I've starting gaming again, and it's frakking wonderful. The only appropriate next step is to launch a webcomic.
The Mortal Realm will follow the exploits and misadventures of nine Adventurers, thrown together in the ancient city of Deepest and tangled up in a conspiracy that drags them from the depths of its sewers to its highest wind-whipped towers. These nine are all closely based on D&D characters played by my friends and I over years of campaigning together, their stories drawn from the records I kept of those games. These have long been my favourite stories, because they weren't really written; they emerged out of long evenings spent sitting around a table, rolling dice, immersed in the Theater of the Mind. They were told in fellowship because they could never have been told in solitude. Now, of course, I want to tell them in ink.
The comic will done in the line-and-wash style of the illustration above, employing a running mix of pens, ink wash, watercolour, and gouache. There's a lot in the way of process and technique that I've been itching to try, and I'm excited to see how this project will push my skills in new directions. The blog is something I've been contemplating more recently. My friend and fellow Patreon creator Eric Orchard had been in an online discussion a little while back concerning artists recognizing (or not) their position within a working artistic tradition. That struck a deep chord with me, and I have a lot of fairly unstructured thinking in that direction which I'd like to see recorded and collected somehow. So, I'm going to write a blog called In the Tradition which will accompany each new release of The Mortal Realm and unpack a little bit more of the inter-text that makes up my own ever-deepening web of influences.
The Mortal Realm will launch the week of August 17th, quite simply because it's Gencon50 and I can't think of a better time to bring a D&D-inspired comic to life. And speaking of Gencon: those of you who roll for damage know what it is to have a Gamemaster to call your own, the DM whose kitchen table always feels like home, "friends with houserules" as it were. There were two such figures in my formative gaming years, and I can't thank Brian and Tim enough for what they taught me about telling boisterous, honest stories. This guy to the left, that's Tim. Tim is just about the finest tabletop mercenary you could hire; in making his skills available to the world he has manifested online at www.theGMtim.ca, where you can enlist him as your guide into a world of intrigue and adventure. Tim's gamemastery is responsible for some key elements of The Mortal Realm...but I won't tell you which ones. I will tell you that if this thing builds some momentum I intend to open the Realm up to guest writers, and Tim is on the waitlist.
And while you do that, listen to this.