Yes, yes, I know, it’s another damn webcomic.  There’s about a million of them out there.  This is not American Manga, though, so eliminate the top 50%.  And no vampires, occultism, spells or magic ritual, so kill the next 45%.  I like these odds so far!

Okay, I kid, I kid.  But I am definitely shooting for a slightly different approach to the webcomics genre.  And though I jest about it, there’s a lot of superb work out there on all fronts, so there’s stiff competition, for those who think in those terms.  For me, though, I am just trying to make a little corner for myself here.  And at the outset, I thought a few words about ways and means would be useful to anyone I’m fortunate enough to have reading this.

First is the milieu.  I won’t describe the world I’m writing up, as it will become pretty clear through the story.  I will say that one of the main movers here is the fact that I like drawing tanks.  I respect the tank as a piece of machinery, not because it is designed to be a weapon of efficient mechanized killing, which it is, but because I see it as one of several icons of the First Machine Age, a symbol of the twentieth century invented at its start, and developed constantly over its course.  Tanks are very interesting and diverse devices, designed, interestingly, first and foremost as a means of protecting their occupants, passively, by allowing them to carry thick metal plates around them while their enemies are trying to shoot at them.  Besides which, they are very fun to draw, for a science fiction nut most of all, because their infinite variations can instantly set the tone of a story (one in a military milieu, at any rate).

That said, I think it’s very important to point out that there is a distinct difference, as David Drake puts it, between description and advocacy.  I do not believe that war is anything other than an unmitigated blight on human civilization, even though I am in no way naive enough to believe that it will be done away with by any human society we will know in this age.  I respect soldiers for their willingness to do a very difficult thing, but I still wish they didn’t have to do it.  For a writer, though, war is a backdrop to an enormous element of the human condition, i.e., the violent realization of human mortality, and it is in this kind of uniquely structured circumstance that truly interesting characters can be developed and explored.  My goal is not in any way to glorify violence or bloodshed; quite the opposite, in fact.  On the other hand, I’m not a man with a message, either.  I’ve chosen a military story and I accept that – within this framework my goal is to produce an entertaining and engaging adventure.

This is not a story about war so much as it is about the characters, at war.  These characters are not immortals, and they are not superheros.  They are people trying to do their duty in a situation not of their own making, and that, I think, is what makes an interesting story.  The story is science fiction, and there’s a lot of technology, politics, background and such involved, but the people are still just people, and the war is still a war. 

And in wars, people die.