A couple people guessed right! Striking out on your own means you get kicked out of the pack forever/for awhile depending. Make good choices, Eli! Or don’t. Do whatever makes this comic more interesting! The most fun part about writing a story is emotionally dragging every character through hell periodically, so look forward to that!

If you’re a $10 or more patron over at Patreon, you would’ve seen the early versions of these pages, and Marin in a totally different outfit. I kind of hated what I originally drew for her (pencil skirt, loose top, scarf), even though I liked it on the references I looked at. Soooo I found some other looks I liked and went in a different direction. Marin is fancy, even in a crisis. She’s wearing rather sensible booties, which you cannot see, so at least she’s somewhat prepared for running around if needed. (That’s a lie, booties are terrible for running based on the ones I own.)

I’m going to see if I can knock out next week’s pages in color. I’d like to! I think I’m probably shooting myself in the foot with choice of pages, seeing as it’ll be the whole group meeting at once. (That’s not really a spoiler, seeing as…well, the gang’s all here almost.) My goal was always that eventually I’d do this comic in color, but well, first I had to figure out HOW to color and how to use color, and now I just have to find the time. We’ll see! If not, then soon, because there’s more than a few sequences I’d like to do in color just for the impact.

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the “stakes” in a lot of stories. I think most sci-fi/fantasy/supernatural stories tend to have to ramp up the stakes over and over just due to scale. If you have 20 episodes a season or whatever, then you have to lead up to something BIG. Always. The end of the world! Zombie apocalypse! Total collapse of civilization! I think those stories are interesting, but I’m glad other people write them instead of me. I wouldn’t want to be a writer on Supernatural and have to keep coming up with alternatives to the world ending for every season to tackle.

The only stories I’m any good at writing tend to have more personal stakes. The biggest disruptors in my life have been big changes I’m forced to accept, so my parents dying or moving for college or moving back home from college or starting new jobs, etc. I think that’s the issue for most people. Getting comfortable or at least used to your own life, and then forced to move in another direction for one reason or another. (Just think of how hard it is to break up with someone…even if you don’t like them anymore, it’s a big change with reaching consequences usually.) I’m not trying to spoil anything about the future of this comic, but there’s not going to be any saving of the world here. You could almost call this a “slice of life werewolf story”, except you know, right now things are not so much fun. The slice of life is the bad slice, not the normal, every day happy slice. But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that if you write about your characters first and let the plot naturally spring forth from who they are and whatever issues they’re having, and how they address those issues, you end up with a much more compelling story than if you’re determined to shove some random ass characters into a plot they have no influence upon. Write characters first.

Long story short, someone should really offer me the option to write Superman one day. I’d do a great job. Giant guy with crazy super powers trying to pretend to be a normal person during his down time? All while not breaking every office supply on his desk? That’s interesting! Giant super-powered dude beating up one-dimensional bad guys? Eh, not as interesting, but a necessary part of the deal. I’d make it work. I always found Clark Kent to be a more interesting character than Bruce Wayne, but he’s usually written by people who have no idea how to make a guy like Superman interesting. He’s just a dude! Just a dude, but with a cape and a funny outfit who has super powers. Write about who that guy is first, super powers second.

In life news, I walked the dog this morning and got fucking DRENCHED. I wasn’t expecting the rain to come on so suddenly, which is silly, because that’s how summer rain operates. We basically ran from the cover of one tree to the cover of the next tree over and over. I’m still kind of damp and it’s been two hours. Bogus.

Also, I’ve been watching way too many documentaries on Netflix about how sugar is added to all our food and we’re all going to die. Or something. Right now I’m watching Fed Up, and before that I watched Sugar Coated. Basically, back in the 60s and 70s, the sugar lobby made a concerted effort to fight back against research that revealed that sugar was the leading cause of a whole suite of health issues. They launched an impressive publicity campaign and now…we’re here. And there’s sugar in almost everything you eat :P. I’ve tried to make an effort the last few weeks to reduce my sugar intake. I’m already pretty low, with the occasional baking experiment being the exception, but the last few months, I’ve been ramping up how many sweets I’ve been eating, so I need to cut back again. It’s not fun! Sugar is very addicting. I killed the habit pretty well when I lived in Los Angeles, just because leaving the house was such an ordeal that I didn’t have access to as many sweets as I’d like. Now, I can walk downtown and get a cupcake. Alas, I have to resist. I’m not necessarily a health nut, but I am trying to live forever, so you know, gotta do what I can. Immortality is tough like that.