Sunday, September 27, 2020

State of my Stories master list

For my own benefit, I thought I'd make a list of all the story projects and ideas that I currently aspire to complete and assess where they stand. This list doesn't include collaborative projects. This also functions as a little introduction to each one.

Paper Doll Veronika
Cut-paper webcomic, to be found here. 

The whimsical journey of Veronika Bosch, kicked out of her house by animals, and the adventures she has with magical dresses. 
This is currently the most active of my own story projects. I'm nearly ready to start Part II, and I decided not to wait to do all the bonus material mentioned here before posting it; the bonus stuff will come alongside the comic itself. The script is written as far as midway through Part IV.
Seven-volume graphic novel.

Becky Kinford is trapped in the past and seeks the help of her grandfather Anthony in finding a way home.

The script is complete, just needs a little revision, and with what I've recently learned regarding publishing independent comics, I feel ready finally to embark on this as soon as I can get a collaborative project or two out of the way. Having waited so long isn't so bad, since my drawing skills are way better now than they were when I wrote this.

Mary's Mazes 
A series of pictorial mazes to be navigated via links on a website.

Haven't done anything with this yet except for mapping out four mazes, deciding their themes, and writing their riddles. But I am rethinking my approach to the planned art; I had been planning thin-line pen-and-ink, but now I think brushpen will be both faster and more evocative.

Journey to Earth
Illustrated children's book.

Archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael accompany God the Son on a symbolic imagining of His journey to become incarnate and be born of the Virgin Mary.

I wrote this long ago; I need to see if it needs revision, and then do the illustrations! My drawing skills were definitely not adequate when I wrote it, now they might be! And then I need to research self-publishing books with full-page color illustrations. Manuel Guzman has done so, I should check out his work.

The Last Haunted House 

In a ruined world, detective Kasimir Candle and his sons, Whit and Karol, are invited to a mysterious house.

I just got inspired for a total re-imagining of this, and I like my new idea a lot. I need to read some more examples of the genres I'm going for, and then plot it out and develop all the characters.

26 Palaces Under the Sea

Anders, a young fisherman, is hired by the mysterious Miss Lilac to travel to lost palaces in the sea.

I haven't thought about this one for a while, since I kind of lost interest in fairy tale retellings, of which this is one. But I did actually buy a sailboat, which will most probably yield lots of inspiration once I get it fixed up and into the water, hopefully next summer!

Thy Brother's Wife
Single-volume graphic novel.

Prince Sandro accompanies his brother, King Piero, on a secret mission to end a war, but the real danger is closer at hand.

The script is written, and this is short. Maybe I should do it before Beckyless in order to practice the whole formatting and publishing process?

Dreams and Thorns
Multi-volume graphic novel, or maybe an illustrated novel?

Rosamund lives with her godparents at a private academy in a forest, but her life is not what it seems. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

Very up-in-the-air, but I can't let go of many of the images from this one. We'll see.

White Snow
Illustrated novelette.

Prince Alban sets out on a ceremonial journey in a land of everlasting winter, but someone is seeking his life. A retelling of Snow White.

I don't have all the details worked out, but I know exactly how I want it to look, and it's my favorite of my fairy tale retellings.


As I figured out recently, it's worthwhile to make creative works featuring iconic characters who are currently being held captive by corporations that desecrate these legacies. Someday, they'll be public domain!

Batman: Decadence
Batman comic. The first few chapters may be found here.

Okay, this one is kind of a collaborative project, with my sister Anna slated to write one of the stories. There are nine of them: Masque; Ward; Engage; Water like a Stone; Kings and Monsters Used to Lie Above this Deep, and the Princess in the Dark Tower; Do we Not Laugh; Dies Irae; Far as the Curse is Found; and Beyond: Decay. I don't know when I'll get time to return to it, but it needs some revision when I do.

All's Right with the World
Three short Batman and Superman illustrated stories. The first, "All's Fair at the County Fair", may be found here.

A while ago, I'd planned never to do fanart anymore except of a few select things, and I admit, this was the hardest thing to sacrifice for that stance. Now I see I made that decision for mistaken reasons, so here we go! They're all written, but the illustrations take longer than you might think from their simplistic style.

The Curse of the Scarab
An interactive DC Comics mystery, to be done either through a website or with an interactive novel program.

Michael Carter invites prominent figures to the unveiling of his friend Ted Kord's archaeological findings, but soon there's a murder! The reader will take on the roles of Batman and Catwoman to uncover the culprit.

This is such a fun idea. I've plotted it, done the character redesigns and started writing. But executing it in proper interactive form will be very difficult.

Nibelheim Grocery
Diary-format fanfiction of Final Fantasy VII and Dirge of Cerberus. What there is of it may be found here.

I don't think I'll be finishing this one. I think it had a lot of good parts, but it was going to get more and more miserable as it went and my time and creative energy being limited as they are, I'd rather direct them to other things. Ah well, farewell! Someday, I may return.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

What a pretty name - process


Sketch and line-art for my "What a pretty name" drawing. I really like the sketch.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

We have much to hope from the flowers -- Brand Zero emendation

 I recently finished watching a translated play-through of The Great Ace Attorney: the Adventure of Ryuunosuke Naruhodou, and there is so, so much to say. This will mostly have no spoilers; the spoilery part will be below a cut.

It drew together and clarified so much for me about stories, including a current problem that many have written about: corporate franchises ruining legacy story worlds, such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc., turning them into degenerate, perverted, SJW Marxist sludge. There are Mistakes I made about the matter, there's a Solution that has been overlooked, and there's a looming Villain to be pointed at in accusation and condemnation.

To begin with, this game is in no way a ruining of this story world. Not at all, it is a deepening, and a wonderful one! The cases are fresh, dramatic, and cleverly interwoven; the new gameplay element of Deduction Theatre seemed very fun (sadly I can't comment on gameplay as much as I would like because of the necessity of watching rather than playing); the music is excellent; environments gorgeous and detailed in meaningful ways; and the characters! Never have they engaged emotional investment in new characters so fast! The concept of going back to the ancestors of the characters we know and love is a rich one; it gives the audience a reason to care from the get go; it makes us root for Ryuunosuke not only to triumph in the courtroom, but to find a wife so he can beget Phoenix's grandfather! (Or maybe great-grandfather? I think grandfather makes the most sense) It draws on the deep civilizational principles of parenthood and posterity, tradition and revering the past. Something the spirit of cultural Marxism hungers to destroy.

The wonderful themes of Friendship-Love and the pursuit of Truth, core to Ace Attorney, are strong in this one. And I was pleasantly surprised at a theme of Patriotism too! I'll talk more about these in the spoilery section below the cut, so if my opinion of the quality of this game is all you're interested in, you can stop here, or skip down to there, because next is a very long amount about the current problem with stories that I mentioned, and what this game revealed thereon.

First, the Mistakes I made about the issue of stories ruined by SJWism. This is going to get personal and a bit confessional now. Please forgive me for talking so much about myself.

Those who have known me on Deviantart for at least nine years may remember I absolutely loved the BBC series Sherlock. I wrote ecstatically about how transcendentally great was its expression of the heartbreaking glory of the pursuit of Truth and Friendship-Love. It kicked me out of the worst depressive episode of my life. I regarded it as the best show I had ever seen.

And then, with a Christmas special bloated and vomiting the vile bile of murderous feminism, it ruined itself.

I didn't watch any more after that, but what I've read about subsequent developments sounds likewise horrible. And so I just let it go and tried not to think about it, as I had done with Doctor Who and Legend of Korra when they ruined themselves, and Homestuck when its ruinous nature became undeniable.

Later, I read and witnessed how fandom is an idol for some people; they build their whole identity around it and all their emotional vulnerabilities are centered thereon, giving fandom the parts of one's heart that should be given to real life relationships, or even one's soul, that should be given to God. And I knew, there but for the grace of God would have gone I.

Around this time, I experienced a tiny bit of the incredible strenuousness and sweetness that goes with the mission of marriage/parenthood when I took a trip to help out with my nephews, and I overcorrected. I concluded that fun things like video games, comics, roleplaying, are meant to be for children and adolescents, and the best way for adults to enjoy them is in sharing them with their children. Those who make fandom their identity are misplacing the zeal for make-believe that is meant to enrich the bonds with the children they're not having, unnaturally extending their own mental and emotional adolescence instead.

There's certainly some truth to that, but it's not the whole truth, and then I went on to conclude: So all of us who do not marry should live like ascetic hermits, give all that up and live on prayer and penance alone. But I couldn't bring myself to give it all up, so I made a list of what stories I would still invest in. At the same time I proffered allegiance to independent stories, but that was actually kind of a separate matter. I was conflating the question of what to do about ruined stories with the question of giving up stories as an ascetic sacrifice, while attributing the wrong kind of essential significance to the distinction between corporate and independent, regardless of good or ruined status.

It wasn't selfishness, however, that made me hold onto the ones on the list, especially the first two. Before I'd made this overcorrection, I was given the realization, at Mass, in Lent, during a terrible time under serious attack from multiple fronts, that there was an astonishing piece of Eucharistic imagery in Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle's Mystery-Solving File. That led directly and immediately to my discovery of the devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as "Prisoner of Love." Suffice it to say, this was never a mistake: I know no devotion more wonderful.

That should have tipped me off that stories have purposes in addition to sharing with one's children, but at this point I only felt justified still caring about those stories which had undeniably brought me closer to Christ, while implicitly rejecting all others. I felt vindicated in this when DC Comics, particularly with Young Justice and Batman, went on to make complete its ruination of itself.

Do you see the problem here? It may have been fine if I had kept this to myself, as indeed, a real hermit or contemplative would have! But in publishing this online and telling it to others, I was implying that only the stories that had brought me closer to Christ were capable of doing so at all, to anyone! I was making myself the standard.

I also thought and indicated that stories, once ruined by SJWism, were irredeemable, or at least that at best, you could cut them off at a certain point and keep the past, but that no further new good fruit was possible after the ruination had happened.

I am sorry for these mistakes; I know they hurt at least one person, my sister and best friend, Anna. The Great Ace Attorney showed me my mistakes in this as it pointed to the Solution to ruination of stories.

We return to Sherlock. Obviously, the BBC show is an adaptation and everyone knows the distinction between it and the original Conan Doyle stories.

But there is a question of what is canon and what isn't, which isn't always clear-cut. Sherlock Holmes fans have been an inventive lot from the beginning. One could ask, what is meant when you say, "I love Sherlock Holmes"? Presumably, the Conan Doyle stories, but probably also for many nowadays, the Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. portrayal. Similarly, what is meant when you say, "I love Batman"? Comics, from what era? The Animated Series and the Christopher Nolan movies are likely. The Joel Schumacher movies are unlikely. With things that have many people adding onto a story and making adaptations, some of it is going to be awful and even contrary to what it is that people love when they love that character. Especially when you have SJWs who want to use every franchise as a cudgel to beat straight white Christian men. Then you get the ruination of which I speak.

I submit that what is canon is what is true to the soul of the story. The true soul of the story may not be fully known even to the original author, but the better the author, the more the story conveys it. The soul of the story is its unique reflection and refraction of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Jon Del Arroz pointed out that the ruination of comic book heroes is just as much fanfic as any fujoshi's filthy fantasy, it just has a corporate stamp of approval. It isn't by the original creators and isn't true to the soul of the story, so it isn't canon and should be ignored. But, what do you do when such ruiners have a monopoly on the story you love?

The solution to stories being ruined by SJWism, especially corporate SJWism, is the public domain. That is where fictional worlds and characters belong once the original authors have finished their work with them, earned their due, and gone to their reward. That is what allowed The Great Ace Attorney to reconsecrate Sherlock Holmes to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty after the BBC had desecrated him. No, he wasn't exactly like Conan Doyle's Holmes. But it was an adaptation made with love, not deconstruction or pandering, and was true indeed to the meanings of Love and the pursuit of Truth that are core to Sherlock Holmes, as Sherlock was before they ruined it. More particulars in the spoilery part!

If Star Wars, Marvel, and DC characters were in the public domain, imagine what wonderful, restorative works people who love their true souls would make! Yes, there would be lots of rubbish, but there already is, and the cream will float to the top.

So, I don't know enough to have a firm opinion about how long copyright should last exactly, but I know the current terms in the USA, 90 years for a work owned by an individual, and a repugnantly inequitable 120 years for a work owned by a corporation, is too long.

And you know it's wrong when you look at who is responsible, the Villain that exerted riches and influence upon the very Law of this nation in order to satisfy its verminous greed. The same who has been promoting sodomy in its theme parks for decades. The same who has been sowing self-will and rebellion in little girls from Little Mermaid to Frozen. The same who ruined Star Wars and Marvel. Disney.

The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 expanded copyright to these lengths. Disney was its main pressurer, along with Warner and the Estate of Sonny Bono. It was exactly timed to prevent the entrance into public domain of Mickey Mouse.

The good news is, due to people abandoning Disney's ruins and to the Corona scare, Disney is losing billions upon billions and may collapse.

In light of all this, my new take on what one who loves stories should do is as follows.

- Don't give money to ruiners, but you don't have to lose hope for the ruined.
Because someday, those characters will be freed into the public domain, and a version of them never approved by corporate diversity and inclusion cultists may stand tallest in people's imaginations.

- Pray for the collapse of corporate villains and the extension of public domain, patronize good works including independent ones, and make good fanworks!
I no longer consider myself restricted to the Brand Zero list I earlier espoused, as I did so for mistaken reasons. Neither am I denouncing the Brand Zero movement, but taking another path, hopefully toward the same goal of Good, True, and Beautiful popular culture.

- And if possible, marry, have as many children as feasible, and love and care for them the best you can.
I was wrong in thinking only children and their parents together have a right to share the gift of stories, but it is true that the role of fiction in forming young ideals of heroism is tremendously important!

If you do not marry, still do what you can for the God-ordered benefit of your kin's descendants, whether by active/creative work or contemplative prayer (or best of all, if you don't marry because you have a priestly vocation, sacrificial worship). Let us live Goodness, fight for Truth, and build Beauty, so that someday, they will be inspired by the stories of their great ancestors.

 And now for the spoilery part where I further detail what I loved in this game:

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Holy Name of Mary coloring page

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, commemoration of the victory over the Muslim Turks at Vienna in 1683!

The above coloring page may be downloaded for free in high resolution as part of The Little Flower Activity Book edited by Aleksandra Gieralt, which you may find here.

Monday, September 7, 2020

What a pretty name

Quick pretty Ace Attorney fanart piece of Iris Hawthorne and Iris Watson among the irises.

Done with Faber-Castell brush-pens and Caran D'Arche watersoluble crayons.