Comic 1 - Comic Battle Day One R
16th Oct 2009, 4:00 PM
Comic Battle Day One R
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Author Notes:
Bree edit delete
Bree
NOTE: There is the possibility of broken links everywhere. That's due to a direct copy from another place I posted the ramble. I've fixed what I can, but it probably hasn't helped that much.)

Ooh, boy. Prepare for the most epic rant you'll probably ever see. My apologies in advance for it. You WILL hate me for this; it is long. I PROMISE you that NONE of my other comics will EVER have a ramble this long.

Comic Battle Day One R--Truce! (Meh, might as well add pseudo-names. The title's Day One R, as the Comic's called Comic Battle. Doesn't stop nicknames.)
I don't think I can make this any better. It's achieved peak quality. As you might've noticed, there's a big, huge ramble to go along with it. Here it is.

There is a lot to say about this strip. An epic ramble on its own [nine pages]. TRUST me, I will not have this much to say in others, but I'll say it here. It's all important to me.

First of all, look at the date. (Okay. So I know it says March 6th, 2007 is when it was last modified. But keep in mind, that date continues for the first ten or so strips. Do you think I did ten in one day? Heck no. At March Sixth, 2007, all I did was modify the already-existing strips to be *slightly* better. They are older than that. I’ll try tracking down an older backup, doubt I’ll succeed, though.)

This thing is YEARS old.
It started off as just me doodling with a pencil on brown tables. (:o! Graffiti! I stopped a year later after I got caught, okay? :P^)
A tornado.
A tornado with boxes.
A tornado with boxes, and a stick figure crying out for help.
...And it progressed onto the prototype.
A figure stuck in the tornado, with a second figure laughing (presumably the cause of the tornado).

...Then, thinking of another thing that uses stormclouds. Lightning does. Second guy gets fried, I find it slightly humorous (That's where the "Comic" comes from. The "Battle" is from the fighting, of course. /Captain Obvious. :P) for some absurd reason. (I think the original humor was in the person laughing at the dismay of the man in distress, only to be put in a bad situation himself. If that were the case, it has been lost. Now...it's just there. Setup for later strips. I applaud you if you find humor in Comic Battle [Day One], but I can't find it, anymore.)

It slowly evolved into what it was, the original. You can still see it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/2404372305/sizes/l/in/set-72157604477856748/
And I give you my word you'll see just how bad it is.

Ah, well. It eventually started off the series.

Second of all, again look at the date. I did not rip off ANYTHING when I originally made this comic. It was years old.

Do you know what I was doing online when I made this comic?
Very little to nothing at all.

"Le Gaspeth! No Intorwebz?!? Heresy!"
Hey, I said "little to none", okay? :P

Darkthrone (Beta; they're in Gold, now. Darkthrone.com and beta.darktrhone.com, if you're interested) was one of my main activities. ‘Twas still popular, but Silver was new at the time, new enough…that it was killing Beta, so I came in the twilight years of Beta. Had a load of fun, made some good friends, but it wasn’t something I was truly passionate about.

My REAL activities?

Dragonfable (dragonfable.com) was new. AQ (battleon.com, although I believe nowadays adventurequest.com leads there as well--I liked it better when the adventurequest.com page was a declaration of how they finally got said domain name) was still popular to most people, due to being, well, not outclassed by the other games.
Mechquest (mechquest.com) was just a single, black and white sketch-banner.

I was still a newb on the forums. (forums2.battleon.com, specifically, this is the home page which I spent countless hours refreshing: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/default.asp )

Basically, yes, I had an obsession, and its name was Artix Entertainment. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artix_Entertainment )
In fact, I now have a set for AE due to that. (Found Here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/sets/72157622583120847/ ) They are a significant influence.

The third thing I have to say, is about my schedule. No, I am not Questionable Content (questionablecontent.net). I do NOT regularly update. (I promise an update within a year of my last one. You're not getting any better than that. :P)

I once got advice from someone (don’t remember who, though) in art (one section covered was webcomics, amongst other subjects): No matter how absurd the number is, always set some sort of schedule up. (I'm butchering the wording; remember, years ago?)

Yea, well, I draw when inspiration comes to me. (ESPECIALLY in the case of In Real Life, my other comic. You can find the forum version here: http://archive.b1.jcink.com/index.php?showtopic=19 and a flikr version here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/sets/72157622557521240/) So if people want a deadline...try one to two years per comic.
Happy? :P
(Seriously, that's my schedule. They take FAR too long to do once a week, and I doubt I have the devotion to do them once a month. So, push it back to one year...)

Another thing to note is that, unlike In Real Life, Comic Battle has a continuous storyline of sorts. It certainly doesn't seem this way, but I am slowly building it up.

My second-last note is that I am not a professional. I am not an artist. I am an average guy. I don't do fancy stuff. I use freakin' MSPaint. The most basic program in existence. I use Flikr for my uploads, I don't have some fancy webpage to call my own. The closest I have is a forum post with all my links (on several places. In Real Life’s most up-to-date one is on archive.b1.jcink.com. Comic Battle was just now revived after nearly a year’s vacation, so Flikr’s [right here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/sets/72157604477856748/ ] my only other current location, sorry), or the Sets with all in said set.

(I have several sets, now. The original Comic Battle, In Real Life, [already linked], College [here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/sets/72157622477873849/ ], Hand-Drawn [here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/sets/72157622433235831/ ], and Weapons [here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/sets/72157622433253597/ ], amongst many others.)

In other Words, Don't expect me to create anything nearly on-par with a professional.

The last thing to note is mostly just a memento: keep in mind, while these are stick figures done in paint, you'd think they wouldn't take that long. You'd be wrong. Up until around the original Comic Battle Day Fifteen (linked here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/2405244238/sizes/o/in/set-72157604477856748/ ), (actually, all the way up to the last panel. The finish date is in the new format, and the second half of the dialog there is new, as is the sound effect. The rest, however, all done by hand) these things were completely done from scratch.

Each panel, I redrew EVERYTHING. No reused text. No reused sound effects. (I drew EVERY SINGLE LETTER up until the last panel of Day fifteen, mid-dialog. Everything before “Ah Well” was done completely by the line, circle, eraser, and pencil tools—so consistency was rather hard, understandably.)

No reused stick figures. (Anything you see with nearly consistent size in stick figures pre-15, you should be impressed with. I worked hard [and failed, but I did try] to try and keep it consistent within panels. [However, between strips, their sizes were often altered greatly.]) No reused weapons, no reused animations. (Each and every tornado, [do you have ANY idea how hard it is to do a tornado in paint the way I did? It took at least half an hour per cyclone—good thing they normally only last for one panel. :P] windstorm, lightning blast, raindrop, and combination thereof was done with only referencing earlier ones, sometimes, not even that. I hand-drew each of those clouds using the circle tool. I then used the eraser, and then colored the cloud using the paint tool. When I decided to remove the top halves of the circles, there was white space because I didn’t know how to use the eraser any other way than the default, so I had to recolor the clouds.)

No reused speech bubbles. (Very important skill, speech bubble drawing. I was better at it then than I am now, because I had to do it all by hand—yes, with the pencil tool in Paint. YOU try making consistent speech bubbles, that fit all the text, no matter how you formatted it, using a hand which has problems with stability [I inherited it from my mother, unstable hands—they shake a lot, and it isn’t pleasant]. I had to alter speech bubbles to accommodate text until I learned to do the text FIRST, making the process even longer and harder. I had to compromise in some cases with both bubbles and dialog. All in all…there is no way to describe how hard something so simple in appearance was.)

No Reused spacing. Each and every break (The Black lines separating panels) was made using the maximum size of the line tool, in the default black. Each and every strip has slightly different dimensions than the last. There is no standard number of panels in the strips, so that changed from time to time. So I had to do guess work as to how big of a panel I needed each time, and find ways to use the space I had available.

Put all of those together, if you can. They meant that the strip took considerably more time, and some times, working two to five hours a day, it still took me a WEEK or even TWO to finish a single panel. Even now, with what I know, it takes HOURS, if not DAYS. Why? Because. I don’t cheat.

Nowadays, it is so much simpler, yea. I reuse figures, reuse speech bubbles, etc. I’ll copy the figures, sure. I’ll copy a lot of things which I once did by hand. I've mostly standardized the text, but unlike In Real Life, I'm not using Paint's Text feature (except for my name, “To Be Continued” text used in plotlines, and dates). Copying letters one by one only adds consistency—it doesn’t cut down on time wasted. Copying speech bubbles saves me the effort of drawing them—not the time, as I have to position them, edit them, modify them, etc. You should get the idea. Through all of that, some is still made from scratch, and what isn’t made from scratch takes just as much time as making it from scratch. I take my devotion to Comic Battle VERY seriously, and don’t cut corners.

So if you take the time to comment on Comic Battle, original or the redo...then you'll let me know I exist. I'd rather negative feedback than no feedback. Better yet, if I were to ever receive an honest (I do not take well to half-hearted, sarcastic, or down-right lying “compliments”) comment on how someone enjoyed my work...it'd mean more to me than you can imagine.

Comic Battle…is one of my favorite projects of all time. Reading Web Comics amplified this enjoyment I feel. Taking a long break made me realize how much I miss it. Now, with the help of TVTropes, and Web Comics, and what I’ve learned since originally starting Comic Battle (I was a newb to paint back then; experience from time spent on Comic Battle, In Real Life, drawing things, etc. helps, though), and everything that inspires me…I will keep it going. I will start up the storyline that I’ve been waiting to write for years. I’ll get back to my first attempt ever at a product to entertain others.

Now, this was a great ramble so far, but I’m not close to done yet. I'd like to wrap things up with my inspirations. (Mainly for In Real Life, not Comic Battle, but the inspirations do influence both, not just In Real Life. And as I wouldn’t be doing Comic Battle still if not for In Real Life, those that don’t inspire Comic Battle directly still do via IRL.)

Xkcd (xkcd.com), of course, is a huge inspiration to me, and has been ever since the moment I first heard about it from someone I know in real life. I got addicted and began reading everything, keeping up to date. I caught up in far, FAR less than a week of reading, I liked it so much. Besides the great humor, there’s one thing that sticks out about Xkcd. (No Pun Intended.)

Be honest with me:
How many webcomics with STICK FIGURE art are even CLOSE to successful? Not many that I can think of. (Although, admittedly, I am far from the best role model for knowing Web Comics. :/ But most Web Comics I see are NOT stick figure art.)
Xkcd is stick figure art (for the most part).
And is successful.
What more can I say?

That takes great skill, and it is admirable. If I had a list of goals, getting to 1/10th the skill of xkcd would be at #1, just above #2: Entertaining others.
(...Luckily, I don't, so Entertaining others/myself is still my first concern. tongue.gif)
Comic Battle was made before I had heard of xkcd, but In Real Life was slightly inspired by it, and I never would've made In Real Life into a series without xkcd--and as IRL is what made me continue Comic Battle...well, xkcd remains important to me.

Order of the Stick. (When I wrote this ramble, this was their latest: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0682.html . They, of course, have more now...)

I LIVE by this comic.

No, really. Not literally live by the comic, but it has become very important to me in a very short period of time. (It took me three days to read it all, and I never let go once I got ahold of its awesomeness.)

In Real Life (not my comic, which retains that name. In MY real life, the thing most people live every day? For those who still don’t understand, it’s what you do when you’re not online, playing games, or watching Television. Yes, sleeping, eating, drinking, and other such activities count as “real life”, so those who insist they don’t know what real life is now have the knowledge to touch RL’s surface! :P), sure, I'm fairly normal (okay, I’m definitely not really, really normal, but I’m far, FAR from the person I am online, to say the least), not like the comic. I've got an average life (for the most part), sure.

...But online, I AM Vaarsuvius. (Umm…for the most part. Arrogant, Reckless, and long-winded, at the very least. It’s complicated, actually. I say I’m Vaarsuvius, but in truth, he’s only part of me. Most of my problems come from the above three [though they can be further expanded upon: egotistical, slightly evil, impulsive, rambler, boring, etc.], but I’ve got another aspect of me, The Elan-type part of me, the joker, the one who can’t resist to let out a humorous line.)

Despite the differences I show, he's still the character who best describes me, in my opinion, (online. In person, I am the “not-so-strong, silent guy”-type. :P), when I go anywhere on the internet. (One of three personalities seems to always be present in my online activities: Vaarsuvius, the arrogant, long-winded reckless smart-a’d know-it-all, Elan, the jester, joker, funny guy, or a combination of both V+E. I can’t think of any exception) Take this big comment, for example. It's freakin' huge and uber-long-winded.

I loved reading the Order of the Stick, and it is easily my favorite web comic ever. (…Umm…So far. You never know; I like xkcd as mentioned above, and then there’s the below example I have…like I said, I practically adore them, I just like Order of the Stick a BIT more.)

My third inspiration is Questionable content (linked above), to a slightly lesser degree as well. (Lesser because as of typing this, I started only yesterday--I am ashamed that I have thusfar only read 230 strips, out of thousands [Update: 305 out of 1505, a rate of 150 per day]. [UPDATED Update: Finished it completely! :D])

It’s mainly due to the comments he makes at the bottom of the strips. I can find many things in common with this guy, like the format of the comments [not to mention, even HAVING comments], Adult Swim [though, uh, his choice of programs is likely different than mine… :P], Mythbusters, the need to better oneself [though I don't do this for comics--I do it for writing], smiley usage, shyness, online activities, depression [I prefer not to show it], sleep habits [6AM as I am typing this], a like of The World Series of Poker [By Lord, I love Poker]...the more I hear, the more I see...me. Only far, FAR better. :P)

Oh, and frequent updates MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK. That helps as well. :P
No true webcomic artist WOULDN'T dream at least once of having that kind of success. :P (Okay, so it's primarily the artist who's the inspiration, not the actual webcomic itself, but, meh, still a good figure to be inspired by. Thank you, Jeph Jacques.)

My fourth inspiration would be TVTropes. Sure, I had no idea it existed when I started making these comics. (It might not have, actually. This could easily have been as early as 2003 when I started. When was TVTropes Made? [Citation Needed] {“Hey, that’s WIKIPEDIA! Get out of here, ‘Pedian! We here Tropers don’t like Citations!”}. :P)

...But now I do. And they'll never leave my mind. They're permanently imprinted on my mind. (Xkcd's 609 [here: http://xkcd.com/609/ ] touches on what they did to me perfectly [although Wikipedia {here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page } does it to me as well]. I knew it was happening, yet I ENJOYED it.) I've written strips about them, constantly given references to them...

My fifth would be Kingdom of Loathing (kingdomofloathing.com)--good humor all around, stick figure art. What more can a guy like me ask for in a game? :P

My sixth would have to be Artix Entertainment. They've done so, so, SO much for me, you'd never believe it. (And I seriously doubt they would, either. I swear, if I ever become well-known/popular, despite having said so for years, they’d probably STILL not believe me. :P)

I owe my online activities to them. AQ started it off. Dragonfable continued. Mechquest had me hooked, and I wished AQW worked more often than it did, because I wanted to play it so much more that I did, but couldn't (I was eligible for Alpha/Beta testing, however, I never got in—Poor Sir Ver was overloaded). Then there's The Zardian (link here: http://forums2.battleon.com/zardian/ ). They have great senses of humor on there, have good writing talent, and write absolutely amazing articles.

Oh, and the forums. By Lorithia, *the forums*! Where I have never, EVER felt more welcome in my life. Nothing can match what I've experienced there. (Again, I somehow doubt they believe me, ‘specially considering how long I’ve been gone, but…it’s true. I came close to that level with a friend in Darkthrone [JusticeofTime was kind to me until he vanished], before I came to the BoF, but that still can’t match it.)

AQSuggestions.

Legends and Lore, where I have made some permanent contacts with fellow Amateur Writers (As Alixander Fey [Have you ever seen me misspell someone's name, when they're named Alex? I'll misspell it Alix. There's a reason for that--he is that good of a friend to me, although him being in college does hinder contact.] describes us on his homepage. :P). Where I started taking writing seriously. Where I, essentially, started down my current path.

UCAG (Unofficial Contests and Games). Where I had endless amounts of fun.

Contests, where I entered. (Most of these contests were Holiday in Nature. I have rather a few art contest entries uploaded to Flikr. This entry has a good comment/ramble on the matter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/3125972117/ There’s also this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/3122550786/ I’ve got another one over here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/2706788187/ as well as one right here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/2706790183/ There's also An Older, far worse example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21393642@N06/2384914337/sizes/o/ )

Design Notes (MQ, AQW, and DF have ‘em, and they’re more fun on the forums than in the actual notes due to forumite responses. :P) that made me laugh. The forums are my online home. (See Inspiration # Seven--they're so important, they get mentioned TWICE! :P)
And comic-wise, Dragonfable is the largest inspiration of them to me. (Dragonfable is their best game, when I last played.

[Around December '08 is when I last played, though. I've...gotten caught up in real life issues, so that hindered my ability to play, or even to read. I want to go back...so, so, SO badly. You wouldn't believe how much I miss them. They have been my idols for YEARS. The people I look up to. The people I admire with every fiber of my body. Artix followed his dream, and he does many of the same things I'm interested in. I...wish I could go back so badly, there is not a word to describe it.]

AQ is best graphics-wise. Storyline-wise, it's either AQ or MQ, close race between the two. I don't know which is better, The`Galin Epic Saga, years in the making [due to time constraints, I stopped playing AQ about half a year before I stopped playing the others. I did read about its storyline on Wikipedia, though], or The ShadowScythe, some of the best [and coolest-looking, too!] enemies of all time. *

So Dragonfable doesn't have a plot-edge, or a graphics edge [only AQW has simpler storylines+graphics, but that's understandable, considering its an MMORPG]. **

It does have the edge in combat, though. AQ's obsessed with balance, and it's not as fun as when things were...less balanced. I felt the balance was fine, I didn't die too often, I wasn't SUBER MEGA PWNING everyone, I was fine. It...lost its appeal to me in combat, and that's the main part of AQ. [Add in time restrictions, and I haven't played since.] ***

MQ has only eight attacks, and has the opposite problem of AQ: Instead of being so obsessed with balance, they're not obsessed enough with it. Either you EPICALLY PWN every enemy you meet, or you get brutally massacred. AQW is an MMORPG, so of course, 1-on-1 [at least, boss] fights don't end well. ****

The other, and more important, edge DF has is humor. ALL the games are funny. Hilarious. Laugh riots, some of the best humor-based games in existence, the things that INSPIRED me to make Comic Battle into a series. But DF does this better than the others, with only MQ coming close. [AQ's third, AQW is stuck at fourth. Not AQW's fault, that you can only do so good humor-wise in an MMORPG.) *****

It's present in all their games, but they have an anime-influenced style of graphics. They look good, of course. But that's from a side view. The frontal view...it's so, so much better. Due to them, I don't *really* suck at frontal art. (Side...still working on that.)******

My Seventh and Final Inspiration is actually many inspirations in one.
Legends and Lore (see six. I have No Link at this time, ‘cause I can’t go to the forums, nor can I find a link in a Google search), in the Battleon Forums.

AQSuggestions. (Link here: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/tt.asp?forumid=16 --I'm not positive if I did the link correctly. Link may not work; I haven’t tested it.)
All my friends that I made there, giving me inspiration. (To this day, I still maintain contacts with Firefly [lessened due to us both being busy, apparently, and with a three hour time zone difference, and my unusual schedules…], Alixander Fey [lessened due to him being in College], DemolitionDragon (DD—we talk over YIM), and to a lesser extent, Nartashi (different forum name, though). (There is another, Hinzelmann, who stated an intention to join the forums, but is mainly on the site we use the chat, only.)

Tomix's absolutely stunning Tomix Saga (No Link, sorry).

And friends+family in real life. All, in some way or another, managed to influence me positively, and I will never forget them. Because of ALL of the above, I will never stop doing what I love. (Mostly, writing. Comics are just a habit of mine, but I do enjoy them, moreso than my stories, poetry, game ideas [I’m ambitious, okay?], etc., so they’ll become more and more important as time carries on.)

And with that, you have been properly introduced to Comic Battle. It gets better, really. Hope you enjoyed this little rant, wherever you're viewing it from.


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****** (Yes, they’re all the same footnote!)
Please note that I HAVE been out of the loop for MONTHS, now. So do NOT take my word for the aspects of AQ, DF, MQ, and AQW that I am describing. Some things never change, sure, but most will, with their weekly updates and all.

I am describing what I remember. Both positive and negative of all Artix Entertainment was to me. From the art gallery to Legends and Lore, to DF Suggestions, to the Zardian, to DFDN, to MQ, whatever. I can only describe what I remember, and the places can change over time.

So, it all being out of date, I’d just encourage you to look for yourself, but to NOT be expecting ANY of what I say—expect nothing. Go in with an empty mind, find if you like it or not, stay for a while, and THEN compare what I said about the above to what you’ve seen and decide if it’s worth staying longer.
^Just making sure you know, there IS such a thing as a joke, you know. The lines about graffiti are jokes, to make sure you know. They were done on brown tables, yea, but with lined paper separating table from pencil. I stopped about a year later doing these random dabbles when I decided to move onto larger projects like, say, Comic Battle, instead of just a similar dabble.

And so ends, my might ramble. You'll never see another one of its kind. It is one and only, it is unique, in that it is so large to barely fit onto many webpages. Anyone who's read it all, you deserve some sort of medal. It's a large feat, to say the least, to get through this ramble. To put up with links that don't work. To put up with everything that I threw at ya, no matter how much junk would be involved.
...Not so much for those who just skipped to the end. >_<
But, well, I don't blame ya. I don't think I could've read this whole thing more than two or three times, despite having revised it many times. It is intimidating, to say the least.
Just coming to this page, however, is enough. Just being here is the greatest compliment you can give me. :)
(Okay. Second-greatest. The greatest compliment you can give me is a COMMENT on my work!)
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