UPDATE! 3.15.10

Once again, we have color, and for this one, I think it made all the difference.  The only thing as a little continuity thing with Mike-One-Echo – I’ve never drawn him from this angle before, but as it turns out, none of the markings on his hull are visible from this angle, so he ended up looking rather plain.  But that happens sometimes.  The layout here was remarkably simple, and I think that the one- and two-color backgrounds in the first two panels were pretty effective from a graphic standpoint.  I’m pretty happy with this page, overall.  Note that Ryan Hoffman has been given the rank of Hauptmann in the Bundeswehr – the affiliation with Germany was per his request for his cameo appearance, and given that the UNA has a lot of exiles in its military, this was more than reasonable.  And frankly, drawing in an actual person, though gimmicky, was refreshing, and so I think I may do it more often, probably on similar lines.  Keeps the characters looking fresh.  An appearance by Joost Haakman, author and artist of Semmie the Forest Gnome, is soming up soon, remember!  And if you’d like to be in the comic yourself, well… just stay tuned, because futher opportunities will be coming up before you know it!

A little housekeeping is in order.  First and foremost, I’m getting sick of the two-week system I’ve been forced to use the past few months.  Granted, I’ve always posted an update on Monday of SOME kind, but with a full pencil-to-color process taking two weeks instead of my original one, it’s making the story drag, and so starting this week I’m making a real push to get back on the one-week schedule.  Now, I’m fortunate that my acutal “Real World” job is doing pretty well, and is becoming a lot busier now, as that keeps the paychecks coming in, and those pay for the upkeep on my Secure, Undisclosed Location, wherefrom springs the joys of 6-Commando.  However, it also stresses me out.  But in spite of this, I’m putting in a real push to get this back on its original schedule, and to try to help motivate me, I’ve begun a small-scale bit of advertising for 6-Commando.  Advertising on the web is exceptionally cheap, actually, and so I figured a few dollars to try to bring in a few more readers was worth a shot.  If you’re reading this and have been directed here by one of my banner ads, welcome!  I hope that you will a) enjoy the comic as much as I enjoy drawing it (which is a LOT!); b) vote for it on the comic lists at right, as ranking on these lists helps get the comic noticed, and c) come back often!

In any case, we’re coming up on a particularly dramatic bit in the story as we approach the climax, so stay tuned.  I’m not in a position to make promises, but if all goes to plan we’ll be back on our weekly schedule, with a full colored page ready a week from now!  Until then, the army keeps rolling along, and so do I.  Be well, all – see you next week!

[Original Post 3.8.10]: Well, here we are.  Page 17, and things have finally gotten out of hand with Mike-One-Echo, who seems ready to go off the reservation!  Making a guest appearance on this page is Ryan Hoffman, artist of Guten Tag and Mega West, who, with Joost Haakman, kindly filled in for me while I was off whipping around the Swiss Alps.

But I’m back now, and 6-Commando soldiers on!  Being one to make my cameo appearances appropriate to the person appearing, being as how Ryan drew me a guest portrait of Mike-One-Echo, I cast Ryan as one of Mike’s engineering team.  At his request, he is from the U.N.A., and when in color, will be revealed to be a German exile.  There’s something proper about a German tank expert, as well, especially given that, in the 6-Commando Universe, there was no World War II.  And though Ryan’s cameo happened to come up first, Joost, one of the earliest and most vocal supporters of this comic, has not been forgotten, and his appearance is coming up soon, as well!

I’m actually fairly pleased with this page, given that my return and reintegration into North American society was not the smoothest one.  I immediately had to deal with a lot of crises at home and at work, keeping the proverbial plates spinning on the sticks.  I almost managed to get this to color, actually, but it just ended up being impossible, as I had a last-minute visit from my brother and sister over the weekend, and of course, given the choice between work and play, who wouldn’t choose play on a beautiful Sunday afternoon?

Storywise, we’re approaching the climax of the first chapter, and all seems to be coming together as I’d planned it.  As I script things rather more loosely than many other artists, it’s always a challenge to pace the story, and keep it interesting page-to-page while coming in on the requisite number of pages per chapter.  Although I’m not thinking about the specifics of editing this chapter right now (by sheer force of will and on the advice of some very wise friends) I am still concerned that this chapter may need to be extended slightly to get in all the action I want to, and have it end on the proper note, and with the proper scene.  As it’s a graphic novel, not a comic series per se, I’m willing to extend it however it ends up being necessary, but I still find myself feeling attracted to those succinct, 24-page units the traditional U.S. comic book offers.  There’s something about their discipline that appeals to me.  But if I go for 28 or 32 pages to get the proper story told, it won’t kill me, nor break the bank on printing, for that matter.

Ah, well.  I’m not sweating it for now.  My next step is to color this page, and then move forward.  This chapter is getting pretty exciting, I hope, and we’re moving ahead full steam, so keep on tuning in!  Until next week, everyone!