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Supermassive Black Hole A*

Supermassive Black Hole A*

by smbhax
Stories of a human civilization at the center of the Milky Way galaxy: an area of space dominated by a gigantic black hole, where energy is abundant and life is cheap.

Updates M-F.
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Pages
3,230
Updates
15 Updates/Month
Last Update
8 Hours Ago
Fans
296
Readers
26

Supermassive Black Hole A*

Stories of a human civilization at the center of the Milky Way galaxy: an area of space dominated by a gigantic black hole, where energy is abundant and life is cheap.

Updates M-F.

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Recent Comments

I've got a special sale auction going through next Wednesday for the watercolor illustration made for A* episode 35, page 2:

<img src="http://smbhax.com/ep/0035/o/0002.jpg">

Thanks for checking it out! And I've got more A* art items on sale there—the paintings behind this week's new pages, in fact!—which you'll find under my eBay profile. : )
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190919_mysteries_of_unexplored_worlds_13_living.j pg">

From "The Mystery of Mercury" in Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds #13, June 1959. Script possibly by Joe Gill, pencils by Bill Molno, inks by Rocco "Rocke" Mastroserio.
smbhax
September 18th, 2019
I still have just a few choice pages left from A* episodes past that I think people might be particularly interested in picking up, so let's do a Wednesday A* art archive sale!

This week-long special auction is for the 16" x 6.75" watercolor painting I made for A* episode 35, page 2: following the episode title page, it's the episode's first art page, setting the scene on Selenis' lunar base with a shot of sunlight shining down on the base from the ring of the planet that moon orbits:

<img src="http://smbhax.com/ep/0035/d/0002.jpg">

I got to use a rough style to render the cratered lunar surface and the shadows of the base going across it, and that's fun to paint! This page is also a reminder to me that isolating individual colors can create a certain bold, graphic look.

So! This one-of-a-kind A* watercolor painting is on sale on eBay for one week, starting today, starting at just $16.99, instead of the $50 past pages normally sell for on smbhax.com.

(If you check my eBay seller profile while you're there, you'll also find sale auctions for the latest week's worth of brand new A* comic pages, as is my custom. : )

Thanks for checking it out!
smbhax
September 17th, 2019
(Revised Selenis' face in yesterday's page a bit.)

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190917_night_nurse_1_walking.jpg">

Isolated panel from Night Nurse #1, November 1972. Writing by Jean Thomas, art by Win Mortimer.
smbhax
September 16th, 2019
Reader Honza Prchal linked me to this Newsweek article about scientists finding that the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, designated radio source Sgr A*, flared three times this past spring, getting up to 75 times brighter—at locations just outside its event horizon—very briefly. They think this is due to it sucking in material, but flares of this extent have not previously been detected "in the 24 years we have studied the supermassive black hole."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gonna see how many of these 27 graphic novels I can get through in my month-long free trial of Comixology Unlimited : ) :

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190916_comixology_unlimited_graphic_novels.jpg&qu ot;>
smbhax
September 14th, 2019
If you're a generous billionaire or something and would like to send some of that money my way to help me make A* pages, you can now do that through this handy little page PayPal just showed me how to set up: https://paypal.me/smbhax.

From the looks of it, it requires a PayPal account. If you don't have and don't want a PayPal account, you can use the old-fashioned golden "Contribute" button down near the bottom of my store page—the interface it uses isn't quite as slick, but all you need for that one is a credit card. (I've put the paypal.me link thingy down there too for safekeeping.)

Not that I've had a lot of billionaires coming through there, but now they have one more option. ^_^

Anyhoo thanks to everyone who's helped me with A*, and thanks for reading! : D
smbhax
September 12th, 2019
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190912_night_nurse_1_splash.jpg">

From "The Making of a Nurse!" in Night Nurse #1, November, 1972. Writing by Jean Thomas, art by Win Mortimer.
smbhax
September 11th, 2019
Sketch for a reader supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190911_patreon_sketch.jpg">

Thanks everyone for making this comic possible! : D
smbhax
September 10th, 2019
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190910_master_comics_80_tootsie_skate.jpg"&g t;

From a full-page ad for Tootsie Roll candy, starring Captain Tootsie, in Master Comics #80, June 1947.
smbhax
September 10th, 2019
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190909_master_comics_79_wildroot_dandruff.jpg&quo t;>

From a full-page ad for Wildroot Cream-Oil Hair Tonic, starring Sam Spade and Effie Perine, in Master Comics #79, May 1947. Art by Lou Fine.
smbhax
September 7th, 2019
You can enjoy A* at your leisure offline with the A* SUPER EXPRESS PACK, available as the top listing on the episodes & e-books page: you get the PDF-format e-book of every A* episode completed to date—37 in total—packed into one handy, extractable .zip file: 3,523 pages of A* for just $20!

Just make sure you've got enough space on your device: it's a 622.65 MB download. : )
smbhax
September 5th, 2019
The scientific team that got the first ever image of a black hole earlier this year—it was the supermassive black hole at the radio source designated Sagittarius A* at the center of our galaxy—has announced, according to today's BBC article, their plan to capture not just a blurry photo, but a "razor sharp" movie of the black hole "consuming the material around it."

The video capture is to be made possible by upgrades to the global network of radio telescopes they're using to peer through the light years of gas and dust between Earth and A*: telescopes in Greenland, France, and "parts of Africa" will be added to the network, as well as three small orbiting satellites.
smbhax
September 4th, 2019
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190904_master_comics_75_bulletman_summary.jpg&quo t;>

From Master Comics #75, December 1946.
smbhax
September 3rd, 2019
Found some painting techniques I used in old A* pages that I want to keep in mind for those occasions where they may come in handy—I knew there was a reason I obsessively stream and archive to YouTube videos of me drawing and painting every A* page! ; D

- From page 29:88: Wet-on-wet layers for skin and other shading effects - Watercolor is well known for being able to build up layered areas of rich color, and it's something I've gotten away from trying, mmmaybe after being burned by muddled messes that got away from me on a few pages. : o But when it works, it looks really cool, with a translucent, illuminated quality. So eh I should probably find ways to work in more layering here and there and get better at it.

- From page 29:107: Use a medium-sized brush to fill complex areas - Recently I've been working on an expressive style done with a big brush and a small brush, and I'd forgotten that the handy thing about a *medium*-sized brush is that you can use it to fill in irregularly-shaped areas that the big brush is too clumsy for, and the small brush is too small for; for instance, for Selenis' jacket on the last page (38:25), if I'd had a medium brush to fill in the jacket, I could have got the edges of the collar sharper. And in general I've been avoiding filled-in interlocked complicated volumes for this very reason—subconsciously, I guess, but I'd started to suspect there was something I was missing. ; ) In particular, if you can pull this off, you can make a sharp-looking shape that doesn't have to have lines around it, and that can make for a pretty cool, streamlined look. I have one old medium brush left but it's banged up from being used for paint mixing for years. So I've ordered some sharp new medium brushes and we'll see if they do actually come in handy now and then!

- From page 35:45: Low contrast can work - I've been practicing a sort of graphic thick-and-thin line style lately, often going right to high-contrast, dark lines, but a more subtle approach of building up areas of lower-contrast can work better in certain situations, and isn't necessarily harder to "read" as a viewer; in fact, it can be less distracting than a network of heavy lines across the page.

All three of these techniques take a little patience, which is something I sometimes have in short supply in my need to get a page done each day. But for the past week I've somehow been able to get the drawing done in a more timely fashion than I had been for a while, and that I guess has given me a little unaccustomed extra time to think about more subtle things I could be doing in the painting. I want to keep the painting energetic and exciting, but mayyybe I'll be able to figure out ways to make some of these things work for it, too.
smbhax
August 30th, 2019
If you enjoy A*, you might be interested in helping me make the comic by joining my Patreon campaign. : ) Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for their support through Patreon:

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190830_patreon_sketch.jpg">

Thank you very much! : D Reader support makes A* possible!

Oh yeah and I'll be studiously not-laboring for the confusingly named Labor Day holiday here in the States on Monday. Back to the drawing board on Tuesday!
smbhax
August 29th, 2019
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190829_master_comics_71_pepsi.jpg">

From a full-page Pepsi-Cola Corporation ad in Master Comics #71, August 1946.
smbhax
August 28th, 2019
Sketch for a reader supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : D :

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190828_patreon_sketch.jpg">

Thanks everyone for your help, you make A* possible! : )
smbhax
August 27th, 2019
<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190827_master_comics_68_water_blinded.jpg"&g t;

From "Revenge of the Beasts" starring Captain Marvel Jr. in Master Comics #68, May 1946. Art possibly by Gene MacDonald.
smbhax
August 26th, 2019
Nasa said to be investigating first allegation of a crime in space says the BBC: a US astronaut's estranged spouse claims she accessed his bank account from the International Space Station—which she acknowledges, but denies wrongdoing.

The BBC says that "a legal framework sets out that national law applies to any people and possessions in space. So if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian citizen to Russian law."

~~~~~

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190826_sky_masters_5_9_59x_space_court.jpg"& gt;

From Sky Masters of the Space Force written by Dick & Dave Wood, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Wally Wood (unrelated). 1959. (Wikipedia)
smbhax
August 24th, 2019
Ink sketch for a reader supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :

<img src="http://smbhax.com/stuff/190823_patreon_sketch.jpg">

Thank you very much for your support! It's readers who make A* possible! ="D