crazy-secret

You can now buy copies of “I’m Crazy”

Good news fans.  I’ve got some more copies of “I’m Crazy” up for sale which you can buy right here.  I’ve been noticing a rise of interest and some people have been inquiring so I’ve decided to revive the book.

For those unfamiliar, I’m Crazy was an autobiographical graphic novel which I published with the help of Peter Laird’s Xeric Grant in 2010.  It’s the story of how I found out I had OCD and the strange, uncomfortable places it’s led me.  Buy it for yourself!  Buy it for friends!  Have an awkward, mentally unstable time alone or with others!

purpleman

It’s almost ready and I’m almost ready

Oof this project did not go as fast as I thought I did.  Partly it was overconfidence and learning whatever I needed to learn to make this happen but recently it has also been about fear.  I find, professionally and artistically, that once I finish something, I just hate it.  It’s not that I think my work is bad, but once I finish that work and I know there’s nothing left to do to make it better, I’m just done.

For that reason it’s been a lot easier keeping everything going on the professional side, where other talented people take my work and do whatever needs to be done next, while I move on to the next thing.  I wish someone else could take Moon Devils and go all around and talk about how it’s the greatest thing ever, because I’ve never been particularly good at that bit, and I know in my heart it’s not quite as great as I envisioned.

Fortunately there’s also a part after you’ve finished something where it takes on a life of its own and is separate from you.  You still see its flaws but can reflect upon it with affection and admiration.  You never really get to be a fan of it, but you at least get to feel like you are offering a product and not a piece of yourself, and whatever happens next won’t kill you.

Living the nocturnal dream

Hi Everybody!

Just a quick update on my progress.  I’ve taken a month off to build the framework of the game.  This involves a lot of coding, a lot of wearing pyjamas and a lot of watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 while I draw.

It’s really really terrific of my employers to give me the time off, but it’s definitely been a weird time.  While it would be a dream to do this sort of thing full time, having this one month and then preparing to go back to work makes me feel like every minute is precious.  As a result, my overdrive sessions have me up really late and night and getting up progressively later the next day.  Right now I’m generally going to bed at 5 in the morning and waking up around 2.  I will definitely have to readjust this before I go back to work.

This all reminds me of a guy I had a serious crush on in my first year university.  During his time working as a restock boy at the beer store, he confided in me that he became completely nocturnal, rising at night and sleeping all day.  This seemed so cool and glamorous to me back then.  Now here I am, living the dream.

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Faces of MARS

With the prototype finished I’ve begun the process of finishing all the imagery for the game.  This involves drawing the characters over and over again.  The above picture is from a series of panels that appear when you contact the Martian throughout the day.

After working on black and white comics for years I’m afraid I’m going a bit bezerk with the colour, but I think it works.  This kind of flat, bright colour scheme reminds me of a happy memory from my childhood.  I was staying at my Aunt’s cottage on Fox Lake (in Northern Ontario).  We got in too late to actually see the inside of the cottage, so we went to bed in complete darkness.

When I awoke the next day I discovered my bed was facing an amazing Star Wars vintage bath towel.  Thanks to artistic license (or maybe limitations on how many colours were available for bath towel ink or whatever), everyone was insanely crayola coloured.  Luke’s bare chest was bright orange, Chewbacca was a rich purple and Darth Vader was electric blue.  I thought holy shit, who are these people?  I didn’t actually see Star Wars until I was a teenager and I thought it was great, but nothing compared to that toxic disco freakout promised by that towel.

You Have Entered Hell

It’s taken some time, but the prototype for March of the Moon Devils is complete. This means that the game works, but has no content yet. It’s just a collection of brief descriptions of the events in the game, and the choose your own adventure mechanics that powers it.

In this form it reminds me a lot of of one of the first computer games I ever played on my Commodore 64. Who even knows what this game was called, but basically it would offer you a really florid paragraph about where you were and what was going on, and you would either press A to go right and B to go left.

I played this for several hours, piecing it together that the blocks of text represented a virtual map. Press A – You have entered The Library. Press B – You have entered the cellar. Except one unfortunate B keystroke yielded this ..

YOU HAVE ENTERED HELL

Followed by a multi-paragraph description of the torments of hell, a subject which I was completely unfamiliar. Just by pressing B I learned that after people die there’s a good chance they will face eternal agony in an endless underworld.

And somehow the fact it was just white text on a blue background made it even scarier. There wasn’t even a picture to give it context, just a bleak message from an unknown source, confirming the existence of something so beyond my mortal ken I didn’t even know I was suppose to fear it.

Anyway there will definitely by pictures in Moon Devils, but it’s also mostly picking from a selection of risky choices. With any luck the game will reach some innocent ten year old and traumatized them. Here’s hoping.

night-devils

How the game works

I’m about half way through the prototype of the game.  It will hopefully be ready by the end of the month for my testing group.  I’m excited because I’ve never produced such a complicated block of code before.  Career wise I am more of a designer than a programmer, so I’ve entered an exciting honeymoon stage where I program something, then I’m completely blown away when it works.

This seems as good a time as any to explain how the game works, now that I’ve almost got it working for real.

You play as the Lieutenant, the leader of a small shuttle crew.  At the beginning of the game you and your crew-mates The Priestess, The Martian, The Scientist and The Droid, are stranded on an uncharted moon.  After five days of adventure, you and your crew will attempt to blast off and escape.  Hopefully you’ll make it out with everyone on board, but most likely you won’t be so lucky.

There are many dangers on the moon, most visibly the hordes and hordes of mute fanged devils that are constantly trying to kill you.  If your health score runs low, attacks by the devils and other dangers might conceivably kill you.  You can defend yourself and keep yourself safe using equipment like your blaster, scanner and defibrillator, but be careful, you also have an energy score that can become depleted if you do too much.

During the day you may accompany your crew men on adventures, or strike out on your own.  While in the field you and your crew are in constant danger of attack.  When you return to your  shuttle at night, you’ll experience an en masse devil attacks.  Tending to your safety and security scores will help slow these attacks.

In the midst of all this violence and hopelessness, there are stories.  As you explore this strange new world, you’ll follow strains of interconnected stories.  The story is too big to be encompassed in one play through, but every time you play you’ll learn more about the moon, its mysterious workings and maybe the destiny of the human race.

I hope you’re as excited to play this as I am!

trunks

Gross Trees

Here’s some imagery from the forest you’ll encounter in March of the Moon Devils.  The forest is one of four areas you can explore in the game.  I wanted to create a kind of anti-forest here.  Instead of producing growth, the trees of this forest produce some kind of topiary of sludge, which one can only assume is toxic.

mutants2

OCD works for me

Pretty soon I’m going to start selling my book – I’m Crazy – again to help raise money for Moon Devils.  For those in the know I’m Crazy was an autobiographical graphic novel about having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  I’ve also been working on this little number above, which is a neat crossover between my art and my anxiety disorder.

OCD manifests itself as extreme anxiety over things you can not possibly control, followed by repetitive behaviors and practices that calm the anxiety.  For instance, some people with OCD wash their hands several times a day, or become obsessed with organizing and straightening their things.  As for me, I make a lot of lists and spreadsheets, which is actually sometimes very useful.

What you see above is the product of a particular rigorous spreadsheet challenge.  First I made a list of notable Marvel mutants, then I created a spreadsheet organizing them by color scheme.  Eventually this will become a huge poster organizing 100 marvel mutants, placing each mutant at the vertex of two colors.

I figure if you are going to have an anxiety disorder you should try and be productive about it.

raccoon

Here’s an awful raccoon

My boyfriend’s play Amusement will have a special preview performance in Toronto before going to Edmonton for its run.  Come see it!  It’s funny and features this creepy looking raccoon puppet that I made.  The show is Saturday, August 10 and 8pm at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.  Here’s the Facebook Invite.

facepalm

All this Star Trek was maybe a bad idea

As work on Moon Devils progresses, I am now somewhere in season three of Star Trek: The Next Generation (thanks Netflix).  While initially excited by my own continuing mission to produce a ton of art for the game, the novelty of this show is wearing a bit thin.  It is also very very long.  Apparently TV shows had 26 episodes a season in those days.

While no one can deny the writers’ capacity for volume, they have definitely gone back to the same well a couple of times by now, most notably in the abrupt plot twists that awkwardly conclude an adventure run long.  So in honor of all of us staying up late and looking to clock out, I present this list of Star Trek quick n’ easy endings.

It turns out he was a god – Some innocuous person who has been kicking around the Enterprise is revealed to be an all powerful space god.  With a wave of his hands, the damage vanishes and he goes back to whatever space heaven he came from.

It turns out she wasn’t rea- An inversion of the space god wrap-up, the featured character turns out to be a ghost, hologram, or figment of the imagination.  A few episodes back they served up a double whammy featuring a man who turned out to be a god and his wife who turned out to be a ghost created by his powers.

A teenager fixes everything - The Enterprise crew really comes off badly in these ones.  As they are soberly shaking hands and preparing for a fiery death, underaged and unqualified teen dream Wesley Crusher has a brainstorm that solves everything.  The crew should have died of embarrassment.

“By Federation law ..” – If people want help from the Federation of Planets, they have to abide by Federation law.  This means they basically do whatever hare-brained scheme that pops into Captain Picard’s head.  In one notably bizarre invocation, Picard commanded a race of spacefaring Irish people to live with a race of clones under a martial law that dictates that everyone must have unprotected sex with at least three different partners and not get married.   Otherwise, tough titties and you’re stranded in space.  Is this the future of democracy?

“Fuck Federation law ..” – If the ironclad authority granted by Federation law doesn’t get the job done, fuck it.  According to the Federation’s Prime Directive, the Enterprise crew is not allowed to interfere with less developed cultures.  There’s always some dithering about this, but they disobey the Prime Directive in every episode where the subject is broached.  This presumably generates a mountain of paperwork for some red shirt back at Starfleet HQ.

Speech!  Speech! - This is my favorite of the quickie wrap ups.  When all else fails, Picard or one of his trusty officers turns a dime and delivers an eloquent, off the cuff speech.  These sonorous words have defused armed standoffs, ship battles, angry gods and even bottomless voids.  One time Picard even gave a speech in a buzzy bee language, tapping into Patrick Stewart’s deep reserves of gravitas.

So if you’re stuck in a sci-fi story you can’t finish, reach for one of these time tested solutions.  I wish I come up with a more poignant wrap up for this little spiel, but you know what?  It turns out I’m a ghost.