finishing those last 5 pages of the current chapter (seriously, those pages must be cursed), I've been rehauling the site AND preparing a Spanish translation for the comic.
If your first thought reading that was "wait, why didn't you have that in the first place?", well 1) most of my readers were English-speaking and when I started, there were no good places to post Spanish-language version comics; 2) coding is hard and anywhere I hosted, it was hard enough and time-consuming enough to do an English version, I wasn't going to spend even more time to do one for another language; and 3) well, nobody asked for it but I have been noticing throughout the years that frankly, people in places where English is a second language, there's much more interest in my work. I really, truly, do not have the time to upkeep a Spanish translation -- but if I can't do art, then I might as well do edits. That and I want to make NEW things, not keep going back to the first chapters. I already can read the first chapter in my sleep at five layers of dreaming!
So basically, I'm doing a Spanish translation of the first chapter. And then it depends on response. I'll be doing it slower than anyone does, because that's the NAAN brand at this rate.
That out of the way, I figure I'd show you how the site works. For years, I hated the typical CMS for comics: Wordpress, Comic Press, what have ye. They have never worked for me the way they worked for everyone else. Inkblot, what's currently on the site, is the only one that worked for me because it was that easy. The only problem I had was uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
The mobile version was garbage and never worked for me the way it did for other people.
Oh, and also Inkblot hasn't been updated since 2015 and it does not work nicely with PHP 8, which means I need to leave my site on PHP 7.4...but my host charges me (or something) for every month (or something) I leave my site/s on PHP 7.4. So I'm literally losing money thanks to a CMS not being updated. Lovely!
Then again, the new CMS, ComicControl, doesn't work nice with PHP 8 but at least I can still see my site. Inkblot breaks my site the second you try updating.
Enough rambling. Here's how the new site looks so far! Or well, the upper part, at least. I'm using the current design but adapted it so that it works and functions better. The menu nav is still wonky but at least it's actually mobile.
If you're asking yourself "hey, if this is the Spanish version, how come there's a Puerto Rican flag?"....
Speaking of changing CMS, I decided to also completely overhaul the site for my short stories, Bel Inconnu. While it had less issues than the site for A&C, it was still on Inkblot, bloated, not good on mobile, and was still on PHP 7.4 because reasons.
There's a lovely new indie CMS called Rarebit (we love a good McCay cultured fan, here) and while I would definitely NOT recommend it for longer serials if you're transferring (as in switching; it's otherwise good if you're starting a long serial and even then, it takes a lot out of you due to its code!), it worked best for me here. It also reads nicely on mobile!
There's a couple of stuff still to add, to be honest, but in the meantime, come visit!
Once, there was a mobile game called Uta Macross. It was based on the Macross franchise and featured (what are considered to be) the "main poster-children": the original Macross, Macross 7, Macross Frontier and Macross Delta.
Between its third and fourth year of service, it started to have a tab for "Others" -- likely meaning Macross Plus, Macross Zero and Macross II. The first one of those 3 had been added shortly after, and I won't talk for anyone else but personally, I was hoping they had done more with Plus in the game outside of adding the Valkyries (planes that can transform into three forms) and plate art (think trading cards.) They never used the characters in the same way they did the others. In fact, they made it sound as if the characters had all long died, despite the fact that...the time difference isn't that big and spoiler, one of them is said to still be alive and kickin' in one of the movies. In hindsight, it feels like adding Plus might have been an afterthought.
By around this time, I started to think about diving into fanbooks. Me and fanstuff have never had the same relationship as everyone else on the internet have, which is that of MONETIZING THE CRAP OUT OF IT. Me, I do fanart for stuff I like, and I do it for free. So when I started to think about doing some, I decided to approach it in limited quantities, the way Japanese doujinshi do. Print a limited amount and the money you get is to recoup, that's it. No making careers and bank off of it to the point where you earn more money than the creator themself.
Unfortunately the pandemic threw a wrench in that. But that was okay, because it meant I'd just offer digital copies instead and in this instance I'd put it up for free.
This is already getting toooooo long, so I'll talk about the other fanbook idea I have in future posts. But I thought of making a fanbook for Macross II through Uta Macross' setup: mainly through the costumes that the game offered for different characters. I loved this aspect of UtaMac and I thought a catalog for MII's "diva," Ishtar, would be fun.
I picked MII, because even now, despite Macross creator Shoji Kawamori not having an issue with its existence for centuries at this point, people still consider it a "stain" on the franchise. Well. That or Macross Zero. And as much as I love Zero, I thought making a fashion catalog based on a show that contained dark elements (for Macross) and mystic feminine aspects that were meant to heighten those dark elements felt....just a tad wrong. I'm trying not to spoil it if you ever want to watch it but just try to look up an episode by episode synopsis of Zero and you'll see what I mean.
So I opted to show MII some needed love instead. Something in me knew that UtaMac would never add MII, considering that no other big Macross event adds it unless it's too obvious. For example, the latest Crossover Concert where all the singers of the franchise get together to, well, sing. Ishtar's VA, the legendary Hiroko Kasahara, made an appearance! So I thought drawing Ishtar was a safe bet.
Then UtaMac celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. Given that MII's 30th anniversary was this year as well, I tried to hustle to finish the fanbook. I had gotten behind due to an external hard drive's failure and half the work done, so I had to redo a whole lot again. I had planned to even do plate art, and had to leave that for some future update to the book (or even a possible printed version of the book) because I was not going to be able to finish.
Then UtaMac a few months later said "by the way, we're ending this game, no more, service will end in July, BYE!"
....so yes, you can now imagine my headless chicken self scrambling now to only finish this for MII's anniversary but to finish it before July. Mind you, I was about 70% done...in March. And I had to do other things from March to May that were just as dense, but more important, at the time.
Womp womp to me.
Don't ask me how I finished on time. I still think the book has errors and nobody has just bothered to tell me! (Which is a trend with me, what can I say.)
But I did it, and while it premiered a couple of days late after MII's debut, it seemed to have gone over well. Two of the biggest MII fans on Twitter even liked my tweet, and how my career's going, I'mma take that as a win.
So after all that, if you're still interested, check it out here! It's for free, as said before, and you can download it from Mega, Booth or Itchio. I made a site for it on Neocities because it's easier to have a hub...plus, I'm gonna use that okilies neocities site for other stuff too. But that's again for another future update.
Thanks so much for reading if you got this far, and I'm so, so sorry you had to take so much time to read all of it.