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Posts Tagged ‘comic’

Every once in a long while comes a comic so profound, it changes all the rules.

This is probably that comic. Though, as the author, I might not be an objective opinion on this matter. Actually, this is the first page of that comic. There are two pages in total. You should probably subscribe to the magazine to see the other page. And the fourteen other pages I’ve made for this series, so far.

Click to re-biggen.

Oh, The Beating Drum!

As always, Oh, The Beating Drum! is financed in part by Worlds Without Master, a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and readers like you.

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Once again, ladies and gentlemen, Oh, The Beating Drum! Or, at least the first page of it.

As always, you can read the entire thing by subscribing to Epidiah Ravachol’s magazine of sword & sorcery Worlds Without Master.

(Also, click to enlarge. Always click to enlarge.)

Oh, The Beating Drum! #5

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The first issue of Epidiah Ravachol’s new magazine of sword and sorcery, Worlds Without Master, just came out. I have a two-page comic in it, titled Oh, The Beating Drum!  Here’s the first page:

Oh, The Beating Drum!

It’s $3.99, and includes fiction from Vincent Baker (designer of Apocalypse World and Dogs in the Vineyard) and Epidiah Ravachol (designer of Dread and Time & Temp), a complete sword and sorcery role-playing game and illustrations! It’ll help support the endeavor, and also help keep me making more of these!

You can also support the project over the long-term by visiting the project’s Patreon page and pledging there.

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Teaching Baby Paranoia: Payola Dentata

(Click here to see the larger version!)

Footnotes: Payola Dentata

1: It was an October just like any other October. Minus the 180 pounds of Soviet metal leering down upon the United States like the unlidded eye of some supernatural villain.

2: Sputnik was launched on October 4, 1957 into an elliptical orbit some 139 miles (at its closest; 900 miles at its furthest) above earth. For three short months, it mesmerized us with its beeping and… uh… slight sky-traversing dottedness. On January 4th, 1958, it returned to earth, retiring to a government farm in Kazakhstan.

3: The American Dental Association was created in the 19th century to provide an institutional repository of dental knowledge. And also to house one of the strategic reserves of inexpensive lollipops.

4: The launch of Sputnik created the space-race, a wholly owned subsidiary of the arms-race (itself a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cold War). The Department of Defense oversaw all matters related to said Cold War, up to and including mysterious transmissions emanating from America’s dental appliances. Careful analysis of nearly 300 broadcasts determined that the dental transmissions coinciding with the launch of Sputnik were not a matter of National Security.

5: The Federal Communications Commission (herein referred to as the FCC) is mandated with shepherding the public radio, television, wireless and broadband spectra. In the 1950s, they prosecuted a number of radio disk-jockeys (so-called for their diminutive statures and colorful haberdashery) for what came to be known as the Payola Scandal. It turns out, where there’s the capacity to screw-over one’s fellow man to make a buck, there’s always the will: Disc-jockeys were accepting money to play particular records on their radiola programs in violation of radio spectrum licensing agreements. When caught they shifted to slightly less overt methods (radio stations owned by record companies; radio programs that are actually hour-long advertizements; third-party record-promoters…) that continue today.

6: The Department of Defense noted that the 300 recorded dental transmissions contained a certain pattern, unusual in clandestine Soviet radio chatter: 4/4 time.

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A couple of weeks ago, I did a guest strip for Jeph Jacques’ webcomic Questionable Content. Here’s the first row of panels.

Click here to see the full comic!

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Click upon the image to see the much bigger version.

Footnotes: Dropped Frames #7: Gatekeepers1: Activision was founded in 1979 by four Atari programmers, a venture capitalist and a music industry executive. The four Atari programmers felt that their contributions to the 2600’s best selling titles were being overlooked. They [understandably] wanted a larger share of the then considerable profits. Depicted above is Larry Kaplan—for no reason other than the fact that he had a sweet (and thus eminently cartoonable) beard. Kaplan had a falling out with his Activision partners and returned to Atari a few years later.

2: Atari never supposed that anyone else would develop games for their system and took no measures to prevent it. When Nintendo developed their Famicom system (called the NES in the United States) in the early 1980s, they included both legal and hardware measures to prevent unauthorized development for Nintendo consoles. This has become the industry default in the years since.

3: Atari earned very little on the sales of individual console systems. The bulk of their revenue came from the sales of games. When Activision opened the floodgates to third-party developers, that revenue started to dwindle. The crash of the 2600 was caused by several factors (ageing technology, growth in the home computer market, rival console systems), but the flash-point seems to have been a wave of new developers, and their subsequent collapses (which forced retailers to liquidate that inventory [and Atari to drop prices to match new market expectations]). (Tristan Donovan, Replay: The History of Video Games, pp 98-99)

4: Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR (the original publishers of Dungeons and Dragons) in the late 1990s, rescuing the game from financial collapse. When they decided to publish a 3rd edition of the game, they also created the Open Gaming License. It allows for groups to publish works derivative of the system that powers Dungeons and Dragons 3rd (and 3.5) edition. They also created a subset of the OGL called the D20 license. The D20 license was more restrictive, fluctuating (and needed the approval of Wizards of the Coast) but had greater name cachet. (R. Dancey, “Open Gaming Interview with Ryan Dancey,” http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/md/md20020228e )

5: The motivation behind the OGL was two-fold: one it was designed to promote sales of Dungeons and Dragons products (M. Cook, “The Open Game License as I See It, Part I”, http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?mc_los_154 ); and two: it was designed to prevent Dungeons and Dragons from ever disappearing down a rabbit hole of legal entanglements in the event that Wizards of the Coast (or some future copyright holder) should go out of business. (R. Dancey, http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/community/gaming/4thEdition/mikeMearlsHasOpenGamingBeenASuccess&page=4#156 )

6: There are no clear numbers for the titles and quantities sold of OGL and D20 products. There were a lot of them. (Just searching for D20 on Amazon gives you 176,000 hits. Even accounting for duplicate results, that’s a lot of them! And of the OGL/D20 split, D20 was the far more restrictive!)

Interestingly, Dungeons and Dragons’ current biggest rival in the role-playing game market is the title Pathfinder (created by former Wizards of the Coast partner Paizo), which uses the OGL to carry on the now discarded 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

When Wizards of the Coast released their 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons in 2008, they created a new license, called the Game System License. It is much more restrictive than either the OGL or the D20 licenses. I do not know the rationale behind the changes, though certainly, on the surface, it looks to be intentionally more protectionist.

7: Retailers purchase role-playing games from distributors up front; in doing so they place their financial well being on the line with every product they stock. They must gauge quality against local demand with every game they purchase. While they invariably purchase games of lesser quality when an audience (or trend) demands it, on the whole, they must act as industry arbiters.

Thanks to Jay Adan of Greenfield Games and Jim Crocker of Modern Myths for their input on games retailing.

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I’ve been working on my graphic novel “The Lower Kingdom” quite a bit, lately. Here’s a cover image I worked up for it… I’m finding that I don’t really draw like I did when I first started the book. It’s somewhat troubling because my internal editor keeps marking visual tics from older pages as “wrong.”

I think I’m going to have to get that internal editor drunk to shut it up…

Click to see the full sized image!

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