UPDATE 2.15.2010!

Okay, I’m way, WAY too tired to explicate this page, and I think last week’s post pretty much covered it anyway.  All that’s here is color, and I’m really rather pleased with it as of now.  For now, I’ll just say that, although I hate to leave it on a cliffhanger like this, this is where it stays until I get back from Switzerland, and my long overdue and desperately needed vacation.  Until then, let me draw your attention to The World of 6-Commando, above, which was done by special request from some old Ogre grognards over at Steve Jackson Games’ Ogre Forum.  It’s all just a little fluff to pad out the site, but it’s worth a look, I hope!  As for me, a lot has gone exactly right for me this past week, and I’m more than pleased to accept that as it is and go off to enjoy a little time away from all form of committments, enjoying my cafe crème in the snowy moutains of the Bernese Oberland.

In the meantime, I’ve already heard from both Messrs. Hoffman and Haakman, who have kindly offered to fill in for me in my absence, and so for the next two weeks, there will be some delightful guest art to span the gap until mt return from the Alps.  Mr. Hoffman showed me a preliminary sketch for his bit and though I won’t give it away, I have to say I was immediately pleased with it.  And if Mijnheer Haakman is half as good in his spare time as he is on his professional work, well, we’ll be doing just fine while I’m gone.

I also want to thank everyone who stopped by from the various web lists – the increased traffic has been small but definitely noticeable, and I want to say thanks and welcome to all the new readers!  6-Commando is a labor of love, of course, but as I draw near to the completion of the first chapter, a little extra readership really helps to keep the ball rolling.  So thanks, and remember: vote early, vote often, and keep 6-Commando on your Favorites Lists, because we are moving ahead full speed!

See you in a few weeks, and enjoy the guest art!  And please, if you like what you see here, scoot on over to Studio Joost, Guten Tag, and also Ryan Hoffman’s newest project, Mega West!  They’re all first rate, and more than worth the look!

Be well, see you in March, and may a robotic superheavy tank not roll through your house in pusruit of Communists!

[ADDENDUM, 8:00 AM]  Sorry to Joost and Dominique – I was trying to fiddle with some settings this morning and I lost the post.  Had to reload from the backups but your comments were missing!  I apologize for that – the web can be a heck of a thing sometimes.

Original Post 2.8.2010: Okay, so going back to one page a week was premature.  Insomnia, deadlines at work, and the simple fact that this page took me positively FOREVER to lay out properly, simply conspired against me this time.  But I’m working on getting back up to the old schedule, so bear with me.

With this page, we enter Act III of Episode I, and I promise you, I’m working up to a conclusion that may surprise you.  I’ve known for some time how this chapter was going to end (I wrote the story a while back, so this is mainly a matter of filling in the relevant blanks), but some little opportunities presented themselves for better character development, foreshadowing, and the closing of a few plot holes, so I reworked a couple of things.  First and foremost, somewhere along the way I miscounted the number of pages and realized I had one more in this chapter than I’d imagined when I plotted it.  Thus, the opportunity to get a slightly better grip on the characters of Mike-One-Echo and Major Rucker, and their interaction, happened here, which I’m happy got into the mix.  Mike is an important force in this story, so making sure he’s properly included was important.  Also, I took a few hours this week and sat down to figure out exactly where the plot was going and what I had originally imagined it would do on arrival, and I realized that Chapter 2 was going to be a great chance to really get into the meat of some of the main characters, and that to this end the focus really needed to shift pretty drastically – a little rewriting and some sketches later, I think it really stands up and works, and I’ve regained a lot of confidence in the project that I’d lost earlier last week.

On that point, as a matter of fact, I have once again to thank my colleague Joost Haakman, a gentleman I’ve never even met, but who has nevertheless provided a great deal of encouragement and insight as I’ve plodded through this project.  In particular, he dropped me a note this week to tell me that I should come to my senses and not get so uptight about editing the chapter before I’ve even finished it.  Very wise advice.  It’s very easy to spin one’s wheels in that way, and it’s something best avoided.  Production is more important at this point – things like editing can sort themselves out later.  As ever, I’m deeply indebted to Joost, and to other fellow-cartoonists who’ve chimed in from the depths of cyberspace to offer encouragement and advice.

Now a little housekeeping: I’ll be coloring this page and will update as usual next week, but after that, I will be gone for two weeks, as I travel to Switzerland for a long-overdue vacation (anyone who reads my blog at Vicious Print will know that my previous attempt at a vacation was abortive, at best).  In the meantime, mijnheer Haakman, previously mentioned, author and artist of the online comic Semmie the Forest Gnome (which I highly recommend for all ages!) and Mr. Ryan “Drew” Hoffman of the comic Guten Tag have offered to fill in for me, and for this they have earned both my extreme gratitude, and cameo appearances in this very comic, currently scheduled either for the end of this chapter or early in the next.  In the meantime, I urge you all to check out their work – for my money, it’s some of the best stuff in web comics these days!

And one last note: I’ve begin trying to increase readership here – note the little slug on the side here, linking us up the “The Comic Blog Elite!”  It’s the first of a couple shots I’m taking at getting more viewers into the fold, and I’m currently ranked somewhere around 135th out of I don’t even know how many.  But check that link out, and if you feel moved to do so, by all means rate the site and review it!  Every bit counts, and the more readership we get, the more motivation I have, and the better the chances are that a) I’ll be able to grapple back onto the weekly schedule, and b) I’ll be able to come up with a viable option for printing this book when the time comes!

So!  Another week is upon us!  I’ll be back in seven days with color, so until then, be good, and keep the tanks rolling!