Notes for Mid-April

Things are in the shitter for me right now in some ways, but I’m also not getting the living shit kicked out of me like I was around this day ten years ago. Okay let me start over.

I came here to post an apology/explanation for falling behind on things, in particular, the weekly Ceaseless Fables of Beyonding strip. Then, while editing my YouTube channel this morning, I saw that a video I made of myself working on the “Brawl In Garrus-9” piece (which you can purchase here in a variety of formats) was from only a month ago. 

Not to toot my own horn, but go have a gander at that illustration. It’s freakin’ sweet. And because of the breakneck pace of internet content, I’m supposed to produce… more than one of these a month? Did you see the video? That was only ten minutes, real-time, and only about half of the total illustration. Also, I painstakingly researched each Transformer that I featured on that piece. I had Brawl and Shockwave in-hand, plus Titan Master Repugnus and the Prime Masters of Bludgeon and Bomb-Burst, so I was able to literally study them under a magnifying glass to get the details right. Arcee and Fortress Maximus I had to look up on TFWiki (you think I can afford a Fort Max?!?). Each character was specifically chosen based on their relevance to existing canon/stories involving Garrus-9, a supermax prison in outer space. Then I did my best to marry these characters to the cast of the S. Craig Zahler film Brawl In Cell Block 99 (sky-highly recommended), their roles in that film, and their depiction in the illustration on the film’s poster. In retrospect, that seems like the easiest/most fun part. 

So; Brawl’s “optics” are oriented to mimic the wearied look in Vince Vaughn’s eyes, he has “battle damage” to simulate Bradley Thomas’s wounds, and Arcee’s expression is as close to Jennifer Carpenter’s as I could make it. Fort Max, having been warden of Garrus-9, was a natural match for Don Johnson, plus his large eyes (again, “optics” would be the proper term) match Warden Tuggs’s sunglasses perfectly. Not to mention, Max’s huge head was a real help in setting the angle, so the “eye line” would stay intact within the image. 

Now, if you’ve seen Brawl In Cell Block 99, and by chance you’re also into the Transformers franchise, you know that there could not be a better analogue than Shockwave as the Placid Man. If I recall correctly, this was the inspiration that cemented my desire to do the piece. Plus, some time past I had purchased Siege Shockwave, and I was itching to draw the toy’s insane details. But man, just imagine Udo Kier as the voice of Shockwave. The two characters even talk the same! (Excepting Udo’s accent, ofc.)

Rounding out the row of portraits is the legendary Monsterbot Repugnus (as “Gil”/Marc Blucas), complete with original “Venom Laser” gun from 1987, cobbled together from his Titan Master design, his original look, and his appearance in the IDW comics. I did the same process with Bomb-Burst and Bludgeon, seen above the logo (created digitally for time) with contraband weapons resembling the weight-bars from the film. Not only are they toys I have, both have been inmates of Garrus-9 in-canon. The color palette is a combination of the actual toys and their relative portrayals in the comics. 

Does this give you an idea of the work I put in? 

There is no realistic way to expect more of myself than I already produce. Yet, because of the speed at which the internet delivers entertainment, I feel a subconscious inadequacy, a nagging, never-ending guilt-trip that I’m not doing enough. I cannot overemphasize to you how toxic this is. It leads to nothing but a total breakdown, when you realize that you are no longer able to keep up. 

This is just one piece. This isn’t even counting the back cover of the Ceaseless Fables Omnibus that I previewed earlier (Bone Wars), which requires a similar amount of background research, or the one/two CFB strips I managed to squeak out in the past month. Or my eBay auctions, which, if I’m gonna do them properly, also require research. 

Like many people, being forced to work entirely from home afforded me new opportunities. Silver linings. But remember; these opportunities come with a built-in dependence on the doings of other people. It is borderline impossible not to compare yourself to others when pursuing any form of internetoriety. 

The more content you produce, the less special it becomes. Don’t wear out your welcome. Personally, I operate under the theory that if I don’t check in for a few weeks, the last thing you should ever think is that I just threw my hands in the air and quit. It’s always because of real-life bullshit, which everyone deals with and my complaining has literally driven everyone away from me. All of my intellectual properties are owned by me, which means they will end when I end them, and not before. There have been many Saturdays where I had no earthly idea where I was going to take Ceaseless Fables. That doesn’t mean I’d ever give up. I’m over 400 pages into the thing. How many people you know who make over 400 of something and then go “ahh, pfft” and just do something else? I deliberately designed the property to be CEASELESS. By its very nature it cannot end.

I thank you all again for putting up with a legitimate temperamental professional artist in a time when such persons are neither necessary nor desired. If you are new here, I encourage you to become a Patron Saint because it’s cheap, and it provides an even larger window into the nuttiness I provide. (It also opens bonus content on the Ceaseless Fables website. Eventually that will include animation.) Don’t make the mistake of commoditizing your personality like I did. You will live to regret it. Pay me a dollar a month and I’ll tell you all about why.

I love you.

Matty Boy Anderson
online for 22 years

The Late Strip

Okay, so the thing about not making a weekly deadline is, you took extra time to finish, which is unfair to the rest of the class. I learned this in third grade art. This is why I will often wait until the next Sunday to post a CFB strip if I’m late (which has been happening more frequently), to leave a hole in the schedule and produce the necessary amount of shame to nudge me back on track. However, by ersatz virtue of being late, this strip almost posted on 2/2. I plan to fudge the date on my website and say it posted then anyway. This is a relatively historic strip. 

Here you can see me working on the page in question.

The sorceress Darkana, aka The Dark Witch and The Shadist, is one of the first characters I created for Ceaseless Fables, in 2009. Like Nefaria, she can use “connective darkness” to travel, by entering darkness in one place and emerging from darkness in another. She can also be contracted to relay private conversations, as she does here, which is a precious commodity in the current Beyonding, wherein everything is investigated or supervised by the Empress. 

Crybdeth was created in 2010 to be the overseer of Bonehenge, the ossuary prison that held Nefaria until her escape in #330 (2017). She is the first ever to escape Bonehenge, and Crybdeth took it very personally. It is rumored that he steals the breath of infants. You are about to learn of a battle that has rocked the Aresinian Coast for the last seven years (BT), that began with the demand for the extradition of the Fraudulent Empress. Seriously it’s gonna be hot stuff. 

Eagle-eyed readers may have recognized the guy in the last panel of #42 from #349 of the original strip, getting kicked out of Castle Creepwood alongside the loathsome Orduroc. Here we see him twenty years older (BT) as General Etalun Risiodos, who served Nefaria in the Bone Wars. Yes, you read that right. I told you. Hot stuff. In case I don’t get to reveal it in the strip proper (or forget to do so), Etalun is a reformed Obsolesmian (follower of Obsolesmus, the Dark Unmentionable who was summoned to Ystyr by Refusaleth) from an old Fargonian sycophant family. That’s why he hates his surname; it reminds him of his past, before he became Nefaria’s star general. Also, it reminds him of someone who disappeared from his life a long time ago. 

More on that next Sunday. Be there!