Hi, I'm Hazu. I like drawing comics sometimes.
No Yellow Bricks
DC 2.0 Progress Update 5
August 14th, 2019
Alright so I felt that I was at a point where I had gone too long without giving an update. I was hesitating because I was hoping to have more to show, but, uh, I don't, so...here I am.
The short version of this is that DC: Reflections is still happening. I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far. It's coming along nicely. Just...slower than I'd like.
I guess I knew from the getgo that the first chapter was going to be the hardest because I pretty much totally started from scratch--even the story told there is pretty different than the original version, I think.
I'm not going to bore you guys with too many details about how I'm back to hating my full-time job and am planning to quit in the next few months (I'm not the only one--we've turned over half of our office in the last 6-8 months, which is part of the problem), but suffice to say my life has been as messy and busy as ever as I try to figure out where I want to go from here. The reality is that I probably shouldn't be this exhausted and burnt out by my career at 27, and it's negatively affecting everything else I try to do (including this), so it might be time to explore other options. But, more on that another day.
The specific negative effect this has had on DC is mostly how little work I got done on it in July--I was spending most of my time at one of my many jobs and the rest trying to catch up on sleep. It's evened out a little now and I'm working more steadily on this, and really all that's left to do is finish the art and the website (and I'm debating outsourcing that because Wordpress makes me want to pull my hair out--if anyone is/knows a decent, affordable web designer, let me know).
I know I was talking about bringing in a secondary artist to help with the workload here, and that's still something I'd like to do when I'm sure I have the finances for it, but I'm not sure I do yet and I kind of wanted to do the first chapter myself to figure out the art style anyway.
Anyhow, what I'm alluding to with all of this is that I don't have a release date set yet. August definitely isn't happening. September seems much more promising, barring too many hiccups along the way. Cross your fingers for me.
Aaaand I'll see you in a few weeks!
PS. The image above is just one of my favorite completed art panels so far. The full, widescreen version looks better, but I don't want to show off everything in advance ;)
DC 2.0 Progress Update 4
July 7th, 2019
: I would LOVE to make an RPG set on Sanvolae, there are definitely other stories that could be told there (in fact I have another one that takes place in a different part of the world than DC), but that would require... significantly more help and funding than I have at the moment haha.
: Thank you! I never expected this to be the option I went with either, but it ultimately seemed like the best one for what I wanted to do with it. I am excited too!
DC 2.0 Progress Update 4
July 6th, 2019
Alright, I realize this update is a bit later than usual, but that’s because I wanted to have some actual screenshots of what this thing is going to look like to show off.
I guess this is kind of the big announcement--I have figured out the new format. DreamCatcher: Reflections will be presented in the format of...*drumroll*...a visual novel!
Well, sort of. Technically it qualifies as a “kinetic novel,” as there will be few, if any, choices to make or different paths to go down—it’s still a linear story.
For anyone unfamiliar, a visual novel is technically a type of video game, but with pretty limited “gameplay”--usually just hitting the “next” button to further the story. The use of character sprites is common, often interspersed with illustrations like the screencaps above.
I’m hoping this satisfies those of you that were iffy about DC moving away from a comic format in that it’s still very art-heavy, and there will be plenty to look at..but I don’t necessarily have to draw out every word I’ve written. It’s also going to leave me with a lot of reusable assets, like character sprites and backgrounds, that I can just plug in when things get dialogue-heavy instead of trying to figure out a billion different ways to draw a bunch of characters sitting around talking. However, it also leaves plenty of room for “show, don’t tell” scenes where I can just draw out an entire sequence of, say, Luna drop-kicking a monster in a pseudo-animated format, because that’s more exciting than a paragraph of text. Finally, I can add music and sounds effects! DC can have the soundtrack I’ve always wanted it to ;)
In order to head off some questions, I’ve put together a fake Q&A of some things I think people might be wondering, but feel free to ask additional questions in the comments below.
1.) Where will this be posted?
The plan is to have my own website for DC where chapters will be made available for download as they come out.
2.) How often will updates come out?
Ideally, a full chapter will drop every 1-2 months. Some will be longer than others, but all in all they should be mostly similar in length.
3.) How is it being created? Why full-chapter updates?
I tossed around a few different ideas to try to keep the weekly updates, like doing a browser-based thing, but the options available for that didn’t seem to afford me the creative control that I wanted, and I couldn’t even begin figuring out how to design a website around it (I’m sure I could pay someone to do it for me, but...eh. Maybe someday). Anyway, I’m using a software called Ren’Py to create this thing, or at least the first chapter. The game files will be available for download on any computer. It’s possible I will find a better option in the future, but this is it for now.
4.) I can’t download things/want to read on mobile/can’t read visual novels for some reason/want more frequent updates.
Fear not! I still intend to make use of SmackJeeves and possibly Tapas as mirror sites, where the still images from the chapter (like the above screencaps) will be posted in sequential form after the “game” version is released, probably in more of a regular weekly update. Obviously it’ll be lacking the sound, transitions, animation, etc., but it’ll be another way for people who have accessibility issues to read the story, and also serves as a quick way to recap if you ever need to. I will work on a better solution for reading on mobile devices; I’m sure there is one, but in the interest of not pushing back the release date too much, I'm not going to focus on it right away.
5.) Will there be branching paths, dialogue choices, etc.?
Not really. DC is still a linear story and is intended to be told as such. I may occasionally offer dialogue choices that lead to some extra conversations to drop additional character or worldbuilding info, but nothing that’s going to affect the plot. Flavor text, if you will.
6.) How will I know when it updates?
I’ll try to announce release dates in advance via the site and social media, and probably the mirrors as well. But otherwise, just keep an eye out ;)
7.) When is this thing starting?
My target is to release the first chapter in mid-late August, though I’m not going to put it out until it’s DONE, so...if it takes until September, then so be it. I’ve got a pretty good start on it, but there’s still a lot to do, and I don’t want to put something out that’s half-finished and poorly thought out like...the first several chapters of the DC comic were |D I hope you all understand that while this is taking some time to put together, it's in the interest of it being smoother sailing later.
8.) So, what’s changed about DC?
A few things! The format change will come with colored art, sound effects, and music, for starters. The story is starting a few years later than it would have originally, in 2009 as opposed to 2006. Therefore, the characters are a bit older and there are some slight personality tweaks that come with that, but all in all no one has changed drastically. I’m doing my best to tighten up the writing, and while the base plot will be pretty much the same and a most major events will play out similarly, a lot of details are getting adjusted as I work my way through. Sometimes it’s just changing the way a conversation goes, other times it’s wholly new scenes, chapters, or even new characters. I think you’ll like it!
Anyway, if you would like to see the full versions of the above screencaps, here they are:
That's it for now! I will check in again in a few weeks, hopefully with a release date!
DC 2.0 Progress Update 3
June 9th, 2019
@Casanova: Eventually. There will be some sort of preview or trailer once I have some material ready to go.
DC 2.0 Progress Update 3
May 31st, 2019
I figured I should make one of these updates before the end of the month.
I kind of did that thing where I pulled a disappearing act online this past month because I was tied up with real life stuff (traveling, moving, trying to put my new house together, adding a...fourth?...job to my schedule), as happens sometimes, so I admit I haven't gotten a whole lot done. I did finish up some redesigns on the main cast though!
Click here for the full-body designs.
Those are still subject to change a bit, but I think I've got the basics down. Despite the new getups, they are still very much the same band of idiots you know and love, just slightly older. I'm also considering a new format for presenting the story that I think might be a happy medium between art and writing, but more on that when I've played with it some more and made sure it's feasible (and hopefully have a working prototype).
The script is still a work in progress but let's be real, it's going to be for awhile.
The end of summer is still kind of my target release time for this thing, but we'll see what I land on with what it's going to look like. All told, regardless of the slight production delay the last few weeks, I'm still pretty excited about what I have so far and the endless possibilities that I'm working with right now. I really do think this is going to be cool when I get it out, so afford me some patience in the meantime ;)
DC 2.0 Progress Update 2
April 20th, 2019
Figured I was due for another one of these updates. Most important news: We have a new title! And a logo. Kept the tagline for now because it still works, I think?
I considered a number of subtitles for this new iteration of DC, and have ultimately settled on "Reflections" for a lot of personal and thematic reasons. I'm taking a more careful, thought out approach to pretty much everything about the series this time in hopes of not backing myself into so many corners that I can't get out of. We spent some time on the lore and worldbuilding, and while that's not 100% complete, I've got enough that I'm starting to write scripts of the first few chapters. Actually, I'm writing second draft scripts of the first few chapters, because the first drafts I wrote awhile ago didn't really accomplish what I wanted them to. Sometimes art is coming before story, too...my first rewrite of chapter 3 turned out a LOT like the original comic version, but then I sat down and came up with a new design for Dae (I'll post that eventually), and it got me thinking about that character a little differently. So, a lot of his intro chapter got scrapped and rewritten AGAIN into something I like better, albeit still in need of tweaking.
I think most noteworthy story change so far is that I'm pushing the start of it a few years further down the line, so everyone is about three years older. I won't go into the laundry list of reasons that I wanted to age up the characters, but taking time to think about how those extra couple of years affect them as people, and where they are in life, has been interesting. Ultimately they're still the same band of idiots you know and love, but slightly more...mature? I think? A little? So far I'm having fun writing it, so I hope that you guys will eventually have fun reading it.
I'm still looking at releasing sometime this summer, probably July or August. I want to make sure I have a good amount of the writing done and some kind of buffer ready to go before I start posting. I'm also still working on the format, but thus far the winning idea is a sort of comic/illustrated novel hybrid that's sometimes passages of text, sometimes illustrations, sometimes just comic pages with speech bubbles and all. It, uh, makes more sense when you see it laid out.
Anyway that's pretty much where we're at right now! Sorry if this is rambly, I'm trying to post it before I fall asleep at my desk XP I will be back sometime next month with another update.
PS. If you're interested in getting more frequent updates about the reboot process, seeing concept art, and/or giving feedback on this thing as it's being put together, I'm looking at putting together an email list for this series! I don't want to just post everything here and spam people, but for those who want more than my monthly stop-ins on SJ, you can leave me your email
to hear from me more often!
PPS. I'll post the full version of the art in this update elsewhere and leave a link here when I get a minute, as it didn't fit right here in its natural state because I wasn't thinking about that when I built this website |D
DC 2.0 Progress Update 1
March 22nd, 2019
@Casanova: Haha no, Riza's not going to have a werewolf form, if that's what you mean. She'll still have her regular wolf "Morgai" form though.
(You can post title ideas here. Or shoot me a PM/email if you want. Your choice.)
DC 2.0 Progress Update 1
March 21st, 2019
I didn't want to leave you all without any updates for TOO long, so I figured I'd stop by and let you know where things are at.
First of all, thank you to everyone who has been supportive of this reboot thing. I wasn't sure what kind of reaction I was going to get, and it means a lot to know there are so many of you still willing to stick with me.
That said, I want to honor your support by putting out the best product I can this time around, so while I have a tentative goal to start releasing it sometime this summer, I'm taking things one day at a time and not trying to force progress too much right now.
Which isn't too say progress isn't being made! I've dragged a few others on board this time around to help with both story and art. The main focus right now is worldbuilding and plot, and hammering out all of the inconsistencies and stuff that wasn't totally thought through the first time. I'll introduce my story team at a later date, assuming they don't mind being introduced, but so far they've been a huge help in both bringing different perspectives to the table, and asking the hard questions that need to be answered to flesh things out properly, and
seriously I should have done this years ago.
While it's a secondary focus at the moment, I am working on some art stuff as well, mainly in the form of some character design updates. I don't think basic designs are going to change, but I'm at least looking to update the outfits, hence Riza's new look above.
I still don't exactly know what this thing is going to LOOK like when it's done, but I think that'll take shape as time goes on.
And that's about all I've got right now! I'll probably stop back sometime next month and let you know where we're at then. Hope to see you all later!
(PS. I need a better name for this than "DC 2.0", I'm actually tossing around the idea of giving the reboot a subtitle, so if anyone has an idea for what to call it, throw it my way.)
An Important Announcement
February 18th, 2019
You may notice that after all my talk about building a buffer, I dropped off the face of the earth for a minute again with no new pages once it ran out.
The honest reason for that is because I haven't finished any new pages beyond the last update. I have a handful that are just in need of screentones and text, but as I was working on the next one that was supposed to go up, I just stopped. I don't know if I just got frustrated with it, or what, but I just couldn't look at the thing anymore.
The truth is, I don't think I've been happy with the way this project has been going for a long time. I feel like I've just been slogging along, trying to save something I started drawing when I was 13 and didn't have a plan for beyond the first chapter. Obviously it's expanded drastically since then; I have a middle and end for the story, a lot more lore and worldbuilding stuff, and have spent a lot of time getting to know the characters.
But actually physically drawing the comic is just painful anymore, especially when I think about the fact that in 13 years, I've only gotten a little over a third of it done (and then proceed to nearly have an anxiety attack). I know I can do better than spending another untold amount of years spinning my wheels on this thing. I'm not tired of the world, or the characters, or the story. But I am tired of the way I'm telling it.
So I'm scrapping it. And starting over.
I know this sounds like a big, sudden decision, but it's something I've thought about on numerous occasions over the past several years but could never bring myself to actually do.
Here's the good news: DC isn't going away forever. It will be back. Give me a few months to reorganize and lay the groundwork. I'm shooting for sometime this summer. I've already re-written a story summary, have a partial chapter-by-chapter outline, and the first couple of chapters reworked, and I think it already looks way better than it did the first time just because I actually know where I'm going with it. I'm tightening up the plot from the beginning, and while I think a lot of key events are going to play out similarly, it's going to be a lot less wandering around and I'm nixing some elements that I never liked or became irrelevant over time. My goal is also for it to be able to move much, much faster--I'm shooting for 5-6 years from start to finish. This is going to be a full-scale, ground-up reboot, and I think it's going to be way, way better.
That said, when it does come back, here are some things you should know: First and foremost, it won't be a comic in the traditional sense. I'm not exactly sure of the format yet; I know it will still be a healthy combination of words and pictures, but just not a "comic" exactly. I want it to play out in a way that I can say "this part would make more sense written" or "this would make more sense drawn out" or even maybe "this would make more sense animated" if I'm feeling ambitious. I think it'll keep me from having to waste time drawing out every single line of script and be able to focus the art efforts on the important scenes (or maybe just a character making a funny face sometimes, who knows). To reiterate, though, for those who are worried: THERE WILL STILL BE ART. LOTS OF IT. Like, to the point that I'm actually going to try to find a colorist to help out. Yes, you heard me, I plan for it to be in color this time around, which I know is a thing a lot of people have asked me for over the years (be careful what you wish for, I guess).
All of that aside, I'm not taking the comic or this site down or anything; it'll remain here for posterity. And while I do intend to eventually get a new website together, this will be where I post updates on where I'm at with it for the time being. You'll know when it launches, trust me. You're also welcome to follow me on Twitter @
, if you're so inclined.
If you want some stuff to tide you over while I'm working on this, I have fixed the link to my novel,
, in the sidebar, so you can go read that if you want. I'm actually almost finished with the first book, so maybe I'll have at least one completed project under my belt. I also have a shorter, much more DC-esque fantasy story that I'm probably going to start posting on Tapas after that's done. I finished writing it years ago and it was originally going to be a comic, but that never panned out, so I might as well post the story version.
Anyway, I realize that some of you may not be on board with this whole thing and this might be the end of our relationship as fan and creator--and I totally get that. May you find other webcomics that make you happy.
Those of you that are going to stick around...thank you for your patience. I've learned a lot working on it for so long, so trust me when I say that the best is yet to come for DreamCatcher. Keep an eye out.
PS: Almost forgot! One of my goals this time around is to get some feedback on what I'm making before I post it everywhere, particularly in regards to story, so I'd like to recruit a couple of beta readers to give some constructive criticism as I go along. Experience would be great but is not necessary. If interested, PM me on Smackjeeves or shoot an email to email@example.com (if I don't answer within a couple days, send it again).
Chapter 33: Page 9
February 13th, 2019
@Freelance: Whoops! I updated something on Tapas and forgot to change the link here...it's fixed now. Thanks for pointing that out!
@Casanova: Huh that's weird that your comment wouldn't go through. But, thanks for getting me those titles anyway, I will look into them!
Chapter 33: Page 6
January 25th, 2019
: I intentionally didn't put a maybe option because I was concerned that everyone would just mark that and I wouldn't have an actual answer to the question haha. That's what this comments section is for, but I'm doing simple polls because I realize that a lot of people don't like to comment.
@Casanova: I've personally never actually seen someone make a format switch like that; any chance you can link me to any of those? I'd like to see exactly what they did. And when you say they died, do you mean the creator stopped making them or the fanbase just didn't take to it? (Or the creator stopped making them BECAUSE the fanbase didn't like it?)
Chapter 32: Page 29
January 25th, 2019
: Yeah I usually don't care when people get a character's gender wrong so I never bothered correcting that original comment, but since you asked, Sam is a dude haha.
Chapter 33: Page 9
February 4th, 2019
If you have a sibling close to your age and have never had an argument turn into a wrestling match...you're missing out.
Chapter 33: Page 8
January 31st, 2019
A thing to know about the horse siblings: They're both bratty little shits, despite actually being older than most of the main cast.
Chapter 33: Page 7
January 28th, 2019
I didn't realized how awkward Arashi looked in the last panel until it was too late, so, uh, there's that.
Chapter 33: Page 6
January 24th, 2019
Not gonna lie, I've copy-pasted that castle from the first page like 3 times now.
Also, you may or may not have noticed that the poll in the sidebar has changed! Please vote in the new one, I would appreciate the feedback. Again, it is completely anonymous and only requires a button click.
Like 99% of the votes on that last one said that the story and characters are more important to you guys than the art, by the way, which was kind of what I was hoping would be the case. I'm toying with an idea that may help me move this thing along faster while hopefully not having to cut as much story and character content because it takes too long to draw...but it would mean it being less of comic, in the traditional sense. More details pending the poll results.
Chapter 33: Page 5
January 21st, 2019
Annoyed Erisha is annoyed.
Chapter 33: Page 4
January 17th, 2019
I started to draw the group in full detail in that last panel then realized it was gonna get half-covered by text anyway and went "nah fuck that".
Chapter 33: Page 3
January 14th, 2019
Oh look, another horse person.
That aside, you may notice that there is now a poll in the sidebar next to the comic! There will likely be several of these in coming weeks as I try to figure something out. They are completely anonymous, so please take a second to vote!
Chapter 33: Page 2
January 10th, 2019
Arashi being dodgy is going to be a common theme here for awhile.
By The Book
Mario's Day Job
Pictures of You
The Legend Of Zelda: The Demon Road
How To Train Your Dragon: Ireth and Vespera Fable
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