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I had a lot of fun thinking up this sequence. In my mind, a bad ass illusionist should be able to do things like fool you into thinking you aren’t wet. The one thing I didn’t think he could easily disguise was a sense of falling, hence Hunter’s pseudo-running pose on the previous page, and Castigan telling him to watch his step.

I hate to bring it down right now, but I feel the need to keep say this: Sharon Sakai passed away today (as I write this).

Sharon Sakai is the wife of Stan Sakai, the cartoonist behind one of my favorite comics of all time, Usagi Yojimbo. (I’m pretty sure I have every trade released of the series thus far.) I only got to meet Sharon a few times, she worked Stan’s booth at San Diego Comic Con pretty frequently back in the day, and I bought more than a few of those trades from her. It was easy to tell that she was a pleasant and gracious lady, and that she was very supportive of her husband’s work.

Sharon had been living with a brain tumor for quite some time, and she slipped away in stages. Stan kept his followers in the loop throughout most of the grueling ordeal. There were repeated and frequent trips to the hospital, dozens of scares, and the slow loss of his wife. He cared for her painstakingly through the entire thing, he and his family.

I say this because I write heroic fiction. (Hunter isn’t the most heroic character I’ve ever created, but you get my point.) I revere the actions of heroes, and I often wonder if I could make the sacrifices that they do…and I’m referring to heroes in real life as well as in the comics. Stan is a hero in real life. Stan is Sharon’s hero.

Usagi Yojimbo is anything but #UNDISCOVEREDcomics, it’s one of the most successful creator-owned comics in the history of the medium. That said, this is the comic that I urge you to put your money into today. Find a way to buy Stan’s books…you can even find Usagi Yojimbo for your Kindle. I say this because even the most successful indie creators can find themselves behind the financial 8-ball when they’re dealing with the costs of treating an illness of this magnitude. Never has a creator been more deserving of your dollars, either…Stan is a great guy, and a gifted comics storyteller.

The Sakai family has our deepest condolences and all of our best wishes.

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More easy stuff for Will…or at least I think it was easy. He did the six or seven pages after this before he did this one, for some reason. He’s had to do some traveling lately, so I think maybe he saved it for a week when it would be harder to get three pages done.

This week is Thanksgiving, which is traditionally one of my favorite holidays, mostly because I’m a fat bastard who likes to eat. Also, the myth of Thanksgiving contains a kernel of bridging the gap between cultures, and we can never have too much of that. Anyway, what seems like a holiday for normal people is an extremely busy time of year for people in the hospitality business, so these postings will likely be brief this week, because neither the restaurant business nor my writing deadlines seem inclined to ease up on me this week.

The above whining done, we hope you guys have a wonderful holiday!

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Honestly, I’m shocked that Will never placed a full on kiss right on my mouth for this page. Sometimes, he asks me for easier pages, to help him maintain our schedule. Usually, that means more dialogue, more close ups, and less action. Action scenes often require some research on his part, because sometimes I’m asking him to convey something that he’s simply never drawn before. And you might have noticed that Will’s game on backgrounds has taken a quantum leap forward in Volume Two; go back and look at the library scene, brief as it is, if you don’t believe me. He rendered A LOT of books on those pages. Anyway, I figured that this would be a nice change for him.

I’m so ashamed. We played D&D today, and I backslid in my role-playing. I made a point of letting you guys know that I was playing an atypical character, a persnickety spellcaster-type with an eye toward creature comforts…and today, I played him like my more typical muscle-bound thugs who describe problem solving as “rolling initiative.” I am over-tired…and the only solution I see is MORE EXERCISE.

I’m on my feet a lot, I work as a bartender, after all, but I need to be more active. The writer’s life can be sedentary if you let it, and I need to get out more.

(But first, I need to go to bed.)

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What was in the wine glass, do you think? I mean, is it magical just because Castigan conjured it? Was it an illusion entirely, just a cherry on the sundae of Castigan’s pose of confidence? Or was it actually some sort of magical elixir? Was it important…because it sure seems like it’s gone now…or not at all? Does the fact that I’m asking these questions make it seem more or less important?

I actually don’t have much to say at the moment. We played D&D last Thursday, and are playing again THIS Thursday, but it didn’t really yield much that will contribute to the comic. (Both my character and Will’s are overburdened with personality, and each might make his way into the comic, but they’re been around a couple of sessions now. And sorry Matt, there’s no way I’m putting a character who calls himself “Bud” into this comic.)

The next little phase of stuff for members of The Thirteen came in last week, so you all might be getting a little something in the mail sooner rather than later. (If you aren’t one of Thirteen, if you haven’t volunteered to help promote the comic, you can email us to get involved.)

No new movies, nothing too crazy on the TV. There are some interesting writing opportunities coming my way, maybe, but it’s way too early to get into those…and these things can disappear as quickly as they appeared, I’ve found.

You are The Thirteen…and you are INFINITE.

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