< Piro >
Wednesday - January 1, 2003
The equation above has been pointed out to me by several people at this point, and I have to admit, it's rather amusing. You take '3v1l l33t', which can also be written as '666' (evil) and '1337' ('leet'), add them together, and you get 666 1337=2003. How odd.
Of course, evil is a complicated subject, and the disturbing number combination of '666' is not to be used lightly. The whole concept of 'l33t' is in and of itself ridiculous and overused (yes, Megatokyo is partly responsible for this overuse, but at least I am aware of it). Adding these together, taking a cue from a t-shirt design that to this day is enigmatic and open to interpretation... you could take final leap of logic and say that maybe 2003 will be a good year for Megatokyo.
What better way to kick in the new year than to pull a grand Megatokyo tradition - miss a comic. :P Yes, all is indeed right with the world.
Regardless of math or petty number divination, the real life signs are that it might actually be a very good year for MT. At this point you all know that i'm a bit of a pessimist about things, downplaying things, always worrying about when things are gonna start fall apart. The truth is, I don't think things could be going much better for MT. Of course, there are always the little pitfalls - i suffer at least 12 or so a week (a good friend of mine once shook his head after hearing about my weekly adventures and told me that I was like a bicyclist riding behind a manure truck). Things always seem to work out, one way or another, and I keep plodding on. Problems get resolved, new ones come up, its part of life, part of business, grist for the angst mill.
Someone once asked me if i jumped up and down and shouted for joy when I 'got the publishing deal' with I.C. Entertainment. The truth is, it was a very stressful time. There was no jumping around - Seraphim and I went out to have a quiet dinner at the local Japanese restaurant to try to absorb and think about where things were going (mmm, California Rolls) ^^;;. It was a weighty decision, and it wasn't made lightly. Going into the unknown like that is always kinda scary. When you do something like this, there is a lot of work, a lot of responsibility, and your reputation on the line if you can't manage what you agree to do. No one is going to do the work for you, no one is going to hold your hand thru the process. I didn't know if things with I.C. would work out, no matter how comfortable I felt after getting to know them.
Thankfully, working with I.C. Entertainment has been very reasonable, flexible, and rewarding. The MT book is going to look better than I had hoped, and even though we are late (which really is my fault - it took me two weeks longer to get material finished than I had hoped) Megatokyo - Volume 1 will ship at the end of this week. Huzzah. :)
November and December of last year were a bit of a whirlwind for me. November was flat out insane. The book, merchandise, keeping things afloat - I had to jump thru a lot of hoops to get things geared up for 'Full Time Fred'. The good news is, the book got done, the merchandise made it to the ThinkGeek/Megatokyo store, and all of you were very generous in your purchases this year. I would like to thank everyone who got stuff from the store this Christmas - I have renewed faith in my ability to do this stuff full time now. :)
Of course, not every month is 'Christmas', and there is a whole year ahead. The trick is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify, do lots of different things, that's how a company survives. My plan for this year is... well, a little on the insane side. Let's look at everything on my plate as of right now:
First and foremost, there is the Megatokyo site, which will continue on as a free, 3 per week (usually) webcomic. MT actually suffered a little right after I was laid off (not that it wasn't suffering before). Things fell into a bit of a lull with the whole Moe Moe ball sequence (which was too long and poorly executed) and recently I've found that i was loosing my grip on the story - when you completely rewrite scripts after all the art is done because it doesn't feel right, it means something isn't right. I took today as a 'In Service' day to sit down and do what I haven't done in four months - write. Hammer out the rest of chapter three, in detail. See how things fit together, see where better ties between things can be made. When I do this, i can add better layers of story and humor to the strips that has be so missing lately. My little writing session yesterday and today has so far resulted in a cleaner, clearer, and far better series of strips. I feel a hell of a lot better about the rest of Chapter 3 (29 more comics, folks)
The Megatokyo store at ThinkGeek is very much a success, and you can look forward to all sorts of interesting new product ideas. I went with ThinkGeek to be able to provide better, more reasonably priced merchandise and more unique and interesting items. I'll continue to work with ThinkGeek to pull together more cool stuff this year.
The Megatokyo books. If everything goes well, we should have a total of three Megatokyo graphic novels out in 2003. Volume 2 will be out in March. Volume three will come when Chapter 4 is done (September, if things go well)
Seems like a minor thing, but I am also working on an Artbook for sometime this spring. For this i will have to dig out a lot of old artwork and see if it is in any kind of condition for scanning. For Megatokyo, i scan everything in at 300 dpi to start with, for years I never did that with Fredart, so some things i have scanned there are missing. A shame, in some respects, but you never know what you are going to be doing years later when you start these things.
The other rather large project I am working on is 'warmth', which will debut in AmeriManga #4 in March. I'm getting a little head start on it and doing a 3 page teaser for AmeriManga #3 just to get my feet wet. Thats 32 pages of manga per month. Warmth doesn't have a huge cast like MT does, and no where near so many story threads, but the goal is to be able to explore the threads in far far more depth. Anyways, its a LOTTA work, but it's also very much a part of reaching my goals.
One other thing I am doing this year is attending a lot more anime cons. I'm trying to hit most of the areas of the country the best I can. In testament to how quickly time flies, I can't believe that I have a convention to go to next weekend - Ohayocon, down in Columbus, Ohio. Dom and Asmodeus will also be at this con, so if you live in the area, be sure to come down next weekend. Oh, and I believe Seraphim will be coming with me - this will be her first public appearance. :) I have no clue what we are going to do yet. I'll post a full list of cons I will be attending in my next rant.
What else? Well, damn, that's enough. I still have a lot of work yet to do on the Megatokyo site, the Fredart site needs to be updated at least once per week, I need to launch the 'warmth' website, keep up with email (i've been trying, actually), commission work (i have two projects that I have to get to very soon - and i want to finish these before i consider others. Merekat and I are talking about her rendering the 'Broken Miho' image, I'm still scribbling out a whole series of the female MT cast in 'wings' of some sort, i have a set of drawings of the three Warmth girls that I just started yesterday.
The depths of my insanity even go so far as to reopen the possibility of getting my 'circle' into next winter's Comike in Tokyo (I have an idea for a Haibane Renmei doujin and a Clannad doujin (which I'm not too sure of until i have a clearer idea of the Clannad story))...
but that's a year off, and a lot can happen in a year. If i am as productive as i was in December, I'm screwed. If i can really buckle down and start drawing like a crazed madman, I might actually be able to pull it all off.
So don't expect me to whine any less this year. That wouldn't be the Piro way. :P
Despite the desires of some to descend our already messed up world into wars, strife, chaos and other wonderful things that threaten to wrest control of our lives away from us, I say screw them. It's our world too, and 2003 IS gonna be a good year if i have anything to say about it.
Happy New Year everyone.