J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote in a letter to a fan, “Part of the attraction of The L. R. [Lord of the Rings] is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas are again revealed” (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien; letter #247, bottom pg 333).
It’s for this same reason, I believe, George R. R. Martin insists on not presenting a factual history of his Song of Ice and Fire series (The World of Ice and Fire being told from the perspective of a character in that world; vulture.com/2014/11/George-rr-martin-new-book.html). It’s partly why, in my opinion, the second trilogy of Star Wars films was so unsuccessful (aside from the obvious storytelling faults). The rumours I heard about the Clone Wars had built up a story in my imagination greater than anything George Lucas could have presented to me.
Sometimes that little bit of unknown information can be infinitely more enticing than the fully revealed truth. It’s what makes history so intriguing. We can never know all of the answers for a certainty. It’s this precise device which draws players into the stories of the Dark Souls games and their related titles (collectively called the Soulsborne series), and it’s the way the stories are presented which creates such an immersive experience for the player. Read more… ›
What I think has drawn people to the Soulsborne series (affectionately named by its fans for the Dark Souls series, Demon’s Souls, and Bloodborne, collectively) and evolves to obsession for many of us, is the experience the games provide. Not the story. Not the gameplay. But the totality of all of the games’ collective parts.
For anyone who is not a gamer (or game designer, for that matter), I’ve heard it said that the highest point in the art of game design, the greatest achievement a game can make, is to seamlessly integrate all of its parts into a complete experience for the player. Like reading a book or watching a film, you never once want the game to feel disjointed, a part of it forced or out of place; the suspension of disbelief should never be broken. And having been a gamer all of my life, and speaking as someone with a bit of amateur experience and classes in game design, I can honestly say I have never played a game or series which has achieved this so (near) perfectly. Read more… ›
In twenty one days, the world of Dark Souls players will be able to explore The Ringed City, the final DLC in the series by From Software and perhaps at last we Undead will see the ultimate fading of the Flame. It’s a sad day and a hopeful one, I’m sure, for many of us who have been inexplicably drawn to the series since the first Dark Souls in 2011 (and even its predecessor, Demon’s Souls in 2009). But even for those who have slowly been brought into the fold over the years, the ending of Age of Fire spells the ending of an age in video games, one which hopefully will usher in a new age of great potential and creative freedom. Though for me, I wonder if this will spell the end my on-going love for video games, for, as many have said in the before me, Dark Souls ruined video games for me. Read more… ›
Today is an exciting day for me, though (to be honest) it’s also a bit terrifying because today I’ve officially launched my new Patreon page!
For a long time now I’ve toyed with the idea of crowdfunding, drawn by its potential to help fund personal, independent projects. As it is, personal, independent projects have been a major part of my career as a writer and artist, yet I’ve never been certain if I could carry a campaign all on my own. But then, over a year ago, I became aware of Patreon. Read more… ›
2017 is already off to a roaring start. Over the past two weeks two of my comics, Chadhiyana #5 and Gentleman Cthulhu: Year One, were released online (the former by Rosarium Publishing). Then there’s the US Presidential Inauguration and everything happening around it (such as the Women’s March on Saturday). Even with all of that, this is something of an in between week for me. One of those weeks where I’ve been so busy with work, and so many gears are turning and plans are in motion, but there’s nothing official to announce. So I thought I’d take the time this week to just write a few updates and maybe (maybe) hint at a few things to come. Read more… ›
It’s October 25th. Halloween is a little less than a week away, my birthday is a little more than a week away and the first Dark Souls III DLC, Ashes of Ariandel, is available today for all the travelers of Lothric to discover and explore (I’m a huge fan of the SoulsBorne games, if you didn’t know). That said, one can expect I’ll be immersed in otherwise idle occupations for the next week or so, but that’s not to say I won’t be working on at least a few things, here and there. Read more… ›
Yes, as the title implies, I’ve already signed up for an Artist Alley table at next years’ Boston Comic Con. It’s honestly one of my favourite shows to do in my favourite city (I still think I’d like to move up this way someday). This year’s show was another success. I’ve sold out of a few things, and I don’t know that I’ll be able to restock on these items for this Saturday’s Newark Comic Con. (Sorry, though I still have plenty of prints and books available.). Though Aside from sales alone, there’s a lot more appeal to exhibiting at the Boston Comic Con. Read more… ›
This weekend, you can find me in Artist Alley at the Boston Comic Con Friday, Saturday and Sunday. According the convention’s website (bostoncomiccon.com), my Artist Alley table is C722, and from the looks of things on the map it’s located slightly right of the exact center of the show (that is, right based on where the entrance is located). Of course, how that plays out in physical terms is entirely different, but it looks like a pretty nice spot. That said, and somewhat surprising even to me, Boston is going to be the first of four consecutive shows. Read more… ›
Recently, two of my favourite modern creators announced an end to their beloved series. In video games, Hidetaka Miyazaki has (somewhat ambiguously) stated that “there’s absolutely no plan right now for any sequels, spin-offs or tie-ins” to Dark Souls or Bloodborne (forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/04/27/hidetaka-miyazaki-puts-the-souls-series-on-hold-wants-to-do-more-mecha-games/#180de5cb1845). And in comics, Mike Mignola has ended the Hellboy series to pursue a new direction as a watercolourist (albeit new works from other creators may come out featuring the character). Yet as devastating as these announcements seemingly are–and one coming after the other, no less–more than anything these two men have earned a great deal of respect from me for making these decisions. After all, I believe firmly in the old adage that all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Read more… ›
Greetings! I hope you all had a memorable Memorial Day. I’m just writing this little reminder that I’ll be appearing at the second annual White Plains Comic Con this Saturday, June 4th. Last year’s event was one of the single most supported and attended conventions (for its size) that I have ever exhibited at. I’m hoping that success can be repeated (beaten, even) this year. As always, I’ll have prints of my work on sale, copies of Chadhiyana, and I’ll be offering commissions throughout the show. Though I’m happy just to sit and talk about my work or debate the lore of the latest Dark Souls game. Read more… ›