Impact Day is on the way

The Project Asteroid Production Leader puts out a call for more volunteers.

Impact Day approaches!

The asteroid is picking up momentum and increasing in size. A few brave souls are needed to help us guide the asteroid toward its intended target.

We need the help of a few volunteers with Photoshop (and ideally Illustrator) and some experience using Photoshop. You’ll be expected to put in at least six hours work per week, but if you want to spend a little more time helping push back in the culture war then that’s great.

Some of the work is basic but time consuming, whereas other aspects are more technical. We value people with little experience but a strong drive to help more than people with little determination but a lot of skill. If you’d like to be part of helping take down the dinosaurs of comics publishing then contact us for more information.

Email voxday AT gmail DOT com if you’re willing and able, and I’ll forward your contact information to the project leader.

The game changer

While it is still too soon to formally announce the details of Arkhaven’s plans for 2021, it isn’t too soon to answer those of you who have asked how you can support the latest offensive on the comics front, as it is going to be our biggest effort to date. It will also explain why we have not released any comics in any format over the latter half of 2020.

Here are some of the relevant points of information that may help you put things in context.

  • “After a long run on the Superman franchise there were only a few titles that Brian Bendis could work on that would be on a similar level. Justice League was one of those titles and that is exactly where we will see Bendis work next. As much as I would like to give Bendis a chance on Justice League his work since coming over to DC Comics has left a lot to be desired.”
  • Comic sales were 5.92 million copies at Diamond in March 2020, when shutdowns were beginning and when DC was still part of its offerings. It is off from the 8.82 million copies in October 2019… October 2020’s performance was based on only 373 new comics, versus 521 releases then. Marvel leads DC in units about 41{e61d147451bc60549e96d95b5c07be35845e0345eab7ed5d54cc3d49f812ab5c} to 30{e61d147451bc60549e96d95b5c07be35845e0345eab7ed5d54cc3d49f812ab5c}, but again reorders aren’t included for DC — and, of course, DC’s slate at 49 issues was much smaller than Marvel’s, at 77.
  • In March 2020, DC Comics solicited 62 new items, totalling 2,632 pages (though the amount of artwork generated is less, as this includes advertising and editorial pages) costing $281 made up of 49 $3.99 and 9 $4.99 titles. In March 2021, DC Comics has solicited 39 items totalling 1,896 pages, costing $221, made up of 16 $3.99 and 12 $4.99 titles.
  • Bleeding Cool revealed that a shocking number of writers and artists were learning of their terminations through the March solicitations, discovering that their books had been cut as part of DC’s effort to slash their line to just over 30 books.
  • In March 2021, Marvel solicited 66 new items, totalling 2,264 pages. In March 2020, Marvel solicited 99 new items totalling 3,408 pages.
  • It appears that the WarnerMedia layoff bloodbath, specifically at DC Comics, is set to keep the blood flowing well into the new year. Apparently the layoffs, which have already claimed the jobs of such long-time DC executives as now-former co-publisher Dan DiDio and now-former Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, failed to trim enough fat, as Bleeding Cool reported over Christmas that a third wave of layoffs is coming in the New Year. No suspected names were mentioned, though at this point, one has to wonder how much more talent the company can afford to lose.

The ratio of actual artwork to solicited pagecount is around 67.5 percent. What Marvel solicits as a 32-page comic actually contains 20 pages of artwork, plus a cover. So, for the purposes of comparison, Marvel is now producing about 1,530 pages of comics and DC is producing around 1,281 pages per month. Since each page contains about 4.5 frames on average, and each hangul episode consists of around 30 frames, this means that Marvel produces an estimated 230 episodes per month, down from 331 per month in March 2020, and DC is now producing 192 episodes per month, down from 267 one year previous.

We can be extremely confident that these numbers will continue to decline, especially on the DC side, since a third round of layoffs have already been announced and 43 percent of their product line now consists of $4.99 comics, up from 16 percent the year before. It is obvious that DC is well into the familiar corporate death spiral; what is less obvious is that Marvel’s production decline is actually 5.6 percent steeper than DC’s.

And while we can’t announce firm numbers yet, thanks to the hard work by the Arkhaven team and our Brazilian partners, we are presently planning to provide between 100 and 120 episodes per month from day one of launch, which is presently scheduled for March. And yes, that means multiple new episodes every single day, seven days a week. Some of the material will be familiar to those who were on Webtoons, but a lot of it will be entirely new. These digital editions will supplement, not replace, our plans for print editions, as the cover to the right suggests. If you backed something, you will receive it, right down to the gold logos if applicable.

The launch titles will include, but are not limited to: Alt-Hero, Alt-Hero: Q, Chuck Dixon’s Avalon, A Throne of Bones, Shade, Quantum Mortis, Hypergamouse, Midnight’s War, Swan Knight’s Saga, Right Ho Jeeves, The Awakener, The Hammer of Freedom, The Legend of Boia, Go Monster Go, Cosmic Warrior, Clockwork Dancer, Flying Sparks, and Lieutenant Bravo.

The Arkhaven platform will be open, so independent creators will be welcomed and encouraged to participate in much the same manner as Webtoons Canvas. If you are an independent comics creator who wants to learn more about the platform, please feel free to get in touch. The Arkhaven subscriptions will be modified accordingly, but we have not yet determined the precise levels and benefits. We expect to do so later this month.

Arkhaven production

 A glimpse behind the scenes:

VD: I finished AH #9. Attached in case you want it for reference.

TLCD: You’re still in single digits?

VD: You can’t see it, but I’m waving a single digit in your direction.

It’s not easy working with a legend. Especially a legend who is an insufferably bad winner. And yes, this means that all 12 issues of Chuck Dixon’s Avalon are written and illustrated.

Reviving Arkhaven

It isn’t just DevGame that is getting active again, although we’re already seeing some incredible results out of the revival of the game developer site, by which I mean it looks like we are going to be publishing not one, but two, game design books by a truly legendary game designer. I’m referring to the Arkhaven Comics blog, which will now be featuring the talents of the Dark Herald and comics writer Jon Del Arroz on a regular basis. 

The Dark Herald has already written a highly informative initial post on Eastern Story Structure:

Hakawati, is the Arabic tradition of story telling wherein each story must have and teach a moral lesson.  I suspect this tradition is more Middle-Eastern than specifically Arabian because the story of Jonah fits perfectly within its structure.

Jonah’s story is rather unsatisfying to a Westerner, if you read the whole thing

Jonah is ordered by God to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, and deliver a command from Him to stop sinning.  Jonah, like all of his people and well, everyone else who had come into contact with Assyria wants them all dead. So he refused to deliver God’s message and ran away to sea.  A terrible storm came up while the ship was at sea. The crew drew lots to see who was to be sacrificed to appease the waters.  The never-lucky Jonah lost and was chucked over the side.  God sent a whale to swallow Jonah.  Jonah repented and God had the whale spit, Jonah, on to a shoreline that had decent access to Nineveh.  Jonah delivered the message to the hated Assyrians and then went to a nearby hill to watch God’s wrath descend on Nineveh.  And it didn’t.  

The End. 

When I was in Sunday school the whale part of the story was the only thing that our teacher concentrated on. Mostly because a giant whale story would keep squirming seven-year-olds occupied while their parents had coffee and donuts after the service. It worked because that part of the story was the closest thing that conformed to the western idea of the three-act story structure with an introduction, an inciting incident, rising tension, climax, and then denouement.  

The original purpose of the story however wasn’t to entertain, it was to teach. You aren’t entitled to any special reward on this Earth just because you did what God told you to.

The dominant religion in an area strongly influences that area’s story-telling traditions and story-structures.

Christianity has been the dominant religion in the West for the past 1,500 years or so.  Give or take a few centuries depending on your physical location.  Conflict is central to the faith.  If you are a Christian, you are fighting Satan.  If you fail at the fight you go to Hell.  Win that fight and self-improvement will occur but it is a side-effect, not the goal.  The goal is salvation and you don’t have to be the wisest of the wise in order to saved. 

Buddhism is the dominant religion in East Asia.  Buddhism at its center is self-improvement for its own sake.  There is no conflict driving it forward.  If you screwup in this life you slide down the ladder into a lower form of life. Be that a lower caste, a woman, all the way down to animals and insects.  Improve yourself enough and you will achieve Enlightenment. And not have to be reborn into the world of suffering and desire anymore.

In Buddhism you absolutely have to be wisest of the wise.  Achievement is a requirement to reach Nirvana, and this has influenced all aspects of their societies. Especially with regards to storytelling and it’s concomitant tropes.

Read the whole thing there. And if you enjoy comics, add it to your daily bookmarks.

It’s go time

If you’re an Arkhaven backer of a certain project that has been in the works these past few months, please check your email and respond accordingly. The public announcement will be tomorrow evening.

UPDATE: we’re going to make the initial public announcement in about 8 hours, so if you haven’t been able to follow through yet, you might want to do so before everyone else has the chance to get on board.

UPDATE: No Darkstream tonight, I’ll be appearing on Owen’s livestream instead at 7 PM EST. If you want to know what’s going on with all these cryptic comments and so forth, be sure to tune in.

Cancel your accounts

I’ll be sending out an email to all of the Arkhaven backers involved later today, but if you’ve set up an account on a certain site and have been awaiting further instructions, please cancel that account today. Last night we were informed that we would not be permitted to use the site because badthink and so forth.

This will not have any effect on the project at all, so please don’t worry about that. We have a plethora of options and will be selecting a better one next week. But in order to send a very clear message, it would be good if everyone involved canceled their account today. We do not intend any legal action at this point, as we would much rather not work with any partners who are less than entirely enthusiastic about working with us.

Arkhaven backers

Check your email. Please follow the directions, do NOT ask any questions here and do NOT email any questions to me. All the relevant questions will be addressed in detail at the proper time later this month.

UPDATE: I will be sending out an email Thursday night to the hundreds of respondents. The entire team is blown away by the strength of your response. Thank you all.

UPDATE: There are now 50 40 10 5 0 slots left. Thanks to everyone who is participating. Please follow the emailed instructions to get registered and approved ASAP.