After so many pages where the dominant facial expressions have been anger, frustration, irritability, fear, and sadness, I’ll wager you were beginning to wonder if I could draw any more complex emotions, like Rucker’s expression of awe, relief, and happiness.  And it was very hard to do, actually, I don’t mind admitting.  But in the end, I managed to find a great reference to use as a starting point, and it was, if you can believe it, a still from The Big Lebowski.  You can get help from the strangest places, sometimes.

What does Rucker see?  Oh, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Ain’t I a stinker?  But while you’re waiting, you might just pop over to and vote for 6-Commando.  I’ve put up the last two-page spread for your edification, and the two pages work together really nicely… next best thing to reading the book.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Really though, this week of all weeks I wish I could be posting more than one page.  Because the next two are already well underway and they are a real doozy, the pair of them.  They’re the ones you’ll either love or hate, believe me.  But I’m sticking to my storyline and plowing ahead.  You stuck around for the now-infamous White Page, so.  Still, this is kind of like cooking, and I never apologize for anything that happens in the kitchen.

Now then, to all the winners of 6-Commando Poker, I can say that those of you who sent me mailing addresses have prizes on the way.  In the United States, you should have them in about a week.  Overseas, you should have them in about two and a half.  One of you specifically declined your prizes, and so I have complied, and held it in abeyance – if you change your mind, of course, I’ll be happy to send it along anyway.  And finally, one of you failed to send me an address, so, likewise, I’ll hold it in trust for you until I know where to send it.

And as for that, I decided in the end to send ALL of you free sketches, not just a few, and actually, though I spent the week dreading the task of doing them all, in the end it was a lot of fun, and I kind of got on a roll.  I hope you like ’em!

Soooo… we’re now hurtling towards the end of Chapter 3.  It’s been a long chapter, and there’s some bit left to go yet, but at the end of it is when I had planned to take a breather and try to get the book ready for print.  Unfortunately, due to a number of considerations, not the least of which is just the simple fact of having a job to go to every day that isn’t comics, like, at ALL, I’m behind where I’d wanted to be by this point for editing the first bit of the book for print.  And that’s a major concern to me at this stage, because I need to iron out my set of deadlines for turnaround when I go to print, if I’m planning to do it this year.  And an increasing part of me is in the mode of just being like the hell with it and moving on to Chapter 4 straight away.  Another part of me is thinking of a far less grand overhaul of the artwork, too, with a print-on-demand paperback, just for the sake of getting the book out faster, in time for summer conventions, with minimal disruption to the online updates.  That part is particularly concerned about being able to raise enough capital for the whole scheme, and the logistics of having so much product hanging around, and where to put it, and will people really buy it or will I be saddled with a load of books I can’t move, and so forth…  But still, the dominant part of my mind when I think of this, is that if I release this, it ought to really be the absolute best I can make it, and that is what I have to keep telling myself every time I sit down to plan out my week’s work.  Maybe I’ll miss NYCC this year and have to bring it out online, over the winter, or something.  That would be a bummer, but not an insurmountable bummer.  And in the end, maybe I’m selling myself short, and everything will go just smashingly.  ‘Cause that could happen, too.

So all this is by way of saying that I’m getting the jitters about all this now that the time to actually get this thing done is coming upon me, but I’m doing my damnedest to get through it and make it work.  Even though Chapter 4 is much more action-packed, with combat technology, battle scenes, robots, powered armor, tanks, and none of this silly “emotional character development” nonsense.  Okay, maybe a LITTLE, but still.

My goals: minimally, a 5″ x 8″ print-on-demand trade paperback.  I don’t want to do it this way but I’m not going to rule it out.  Better, is a pro-printed, perfect-bound, matte-cover paperback, at full 6-5/8″ x 10 1/4″ size; bigger, cleaner, full color.  And if I can get it done, if I think it’ll sell, if I can really make it, a deluxe, cloth-bound, dustjacketed, full-size hardcover.  That would be sweet.

So, there it is.  If I had to take the spring and summer off to produce that, I hope you’d forgive me for it.  And I hope you’d buy one.  This is really the kind of thing I guess every artist at this stage has gone through when they went to print their first book.  It’s not easy, let me tell you.

In any event, that’s been my week.  And until the next one, I’ll just keep on moving ahead.  All the best, folks.