Flirting with continuity

I've gotten to the point where I've webpublished enough NIGHT LIFE stories that continuity may become an issue. I've got the comic going on the main site. I'm getting ready to wrap up the third short story here on Blogger. And I did a story on Twitter. That's not including the original NIGHT LIFE story that I did back when I was a student at JMU. Also, there were a few short stories that got written for classes that featured characters that should be very familiar to my readers, all five of you. So that's five different stories on three different sites, a couple of short stories and one college newspaper. Multiple mediums to boot. So which ones don't count?

Well, all of them do. Although the college one, you can pretend doesn't exist, especially since I have the only complete collection of those strips which I occasionally go back through just to cringe at how terrible they were.

When I did the college strip, Wade Granby was already well established as the Night Rain. Keith Sheen didn't come in until the final year I did the strip, but it was clear that they had a history. If you were to get your hands on the old strips and pour over them, you can even spot Danny Blade in a flashback scene. When I wrote the short stories for classes I set most of them in the NIGHT LIFE world. While the professors weren't terribly thrilled with this, it turned out that a few of the students that read these stories for the classes followed the comic and got a kick out of it.

Continuity is a double-edged sword to be certain. It's great when things are clear. However, with enough people involved and if things go along long enough it can turn ugly. That's why the major comic companies with their metric ton of characters and stories supposedly have editors. Someone has to keep it all straight.

My first brush with continuity happened at a very young age. It was an issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK and the big guy was on some alien planet battling The Gardner. Now this was a major threat because this dude was in possession of one of the "Soul Gems" which we now refer to as the "Infinity Gems". Insanely powerful, and I as a reader got to learn about this due to a quick flashback to another story. It seems some major big bad got his hands on one and it took the Avengers, Captain Marvel, The Thing, Spider-man and Adam Warlock "Reincarnated as the Ultimate Avenger" to stop him. It was nearly twenty years later that I actually had a chance to read the story that the flashback referred. It went down in an old AVENGERS annual and a MARVEL TEAM-UP annual. But referencing that story in the Hulk story I was reading gave me a glimpse that this was something major and this huge battle had gone down. I really wanted to read that story. So there's where continuity was a major bonus.

It turns into a problem when you have two stories directly contradicting each other. Then the writers have to jump through hoops. Problems like that should be caught before books go to press. Back in the day Marvel gave out "No prizes" to readers who caught things like that. Now they just try to avoid the meteor shower of bitchy comments that descend upon them via the internet.

How much danger am I in from this unwieldy beast called continuity? Not much. When there's only one writer it's much easier to keep things straight. I'll be putting in footnotes for people as necessary. Besides, this is the internet, it's easy enough to get a hold of me on here if there's any questions?

You want to know what I think about having enough content out there that this topic warrants a blog post? I think it's a damn good start.

TV is talking to me

No, not the actual television. It's too embarrassed to say anything because of it's size. It's secretly jealous of those skinny flat screen dealies. I keep telling the television that it's alright and I'm not interested in another television. Besides, who the hell is going to steal it. It's heavy and a proper thief would go after one of those televisions that hang of the wall.

I'm referring to TV itself speaking to me. It's always been a good friend and trusted adviser. Now is no different. You see, it's taken ABC away from me. Also, it's shown me the primetime line up for the CW, letting me know that there'll be only one hour of good TV on that channel this fall. Fox is stacking the interesting shows on Thursday as well knowing that I don't get home until late that night meaning there's an hours of TV for me to watch.

These are all cunning messages from TV. It's telling me to get one of those TV recording devices so that I can record good TV and watch it at proper times. It's forcing me into this so that I don't spend too much time watching TV when I should be doing other things.

The message from TV: "Get to work, and record us. You can watch us later. We don't mind."

TV is very considerate.

The four different types of martial arts

As the title says, there's four different types of martial arts. This has nothing to do with styles and a bit to do with actual technique. What this is concerning is intent.

These are martial arts done solely for the sake of performance. You can find them in movies and in some martial arts demos. The techniques are empty and it's more of a dance. Yes, it does take sufficient physicality to execute. This has become quite popular with the advent of XMA and "Tricking". The goal is to look impressive.

These are done purely for the sake of competition. The goal is to win, be it trophies at tournaments or belts in the ring. Training revolves around doing what it takes to impress judges and earn points.

This is focused on the betterment of self through martial arts. Personal growth is the goal. The results desired are physical, mental and spiritual. Rigorous training is often accompanied by meditation.

The goal is self preservation. This is training for dealing with real life situations. Techniques are explored for their potential in use in real combat situations.

Now, many schools offer a combination of these four in their training regimes. Some do specialize. Really it's up to the individual. Two people can be studying the same art from the same instructor and be doing two different types of martial arts.

So the question is: where is your head and heart in relation to your fist and foot?

Ian Holloway > Wendy Williams

I hate Wendy Williams. I click on a video to see a squirrel doing weird squirrelly things and there she is, squawking on inanely in front of people who must have the IQs of brine because they actually give a good goddamn about the asinine shit that tumbles from her big yap. Bad enough she ruined my dinnertime TV viewing habits. Now she's invaded my internet viewing habits. I hate her so hard. I was ready to go to sleep too. I had posted the latest page from the comic that was thrust upon me by a guy so desperate to move copies that I suspect he had stolen it. I bought it with a friend, she had a buck and I had some loose change. We live in different states so I post a page a day so we can share the book and everyone can have a good hard laugh at how terrible it is.

What the hell was I typing about?

WENDY WILLIAMS! That bitch! Anyways, I had scanned stuff, posted stuff, e-mailed stuff, stuffed stuffity stuff stuff stuff, and just wanted to watch a video with a squirrel in it to calm my nerves. I set aside the fact that a squirrel had brought my webcomics to a screeching halt. I mean, it's not like I was going to watch video of that squirrel. That would just be weird. So I click and I wait, because my internet sucks, but I don't care anymore since I'm now convinced that "high speed internet" is all a hoax. And the video comes up, and there's my squirrel. Looking cute and doing squirrel things. Next thing I know there's Wendy Williams talking about Barack Obama because I guess no one had talked about him in the last two minutes and the quota wasn't filling up properly and there's some guy in the crowd with a buzzer trying to shut her up and she's asking pissed about it. I think if the guy really wanted to shut her up he should have used a tazer.

So now I'm all wound up and torqued off and hating squirrels and really hating Wendy Williams.

Fortunately my mad seething fury somehow guided me over to White Chapel where I came upon this:

I am now at peace.

DnC Studios Versus Chicago: No Reservations

We grabbed some grub in the North Carolina airport knowing we would be going on a food safari and we might as well start enjoying ourselves. Chris had some ribs and I had to get some Carolina Bar-be-que. It was on point, but the games had only begun.

Day one of the Con was kinda a bust, but after the show things were looking up. Linda and company helped us take our things back to the hotel and then we hopped the L to head into the city to Giordano's. If you're going to be in Chi-Town then you've got to have some deep dish pizza. We arrived and some friends had a table already, so we joined them. Chris, Dylan, Vince, Linda and myself get a stuffed crust pizza with pepperoni, sausage and black olives. The meat was baked into the crust while the olives rest atop this glorious thing before us. I had a 312 Ale to wash it down as Chris and I absolutely crushed our first pieces. I think we shocked Linda a bit, but construction guys eat fast. We held court sharing our stories of Virginia, and probably guaranteeing that none of them will ever come and visit us.

Then we faced a problem. There were three slices left and five or us. Who would be the asshole and go after the second piece first? Vince and Linda in a show of class begged off, saying they were stuffed, opening the door of Chris, Dylan and myself to descend upon the rest of the pie like a pack of wolves. Never had pizza like that before. Truly top notch.

The five of us then braved the L back to our respective hotels. I say "braved' due to Lolapalooze letting out about the same time and the L was teeming with dirty footed hippies. One of which was in dire straights and spotted the fact that I had a bottle of soda.

Hippie: Dude, can I please have a sip of your soda? I'm dying here.

Me: Dude, before you have a sip of my soda I need to now what you're dying of.

I hate hippies. But I digress.

The following morning there was a steady downpour of rain preventing Chris and I from grabbing fast food for breakfast. We didn't have a vehicle on this trip. So, we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. I had never had lemon crepes before.

The hotel staff continued to spoil us with complimentary fruit smoothies and pastries. The food was more sophisticated then I'm used to. It was a real treat.

There was a communication break down on day 2 with Linda losing my phone number. So we hit the town with our con neighbors, Andy and Kim. Dodging horrible lumps of stuff on the stairway out of the L we made out way across town. It was a real treat to see the areas that doubled for Gotham city in the recent Batman movies. We saw a guy, drunk to the point of caveman status, stumbling along and dropping his liquor bottles. How he made it back to his hotel and didn't get ran over is beyond me.

We crossed the river and the air was thick. I found it a bit hard to breath as the air was heavy with the scent of the river. I was hoping to be away from it soon. We passed street performers playing drums and break dancing. I looked around to try to spot where we might be going. Andy led us to a staircase in the sidewalk, which had me confused for a moment until I turned to go down it.

Then the smell hit me. Actually, it embraced me. We descended into history.

Hidden from the tourists and the very sky above was a practical hole in the wall: The Billy Goat Tavern. Established in 1934 the Billy Goat is an institution. We had hot dog, double cheeseburgers, whoops, I mean CHEEZBORGERS, with chips and Billy Goat Ale to wash them done. We were surrounded on all sides by pictures of athletes, movie stars and politicians all of whom had come to this place. It was incredible. We sat there, looking at the pictures, enjoying our food and just soaking in the history around us. That place is special. I'm in Andy's debt for leading me there.

Linda brought us Chicago Style Hot Dogs the next day for lunch at the Con, which was an unnecessary but greaty appreciated apology for the previous night. Chicago dogs versus Convention center dogs? No contest.

After the show, Linda Vince and Dylan yet again helped us with our stuff and we hit the southside on a mission. Google maps yet again led us to somebody's doorstep, and they would not feed us. Still we found the Silver Palm.

We were in the hunt for the Three Little Piggies. This sandwich was reviewed in Maxim Magazine as one of the top 5 in the nation. It's a deep friend pork tenderloin, a slice of ham, bacon, two kinds of cheese, a fried egg and an fried onion ring.

I know what you're thinking. That can't be kosher. This sandwich not only isn't Kosher, it's flat out anti-Semitic. This thing is a Swastika on a bun!

Linda and Vince in a fit of sanity did not order the sandwich. Chris, Dylan and myself had no such rationality to save us.

We ordered that thing and the waitress asked about our medical history.

We got our beers and then came the sandwich. The sandwich comes with fries and I still wonder why. We looked at the sandwiches. I pondered briefly what they would say at my funeral. This was beyond sustenance, beyond a vicious case of the noms... this was man versus food. Three of us. There of them.

We clinked our beers and it was on like Donkey Kong.

We tore into our opponents, and Father God save me, it was the greatest sandwich I have ever eaten. I nearly wept. Still this was a battle, and our opponent played for keeps. This was eating the Chicago way! You sent one of theirs to your stomach, it sends your ass to the morgue!

Chris was forced to tap out about half way through. It was up to me and Dylan. Sweet Geebus, even the gristle was good! Dylan subdued his foe. The score was tied: 1 to 1. It was all up to me. The sandwich was an unweildy beast. I had great difficulty controlling it. I approached the end game with the others watching me and cheering me on. Goaded on, I shoved the rest of the bastard sandwich into my gaping maw. After some chewing and hanging onto the table for dear life, I finally swallowed the last of it and then ran a brief victory lap.

It took three hand washings and shower before I stopped smelling like pork.

We returned home the following day. Although we were paupers at the convention, after the show, we ate like Kings.

DnC Studios versus Chicago: the Con Report

This was a really big deal for me as this was the the Con that was in my mind the big one. I could care less about San Diego. It strikes me as being more about other nerd media than comics. This trip was my gift for the year. I cared about nothing else. I just wanted this trip. My wife made it happen.

Johnson has been under siege by a vicious wave of misfortune over the past month. He was hanging in as best he could. He just had to make it to the show. We prepped as best we could. We got out the door later than I had hoped. There was much chain smoking being done as Johnson attempted to decompress. We then confirmed that Goggle maps is indeed the Wikipedia of directions as our directions to the airport led me to someone's doorstep. they didn't have a plane. Still we made the flight, and after dropping down to North Carolina to see people in rocking chairs using their laptops and others gathered around power outlets as if they were campfires in the arctic we proceeded to Chicago.

We stayed at the Rosemont O'Hare which is attached to the convention center by a skywalk, which came in handy due to rain. The hotel was indeed the lap of luxury for the pair of us and the staff treated us like kings. We missed premier night, but got settled in and had a couple of drinks at the bar. We went over our last minute game plans.

The next morning we got up at six and headed down to the complimentary coffee bar. We seemed to be the only guests in the hotel to be stirring at that hour. We discovered later that my phone didn't stnc up with the time zone change and the room alarm clock was off by an hour. Yep, we were up at 5 in morning. Fine, gave us time to pick up the last minute essentuals for working the table: a case of Cokes, a tin of Altoids and a couple packs of smokes.

We found ourselves on the far side of the world in the artist alley, but at least it was a short walk to the can. I was directly across from Tony Moore and Chris Samnee, and was kicking myself for not bringing my QUEEN AND COUNTRY definitive edition for him to sign. We met our neighbors Andy Budnick and his girlfriend Kim. Delightful folks.

Day one was slow and painful. Although we did manage to make about $7.

God bless hot librarians who like Batgirl. You can see Chris Samnee hard at work behind her. Spotting quite a few folks dressed as Doctor Horrible I preceded to do some pictures of the character in hopes of getting some sales. I continued trying up finish out the Twitter event. The major plus side was Linda showing up with Vince and Dylan. Linda's a long time e-friend and this was our first face-to-face meeting. She likes to take credit for my making the trip. While that's not the case, meeting her finally was definitely the biggest perk and made the trip worthwhile.

Our staggering sales certainly weren't.

This was also the day we came to discover our table came complete with a Tom and Jerry booby trap which consisted of 5 gallon plastic buckets which were suspended over us and periodically dripped water down upon us. Nothing like a roof leak and/or air conditioning condensation over what is, in essence, a celebration of paper. We got quite chummy with many of the volunteers.

This Con was in trouble. 100 out of the 135 volunteers that were to work the show never showed up. DC didn't show up. Marvel didn't show up. Dark Horse didn't show up. Seems we picked a great year for our first appearance.

And they seriously need to feed their volunteers too. Poor starving bastards.

Day two was looking up. The Doctor Horrible pics were selling a bit. We got some commissions. I'm surprised we didn't get more considering we were charging $5 for fully inked pictures. My bristol got more use fanning Linda and company who were very warm in their outfits. This was the day of the costume contest so everyone was decked out in their best costumes. Cosmic Boy declared me his arch-nemesis. I answered by pelting him with a wad of tin foil and mocking his magnetic powers. Dick Blick came through for us big time. He was selling art supplies and took excellent care of us. He's got a couple of new life time customers now. I also snagged a copy of Ong Bak 2.

By the end of day 2 fatigue had set in. Johnson was doing well since he ran into Michelle Rodrigez on one of his smoke breaks and got the hang with her a bit.

Day three arrived and I was feeling punchy. I also had questions for one Chris Samnee.

Me: So, with it being day three and everyone's kinda punchy, hypothetically speaking, if you were inking a piece and some one from, let's just say across the aisle here, were to say, hypothetically, chuck a paper airplane at you, what would happen?

Samnee: I'd punch them right in the face.

Me: Hypothetically?

Samnee: Hypothetically, of course.

We then agreed that the guy the Quicksilver costume the day before really should have been wearing underwear. Nothing bonds artists faster than the sheer horror of shiny spandex clad dongs right at your eye level.

I drew a lot on day 3. Did a bunch of pictures. I even managed to walk around a bit. Linda and I walked the aisles. She made some purchases and chatted with folks. I marveled at what a complete moron the kid selling weapons was. It was all a bit of a blur that day and my sense of time crumbled.

That was pretty much it. Coming out of it I determined that a Con is a Con. The mystique is gone, but it was a pretty good show. Johnson wants to do it again next year. We may have to return.

Wrap up and credits

The Twitter event is all done. It was a very laborious undertaking and I seriously doubt I'll be attempting anything like that again. The Tweets and account will be there until inactivity or hacker assault destroys it. It was very difficult, especially in the last legs due to twitter being under attack by hackers or some such making it near impossible to update the story.

I would like to thank Kat Hogan for all of her efforts supplying the art for the project. It was really great stuff. I'd also like to thank Kristiine Havener for all of here efforts promoting the project and her tireless support. The effort would have been dead in the water without them.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who read and followed the mystery. I'm very proud that I did it, and hopefully it entertained some folks.

Thanks again.

I outta here!

Heading for Chicago today for the Comic-con. Anyone who's been following the Twitter mystery, finds me at table 3434 in the artist alley, and tells me your theory on who did it gets a prize!

Hope to see you all there!

So You Think You Can Dance predictions

OK last year I was able to predict the winner all the back to before the top 20 were picked. This year I picked Evan and sure enough he's in the finals. I'm going to the repeat. Now, the competition is stiff as all four finalists are incredibly talented. hell, the entire top 20 were all amazing. There were a few surprises along the way. I'm very surprised Ashley was let go so early. She was really great. Asuka and Vitolio were other favorites of mine that I thought would make the top 10.

The show has been very strong this season. I would still like to see less musical acts and more dance demonstrations on the results show, but I'll deal with it.

Looking forward to tomorrow night.