Bring it on, 2016…

12376602_10153779066748622_2943124361437882905_nNot a long post this year, folks — I’ve got too much work to do.

Those of you who have been paying attention will know that 2015, like 2014 before it, was a bastard of a year for me. The past couple of years have been a one-two-gut-punch of troubles — professional, personal, familial, financial and emotional.

In my estimation, two in a row is enough. You’re on notice, 2016. It would not be wise for you to disappoint me.

First order of business: Get the epically-late FAR WEST done and out the door. Doing that will lift a large weight of stress, and, I hope, make some progress towards earning back some of the goodwill from gamers that I’ve pissed away since late 2011.

Got some other irons in the fire from Adamant as well — I’m working with some brilliant folks — but none of that even gets talked about until FAR WEST is out. Suffice to say: I think you’ll like what you see.

Here’s hoping for a better year — for me, for you, for everyone. I think we’ve earned it.
 
 

Ultra Christmas!

Long-time readers (from back when I actually regularly blogged) will remember my Friday Music series, where every Friday I’d give you a set of links to mp3 files of music that I thought was nifty. Sort of a “mixtape of the internet” — it ran for years, and people seemed to dig it. For a while there, when Christmas rolled around, I’d do a special collection where I’d assemble a full album of cool/obscure/weird Christmas music, complete with a custom cover, and offer it as a zipped file for download.

Well, it’s been too long, so I decided to do it again. Without further ado, here is the 2015 “Friday Music” Christmas collection: Ultra Christmas! (Click on the graphic to download the zipped file.)
 
 
ultra
 
 
Liner notes:

Track 1: Funky Little Drummer Boy, by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: A nice re-working of a holiday classic by my favorite Soul revival act.

Track 2: I Know What You Want For Christmas, by Kay Martin & Her Bodyguards: An early-60s titillation novelty album by singer, Playboy model and Reno, NV lodge-owner Kay Martin.

Track 3: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), by Darlene Love: The best version of this song, ever. Nobody comes close.

Track 4: The Coventry Carol, by Alison Moyet: I’ve always loved Alison Moyet’s voice, and here she is on a very 1987 version of a 16th century carol.

Track 5: Bad Boy Christmas (feat. Richie Loop), by Bad Royale: How about some Jamaican dancehall Christmas? You’re welcome.

Track 6: Wonderful Christmastime, by The Shins: One of those instances where a cover of a song is better than the original. McCartney’s version irritates me; this one doesn’t.

Track 7: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, by The Civil Wars: A very cool version by an Alternative Country duo I first discovered through FAR WEST (they were suggested to me by a backer).

Track 8: Green Grows the Holly, by Calexico: Another act that is on my FAR WEST playlist, doing a lovely rendition of a far-too-little-heard song.

Track 9: May Ev’ry Day Be Christmas, by Irma Thomas with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band: I’m always in awe of New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and this track is no exception.

Track 10: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, by The Punch Brothers: One of my favorite “dark of the year”/haunting Christmas hymns.

Track 11: Cant Wait For Christmas (feat. Idris Elba), by Loose Tapestries: Loose Tapestries are a side project of Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno and surrealist comedian Noel Fielding. Here’s their take on a Christmas single, featuring some late-in-the-song rapping from Big Driis.

Track 12: La Fille du Père Noël, by Les Deuxluxes: The Jacques Dutronc original is where Bowie lifted the guitar riff from for “Jean Genie” — this is a more recent cover by an indie group from Montreal.

Track 13: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, by Annie Lennox: What better way to close than with Ms. Lennox singing the only Christmas song to feature Satan?

 
 
Anyway, there ya go. I hope you enjoy. Merry Christmas, everybody!
 
 

Insurgent Creative: The Changing Business of Webcomics.

Insurgent Creative

heykidsI know, I know — it’s been ages since I’ve posted. The realities of life as a Creative: Time gets away from you as you get busy, and things need to be prioritized. The ol’ blog here has been largely ignored, as I’ve concentrated on three things: One, getting the famously-delayed FAR WEST finished. Two, working my side-gig as a Game Design teacher at the Kansas City Art Institute. And Three, EVERYTHING ELSE.

But, I saw this earlier today, and it definitely falls into the sort of information that I’ve provided here as part of the Insurgent Creative series, so here we are again.

Insurgent CreativeOver on The Observer, they’ve done a four-part series about the changing business model of Webcomics — from it’s beginnings in the early days of the internet, through it’s early-2000s advertising-monetized boom, through the days of merch and T-shirts, and now, in the post-merch, social-media era. It’s definitely worth your time to read, not just if you’re interested in webcomics, but if you make a living offering any sort of creative output online. Remember: the biggest problems that various media have had in the internet age has been failure to look outside of their own silos, and learn the lessons of what other media have gone through.

So here are the articles (there are also links to all at the end of each article):

PART ONE: The Webcomics Business Is Moving On From Webcomics.

PART TWO: Patreon, Webcomics, & Getting By.

PART THREE: The Changing Internet Through Webcomics.

PART FOUR: Lessons In Creativity From Successful Webcomic Artists.

There ya go. Read. Absorb. Add the info to your arsenal.

Go forth and create.