I am burdened with glorious purpose … probably

After a Thor Heyerdahl-like crossing of the Atlantic, which was actually nothing like that 1947 Kon-Tiki journey save the bamboo wings of the KLM airliner, my family and I have arrived in our new home some 4,520 miles from where gigabit internet, buttered grits and Costco visits flowed like a river of wienerschnitzels.

We have arrived in Europe again, specifically landing in its fertile German weinstrasse region, ensconced in emerald farmland, warp-speed freeways and 15th Century castles scattered across the region like Starbucks. It would be easy enough to tell you that the blades of green grass tickling the undersides of our bare feet are cool; that a lovely northwesterly breeze is caressing the crystal glasses of Riesling wine we sip in the cafes just down the street from our lovely, temperate neighborhood home; and in the starry, crisp evening, the first flecks of fall chill are rapping on our door and gave us pause to what’s to come this season.

Instead, things are something like this:

Our climate.
Our living space.
These asshole cats. Note I didn’t say “our”. Eff these cats.

We are just past a menstrual cycle into our third move to Europe, and the two hottest weeks Europeans have EVER experienced happened after we arrived. One is happening right now with temperatures topping out near Jeff Bezos bank account balance in Kelvin degrees. It’s a Euro two-fer for discovering true swamp ass, Augusta, Georgia style and people wandering around like Walking Dead extras asking, “Wann endet das?!” I feel as though I’ve causes an international weather incident dragging Dixie weather here with me. Sorry.

This would all be fine and well, except that central air conditioning of almost any kind (save at, say hospitals) is VERBOTEN. No AC for you! You sit and sweat and that half-assed spinning fan laughs at you the same way Darkness laughed at Jack in “Legend.” Good times.

Weather aside, eleven thousand pounds of our material things is on a boat and will be pulling into a German port soon (Note: this ain’t much, by the way. You’re allowed NINE TONS of stuff and when the movers arrive, some people are throwing stuff away to make that weight limit). We’ve rented a house, but haven’t received the promised allowances to pay for it yet (fun!). We sleep on an inflatable pool float and sit on lawn furniture, still pillaging through suitcases and boxes to make a morning business wardrobe. We were also able to ship a car, which is somewhere between the aforementioned German seaport and my driveway. 

Our three cats are here. They are assholes on the order of Batman returning Robin to the orphanage. I can send you the bill of damages from the first hotel stay to prove it. Yet, still, we feed them. There’s something wrong with me. The Black Forest is fairly large and empty, right?

Also, one of my worst first-world fears came true when research and skullduggery CONFIRMED slow, 50MBs DSL internet for the house. DSL, the devil’s ball sweat of Internet connections. And there’s no way around it unless I put the data packets in the backs of Skodas on the autobahn and delivered them to servers that way. IT WOULD BE FASTER DON’T DENY IT. I sat and mourned. I’m going to need more beer. 

In the middle of the first two weeks here, my Mom died. I flew home to San Diego to attend the service with my family, which was wonderful and well done. From door to door, a 72.5 hour journey going 11,000 miles round trip, more than 30 hours of which were spent in airports or in the air and four inside JFK, which, based on its veneer, is probably the first place they’ll pick to process people for Soylent Green.

The day before we left, my Mom laughed through her encouragement for our family to make this move, wondered why we didn’t sell her our second car and hoped very much to get feeling better to make a European trip. She died six days later. She was a great, smart, complex and determined woman. I miss and love her.

So, we’re in Europe. We have a roof, wheels, food and friendship. Work is great. Some kinks of transitioning in, but not “Scotty transporting in Sonak over to the Enterprise” kinks. We’re happy. Segue …

Some DID call the Vulcan Embassy, right?

So, for some of you, you’re here about stuff coming from my studio, Atomic Bazooka Studios. Specifically, the comic book, the podcast and the webcomic. And a few other things. So, let’s get to that.

First, Vorpal Issue 3, No One Dies of Threats. Mike Montalvo has colored the living FUCK out of Issue 3 and it all looks glorious. I’ve shared many pages with you via Instagram and elsewhere. The colors are rich and vibrant. Mike’s even hand and input really brought each of Diego Albuquerque’s art pages to life. What’s left is to letter about five remaining pages and perform the quality check before handing it off to Crazy Monkey Ink to publish and publicize. I can’t letter it until the digital studio arrives and that won’t be until sometime in August. This is a great book and I’m excited to have gathered with this team and made it happen.

Vorpal 3 cover by me. Colored by Mike Montalvo.

Vorpal 4, which is still untitled. At the moment, the same team is tabbed to close out this first chapter of Vorpal’s revolutionary saga – Diego, Mike and Me. Vorpal 4 will be about startling reveals, kick-ass fights and epic battles. If Issue 3 was my Two Towers, then issue 4 is Fast and the Furious 7. Diego is eager to begin drawing and I’m eager to hand him the script. However, I find myself continuously changing things in the script to ensure I wrap up this first chapter and make a great trade publication with the first four issues. So, I’ll wait until I get it right before we press with the next issue. And I’ll have a title soon. I have sketched and even inked several breakdown drawings in Procreate for Diego when the time comes. Oh look. Here’s a couple now …

REMINDER: all of the Vorpal titles are available at Indyplanet.com. Search “Vorpal” or “Crazy Monkey Inc.” to find those books. You can also find them on the CMI Facebook page.

What comes after Vorpal 1, 2 & 3? Somewhere between 3 and 4 is a short story collection wherein every story is based in the Vorpal/Nine Systems Universe. One particular piece I’m enamored with includes a reporter and an opera. As for comics, I’m not sure. The plan for Vorpal has always been something like this:

1, 2, 3, 4 – Chapter 1: Evolution

5, 6, 7, 8 – Chapter 2: Dissentience

9, 10, 11, 12 – Chapter 3: Revolution

However, to get through 5-12 at the pace I’ve been churning these out would mean seeing a social security check before a finish line. So, I’ll script them. We’ll see what happens after that.

Dollar Box Reads. I love podcasting and, while I might be short on the dollar box comics here in Germany, at least ones in my native English tongue, I will still be producing a podcast. The show must go on, but not until I get my little studio back. ETA for that is sometime in late August. No podcast creation stuff so no podcast until I get it.

Angry John. He’s alive. I had to shut him down far earlier than expected but he’ll be back. I have finished about 13 Scripps for strips. I’ve begun drawing them on my iPad. New strips should start appearing very soon.

Also on the horizon, I have a script for a southern superhero team about 95% finished. I am also pending a western. That’s about all I know about that last project right now. I have maybe three or four seems done. Think western needs Ocean’s Eleven meets Vera Cruz’s

Finally, my daughter and I will be collaborating on on a few of her projects. It’s been a while since her well-received children’s book “The Cat and The Wizard,” and she’s eager to get back inti publishing her stuff.

Throw in a 2019 return to fantasy football, and this year is going to wrap up and be a busy one. I’m terribly excited to get the new studio set up to become a real art, digital art, audio, video and other studio. I look forward to what Atomic Bazooka Studios can produce going forward in conjunction with my publisher crazy monkey Inc. and all of my fellow collaborators. Thanks for reading!

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