The Campaign: The Evil Within

October 9, 2013 by Tim

A little while ago I talked about the pending Ethan and Lucas reboot, and how I was working on a story to test out the format I wanted to use, rather than experiment on something as important as the reboot itself. Well, this is that story.

Twenty-five pages, updating daily starting today.

I love telling stories, but the biggest drawback to how I used to do it was the update schedule. Three days a week just did not keep things moving at a fast enough clip, and the bigger storylines would end up taking three months to tell. I think we can all agree that it was not optimal. So one of the biggest reasons behind the reboot was to alter the way I do things in that regard.

The first step was to separate Ethan and Lucas from the regular gag-a-day strips so that I could use them strictly for storylines. So that every time you saw them, you knew it was part of canon, furthering a plot in some way.

Now, previously I would come up with an idea for a story, write up the outline, but I would draw the actual pages as we went along. I would draw Monday’s strip on Sunday, Wednesday’s on Tuesday, etc. So really I just maintained the same schedule as always, resulting in three comics a week.

My idea for the reboot is to write and complete the storylines in full while I’m carrying on my regular updates. It’s a lot more work for me on the front end, over a couple of months, but the payoff is that I can then release the stories at seven pages a week instead of just three. A story that would have taken three months to tell previously, now only takes three weeks.

So that’s what I’ve done here, with this Players RPG/Fantasy tale. This is my guinea pig, to not only get a feel for working on a big project like this while also maintaining my regularly scheduled updates, but also to try out the format.

The format is a little different from anything I’ve done here before. I’ll explain a bit so you’re prepared.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a big short story for Winter-een-mas called The Game Games Bowl. It was generally well-received. I ran into the deadline for that project, so I was not able to add artwork to the story as I had originally wanted to. It was largely requested by readers.

I love storytelling through writing, as well as sequential art, so what I’ve done here is create a sort of prose/comic book hybrid. A short story mixed with panels. This is the format I want to use for the Ethan and Lucas reboot, and there are two main reasons for that.

The biggest benefit is simply the amount of additional story that I can include by mixing in prose, as opposed to doing it entirely with panels. I can tell a larger, more complete story within the same number of pages. It provides me with a lot of flexibility in regards to the scope of the story, and allows me to leverage both the reader’s imagination and some visual storytelling.

The second reason, quite simply, is completion time. It took me a while to put this story together. It was a learning experience with the new format, so there was some wasted time that I can now avoid, but it would still take me even longer if the entire project had to be penciled, inked and colored on top of my regular updates. Personally, I would rather be putting out a 24-page Ethan and Lucas adventure every three months, as opposed to every six. This format helps ensure that I can produce these in a timely fashion.

With all that said, though, I want to be very clear that this format is 100% story. This is not a “gag-a-day” setup, there will not be a “punchline” at the bottom of every page. This is a complete project, that just happens to be broken down into daily updates. How you choose to read it is up to you. You can check in every day, every few days, or just at the end of the month to catch up. Later today I’ll even put up a link so you can purchase the entire story via PDF up front if you don’t want to wait to read it over the next month.

On the flip side, if you don’t like storylines, or if you’re averse to reading in general, I would recommend not checking back until November 4th. And look on the bright side, under the old method this storyline would last until January.

I really enjoyed working on this project, and I’m excited to be able to finally release it. I want to send out a big ‘thank you’ to my proofreaders, Amanda Lewis and Christian DeReimer for their feedback, and especially to my editor, Katharine Mason. Her help in whipping this project into shape was absolutely invaluable.

If all goes well here, the next step will be moving full steam ahead with the long overdue Ethan and Lucas reboot.

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