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Ice Update + end of this LJ

A couple of things to announce. First of all:

OH MY GOD ICE IS UPDATED!! ... nearly a year after the last update ... dear lord. I apologize for that. But I was ... uh, busy and kidnapped by aliens and stuff. And after all that time, only five new pages ... but whatever! An update! Hurrah! ... another cliffhanger!

My New Year's resolution is to finish Ice this year, so I'm going to try hard to do that. Probably one or two pages every other week, which is a schedule that's worked well for me in the past, and hopefully I'll be able to scrape together some time for, despite my currently insane workload. I want it finished. It's so close to the end anyway.

In an attempt to streamline things, I'm going to be discontinuing updates on this LJ, and instead announcing them on my "personal" (although it's not really personal any more) LJ, smuu. I really hope everyone who watches this LJ for the updates will keep an eye on the other one from now on. I've kind of stopped using this LJ anyway, and didn't even bother to update it when my latest graphic novel came out (The War at Ellsmere! It was out December 3rd, so you can buy it now!). It's annoying to update multiple LJs, and smuu becoming more of a 'hey, lookit my comics and my stupid opinions on comics!' blog anyway, so ... yeah. I'm a one-blog woman. Except for the sketchblog, that is. That one'll remain separate, for various reasons.

So anyway, I would like to thank everyone who've been a part of this update blog, and I hope you'll join me over at the other blog, where content is posted more often. In the mean time, here are links to everything of mine on the internets:

My most recent graphic novel: The War at Ellsmere (SLG Publishing)
My debut graphic novel: Zombies Calling (SLG Publishing)
My current online comic (updating): Ice
My first online comic (complete): Demonology 101
My website: Suspicious Polo Players
My blog: smuu
My sketchblog (with friends): killthehubble
My deviantart account.
... and my twitter account.
Closing thought: This August it will have been TEN YEARS since I started Demonology 101. TEN YEARS since I started doing comics! Crazy.
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The War at Ellsmere + Ice

I thought I would update this LJ to let those of you who just read it (as opposed to my personal LJ) what's going on with me and comics and future plans for Ice ...

First of all: The War at Ellsmere is done! Yes, it's very lovely. It's exactly sixty pages longer than Zombies Calling (yet drawn in the same amount of time, go figure) and has grayscale shading and lots of other lovely things. I've just now finished the front and back covers for it, so here you go:

(Aw. Cassie is so small and adorable.)

Ellsmere is in this month's Previews with the code OCT083789, so please ask your local comic store to order it in. It'll be out on December 3rd. I've worked reaaaallly hard on this book, and I really see it as a step up in both my artistic and storytelling skills, so ... I hope you'll order a copy (pretty please?). I've put up a little mini-website for Ellsmere here, which has pre-ordering info as well as development sketches. I also had a couple of interviews about the book, one with Blog@Newsarama, the other with Publisher's Weekly (!). And in case you missed it, here's a video of an exhausted me yapping about the book at Comicon. Srsly, so tired ... so very very tired.

Otherwise, there's going to be an Ellsmere contest! Yes, you can win original artwork from me and/or a signed copy of the book. All it requires is a little imagination and maybe some stick-figure drawing skills. Go here for information, and get those entries in.

Okay, ICE! Yes, the elephant in the room ... obviously, I have had little to no time to work on Ice this year. People have asked me about it and when I'll be back to updating it, and the sad thing is that I don't know. There will be no break between Ellsmere and my next graphic novel project (hopefully I'll be able to announce that soon. Because it's a pretty damn big deal) But! Here's what I'm planning to do: I'm taking a good three weeks off at Christmas and packing it back to Ontario to spend it with my folks. Since there's only so much time I can spend lolling about in my pyjamas and eating turkey, I'm going to work on Ice over Christmas. I don't know if I'll be able to get all of it finished (probably not), but I will try my hardest to get a good chunk done. So look for a chunk of Ice in January. Hahah! ... I mean, yeah. ;)

But I just want to make sure people know that finishing Ice is important to me, and I want to get it done. The story deserves to be finished.

Anyway, I think that's it ... if anyone has any questions, give me a shout here or on smuu, my personal LJ. Which is not really personal anymore, since I just yap about comics and sucky television ...
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THE WAR AT ELLSMERE - out in December from SLG Publishing

X-Post from my personal LJ ... so y'all have been wondering what I've been up to, what with the updates disappearing ... now you get to find out!

So anyway, announcement time! This is always fun. I've mentioned this project in passing in a few interviews here and there, but haven't come out and jumped up and down and waved my arms about it yet ... and now that time is finally upon us.

The War at Ellsmere is my next graphic novel, which will be out from SLG Publishing in December, barring accidents or my hand falling off or something. I'm completely excited and terrified SLG has given me the chance to do this book, as it's a story I've had ruminating in my head for years now, and I wasn't sure if it'd ever see the light of day. BUT NOW IT WILL HURRAH.

The War at Ellsmere is the story of Juniper, an aggressively self-sufficient 13 year old who wins a scholarship to the prestigious (and slightly creepy) Ellsmere Academy, a girls' school which Jun hopes will gain her easier entry into ivy league post-secondary schools. While at the school Jun makes friends with a crazy girl named Cassie who thinks there's a mythical monster living in the forest next door, and offends the school's alpha student, a dead-eyed, probably dead-souled girl named Emily. Jun's defiance of Emily leads to an escalating war between the two of them, which finally results in ... well, you'll just have to read the book to find out, won't you?

I have to tell you, this book has been kicking my ass since January. When I started I was pretty terrified, sure I wouldn't be able to properly convey the school setting and manage the multiple plotlines, and I took everything I learned from doing Zombies Calling and applied it to this book. I think it is a big step up in terms of storytelling for me. I tried to pay attention to all the legitimate criticisms I received from Zombies Calling and address them (the most common being that Zombies Calling was a bit short; Ellsmere will be nearly 40 pages longer).

Originally I wasn't sure I was ready artistically for this book, as it required a TON of research into background settings (as opposed to Zombies Calling, which only had ... uh, one setting? This book was SO MUCH MORE WORK), but I'm so glad I've had the chance to challenge myself at this stage of my career. I've seen my art grow a lot throughout the course of this book. There are parts I'm very pleased with.

So let's see some pictures, yeah? Here's our cast:

When Jun met Cassie and things weren't always so grand ... Cassie, I thought, should look a bit like the love child of Spongebob Squarepants and Izma from The Emperor's's New Groove.

Our Villain, Emily, and her minions. I kind of love writing Emily. She's probably the most vicious villain I've had in a comic since Lethe ripped a heart out of someone's chest in Demonology 101. Fortunately there will be no heart-ripping here! I feel the book is appropriate for ages 10 and up. Which means no discussions about virginity like in Zombies Calling. Alas.

Here are pages 14 to 25, in which June makes a huge mistake ... but doesn't realize it yet. One thing: There is grayscale toning on these pages. I would really like to do some VERY SIMPLE toning on this book, just to accent the school setting, but I'm very unfamiliar with toning for a comic book. If anyone wants to give me suggestions or link to a site with tutorials, I would be very appreciative. At this point I have not settled on a look I want. Other than the toning, please feel free to leave comments on the preview ... I love comments. Really, who doesn't?

Fun Stuff!
-"Ellsmere" was named after a Toronto subway stop. I saw it on a subway map while riding with a friend. However, it was spelled "Ellesmere."
-Emily was named after a horrible girl I knew in university. Recently while catching up with university friends, I found out she'd completely changed her ways and now works for non-profit organizations. Hilarious!
-Want to see some very old Ellsmere artwork? Here are early incarnations of the characters: Jun. Emily. Cassie. Man, they look different.

So I hope that preview whets your appetite for more! I'm really excited about this book, and I really hope you guys will enjoy it. If you enjoyed Zombies Calling or any of my previous online comics, I think you'll dig this book too.
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Crap, I forgot to post this here. Alright, Comicon Signings! At the SLG Publishing booth (I'm sure you will be able to find it with the help of a map)! There will be copies of Zombies Calling for sale as well as little free ashcan previews of my new graphic novel, The War at Ellsmere. Come and get them and get them signed and stuff.
THURSDAY: 10-12, 4:30-6.
SATURDAY:10-12, 2-3
SUNDAY: 10-12, 2-4.

See you there! I'm nervous beyond all reason.
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Jenny Has Six Brothers, FINAL COMIC

And with today comes the very last comic strip on our twelve comic odyssey, a veritable tour de force of comedic wit. Or something. Anyway, obviously I'd had no plan with this whole thing, so wrapped the whole thing up magically in one giant swoop. Which ... was actually kind of sad, because once you get working on something (or at least, so I find) and discover who the characters are, different situations start popping into your head and the story becomes much richer (which is how sequels are born! ... and also in the bowels of Hollywood hell). Unfortunately for this particular project I was so jammed up with work I couldn't continue it, a problem that persists today (yet I am so very poor ... when does all this turn into a living wage? Sigh).

Your final comic strip for today. So thanks for reading, and I appreciate those who left comments. I hope you enjoyed the trip.
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Jenny Has Six Brothers, Strip 11

Well anyway, Comicon is only a week away. At this point the only must see panels for me are the Steve Purcell one on Thursday (1-2 pm) and the Pushing Daisies one on Saturday (3:15 to 4:15 pm). Anyone want to offer odds as to whether or not it'd be possible to actually get in to either one? People keep warning me about this whole thing, but at this point I'm still not sure what to expect. I'm trying to imagine that very first convention I went to crossed with the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan ... yet somehow I can't quite picture it. Is it possible to actually get into panels? What panels are typically madhouses and to be avoided? What does Lee Pace look like in person? God, I want to go to that panel ...

Since we're talking about Comicon, that is a very apt panel. Anyway. Your comic for the day. Second to last one!
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Jenny Has Six Brothers, Strip 10 + interview

Your comic for the day will follow shortly ... but first! I did a little interview with Wizard Magazine (yes, that Wizard Magazine. I know, I'm as surprised as you are) about, of all things, Demonology 101. They have a webcomic column, and they've posted it here. So click the link to read me yammering on about webcomics and villains and a bit about my upcoming stuff.

And here's your comic for the day. I have no idea where this joke came from. I shall call it ... my 'random-ness' period ... much like Picasso's Blue Period, just not as ... artistically fulfilling? Sure.