Oh well, I will in a couple of days.
Janet and I made it through; the house is intact as far as we can tell - haven't been able to check the roof yet, but we haven't found any leaks - and amazingly, we still have power and internet!
Thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes.
Anyway: today marks the 40th anniversary of our wedding. Janet has been the best thing that's ever happened to me, and more than I deserve. (Although I wouldn't trade her for anyone else in the world!)
I became a fan of Japanese animation very quickly, seeing in it as I did a culture of animation that saw the technique as a means of storytelling as legitimate as live-action for drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, not just as "entertainment for children". (In fact, I was shocked at first at the kind of material the Japanese thought was appropriate to show to children!) Most of the anime I saw was second- and third-generation copies of VHS tapes recorded off Japanese TV; the incredible market for anime in the US and elsewhere outside Japan was still a decade or two away, and anime fans were few and far-flung.
Two of the series I became series I became very fond of (perhaps because of their female protagonists? yes, definitely because of that) were Urusei Yatsura and Cutey Honey. As the home-video market developed and evolved - and as anime fandom grew to the point where US video distributors saw they could make money marketing these "strange cartoons" - I began to hold out hope that these two series would find their way into the American market, and I could finally add high-quality versions of them to my collection. (If they could keep the Japanese audio and add English subtitles, instead of dubbing, so much the better.)
AnimEigo fulfilled my desire for Urusei Yatsura; over a period of several months they would release UY in DVD sets (50 in all) that collected 20 episodes each on 5 discs each set. The OVAs and feature films would follow, and I have every bit of UY* produced in my collection.
But I began to despair that the other series I wanted, Cutey Honey, would ever see the light of Region 1 DVD. Even in anime fandom, Honey is a niche; its age (1973) and the relative crudity of its animation doesn't recommend it to fans of recent, lushly designed and animated productions. Until the other night...
For some reason, I looked up Cutie Honey on Wikipedia... and saw that "On November 26, 2013, Discotek Media released a DVD boxset of the complete series in North America." 2013... almost four years ago! How had I not known about that?! But in the hope that maybe there'd still be a few copies left in the market, I went to Amazon.com, did a search for "Cutie Honey"... and was rewarded with "Cutie Honey - The Complete Series", "The Original 1973 TV Series". 4-disc set containing all 25 episodes, Japanese audio with English subtitles... perfect! And all for about $30!! Needless to say, I snatched it up!
And I'm enjoying it. Picture and sound are great, especially considering the series is now almost 44 years old. (and a vast improvement over the third-generation copies I'd been watching over the years!) And the series itself, and the characters, are as weird and wonderful as ever!
*unless there's been new material released in the past few years that I don't know about...
Ultimate Pump is a dating sim/RPG all about female muscle, and the Indiegogo is now live!
If you want to join the Discord server and chat with the Ultimate Pump community, go here:
If you want to find out some more about the game than what the Indiegogo has, go here:
If you want to check out the trailer, go here:
Need to think of something special to do for the magic number!
Update: Crud, I forgot: journal entries count as "deviations". Now only 5 away.
As you've no doubt noticed, the May "Heroines In Peril!" calendar is late. I am working on it, though, and hope to have it posted in a couple of days. I spent most of the last two weeks or so finishing up an animation (no, not "Tetsuko vs. the Walls") that I've posted for my Patreon supporters. (It'll be posted here at DA on August 1; if you want to see it before then - and other artwork that won't get posted here at all - all it takes is a $5 a month pledge. Shameless plug ends.)
And then I get back to the Tetsuko animation, the next page of Tetsuko #3, the next page of Satin Steele "Contest Jitters", the next page of Naked Justice!, the Peril calendar for June...
I don't have any illusions that I'll be able to produce professional-looking half-hour episodes or even feature-length movies; but the iPad Pro/Apple Pencil combo, combined with Kdan Mobile's Animation Desk Cloud app, does make it easier to make pencil tests of short clips and scenes. (If you're one of my sponsors on Patreon, you've already seen a looping GIF I created on the iPad.)
I haven't gotten the results I want with inking and painting in Animation Desk that I want, though, so my thought at first was to create the rough animation on iPad and transfer that footage to Clip Studio Paint (a much more sophisticated app for animation) for ink and paint. Unfortunately, CSP's animation functions don't play well with animations created outside the program. The pencil tests created in ADC had to be converted to PSD files (one cel per layer), transferred to my desktop Mac, then opened in CSP where I had to save out each layer as a separate file. (Rather time-consuming when there's 47 cels...)
The good part is, though, I'm being forced to learn the capabilities and methods of CSP's animation component. So I feel confident that pretty soon I'll be throwing out new animated clips starring Tetsuko at least, and possibly Charlotte and Dyna, maybe even Starburst.
In fact, over the past year or so, I've been working on a video featuring Tetsuko. I'm imagining it as an excerpt from an episode of an imaginary Tetsuko animated series, showing her trapped by the villain in a death-trap which will tax every bit of strength she has in order to escape (if she does, heh heh heh...) I have a pencil test of one of the scenes from just after the trap is sprung on her, of which I'm rather proud how it's turning out so far. I'll be posting it here as soon as I finish this journal, and I may even post some of the (very rough) storyboards I scribbled up for the sequence.
I also have five cels from the scene inked; trying to get one cel done each day. (Maybe that's an approach I ought to try with my comics?)
Took my Mac mini to an Apple Store. Had to wait 3 hours before they could see me; but once they did, they ran diagnostics on the unit. Hardware and hard drive checked out OK, so no need for a new machine A software conflict was the next likely culprit; but an examination of my data didn't show anything. So... we had to do it the hard way: a clean install of the OS. (Fortunately I had a recent Time Machine backup I could restore from.)
So now I'm back up and running, and everything seems to be OK. So I only lost about a day. And I hope I can get some stuff done. Yay me.
Oh, and no cost.
Naturally, my computer decides it's on vacation as well.
As the song goes, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone". And not being able to use my desktop machine makes me realize just how dependent I am on it to produce my work! The iPad Pro is a pretty capable adjunct; I can start new art on it and get it completed, and even submit them to DA through the mobile app. But I can't get to any of the drawings on my Mac, including the in-progress pages. (And I'm also becoming painfully aware of the limitations of the DA mobile app: no way of posting polls, and no way of getting to my scraps, which means the only way I can even view the new Starburst pics I posted is through Notifications. Or go to my profile page through the iPad's web browser.)
Ah well, First World problems. If worse comes to worst I can afford a new computer; although I'd then have to use my tax refund to pay back the savings account I'd have to rob for the new unit, instead of getting the new phone I'd planned on.
Wish me luck.
Two words: "Unknown error".
That's the message I keep getting when I try to upload it to my gallery; even trying to sta.sh it results in "unknown error". I'll try again later; in the meantime, I'll post it to my Tumblr from which you can download it.
Update: Tumblr is also being a little b*tch about uploading files. Watch this space; I'll find some way to get that art up!
Update the second: Finally occurred to me to just upload it to my own website... so here it is! (It features Charlotte, so NSFW!)
Update the third: Finally uploaded to my gallery here!
2017 Peril Calendar - March: Charlotte
2. DM2099 (confirmed)
3. (anonymous) (confirmed)
Still quite a few names on the list; but I'm gratified to know that those who contacted me wanting to stay on the list apparently don't seem to mind the long wait. I'll try not to make you wait too terribly much longer!
But first, please accept my sincerest apologies for making you wait so long for a commission. I have a habit of not doing commissions often enough, and many of you have been waiting far too long for your turn.
The favor: please send a private note and let me know if you still want a commission from me, even if you've already waited too long for it, OR if you wish to be removed because I've made you wait an unconscionably long time.
Please let me know by February 14; if I haven't heard from you by then, I'll remove your name from the list.
Update: Forgot to add that I'm starting back on commissions now by contacting the one at the top of the list; I plan on doing more commissions this coming year.
This scene took far too long to complete. For one thing, I wanted to post the entire scene at once, precisely because I suspected it would take a while to finish these pages, and I thought, because I'm introducing a new villain to Tetsuko's world, the scene would have more impact if it could be read all at once instead of one pages every tow or three (or more!) months.
Another thing that made these pages such a slog is that neither Tetsuko nor Sonya appear, thus these pages weren't as much fun to draw. In fact, we're now ten pages into the issue and the title character hasn't even appeared! But that will be corrected in the next two pages.
You think I'm juggling too many projects and characters now? Imagine what it'd be like if I tried to develop every character I've created during my adult life!
On a whim, I sat down this afternoon and wrote down (well, typed up) a list of every character I've come up with, OCs that were intended to be the star of a comic,TV series or movie (live-action, animated or combination). And I shocked myself to find out there are 19 (so far!). Most of them, of course, exist only as one or two character concept drawings and/or collection of notes on the character's setting, powers, origin, plot ideas, etc. And I have never mentioned some of these in any off my writings over the years, so there'll be a few you've never heard of.
So, in case you're curious, here they are. Of course, the first few you should be very familiar with if you've followed my work for any length of time:
Dr. Sonya Gannon (even though she's technically a supporting character, she's gained enough fandom to be considered a "main" character)
Dyna the Damsel Dynamo and her alter-ego, Melissa Lockhart
Charlotte, the Voluptuous Avenger, the Pneumatic Nemesis of Ne'er-do-wells, the Buxom Beauty of... whatever's synonymous with "justice" and begins with "B", the star of Naked Justice!
And a few that I've mentioned over the years that I developed series formats for, but never did any finished stories for:
Leenah of the Lions, the first "muscle girl" character I remember creating (even before Satin or Tetsuko)
Starburst, my first actual costumed "superheroine". (When Dyna came along, I decided to shelve Starburst because I didn't think I could maintain two superhuman heroines; but lately I've been putting together some ideas for a "re-imagining" of Starburst)
Muscle Girl, the circus strongwoman who finds herself in bizarre adventures
Velshen'narith, the main character of what was to be a TV series entitled High Priestess. One of the few non-muscular female characters I've created, she was the titular high priestess of an ancient Atlantis-type civilization who is awakened from suspended animation in 21st-century America, to find that the same Power that destroyed her world now threatens ours. Only she has the power to prevent another civilization-shattering calamity... if only she knew what that power was, and how to wield it!
A few characters who were the subjects of one or more drawings, but never developed as full-fledged characters:
Carlotta, the Princess of Plunder. Up until a few years ago, I tried to have a new Carlotta piece drawn to celebrate "International Talk Like
Robert Newton as "Long John Silver" A Pirate Day" on Sept. 21, but I skipped a couple and now I'm out of the habit. But I have written up some notes on what a comic/movie/TV series about her might be like; she'd literally be a princess who finds that her inheritance has been squandered by a profligate relative, and who turns to piracy (or perhaps privateering) to avoid poverty.
Daytona, a muscular mermaid
Marissa of Mars - I still haven't quite got a handle on her. Is she an Earth woman who (like John Carter) finds herself transported to Mars where the lighter gravity gives her great strength? or is she a native Martian who's extraordinarily strong even for her race and sex? Whichever she is, her adventures would have a very definite "Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon" vibe to them.
Felicia McLean, leader of a Mission: Impossible-type team of secret government operatives called Team Amazon. Like Jim Phelps of the TV show, Felicia receives the assignments, puts the team together, leads the mission, and sometimes does the (literal) heavy lifting. Team Amazon also includes...
Dayle Driver; she possesses a "fitness"-level physique (in contrast to the "heavyweight" build of Felicia). Dayle is the electronics expert/gadgeteer of the team, inventing the specialized devices (sometimes on the fly) that the team needs for each mission. I have a rough "profile" page of her somewhere, but I haven't been able to find it.
Characters I've developed somewhat of a format for, but never designed a specific "look" for (and this, no illustrations):
Sayyina, a belly dancer and another non-muscular character. Sayyina would have been the star of a series of "Arabian Nights"-style fantasy adventures (imagine if Caroline Munroe's character was the hero(ine) of Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and you'd have the flavor of a Sayyina story).
Sabra - pronounced "say-bra", like it's the female form of the word "sabre". Sabra was my variation on Red Sonja, except she didn't necessarily have red hair. In any event, working with Pump monger's "Red" character fulfills any desire I have to work on warrior-woman fantasy.
Island Girl an extremely tentative title for an idea I had for a series set either in Hawai'i or elsewhere in the South Pacific, about a young woman tossed into a volcano as a sacrifice to the goddess Pele, only to discover she's actually the human incarnation of Pele's daughter! She becomes endowed with the requisite DCM traits of massive muscularity and near-superhuman strength. After the origin story, it would be revealed that this takes place in the early days of World War II, and that "Leilani" (extremely tentative name) would be instrumental in the Allied victory in the Pacific theater.
Mecha Maid - an idea for a TV series partially based on some concepts sent to me by a fan (whose name I forget, it was over ten years ago). She's basically a female "Iron Man", a heroine who uses a powered suit of armor to accomplish her derring-do. I added this twist to the concept: the main character is a stuntwoman hired to play the "Mecha Maid" character in a TV show (within the show); the gimmick of the show is that the suit (developed by one of the stuntwoman's friends, an up-and-coming special effects wizard) actually possesses the capabilities of flight, invulnerability and augmented strength the show requires, so there's no need for SFX fakery. (The stuntwoman also uses the suit in her real life to fight actual crime.) I write a "bible" for the series detailing the concept, most of the main characters, and the main story arc for the first season, as well as half of a pilot script.
Astra inspired by photos (which I'm unable to link directly to) of actress/dancer Tanya Lemani (probably best known as the ill-fated belly dancer "Kara" from the Star Trek episode "Wolf in the Fold") as a heroine named "Star Fox" for a never-produced TV series. Again, I had a "bible" and about half of a pilot episode written, but as with most of the other concepts here, I'll most likely never develop this any farther.
Which is just as well; my hands are full already with the series I am continuing.
This was fun in most cases; not so much in others. I've already received comments to the effect that I should do another challenge featuring Dyna or Charlotte; to that I say two things: 1) I need some time away from that kind of grind. There were times when I felt more obligated to do the drawing when in other circumstances I'd have simply ignored it and done something else. And 2) If I do another similar challenge, it own't be with this list of prompts. As I've detailed in the descriptions of the relevant pieces, I felt some of the themes were getting stale and repetitive (running, bicycling, and listening to music especially). I'll be on the lookout for other lists of similar themes for drawing challenges, and if I find one that suits my fancy, I'll give it a go.
In the meantime, thank you all very much for your views, your faves, and (especially) your comments!