In the words of Slim Pickens’ “Major Kong,” “Well, boys, I reckon this is it! Nuc’lar combat, toe-to-toe with the Rooskies!”  It took ten months and a lot of delays, but Chapter 1 of 6-Commando is finally complete.

To all the readers in the United States, let me wish you a happy Independence Day.  And to everyone, let me thank you all for the amazing show of support you’ve given me over the past months!  Finishing the first chapter here is a great milestone, and I’m thrilled to have done it – and your comments, critiques and encouragement made it possible!  Special thanks to the friends of 6-Commando in the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – especially Pavel Zhdanov – your help with the Russian language was exceptionally useful, and is going to save me quite a bit of agony later, I can tell you!  So thanks!

As this page posts, I will be enjoying a little long-deferred time off, visiting the birthplace of the United States – Philadelphia.  Ground Zero, if I may, for the American Revolution.  I predict extreme relaxation.  And at the same time, there’s pondering to be done.

Now that there’s a full chapter done, the time has come for a little time off, while I assess the next step for 6-Commando.  That sounds awfully drastic, but it really isn’t.  Essentially, the biggest question for me so far was one of formatting: do I edit and redraw the first chapter to get it to print, or do I press forward?  Initially, I’d thought I would go back at the end of each chapter and re-edit, but at this point I think it’ll probably be better to spend that time and effort on Chapter 2.  This has been reinforced by some research on printing that has led me to conlcude that seriallizing each chapter individually will not be cost-effective.  Moreover, obsessing over earlier pages while neglecting the need to move the story forward seems counter-productive at this stage.

So I’m going to just plow ahead into Chapter 2 and defer those decisions about editing and whatnot.  I see no really compelling reason to hold up the whole story for several weeks while I pore over the excruciating miniutiae of artistic decisions I made months ago.  That said, I will still need a little time to gear up.  However, fear not – in between I will continue posting on the regular schedule.  This won’t be “filler,” per se, but it will be very much like filler.  I hope you’ll enjoy it for its own sake.

And so now we come to a moment I’ve deferred, but in light of the milestone crossed here, I thought would be appropriate: shamelessly promoting my fellow cartoonists.  Below are some of the people who have really supported this project.  I run off at the mouth (keyboard?) a lot I know, but I want to say in no uncertain terms that it is not as easy as it seems to find cartoonists who are as actively supportive of other people’s efforts as those who have supported me.  It’s an insular little world, and the “guys at the top” more often than not take a dim view of new projects on the make, and can be a little patronizing, if truth be told.  These guys here, however, have given me consistently strong, serious, and straightforward support and feedback, and so I hope you’ll all give them the same treatment.  There’s nothing more important than being taken seriously. 

As a capitalist, I believe that a rising tide floats all boats – so the more we support each other, the better all of our work will be.  And that said, allow me to recommend:

Semmie The Forest Gnome.  A children’s comic that couldn’t be more different in style and substance from 6-Commando, but the slick and unapologetically European style is one I love, and I think you will too.  Drawn by Joost Haakman.

reMIND.  Recently awarded a Xeric Grant, and not without good reason!  A truly unique techno-fantasy that deals with life, self, and the nature of the soul, it has been praised throughout the net for its unique and beautiful style, and the creator’s blog attached to it is packed with useful tidbits for aspiring artists.  Drawn by Jason Brubaker.

Mega West.  Drawn by the same guy who did Guten Tag, and, alas, evidently on hiatus at the moment, this western thriller has a heavy tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and a smooth art style that I hope is revived soon.  Maybe if we all pester these guys we can get it going again – it was just getting good!  Drawn by Ryan Hoffman.

Outsider.  The sci-fi sleeper hit of the internet, with an animated look that was a stylistic inspiration for 6-Commando.  Since time immemorial men have dreamed of a race of blue warrior-women.  And if they haven’t, they should.  Space battles, war and diplomacy, and the sole survivor of a human ship caught in the middle of it all – it’s hard to recommend this one too strongly!  Drawn by Jim Francis.

Aquarium Drinking.  It’s not what you expect.  The art may not be the tour-de-force stuff of The Meek or The Paradigm Shift, but the story is relatable and the author has a stable of strong characters facing conflicts that ring remarkably true, without pretense or self-indulgence.  This is on my top-list of comics on the make.  Keep your eye on this one.  Drawn by Chris Wrann.

So there!  One down, more to go!  All the best to everyone, and I thank you for the support so far.  Stay tuned, folks – Chapter 2 is on the way!