Whoo boy.  Better late than never!  I realize I’m backdating this to Monday, but it’s actually late Tuesday night as I post the second half of this spread.  Every week I wonder what the heck I’ve gotten myself in for.  The SA-13 “Gopher” missile tanks were just too cool to pass up, though.  This whole scene required an enormous amount of research.  I make extensive use of photo reference, mainly for things like body position and gesture, but also for the tanks and airplanes, which I then modify on the go.  This spread sent me to my library in search of books on Vietnam, old newspaper clippings from the war in Georgia a few years ago, books on the Soviet army, photos from both World Wars… it took a lot of work to amass all the right information.  Then to turn it into a composition I could sketch from, refine, ink and color properly – it was quite an undertaking!

But the result is as close as I have managed to get so far to making this look like a book that’s ready for print.  When I talk about editing earlier pages, I mean bringing it up to this standard.  That’s the real thing, you see, with drawing to a weekly schedule – too often the deadline becomes the goal, not the product.  And that’s legit, of course: people are following along and I hate to delay the story.  But sometimes I end up taking shortcuts, even small and unnoticeable ones, and the results are not quite there – and sometimes are really off the mark.  That, combined with the haphazard moments I had early in this chapter and late in the last one, has had me trying to pull up my socks, and has led me to wonder whether, at the end of this chapter, it might be well to pause the story and go back to fix old pages that didn’t quite “do it.”

I doubt that I will.  Better to move forward.  But if I ever print this thing, I better get used to the idea, I suppose.

Anyhow, two things.  First, the next page of the guest story for reMIND that our little arts commune did is up, so go give’er a look.  This week’s the work of Chris Wrann of Aquarium Drinking, who incidentally got the whole thing started, and wrote the story as well!  I urge you to check it out and support all of our comics with your readership, comments and votes.  After all, we do this for free, and we do it for you!

And second, if you want to see the full spread, in all its glory (including some corrections and enhancements to the last page!) all you have to do is zip on over and cast your vote at topwebcomics.com!  And here’s a handy link for you to do so, as well!

So again, thanks for the patience, and we’ll be back next week.  be well, everyone!

But yes, it looks like Mike is back!  Everybody loves Mike!  But is he too late?  The Federates seem to be making their move, missile-wise…