Sunday, October 21, 2012

Greetings from Beyond the Grave...

Redphantom here, updating on the site as proof that I am not dead. It has been over two months since the conclusion of Rick and I felt it proper to post some information on the future of the website. I do intend to return to creative work at some point. Indeed, I have been writing new Geek Force at a frustratingly slow pace. For now, however, I have decided to take a break from releasing my work publicly. I am enjoying being able to write without the stress of deadlines.

Being an election year, though, it is difficult to maintain silence about politics. Now that Rick is over, I can openly admit that I support Barack Obama and will vote for him come November 6th. I wanted Rick to be about issues and not about parties or politicians, so I always avoided endorsing candidates. I am a registered independent, and consider myself far to the left of the President. I disagree with Obama about NDAA, Syria, Iran, and a host of other issues. He will get my vote despite this because I believe that it is necessary to chose between the lesser of two evils.

To me, choosing not to vote, insisting on idealogical purity and refusing to compromise is not noble, it is extremism. The only things extremism can produce are violence and bigotry. I accept that there are certain areas where we should never compromise. Still, when you say that you cannot accept heavier regulation of green house gases because Obama supports offshore drilling, all you accomplish is further unnecessary degradation the environment. Romney would destroy the EPA. I believe that the government should not engage in any imperialistic war, but if I am faced with limited air strikes and military aide, or war with Iran, what choice should be made? The same goes for civil liberties. Neither candidate will have a good record on this issues. Who will hurt them less? Which vote will protect these hallowed ideals more? The harsh realities of life demand us to be flexible and to make difficult compromises and choices.

Like many people, I possess a multitude of strong beliefs that I hold dear and believe to be sacred. For myself, I know that I sometimes fall short of my ideals because of circumstances in my life that I cannot control. I make every effort to follow my values, but, as a human being, I am flawed, and I am not always able to adhere to what I staunchly believe in. So it is also with entire nations. We will sometimes fall short of our founding principles, and we must settle on occasion for tolerating a lesser wrong than accepting a greater injustice.

I find myself frustrated with progressives for refusing to support candidates in this election. The Civil Rights Movement endorsed and forged alliances with Democrats to achieve their goals. This was not selling out, to the contrary, Martin Luther King Jr. became a major opponent of the War in Vietnam. He was considered a threat to the establishment to such a degree that the FBI decided to place him under surveillance. Still, Dr. King understood that he and his opponents could find common ground.

I also reject this idea that our political system is too corrupt for change. Any reading of history will reveal that there have been greater times of corruption than these. Such as Reconstruction in the South. Can our current woes honestly compare to the efforts of women or of minorities to vote?

I also reject the idea that Obama is merely a writer of fancy speeches who will do nothing to advance his cause. Thomas Jefferson was a writer of pleasant sounding speeches who also did not live up to his words. He and his contemporaries legalized slavery and sought polices which only benefited old white land owning males. His actions did nothing to advance the ideals of equality outlined within the Declaration of Independence. Still, Jefferson and the other founding fathers were a symbol of equality and the true republican society the United States eventually became. The value of symbols and mythos should never be underestimated.

Of course, it is not only progressives who insist upon idealogical purity. There is also the extreme right. The difference between the two, and the reason the right gets most of my scorn, beyond the fact that I am a liberal, is that the right has power. The right responds to our broken system not by being apathetic to it, but by exploiting it. The radical religious right has created a massive guerrilla style, grass roots campaign to bully otherwise rational politicians into spouting and acting upon their extremist hogwash. It bullies politicians via it's vast media machine and with money. It utilizes fear to make people go along with it's goals.

The radical religious right has turned what should be a debate about policy into one about ideology. They demand a completely pure free market system but want stricter controls on China. This despite the fact that pure Capitalism strictly forbids impediments to fair trade. A system of economics of which permits barriers to trade is Merchantilism not strict Capitalism. The conservatives claim they want a smaller government yet they support a large military and the expansion of government controls of things like women's health and what kind of family people should be allowed to create. Conservatives define family as a rigid institution rather than as the relationships people forge between one another.

Conservatives claim to be fiscally responsible yet they cannot produce a budget which is mathematically sound. Conservatives believe in protecting their children by buying guns but not by having an educational system which teaches them critical thinking and proper science. Conservatives claim to want a better life for future generations, but will not grant them relief from crippling student debt. Conservatives want to protect our great nation, but will not shield it from extreme weather and droughts.

Conservatives believe that the Bible and the words of Jesus should govern this country. And indeed, Conservatives follow what Jesus says, unless it requires them to look after the poor, to love their enemies, or to tolerate those with different worldviews. Conservatives claim to be pragmatic, yet they insist upon idealogical purity at all times. They insist on no tax increases, even if the economy would benefit. They insist on no regulation, without considering what harm would be done without them. They ignore decades of research and reality favoring instead to heed the words of Ayn Rand and Capitalistic theories as written decades before they were thoroughly tested in a real environment.

A true pragmatist would examine all ideologies, take elements from each, and if they work can be reconciled, apply them together for the maximum effect. A true pragmatist would respond to complex issues with more than simple slogans and by demanding in theory, the imposition of a rigid, uncompromising ideology.

Ok, now that I have that tirade out of my system, I will return to talking about the site. First, I will discuss why Rick ended. Secondly, I will discuss projects that Dustin and I are pursuing.

Rick ended for three primary reasons: conflict between Dustin and myself, things in my life, and the fact I want to work on Geek Force. Basically, Dustin and I got into a huge argument last November and had a falling out. We reconciled a month ago, but I do not wish to work with him artistically right now. I will not go into the details of our falling out, but suffice it to say that it was nasty, and I was the main aggressor, shall we say, of the argument. I reserve much of the blame in our conflict for myself.

The second reason for the demise of Rick were things in my own life. Rather positive things, actually, but things which created stress. I received a promotion at work. I was not expecting an opportunity for this, due to the fact that the position I hold had been vacated and filled less than six months before I got it. We went to being a twice weekly strip two months before my promotion and it was difficult as it was. I had not yet adjusted to doubling my output when the chance for promotion arose.

Now I have to get up at five every morning to be at work. Before, I worked nights, so working on Rick was easier. The new job also tires me out more, and I was having trouble writing. I was forcing myself along, but with conflict with Dustin, it did not seem worthwhile to continue. I have certain other sources of stress as well.

That brings me to my third reason for ending Rick: Geek Force. I still want to do that webcomic. It is the project that I truly want to work on. Rick was only meant to be a temporary bridge until we could revive Geek Force. We have worked on it on and off and it has never gone anywhere. I got sick of it, and with Rick going poorly, I questioned why I would waste my time with it when my baby was sitting around rotting.

I have written an entire season's worth of Geek Force. A graphic novel of it, and another an entire season which I scraped for various creative reasons. There are hundreds of pages of Geek Force script I wish I could show to the world. I want to tell stories, not just have a gag strip. I have over a hundred pages of notes about the characters, the world, and it's history. I want to talk about philosophy and science, not just topical politics. I had been writing a whole different graphic novel, one I never want to release, just to keep myself busy because I could not write Geek Force. It seemed ridiculous.

So, at some point Geek Force will return. It will be in a longer format, with issues being 20-30 pages long, and being released in seasons. I have always wanted to do Geek Force as a Webtoon, but I've come to embrace the comic format. It will allow greater creative control, and I figure I can make a halfway decent Webtoon or a good solid Webcomic. At this point, I know the craft of comics. I would have to learn much about making cartoons, and there would be growing pains present in my creations.

Geek Force will return at some point, and I will tell my story, but it will not be any time soon. I want the art to match the writing, I want Geek Force to be done right. I refuse to rush it. I wish I could release it more quickly, and I hate having the site sit stagnant, but this is the only way I can tell the story I want to tell and make art of the quality I desire.

In the meantime, I will release some prose blog posts about politics. The first of these will be posted next Friday. I have never considered straight prose a strong suit of mine, but if people respond positively to these, I may try starting up a blog and posting on a regular basis. Especially if Mitt Romney wins the election. It will be hard for me to keep silent as he and his cronies loot the country and burn it to the ground.

As for Dustin, he has started a web-series called Low Budget Man. 

This is episode one: 


You can find more information here:

I have vaguely considered appearing in it, but I'm being indecisive about making a final choice on it one way or the other. I wish Dustin luck with his series.

There you have it, my views on the election, site updates, and updates on the creative projects of Dustin and myself. Tune in this Friday, October 26th for a satirical ranting.