If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you might have seen the tantalizing selection of sketches requested of us at APE over the weekend. Some of them I gave away right away without encapsulating them forever in digital form, and now they are in a tucked away sketchbook, on a wall, or are forming the back of a grocery list, far far away. But I did grab a few, and will be sharing those sporadically over the next few days, but FIRST!
There are some AWESOME things out there in the world of webcomics, and I don’t really get a chance to check in with it all until the stars align and I get to one of these conventions. I have my favorite findings up on our links page, but I want to tell you about a few in greater detail over the next few chatter boxes, until the historical scene shifts and I put my Basil Historical Exposition Hat back on…
The first two books I picked up were Sara McCardle-Blunk’s Prophecy Failed, and Eric Carter’s Carpe Chaos. To begin with the second first, because it’s more ALTERNATIVE that way, I am still in mild awe of Carpe Chaos. The very first novel I wrote was about a sort of galactic war between different civilizations, where the differences and weaknesses of their societal philosophies played major roles in how the struggle unfolded. Eric Carter’s richly imagined universe has all of that grand philosophical scope, but couples it with a level of on-the-ground day-to-day personal existence mastery that I never could manage. The philosophy is there in the actions of the most insignificant characters, but always muted and softened. These characters Live, they don’t Declaim, and it allows him to present his universe with a breadth of conception that is purely dazzling. You don’t know how hard it is, to operate simultaneously on the scales that he is in this comic, until you’ve tried it, and broken your head against it somewhat. It’s a beautiful thing, and you neeeeeeeds to read it!
The first volume of Prophecy Failed covers the zeroth and first chapter of the adventures of a disgraced soldier and the company she has fallen into as they set off to right the troubling currents that threaten to tear an Empire apart, and that’s reason enough to read, but what I admire so much about this comic is the characterization. It is a tad like one of my favorite books ever, Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist and his Master, in this regard… McCardle-Blunk leads you forward into seemingly very familiar territory to the point where you are pretty sure you have a handle on how everybody is going to act and react, and then she starts embroidering these little variations on the characters that make perfect, perfect sense, feel entirely natural, and yet you haven’t seen them before. It pushed me through the book in one sitting – this delightful surprise at every turn at having my expectations shown to me and then deftly surpassed. The situations are all handled with a uniqueness of conception that is immense fun to watch at work, like the comic version of the hooks and swerves of a Haydn sonata.
And now, the first of our APE sketch requests, which was: “Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address, Except the Setting is Somehow Lovecraftian” I drew the picture and started the words, then Geoff gleefully swung into action and just ran with reworking the text into a true Chthulhian call:

– Count Dolby von Luckner