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We had a really good time playing D&D yesterday, so much so, that Will and I both neglected to post the page, so it’s a few hours late. Apologies to those of you who read the comic as soon as it posts, at midnight PST (usually). We wrestled with whether or not to make this explosion magical, and ultimately decided not to, although I forget why. At the end of the day, it looks pretty damn good as is.

We came THIS CLOSE to experiencing a TPK (Total Party Kill, for the uninitiated) yesterday. My oldest friends and I have a way of thinking when it comes to combat in D&D: if you’re not in control of the fight within three rounds, you’re in trouble. After the third round yesterday, we realized that the KOBOLDS that we were fighting we very much capable of killing us. (Perhaps the strangest thing to me about 5th edition is just how BADASS kobolds have become.)

Of course, this means we had a great time. Whenever I reach a point in a game that my next character idea starts taking shape in my mind, because this is one is likely to die, that’s a good day.

Now I’m sitting here waiting for Professional Registration for San Diego to open. Sigh. This is the total opposite of D&D. Sigh.

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Did I mention that Brond Stonefist was an NPC in my college campaign (2nd Edition, if you care)? He was my PC’s father and the “Warmaster,” because Warlord indicates a ruler, and this guy WAS royalty, but he was sort of the head of the military for the King. (I don’t know if we ever even decided on the King’s NAME. He never factored into our stories or adventures.) He wasn’t the happiest of dudes, either.

Tomorrow, I actually get to play D&D, FINALLY. I know, I said I was gonna play LAST Thursday, but like I said before, deadlines beckoned. I’m about to spend all of Tuesday (before heading to the night job) working on getting farther ahead on Hunter Black and Evil Dead, before taking it easy for the next few days. I have a mini-vacation planned this week, which will consist mostly of refusing to go anywhere but to bed. (We might head to Vegas, or Tahoe, or Palm Springs, or Paso Robles. Or we might not. We haven’t decided.)

It’s Tuesday the 24th of February as I write this, and it the birthday of Ramanda Kamarga, who happens to be the amazing artist on Rocket Queen and The Wrench. As far as I know, there’s still a promo on Comixology for Rocket Queen #1…if you use the promo code: ROCKETPOD, you can get it for half off. So do Ramanda a solid and go pick up his book. (You’ll be doing me a solid too, since I wrote it, but we won’t talk about that.)

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I LOVE THIS PAGE. Will did a GREAT job on the bloodied Cardinal, he looks truly frightening. I like the layout a lot, too. Jacob’s choice for the Cardinal’s curse is awesome; that middle panel really sells that some bad magic is going down. I mean, I probably shouldn’t gush so much about my own comic, but these guys are killing it. The keys to a great collaboration lie in elevating the work of the guy before you, and these guys are carrying me on their shoulders, no doubt.

I mean it, too…and that’s not meant to be self-deprecating. You guys know that I’ve been dealing with a lot of upheaval: moving, a herniated disc, extra work at the night job. I’ve also been dropping some cryptic hints about A LOT of other writing work that has been on my plate, and I’m finally at liberty to discuss some of it.

My old agency, Space Goat Productions, has launched Space Goat Publishing. There are very few things in the world more daunting than the idea of a “start up comic book publisher,” but the guys at Space Goat have the chops to make this happen. They’re boasting a front office team consisting of people who’ve done yeoman’s work at DC, Dark Horse, and Malibu. They have TONS of experience wrangling artists, which is not unlike trying to herd proverbial cats. And they jumped into the deep end with one hell of a life-preserver: the publishing license for Evil Dead 2.

I’ve been in on the ground floor with them; I consulted with them on which license to acquire (there some other interesting options out there, but I think the upcoming Evil Dead TV series on Starz! made this the most attractive option in the immediate term…I won’t mention the others, just in case we go after them down the road) and I was one of the louder voices in the conversation about how to tell the continuing story of Ash without contradicting the material in Army of Darkness, for which we do NOT have the license (and someone else does). Beyond Dead By Dawn is written by Frank Hannah, but it was grown in a bottle with more than a bit of my DNA. The second title is called Tales of the Ex-Mortis, an anthology centered around the Evil Dead version of the Necronomicon, and I’m writing a serial that runs through the entire mini. Later in the year, we’re adding a third miniseries (these are all miniseries), the title of which I won’t reveal until Space Goat does, and that will be written by yours truly too.

In addition, Space Goat is taking over the publication of Rocket Queen and The Wrench, which is available from them on Comixology RIGHT NOW. By the year’s end, however, Rocket Queen and The Wrench will be available IN PRINT, which is super exciting for me.

Lastly, they’re going to be publishing a superhero-ish title that I created for them called The Family Secret. TFS debuted in the SGP Presents Anthology hardcover, but you can buy TFS on its own digitally as well. The Family Secret is a very personal piece of work for me, I drew on a lot of my own experiences, as well as those of other people in my family, my wife most especially, to produce something that is very near and dear to my heart. Like Rocket Queen, The Family Secret has kids at its center, but this is more a story for people who used to be kids, rather than for people who are kids right now.

Superhero “families” and legacies have always fascinated me, which is probably a big part of why I’ve always been more a DC kid than a Marvel kid, and I get to explore that fascination in detail with these two comics, both of which I take a great deal of pride in.

Space Goat Publishing still only occupies one corner of my writing world; I hope to have more interesting announcements for you guys in the not-too distant future!

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Jasoom is a smart-ass in much the same way that I am a smart-ass, and if I were a man smaller in stature, I’d probably get threatened more often. For any readers not familiar with the earliest parts of the story, Hunter is also guilty of murdering a powerful member of the Church, and is somewhat famous for it, in fact. The sage’s name, “Acidarro,” comes from a character that a buddy of mine played in high school. He was named after one of my friend’s preferred spells, Acid Arrow. His last name was “Van Buren,” which was the street that he lived on. Personally, I hate D&D names that harken too much to the real world, which is why another friend of mine isn’t likely to find a “Jimmy Problems” in this comic.

Cross your fingers. If all goes well, we might be playing D&D for the first time in months tomorrow. Of course, since we moved, I’m going to have to find my character… (Yes, I still use pencil and paper for my character!)

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I remembered to post this page when it was almost too late. I have to be up in less than six hours, so I’m off to bed.

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