Hey guys. I made a map to go with my comic. A SPACE MAP. This is the nerdiest thing I’ve done in a very long time. There was math involved! That’s how nerdy it was. Indulge me while I regale you with the details.
For the record, a lot of the initial world-building for A Mad Tea-Party was done over a decade ago, when I was still in my “I want to make comics so I’m going to spend all my time planning out stories but not writing or drawing them” phase. Basically, I had a lot more time for this kind of thing. Now that the book is done, I’ve dredged up all that ancient work and polished it up so it matches the actual story as it developed, and matches developments in astronomy since then.
The stars are all as accurately presented as possible. These are the actual stars in our immediate neighbourhood, although I’ve changed some of the names on the premise that by the time of the story, people will care enough about these stars to give them names without numbers in them. Also there are aliens. This is an Earth-centric map, so only the alien names that have replaced English names in common usage are included.
For the star map in the middle, I decided to tackle the problem of how to show a 3D map in a 2D environment using colour. Stars that are closer to the viewer are more blue, those that are farther away are more red.
The distance chart I had to figure out myself because the sources I had only described stars based on their position relative to Sol. I am not a math guy! Math is hard. I’m very proud of myself for remembering how to use the Pythagorean Theorem and figuring out how to adapt it for three dimensional space.
The “Calendi-Khazh Jump Gate System” is the main means of travel in regions where the Calendi hold sway. The Osmians have the ability to travel faster than light (or travel through hyperspace or something, I’m not sure), but the Calendi need to send a robotic ship at sub-light-speed that will build an artificial wormhole before they can travel to a star system. Which limits how far and fast they can go, obviously.
Star systems are mapped out diagrammatically. Super-Earths, super gas giants, brown dwarves, and dust belts are all real things, we just don’t happen to have any in the Solar System. I left out Pluto. Sorry. Dwarf planets would over-complicate my pretty map.
Since my original world-building efforts, science has marched forward, and a bunch of extra-solar planets have been found, including some in our neighbourhood. Some of the planets and other objects shown are really real- especially big planets close to stars (those are the easiest to find). Most of the planets I made up, of course. And even the planets that have been found, no one knows much about them apart from their size and locations. I did calculate and make sure I was putting my planets the right distance from their stars to get the temperature right.
You’ll notice some of the planets have some pretty crazy environments. There are a lot of alien species that you never actually see in the book, because they live on, like, freezing methane worlds or whatever. The book’s not really about aliens and space empires so much as the consequences on ordinary people of living in a world like this. The Vourasq are the army of alien robots that act as the main villains in the background of the story.
Eventually science will push the veil further back, we’ll gain an even better understanding of what’s actually orbiting around these stars, and my space map will be proven wrong. Oh well. These are the perils of writing science fiction. Next story I write I’m sticking to the Solar System, where the pace of discovery is a little more manageable right now.
This is crazypants!
Artist Ed arrival megapost 2! I put the LAST of the Artist Editions in the post this morning and I’m still in a state of euphoria about it. I’ve been working on this “book 3” project since August. Work was interrupted by my right wrist being broken, and resumed in October, and I’ve had my head down on this project since then. Finished the book in February (it’s a lot more than just throwing pages in an InDesign file :), thanks Jeff for your help with that ), spent most of Feb/Mar designing extreme edition merch, launched in March, toured with it for much of April and May, while processing as many customizations as possible in between, and then focused on customization for June! WHEW.
I just wanted to take a second to acknowledge that. Books take a long time to shepherd out the door when you’re a one-person operation also working a full time job /:) . Thanks so much to everyone who supported my work by buying an Artist Ed, the books could not exist without you!
I’m going to answer a *lot* of email, then celebrate my 30th next Friday, drink some nice beer, bike around the seawall and just take it easy for a minute B)
I haven’t posted any “con reports” but my con season is over!!! Here are some photos of the various shows I exhibited at, I forgot to take a picture of my Calgary and TCAF tables so instead there’s a picture of the TCAF hall and my TCAF haul ;)
I did 5 shows in eight weeks and that was… A lot. Too many. You need to commit to shows up to 1 full year in advance but because the commit-by dates were all over the place I didn’t realise until about January that all the shows were in a row like that. I barely survived!! But all the shows were successful and I wanted to thank everyone who stopped by to make them successful.
Conventions are great! It’s a party and you can meet readers and all your far-flung friends are there and I really like doing them but it is a lot for a person with anxiety to handle /:) so when I skip a show know that it’s not because I didn’t have a good time! I just have to be more considerate of my own limitations.
So all that being said I don’t think I’m going to schedule any appearances for the summer/fall I am going to take a long break to ride my bike and draw silly pictures. And next year I will be planning to go to different shows so I can meet readers I’ve never visited before :)
See you on the tubes!
Just finished putting all remaining Extreme Editions in the post! Thanks everyone for your patience, as you can see I’m putting a lot into these drawings :) Moving onto the Artist Editions right after VanCAF and they should move out much faster since
a) I’m not travelling to shows every dang weekend
b) I don’t have to painstakingly data-load and re-wrap little bees in tiny cello bags
c) The customs forms are only 3 lines long versus 5
d) the bags are self sealing
These things add up! I’m actually really getting into fulfillment (I think I’m pretty good at it!) I just wish it was my only job OTL
On May 24th and 25th, I’ll be at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival! I was also lucky enough to be invited to design this year’s poster, as seen above. This is super exciting!
Anyway, come by and check it out. It’s held at Vancouver’s beautiful Roundhouse community centre, and it’s 100% free admission. I look forward to seeing you there! Full information is right over here.
Checkout VANCAF, if you have a chance.
Tony’s poster is soo cool. I will be at this too along with many artists whose work I loooooveee.
yo fucking GOOOO
SEE ALL OF YOU FELLAS THERRRRREEEEEEE
Super excited, come to VANCAF!!
Yeah! VanCAF!! Everybody should come to VanCAF!!
Let’s all go to Vancafffff
Extreme Arrival Megapost! Pics like this make me so happy :)))
I have been busting tail trying to get as many of these out the door as possible, in between the day job and keeping the updates coming, and travelling continuously to shows. I’m making progress and I hate keeping people waiting. Thanks for your patience, I’m making them worth the wait :)
YOU GUYS TCAF is this weekend and I will be there, I will be at TCAF it’s an amazing comics show in Toronto and this is like the millionth show in a row I’ve done so I’m really tired but not so tired that I’m not excited to be there!! So you should go! It’s free! I will have lots of books, including Cubicle Warrior :)
SEE YOU THERE omg TABLE 244
Preview of my piece for Cloudscape’s next anthology, Mega Fauna. It’s a 7-page story called “Shared Habitat”, and it’s about two kids exploring a world that humans can’t survive without our genetically-modified creatures.
Words and lines by me, amazing colours by Jak. :)))
Stoked I was able to turn being royally screwed on a deadline into an opportunity to collaborate with Jak. She was the one who introduced me to manga in high school and we spent many late nights power-leveling our comicking skills together. It’s amazing that we both managed to stick with comics and are now both making our mark on the industry.
It was a bit of a mad sprint getting this done so thank you so much to Jak for colouring all those damn frogs. She did the art for another piece in Mega Fauna as well (written by Shannon Campbell), and I wrote another piece about a Thai monk (with art by Everett Patterson.) Mega Fauna is an all-ages book about the shared lives of people and animals and it’s coming soon!
Re-blurb for the day train, and a reminder that Sponsors can read this *right now* :)
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