Saturday, March 29, 2014

Meanwhile, in the Frost Lands ....

...and another new page!  Almost back on schedule now.  Almost.

A most sinister beginning to the next part of the story?  Or just a little lost raven, looking for  a bit of warmth and food?

Pretty groovy with this one.  Had to decide how to construct a whaling village, and combine it with something from Nordic/Scottish history.  Needless to say, have no idea if it's historically accurate, but in fiction, does it really matter?


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A new page you say?

After my maximum verbosity, and lackadaisical scheduling, we have a new page!

This is mostly a set up panel for what our heroes are about to get into, and where they are headed - a quick back story if you will.

Since I took my time with this page, I'm pretty happy with it.  Perhaps one of these days, I'll get some outside assistance in the lettering / editing part.


Post Script – Evolution

After I finally got to bed last night (actually this morning), as my brain was teetering on the edge of Morpheus' realms, I realized that I hadn't gone into the evolution of my world. I had gone over the influences and the method of the process, but not the genuine evolution and growth of my ideas.

Let's do some wibbley-wobbley time travel , back about 30 years or so. I'd been playing D&D for a short time, acting as the Dungeon Master for a couple of long time friends, when I decided that I needed a world for them to adventure in. But I had absolutely no idea where to begin. So, I turned to the library for research. It didn't go well in the beginning, as I wanted something original and a little different from all the maps I looked at and all the stories I read.

Then one day I happened upon a small miracle – I found and bought a Gazeteer, of the known world for basic D&D. There was a poster sized map in that Gazeteer, and on the back of it was a blank hex graph, just waiting for a world to be drawn on it. And the wealth of ideas within! So, I whipped out my pencils, pens and markers, and got to work.

Looking back, from what I can remember, it was a very rudimentary design – a huge land mass, with multiple city-states and kingdoms on it, and not many seas or bodies of water. At that time, I hadn't really grasped the concept of ocean and underwater adventures. Most every civilization and nation was based on some version of medieval Europe, with a few vikings here, and a few ninjas there. I'm sure I named this world, but that is lost somewhere in the depths of my brain. And that original map – I wish to find it again, one day, hoping that I've packed it away in storage somewhere. I think it would be great to look back at the original design, for a little contrast and comparison.

From that initial design, it grew and morphed and mature over the years in between. The more resource material I was exposed to, the more ideas and threads I wanted to incorporate. I still have some of these intermediate maps, along with some of the notes I made for the kingdoms and realms and city states and barbarian tribes, most based off a different source of inspiration. Music albums, movies, novels, comic books, video games – these were most of my sources for creative arousal.

Most, but not all. The friends that I've made over the years and all the people that I've gamed with have had the MOST influence on the maturation process of my story and my world. They have helped point out the flaws with my mad ideas, and helped me better develop portions of the multiverse that my stories are set in. Another important service my friends have assisted me with is this secret - most all of the characters in my stories are based on people, or certain traits that these people displayed to me, that I have met and known through out my own life adventure. Some of these individuals have interesting enough traits to inspire more than one character, some characters are combinations of traits from different people. And what's the great part about this? For me, the friends that can identify the characters that are based off them. That makes me smile, knowing that my merge skills are good enough to convey that.

The name “Arcane Compass” didn't come about until a few years ago, from a furious brain storm that I was partaking of. The name of my world has changed and modified almost as much as the land masses and kingdoms themselves. The comic title has changed a few times over the years itself, starting out as part of an anthology small press production, going to it's own title, them becoming the digital medium of today. And the secret to the “Arcane Compass” name? It isn't a name for the world itself, but for a magical artifact that is yet to be discovered.

But, this is a story for another time, O' traveler.

Lord Pruitt

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Part Three – What is the gist of my world?

Well now, that is a fairly complex question to articulate the words to. For others to understand, that is. I've never formally addressed a query like that, for myself, and haven't had anyone ask that point-blank question. So, like any challenge, I will endeavor to fulfill such request.


I never realize how many different genres & tropes I've dipped my creative brush into, until now. Looking at the world my story is set in, I have a seemingly endless list of authors, artists, and cultures that I have pulled select threads from in an attempt to weave a complete and complex environment for my stories. So many creative ideas, from others, that have sparked my own creative twists, which has led me to where I currently am, in my imaginative undertaking.

I guess first, we'll delve a little bit into our planet's own history, and some of the cultures that have existed throughout time. I am, in no way, a historian, although I do possess a slight fancy for reading about periods and societies that interest me. Most of them are classified as “ancient” by catalog, but interesting to me none-the-less. Ancient Egypt to the Olmecs to Ancient Greece to the Persian Empire – these are some of the time periods that I draw inspiration from, including their mythology and civilization. I dabble in African tribal history and Nordic legends, Medieval Spain to Victorian England – I run the gamut up to, and even within, the Wild West.

Of course, within these areas, a little fiction doesn't hurt anything either. Now, we'll brush on the second, BIGGEST, contributor to my ideas – media. I've decide to label it as “media,” because I'll use this to cover everything from novels to movies to comic books to music. And there is no way in the infinite planes of mythological Gehenna that I could even begin to list all of the influences there. I guess I need to start with the three things, that happened all in rapid succession, that caused all of this. First was a tv series that my mom got me hooked on – Batman (1966 – 1968 series) – it was in syndication by the time I got started on it. This, of course, led me to comic books. Next were some of the most impressive movies of all times - Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Yup. I saw the original releases, in the movie theater. For a five year old, seeing the initial Star Wars, there were no words to describe it's awesomeness. Of course, I saw the rest of the trilogy. Afterwords, I was going to be an astronaut – no questions asked. This trilogy was quickly followed by my exposure to a comic that just grabbed a hold of me - the Savage Sword of Conan – based on Robert E. Howard's stories. I had been a comic book fan for a few years at that time, growing up with the superheros of our modern world, but this magazine captured my imagination unlike no other.

From there, my interests wandered into the world of Dungeons & Dragons, about the same time I got really interested in horror movies. It was just down hill from there – Lovecraft, Wells, Poe – not to mention more modern works – Miller, Golden, King.

Horror. Pulp. Mystery. High Fantasy. Dark Fantasy. Gothic Fiction. Sword & Sorcery. Urban Fantasy. Weird West. Wuxia. These are some of the sub-genres that I am trying to combine into my tales. Which brings us to two modern sub-genres -
Arcanepunk and Steampunk – a simple definition, or Steampunk – a rather lengthy definition. These both came from the cyberpunk (lengthy definition) genre that started in the early 90's. I have enjoyed steampunk works for many years, but it is seemingly started to become too popular, almost main stream if you will. While I like the aesthetics of the steampunk style, I am more drawn to the arcanepunk philosophy. I've gone into the fact that the contraptions that I design must have a blueprint that I feel would work – if magic were real enough to power them.

Now that I have rambled on for a little over a page, I suppose the simplest description that I can give for my fictional world is summed up by one word – CHANGE. What I envision for the Arcane Compass is a very dynamic change. Right now I am torn by how much I should divulge about my ideas. On one hand, revealing these secrets during the story is what all story tellers are after. On the other hand, it might take forever to reveal all of my ideas. And, from a third point of view, heavens forbid, but I might be called to a higher plane before I get there during my stories.

So, with all that in mind, I will disclose a few tid-bits of universal mechanics, along with a bit of “yet to occur” events. As everyone knows, the world is situated upon a celestial turtle's back, who swims through the astral spiral. The societies of the Arcane Compass are closing upon the beginning of the Fifth Cycle of time in their world, an Age of Change. One of the great unknowns to anyone world-side is that during the Fifth Cycle, multiple celestial turtles will converge at a fixed point in the spiral, and an undisclosed number of these turtle worlds will combine into a spherical planet, with the turtles swimming away. You can just imagine the chaos that all this will cause.

Another plot arc is going to be the development and growth of the main protagonists. There will be main characters coming and going (not quite like George R.R. Martin's character tho), but for the most part, the main story line will follow Faust for quite some time. But one of the ideas I want to do, is having a Tales story about one of the other characters too. Kinda like a “Meanwhile, back at the castle” kind of story. These Tales would focus on other characters, and even some background characters, events, and places.

I also wish to convey a sense of change, in the kingdoms and cultures of the world, as more and more arcanepunk ideas come about. The evolution of kingdoms and technomancy, bringing some of the Compass to an enlightened age, and seeing where the main characters end up – these are some of the goals that I have for my story, my characters, and my multiverse.

I hope this verbose writing helped you readers to gain a bit of insight into my dreams for my creation.

To copy someone else's signature phrase -


Lord Pruitt

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Part 2 - originality and art

Part Two – The “why” I create and share

Last month I posted a rant about my thoughts concerning Banality vs. Creativity, and their effects on our world. This time I'm going to dive into the reasons that I'm creating an sequential illustrated story set in a vivid fantasy world. It is this world that I hope to convey an enriched background and history, along with something a little different from everyone else's “something different” worlds. Which brings us to our first vocabulary word of the day -

o·rig·i·nal·i·ty [uh-rij-uh-nal-i-tee] noun

1. the quality or state of being original.
2. ability to think or express oneself in an independent and individual manner; creative ability.
3. freshness or novelty, as of an idea, method, or performance.

(definition gleamed from this on-line reference)

Originality – a very rare talent, it seems, in our modern world. Hollywood has been regurgitating popular movies from decades ago – re-making them, mangling them, updating them – all for the mighty dollar. Some of these have been pretty awesome, done right, others …. not so much so. We'll use these examples to expand this idea. Some of the new versions of popular classics from yester-year take an idea, toss it together with a new twist and a splash of someone's personality and BAM! Shake-n-bake deliciousness served up on your plate. But to me, the majority of these re-makes fall far short of this concept – to me they are just made in an attempt to make money. The artistic passion is void from these, the spark of originality that engages people's wonder is missing.

The flip-side of this “originality” coin is that there are some that use this as their only selling point. While their artistic endeavor is original, it isn't engaging; it doesn't inspire a sense of wonder or awe. Some, however, engage a sense of horror or of the abhorrent – a shocking of the consciousness. Now, don't get me wrong – there are places for such creations – but projects solely based on these concepts alone, are they truly art? Our second vocabulary word of the day -

art [ahrt] noun

1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.
3. a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
4. the fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: art and architecture.
5. any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art; industrial art.

(definition gleamed from this on-line reference)

I suppose one of the great things about art is that it's open for subjective interpretation. It annoys me when some art critic says that this painting means this, or this poem indicates that. It's all find and dandy – for them – but if the artwork evokes some kind of response from the viewer, who is to say that, according to said critic, it's the wrong response? If the art work engages the viewer's imagination, triggers a bit of wonderment, or touches upon an emotion, who cares what a critic says – the art work has done it's job.

This, of course, boils over into the understanding of art. If you view a painting or listen to a song, and enjoy it, does that mean that you “get” what the piece means? Does that mean you “get” where the artist is coming from? Maybe. Maybe not. With every soul comes a little bit of madness – the artist just decides to embrace that madness and put it to use. But what fuels this “madness?” What keeps it going?

Personally, I almost become giddy when someone says to me “I can see that you are really into your art,” or that “I can see in your eyes that you are very passionate about this.” I think something along these line is a fantastic compliment. “I can see some influence from [insert artist / writer /etc. here] in your work.” This is the part where (I hope), I'm able to connect these thread into a better understanding of what I'm doing.

I think all artists are effected by all the intriguing elements that come into their life – both good and bad. Just like everyone else, they are products of their environments. Personally, I've been subjected to comic books, horror movies and a ton of fiction fantasy, sci-fi and pulp adventures. Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones – staples of my diet. Classics, such a Doyle, Howard, Lovecraft, Poe and Wells, along side the history and mythology of ancient cultures – a treasure trove to mine ideas from. There are so many fantastic ideas that I get from all of this – some of which I can tie together, others are independent and deserve there own significance – this is where my crazy ideas come from.

From a vast library of reference and resource material, I chose the ideas and / or threads that I like from a multitude of sources, and attempt to weave them into something different, something personal – something that, while inspired by the work of others, is uniquely mine. I realize that I'm neither professional writer nor professional artist, but I like to think of my meager skills in both are almost adequate to bring you an piquant tale, hopefully something that you might be interested in enough to return to read the new pages. I suppose it is slightly narcissistic of me, but I desire to share this with others, hoping they will enjoy it as well, and perhaps inspire them to create something that they enjoy and be brave with sharing it.

Once again, I have been overly verbose and not quite answer the “big” question – what is the gist of all this insanity. I am horribly bad about hitting tangent with things I'm passionate about, so I suppose I'll have to finally get around to answering that one next time.

Stand-by for an answer!

Same bat-time,
same bat-channel!