Ordinary Mortal (I'm never on!)
Enoch Strife's The System
Trapped in the Closet, with the Devil
April 15th, 2018
Where to start with this? First real page in exactly 4 months.
This page was always a non sequitur, for whatever reason. I just liked the idea that "Your worst nightmare come to life" is something overtly cheerful instead of the horrible bleak bleakness of the rest of the book. That's probably the best panel in the entire book so far. I really like it.
Panel 1 was redrawn just yesterday. I had to. The original joke was horribly unfunny. I drew the new panel on a piece of grey copy paper purposefully, for whatever reason. I thought it would be funny if it was grey and grainy instead of white and smooth. I also like that the art is totally different. That also makes it funny.
The joke with the nipples that can weld steel was a joke from the radio show I was listening to that I changed to make it funnier through the use of absurdity. The radio made a joke about hard nipples but I didn't think they went far enough with just how hard those nipples were, so I wanted to go way out of bounds and imagine what if Superman had hard nipples. What could Superman's nipples do? Weld steel.
I had to make the barf green because what else could it be? I didn't want ye dear reader to get confused as to what it was. It looks a thousand percent better.
The Amazing Andy. The first of the Skep-Dicks who get killed in this book. Here he's making a bullshit argument that just because a magician can reproduce the effects of a psychic using trickery that means that psychic powers don't exist. It's a red herring. It's something that's true but ultimately irrelevant, just like OJ's gloves or his knit cap. A ventriloquist can reproduce the effects of a radio, that doesn't mean radio doesn't exist.
It's also blatantly false, at least with regards to spirit mediums. Under the double-blind (eventually quintuple-blind) protocols used at the University of Arizona the control magician using cold reading had an average accuracy of 35% where as the genuine mediums had an average accuracy of 80%. It's gotten to the point where the evidence is so overwhelming that to use any of these fake "skeptic" arguments is blatant deception.
As for the book with no plot, just random jokes, I'm not sure, this seems like it might be just such a story, if you want to even call it a story. I'm certainly going to try to salvage it and create a plot, but so far it does seem like just mindless rambling.
January 4th, 2018
Drawn on a napkin in a coffee shop on 1 January.
This comic is the first time since 2009 that I've drawn Yerk, Crow, and Whistle. The only crossover with the trio and Melanie was in 2003. I'm introducing a new character: Luggage!
In the world of O.O.O whistles are alive despite having no organs except legs (and sometimes hair). They can see and eat and talk and hold things perfectly fine. They also tend to live longer than humans. Whistle is a WWII veteran, and good personal friend of Bob Dole, and his parents are still alive and active and in good health despite being over 110.
We get to see here, probably for the first time, that the flames on Melanie's boots are some sort of metalic colour that changes between pink and green depending on how the light falls on them.
Extra: Tales of a Hidden River Front Cover
December 16th, 2017
Tales of a Hidden River was a proposed book of short stories that went along with the Revenge iNC. series.
Hidden River is a town in Ohio that vanished overnight. It served as the setting for the second half of the series.
Every so many centuries a great master appears on the Earth. One of them incarnated in Hidden River in order to get the townspeople to turn away from sin. After meeting with a less-than pleasant welcome the master decided to drag the entire town to Hell rather than turn the other cheek.
After a group of teenagers disappeared in 1985 while exploring the area (it's implied that the town pulled them there and that it's growing and feeding off of human wickedness) it was quarantined by the US government. The paranormal organisation from Geist hired Melanie to find out what happened to the town and to stop it from expanding.
Unexplained mass disappearances turn up frequently in this series, as evident in Kincade, which begins with the professor explaining his theory for what happens to these towns. He's not wrong, there are just many different reasons for the disappearances.
December 16th, 2017
How do you like that stair case? I wouldn't want to climb that thing every night.
"How the hell did I get like this?" I ask myself the same question all the time.
The editor of the Lydia Journal-Constitution (his name is Ed) is actually a pretty cool guy. Here we see him exaggerated through Mel's perspective, but later books in the series show that he's one of the more decent characters I've created.
Not knowing much of New Hampshire or the north I decided on the idea of covered bridges. New England towns must have loads of covered bridges that get dusted with snow every winter, which lasts like ten months of the year up there.
That last panel. Here I was thinking this could ever be finished in just two books. I changed the dialogue a bit. The next page will be the first that requires some re-drawing because I don't like the direction the story was going. That page will probably appear in January. Certainly not before Christmas.
Extra: Book 4 Page 1
December 2nd, 2017
The first page of Geist, unfinished. Here you get to see how pages look before they're made all readable and nice. I drew on lined paper with a roller ball pen and taped stuff together. About half of each page was nothing but notes on effects to add, because all that black is expensive. I don't know why I did this page when book 3 hadn't even been started yet, but it was interesting. It's the only page from books 4-6 that was ever drawn. Those books have been cut, but this page is still canon, which is why I'm including it here as a kind of epilogue.
SPOILER: Martha dies somewhere between books 3 and 4.
Mel shaves her head and heads back to California, temporarily. Here it says Los Angeles, but her home town of San Pleqi is a fictional suburb of San Diego. I hadn't figured out exactly where it was in 2006. All the dialogue at this point in production of a page is just suggestion. Nothing is absolute until it's finished.
Poster for New Adventures in Hi-Fi in the background. One of the best albums of all time.
Text says "Disjointed Narrative".
Girl's name is Sofiana. She and Mel have fun, nothing serious happens, then break up. Nothing happens. If anything happened Mel wouldn't get to go back to New Hampshire and battle the evil ghost.
Extra: Book 4 Front Cover (Unfinished)
December 2nd, 2017
Unfinished cover for what was going to be Book 4: Geist. Here you get to see what a cover looks like before it's made all fancy like. The series was originally planned to be six books long, but I didn't like the original end so I'm stopping at book 3.
Notice that on the first three covers there's a question mark looking symbol. That's Revenge Incorporated's sigil. The eye looking thing with the arrow is Melanie's sigil, symbolising that she's now the focus of the series, after, SPOILER, Revenge Incorporated is defeated. You can see Mel's sigil on the cover of Kincade.
The mansion at 777 Hill Street has a powerful chaotic evil ghost hidden in the attic, which was locked until the end of book 3. A paranormal police force teams up with Melanie and special guest arch-skeptic Michael Shermer (played by Stanley Tucci - he lives) to exorcise the ghost before it escapes. The threat is much smaller in scope because this was just a one-shot between the two main arcs of the series.
November 25th, 2017
Dirk! His name is Dirk! Man, I forgot that and it was really bugging me that I could only remember two of the three losers' names.
"Can you be scary?" I figured that nothing I could draw would be as scary as the reader's imagination, that's why you don't get to see what his face turns into.
That ornery creature in the margin is Plumb-Bob! I created him in 2002/03 during an horrendous period of writer's block. I drew, horribly, twenty-some pages of stream of consciousness nonsense and bodily functions. After a few months of that I got over my writer's block.
I don't know how clear it is, or not, so to clarify, Chickless is confused about Revenge iNC.'s powers. She thinks he's using some sort of trickery, like David Blaine, and, in fact, she thinks David Blaine is a better magician. She doesn't realise that Revenge iNC. is the real deal. Revenge is then able to perfectly mimic her voice and enter her, and the others, into an illegal contract against their wills.
When Melanie slams the door open I think that stuff around the panel is supposed to be barbed wire.
When Melanie left California and traveled the country, eventually making her way to New Hampshire, she rented a room with the old people. They are really super cool and probably the only characters who are not assholes.
November 10th, 2017
That first panel is one of my favourites in the entire story.
There we see a poster for The Unbathed. We also see a plain wooden floor. I have a plain wooden floor, and it shows up a lot in my comics.
AND we see the margin writing being changed into candy corn. After page 5 when I decided to continue the story I got the idea to hide pictures of candy corn throughout the book, not just in the margins but all over. There was going to be a contest to see who could locate all the pieces.
In the third panel we see a Scottish guy impaled by a golf club. I thought that was funny. I wanted to make this afterlife waiting area funny, so there are people who had succumbed to humorous deaths.
I don't know, I got the idea that people who die from certain means, like suicide, get stuck haunting places as penance. And they don't get to update their appearance, they are forced to appear as they had died for the duration of the haunting, which can be many centuries. Normally when you die, as we see in a later page, you can alter your appearance so the cause of death isn't obvious, but if you're being punished then you can't.
In the fourth panel we see three unfortunate characters who were going to die in a story I never got around to writing about people trapped in a house with a monster. The beginning of that story will appear in the beginning of the prequel to Revenge iNC., called Kincade. The guy to the left was the victim, the guy in the middle had abducted him and brought him to the house under the control of a demonic entity, and the guy to the right was a SWAT officer who was killed entering the house. In this world not only ghosts and afterlife bureaucrats exist, but demons exist, and it's not entirely clear what demons are, but they can and do possess people. This particular demon has been around in the Americas for thousands of years and was responsible for the collapse of different Mesoamerican civilisations throughout the centuries. In the beginning of Kincade a professor of mythology and the occult is giving a lecture on civilisations that vanished overnight, and he makes the connection to this supernatural force that he is speculating is responsible. It turns out that this force exists and it is actually self-limiting, but sometimes people things to mess with the system and all hell breaks loose.
The entire second half of this page is nothing but foreshadowing.
October 31st, 2017
Happy motherfucking Halloween, bitches! No treats, just tricks.
This is probably my favourite page that I've drawn of this comic, this one and the armpit farting, but you'll see that one later. I drew the top half of the page weeks before the bottom half. The first four and a half pages were part of a promotion in another book.
You can just see my Roman heritage bleeding through, with those pollarded trees and the Mediterranean cypress. This is New Hampshire in the winter, so those trees should be covered to keep them from getting killed by frost, but this is magical realism, not real realism. When you throw someone out the window in the really real world there's no coming back.
Melanie makes reference to not getting paid. In the series that originally preceded this longer story it was established that she moonlights as a con-artist.
Intimidation is a fictional store I invented. I don't know what they sell there, even though I'm like the god of this universe and I'm near ubiquitous, I've deliberately never been inside. The door to the store is a gaping mouth surrounded by torches. They have a smoke machine, so you can't see what's inside. Apparently they sell clothing and probably drug paraphernalia. I think I might have hallucinated this place into existence once, I'm not sure.
The people who shop at Intimidation often are the same people who listen to music by the band The Unbathed. Suffice it to say that if these people are too cool for Melanie then she must be one hell of a loser.
This "Ded Gurl" as I call her (I don't think her name is ever mentioned in the story) may be complaining about getting dumped by Kyle, but he seems to get a bad rap. He's apparently been dating (or at least having sex with) the same person from 1999 until 2006. Still, every time I have a douchebag character, no matter what name he has in the story I always secretly call him Kyle. Ded Gurl's not based on anyone in particular. Neither is Kyle.
October 2nd, 2017
This page took absolutely forever.
When I drew this page I had no idea what I was doing. I had the idea of the book but I didn't know what to do with it until later, so I just made a throw away gag. I'm thinking of working that book into the climax of the story somehow.
The obvious problem is that RI is too powerful. It seems like he can do anything and he's fighting against ordinary mortals, so they're going to have to find a way to outsmart him.
September 16th, 2017
I went away and then I got stuck in a crappy job for a month so I didn't have the time to work on this. Now I've got a better job and I'm back, hopefully every week.
I'm experimenting with using Impact instead of Arial for the text. Impact is a lot cleaner than Arial and still looks clear and readable. Arial is too pixely. When you enlarge it you can see it's made of large squares, not smooth edges. Impact is a lot smoother. I only have to add a few extra pixels when I enlarge it, where as with Arial I have to spend a whole hour per page practically just to make the letters look smooth.
How doth thou liketh that blue thing in the middle of the page there? I had some irrelevant text there in the original version, and since I'm cutting out the second half of the story and the B plot I had nothing else to put there, so I just put something nice to look at rather than making it all black and look like an empty space. You can pretend like some magical stuff happened.
Book 3 Front Cover
August 6th, 2017
Book 3: Bride of Revenge iNC.
I had finished books 1 and 2 in 2006, but that was only about half the story. Looking back I have to say that there's no way I could the entire second half of the story in just 23 pages. Expect this to be the longest of the three books.
This cover contains a spoiler for a big twist that arises in book 3.
August 6th, 2017
That business card is real. I made the card and then used digital magic to insert it into the comic, rather than drawing the card in by hand.
The architect who designed the house and the town would play an important role in the now canceled fourth book "Geist". I will upload the cover and the first couple unfinished pages at the end, but what happens after that is not too important. There was a much larger story originally, and the I decided to eliminate the second half because I fit this comic into a different series called "Dragonfly". When I get around to getting a steady paycheck then I'll look into publishing that book.
Those circles on the white background are stars. I didn't feel like colouring in the entire sky and then drawing white outlines around everything, so I figured you can use your imagination. I've seen someone else draw white night skies before, though I don't recall where.
You can expect an ever increasing number of interruptions, margin notes, and author cameos as the story progresses, at least until the half-way point.
July 26th, 2017
I'm not entirely all here writing this commentary on this page. Since page 23 was drawn 5 March 2006 I'm guessing page 1 was drawn sometime in February. The first five pages were drawn as a bonus section to the comic "All Hell Breaks Loose!" which cost me $200 and was a huge mistake. Originally I did all the text in a font called "Lydia Sans Serif", but it looked like crap and was largely illegible, so I redid the text and I'm rewriting some of the dialogue to make it better.
We see here our three catalysts for all the drama about to unfold: Pip, Chickless, and the rest (I don't remember the third person's name and, apparently, I never wrote it down). In school people fall into different categories and such. They all seemed to adopt exaggerated mannerisms and such. And then there was me, and I assume probably one other person somewhere in the world who I haven't met yet. That's Melanie. Melanie is me if I had been lucky enough to be born a girl and rich. People never fit me into any group, they just sort of didn't care.
You know the people that I'm talking about here, they suffer from delusions of grandeur. They try to be different by being exactly the same, and it never crosses their minds that the two don't go together. They're cavalier wannabe badasses. It's camouflage, like how some animals have bright colours to warn potential predators that they are dreadfully poisonous, and some other non-poisonous animals have bright colours to imitate the poisonous animals in the hope of cashing in on the bad reputation of the real deal. That's who these three are. They're not tough, so they pretend to be tough as a form of camouflage.
You see here in the first panel a reference to one of the two very popular fictional bands I invented: The UnBathed. Unlike Iron Belt, I never actually came up with any music for UnBathed. The band members wear white face paint, and that's all we know.
Something I was doing at the time that you'll see a lot of, panels made of tubes and wires and light bulbs. Also the Moon has a trade mark, which is something else I did a lot at this time. Everything was so commercialised then. I guess it still is, I just don't notice it so much because I don't watch TV anymore.
Melanie is someone kind of like Job I guess. There's just something about her that pisses God off, but no matter what happens she's not allowed to die. She's taken advantage of that contractual immortality, getting into all sorts of trouble and doing all sorts of illegal things, but it's taken a toll on her. Naturally, she's earned the reputation that the three losers wish to ape.
I invented her on 30 October 2002 in a series "Much Ado About Nothing" that represented a radical shift from everything I had drawn previously. She always gets into bad situations, with horrible people, and those people always die horribly. The series started out as comedy but veered hard into serious drama. I decided to soften "Revenge iNC." up as comedy horror, because it would be too damn depressing otherwise.
Outside Back Cover 2
July 18th, 2017
Ded Gurl is just so misunderstood. She's hurting inside because you don't remember her.
Book 2 Front Cover
July 18th, 2017
Book 2: Siren Song
You might think you're in control, but Revenge Incorporated is the master manipulator.
Outside Back Cover 1
July 18th, 2017
Melanie at my grave. I came back.
Book 1 Front Cover
July 18th, 2017
Book 1: The Persistence of Memory
I started drawing "Revenge iNC." in 2006. After drawing 46 pages (about half) I stopped for whatever reason and shelved the project. I started "Kincade" because I was disappointed that I couldn't finish this, and, again for whatever reason, I decided to finish "Revenge iNC." because it's the funniest thing I've ever written, or read for that matter.
If I recall correctly I got the design for the house from an encyclopedia.
A Terrible Day For Rain
July 10th, 2017
A panel from page 5 of my unfinished comic "Revenge iNC."
June 30th, 2017
I thought up the opening scene(s) while going for a walk at midnight. It fits with the continuity of the character, but probably not with this particular story.
That one guy in panel 3 (bottom left) is EVERY guy college student (I'll draw his female counterpart on the next page, probably). He's out of shape with a neckbeard and has to spread his legs as wide the fuck apart as possible to take up three seats, and he has to wear sweat pants or pyjamas because EVERYONE at college is a total slob. He claims to be a communist and yet is never seen anywhere without icons of capitalism like an iPhone, Starbucks cup, and a Che Guevara (or Soviet flag) T-shirt.
The professor is based on my old boss when I worked at a museum. He's cool.
I don't know why but Melanie's hair is always lopsided.
I ended this page on sort of a cliff-hanger because I'm really busy and it will be probably a month until page 2 comes out.
151 Hidden Depths
Chelsea and Kitty
Tales of the Red Shark
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