Category: Blog

PAGE FIVE

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Page Five.  My favorite page yet.  For everyone asking me if there would be actual dialogue in the SG comic, here ya go.

I love this page because it really does start to give the girls some character beyond appearance.  We start to get a feel for their individual personalities.

Appearance is still important, and I love that Nic worked in a very Bowie-esque make-up job for Sam.  In fact, I think this week’s music pairing would be some ‘Ziggy Stardust’ playing in the background.  I imagine clubs on Mars would have a certain affinity for Bowie…

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Living a Life in Calgary

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Introduction

Immigration to Canada has always been popular, and it might be more popular than ever before as a result of the concerns over the shifting nature of American politics. People all around the world are going to be affected by this sort of thing, and people might start to see Canada as a sort of oasis in a desert. Canada is going to be affected by all of this as well, and people should not believe that living in Calgary is going to insulate anyone. However, finding a Calgary apartment for rent is going to get a lot of people started on a new path in life, and that can be enough regardless of the exact motivations that people might have chosen for moving there.

 

Calgary Life

The median age in Calgary is around thirty-six. People who are elderly and teenagers are relatively rare there, even though both groups are present. This is a city for young professionals for the most part and for people in early middle age. Anyone who is planning on moving ahead in that life stage might like Calgary. While there are lots of Christians in Calgary, there are also plenty of people who do not identify strongly with any religion. Americans who are interested in a more secular place to live often talk about moving to places like Calgary, and there is some truth in that endeavor. A Calgary apartment for rent is going to put them in proximity to a very different group of people.

The personal and family incomes in Calgary have a tendency to be very high. Unemployment in this part of the country is also very low, which is good news for the people who are used to living in areas where some people have jobs that pay very well and some people have no jobs at all. This is an area where economic inequality is relatively low, and a lot of Americans who want to escape the extreme economic stratification in the United States might appreciate that Calgary is going to be very different compared to their homeland.

Many people say that Calgary is a beautiful city, and it is a city that has a somewhat agricultural culture. They are in touch with their agricultural history in spite of the fact that people often consider rural and urban environments to be opposites. Calgary is a city that has a lot to offer people from all over the world.

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PAGE TWENTYEIGHT

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Happy Friday, Marsers.  I write to you now from the ruins of Chicago; me and the other snowmeggedon survivors have banded together to find food and update our webcomics.  I don’t want to alarm anyone, but is that our Vikki Grimm flying through the air?  I can gauge the success of Nic’s action sequence here by the fact that, even though I wrote the script, I’m still cringing.  Poor girl even lost her boot.  Naff.

We’re gonna go a little industrial this week, I think.  Front 242′s Headhunter:

We are gearing up for c2E2.  Hope you can make it to the Expo.  We’ll be debuting our printed edition there, if everything goes according to schedule.  Might have a couple additional surprises, so stay tuned.  Then two weeks after the C to the E, is Adepticon.  Adepticon is primarily a miniature gaming convention, but this year’s Guest of Honour is none other than Dan Abnett himself.  He kinda spans the comic/miniature gaming worlds and has even written some Dr. Who radio dramas.  Triple threat.  He’s almost like the nerd J-Lo

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PAGE TWENTYSEVEN

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I know the whole “best page yet” mantra is probably getting a little old.  But I think I’m safe in declaring this our best page yet.  To think I was worried that the script for this page tried to pack too much into one week.  In fact, this is why I don’t generally feel that bad that we’re a weekly comic; you definitely get a lot each week.

Vikki Grimm takes the lead here in an attempt to find some cover from the battle that rages around them.  We find that Sam, like Vexx, has an interesting past (or at least she says she does).  Finally, we’re left with a nice cliff-hanger.  The page is so dynamic, almost frenetic, that I think Nic has outdone himself.

The music pairing this week is by a similarly amazing artist.  Rachid Taha is an Algerian singer/DJ whose song ‘Barra Barra’ (Out! Out!) was used in the film Blackhawk Down.  And though I’m copping out a little and choosing that song (it is naffing awesome), I totally recommend checking out more of his stuff, particularly the album Made in Medina. He also does a cool cover of The Clash’s ‘Rock the Casbah’ (used in the Joe Strummer movie).  So fire up the Rhapsody or iTunes and check this guy out if you are currently unfamiliar.  Here’s ‘Barra Barra’:

Housekeeping-wise, I’m doing a links page this week, so look for the ‘Off-World Comms.’  I’m trying to collect links to FM reviews and mentions, but also list some of the other science-fiction webcomics we look at on a regular basis.  As well as some generally cool sci-fi and comic websites (and maybe some miniatures sites for painters/gamers).

The end of Track 2 grows near, which means we’ll be taking the first two chapters and some new bonus material, and putting together a print compilation for C2E2.  We’ve also been thinking about the cover.  We sort of decided we’d like to see our printed comic covers become tributes to some of our favorite album covers.  We think we’ve narrowed down this first cover, but we’re considering future options.  Which leads me to this week’s two-part question for you Earthers:  First, would you be interested in a printed version of the webcomic that included exclusive material?  Second, what iconic album cover would look cool ‘Free Mars’-ified?

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PAGE TWENTYSIX

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In retrospect, Vikki’s reaction last week seems relatively subdued.  The scene outside the crashed ‘lifter seems, at least, somewhat problematic for our heroines.

To think that Nic was worried about designing all the vehicles: tanks, VTOLs, and MLF converted mining haulers all make an appearance.  I think he gave everything a unique look, design-wise, but you can see a common “evolutionary” thread.  The vehicles all have their own character, but they all look Martian.

Again, as usual, the page warrants a few close looks.  The detail here reaches a new level.  It’s tantamount to a Free Mars ‘Where’s Waldo?’

Nic’s music pairing this week is Prodigy.  ”Anything from Fat of the Land,” said the Argentinian artist.  I concur that the technophonic pulse works for the frenetic chaos of the battle.  For my own part, I have to go with one of my favorite bands.  ’Know Your Enemy’ by Green Day.

Our Volcano City Merch Table is open, by the way.  It wouldn’t be a rock show without a merch table.  So if you feel like acquiring some new art (and soon a printed version of the comic with bonus pages)

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PAGE TWENTYFIVE

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PAGE TWENTY FIVE.  Interior commercial freightlifter.  Jovis.  15:37 MST.  Jovis happens to be the fifth day of the Martian week, corresponding with Earth’s Thursday, going with the Darian nomenclature.

We’ve come to the end of Nic’s ‘Red Period.’  I still think this last sequence and its lack of color showed just how detailed Nic’s art really is.

On the writing side, I hope we were successful in demonstrating that there’s more to our girls than might meet the eye….

Music-wise this week, I’m choosing one more “eerie” song to go with the final red page.  Lush, ‘Light From A Dead Star.’  Lush is a band that I almost forgot about, but have been revisiting lately.  I love Meriel Barham’s voice and could almost hear Vexx’s backing vocals sounding similar.

A couple house-keeping notes.  First, we have finally got all the prints together.  We have one larger poster and two smaller mini-prints and one postcard.  I’m compiling all the info and setting up a ‘Volcano City Mercantile’ page this weekend.  So look for it next week.  We’re also doing some website/server maintenance, so if you find us “down” you’ll know why.

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PAGE TWENTYFOUR

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I like to think of the last few weeks as Nic’s ‘Red Period.’  This lighting effect still blows my mind.  Nic continues to give the scene a tremendous level of detail, even though the color is washed out.  I think this shows just how good Nic is- but I’m also a little biased.

I think we can all agree that Vexx is a serious badass.  The final panel is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the comic so far.  This panel stands in a stark (and cool) contrast to the splash on PAGE FOUR.

To honor our bladed bass player, I think we should go with No Doubt’s ‘Just A Girl.’  Honestly, it’s also for my sister in the Bay who will think the choice is hella good.

I sort of went on a bit last week, so I’ll cut things short this week.  First, I presented a challenge to name the Combine trooper’s flesh-melting weapon last week.  I think I like Brian’s suggestion, especially the Ares company name.  I’m gonna modify it a little though: the Ares Industries Mark III Pulsed Plasma Rifle.  Or, ready for this, the APP Rifle.  Because when the shite hits the fan, at least there’s an APP for that.  Brian- shoot me your address (no pun intended) and I will mail you out a freshly made print.

Finally, we are proud (and lucky) to have gotten a great review from a fantastic blogger and true sci-fi connoisseur, Total Fan Girl.  I love her blog and I recommend you follow her on FaceBook.  I say this, not because she gave our little comic a nice review, but because she loves the Clone Wars as much as I do.

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PAGE TWENTYTHREE

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The last page of 2010.  And a bit of a sudden end for a number of unfortunate passengers.  We get to see exactly what a MK. 6 Combine Pulse Rifle does and it isn’t pretty.  I’m still really digging the red lighting effect; it is perfect for the chaotic tension of the trooper’s attack.

Now, again, Nic and I have a difference of opinion on this week’s music pairing.  Nic likes Metallica’s cover of the Misfits song ‘Die, Die My Darling.’  It makes sense, and I do like the Metallica version.  However, my choice this week is maybe a little obvious:  Broken Bells, ‘Vaporize.’  The laid-back tone of the song provides a nice counterpoint to the violence and chaos of the page.  I also think the Broken Bells had one of my favorite albums of 2010.

A few things.  First, if you are a fan of the comic and don’t mind a little tame nudity, you need to hit the deviantArt link up there on the right and check out Nic’s last piece of 2010.  It is a slightly risque version of our drummer, Samantha Darkness.  Sam has an “exotic” day job in Volcano City and Nic wanted to do an illustration of her at work.  So, again, if you’re interested you should check out Nic’s dA page.  The piece will eventually end up in our B-Sides section.  Twitterers already got it.

Second, we wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Nic and I agree that we received three amazing gifts this year.  The first two are named Benicio and Charlotte- Nic’s amazing son and my daughter.  The second gift was the opportunity to put this project together.  We were really lucky to have found each other and I couldn’t ask for a more talented and, frankly, telepathic creative partner.  ‘Free Mars’ and the Martian punk band Sisters Grimm were based on a ten year old screenplay, but it wasn’t until I saw Nic’s work that I realized the potential to tell the story in this medium.

Nic and I also want to thank our “fifth Beatle”, Chris Borer.  Besides being a multiple Slayer Sword winner (I’m sure some of you know what that is), Chris is also a fantastic editor.  He gets to read everything first and his often vehement criticism has been invaluable to the process.

And finally, at the risk of sounding overly naffing sentimental, today’s my birthday.  And the best gift I’ve gotten (besides baby Charlie) are all the emails and posts from you guys.  You, ladies and gentlemen, are awesome!  So thanks for reading.  See you in 2011, gremmies.

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PAGE TWENTYTWO

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“When Earthers ask why we don’t celebrate Christmas on Mars, I usually tell them it’s because Mars doesn’t have three wise men.  We probably don’t have any saviors and we definitely don’t have any virgins.”  -Vikki Grimm

PAGE TWENTYTWO.  Interior commercial freightlifter.  Things continue to go a little south for the passengers of TK-421, including our heroines.  Trapped between a MLF ambush and a slightly maniacal CSC colonel.  Lynch, a veteran of the Ice Wars, is definitely a total bastard.  Moving troops covertly, under the cover of a civilian transport, seems questionable.  Though I suspect the CSC kleptocracy wouldn’t give a document-dump if this tactic were Wikileaked.

Vexx strikes me as someone who doesn’t like to wait in a queue and would probably send back food in a restaurant.

Nic proposed the red “lighting” effect and I agreed that it was appropriate for this scene.  The script called for “warning/emergency lights”, in the vein of ‘A L I E N S’ or ‘Event Horizon’.  It’s tough to do a strobe effect (every other panel is black?), but the red-wash definitely gets across the change in lighting and reflects a real move to a more ominous atmosphere.

The music pairing this week is the result of a minor coincidence*.  When I got the pencils, I was listening to this particular song and it sort of made sense thematically.  So, at the risk of sounding like a car commercial, I’ve gotta go with Kasabian and ‘L.S.F’.  You’ll find that I tend to return to my Britpop roots every few weeks…

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PAGE TWENTYONE

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PAGE TWENTYONE.  Interior.  Commercial freightlifter.  Cargo hold.

The attack begins and we see the damage done by the MLF missile.  We also get to see that Kessler’s information was right and there is indeed a squad of CSC Shock Troopers.  Finally, we’re introduced to one of the ever-growing collection of antagonists.  Colonel Lynch.

Nic has been hoping for some action sequences and now I see why.  He’s nailed it.  The CSC vehicle flipping in the background, thrown by the impact explosion, is awesome.  The next few weeks will see the action continue as the battle unfolds…

Nic also recommended this week’s musical pairing, and I wholeheartedly concur: Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Wake Up.’

Xaviar Xerexes, the mind behind ComixTALK, ran a story on our name change

Lastly, the prints are at the shop.  We are maybe a week away from offering 3-4 different pieces of art.  We’ll have a limited amount of signed stuff and maybe even some original work for sale.  If this first offering goes well, we’ll continue to make more prints and t-shirts available, culminating in a whole range of stuff for C2E2.

I’d also like to take a quick opportunity to wish everyone a happy holidays from Nic and I and, as always, thanks for the support.

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