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Arthur, King of Time and Space Arthur, King of Time and Space

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Arthur, King of Time and Space


There were times during the "sketch hiatus" which ended yesterday when I wasn't certain proper AKOTAS would be returning.

No doubt due partially if not largely to a stressor in my personal life which coincidentally turned out to take place almost exactly through the same dates as those planned for the hiatus, I entertained a lot of doubt that I have the stamina to complete the AKOTAS project. I entertained a lot of doubt that I have the interest to complete the AKOTAS project. It wasn't just about moving away from AKOTAS, it was also about moving toward something else: I made a format change at The Hero of Three Faces that I'm very enthusiastic about. This caused me to entertain the notion that I'd rather go back exclusively to my first love in webcartooning, fanfiction. In addition to other factors, though it takes a lot of criticism that I don't agree with, the cartooning style in use there is much easier to execute.

(It's a higher challenge-to-effort ratio. With pen or pencil drawing, it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to put together a drawing of a figure in a given position or making use of a particular object. Fellow webcartoonists on my Twitter feed sometimes gripe about hands or foreshortening, which are things that don't cause me a lot of concern. It takes much more time and effort, once the line drawing is done, to do the simple mechanical work of scanning and coloring, than the drawing itself. That's a factor in AKOTAS's burnouts, both the longterm hiatuses and the filler days during the proper run. Contrariwise, with the MSPaint triangle figures used in The Hero of Three Faces [or in Arthur's webcomic in the contemporary timezone here in AKOTAS], it was a milestone when I figured out how to render a seated figure or a paunch stomach or a Klingon forehead, and I'm still trying to figure out walking and running figures. But, once the figure's rendered, it's done. ...And the reason I go on about this here instead of there is there've never been newsposts there.)

At the same time, the hiatus gave me a breather that was needed for me to realize anew that fanfiction cartooning is my first love. I believe that if I'm remembered after I'm gone, for anything but being someone else's friend or relation, it will be for AKOTAS. But I wondered whether that may any longer be enough for my hindbrain to prioritize AKOTAS over fanfiction, if it ever was.

Then I happened across the popular quotation from John F. Kennedy, from the context of the moon mission, "We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard." And I concluded that my ambivalence about continuing AKOTAS past this hiatus is not because I'm getting more subject to stress as I get older, or less interested in the project as I get older, but because I'm getting lazier as I get older.

I also happened to realize that both the burnout hiatus/timeskips in AKOTAS's history to date were conceived while I had different call center jobs. The revelation was occasioned on my getting an offer for a position for which I left the second of those call center jobs, so hopefully AKOTAS's planned future will have no more such roadbumps.

Finally, about six weeks ago I began browsing randomly in the archive in a conscious effort to revive the enthusiasm I once had for the project, and it helped a lot.

(Though the jury's still out as to whether I'm getting less able to come up with a new gag on a daily basis as I get older. Can't draw anything, even a filler, without an idea. There's the real challenge. Of course there's only one way to find out.

(Also my scanner, that sometimes will have to be unplugged for half an hour to reset, went overnight without resetting one day last week. I thought it was dead, but I tried it again Monday night and it's behaving again. I've been working a buffer lately, and as a result of the scanner trouble today's cartoon and the two successive ones had to be drawn by mouse rather than by pen and then scanned. I disliked it so much that by the time I was working on next Sunday's cartoon I was ready to see if maybe the scanner was working again [which it thankfully was], and thinking about working in triangles till I could replace the scanner. If the scanner craps out for a considerable amount of time again before it can be replaced, I may linedraw with the mouse till I can't stand it again, or I may go straight to triangles.)

So. In 2004 AKOTAS was planned to last twenty-five years of retelling King Arthur's story in real time. In 2009 and 2011 there've been two six-month hiatuses, each of which incorporating some skipping of time in the characters' lives, totaling twelve years, so that now the story is projected to reach its conclusion after only thirteen years in 2017. But, barring serious accidents outside my cartooning life, or serious difficulties writing daily gags inside my cartooning life, AKOTAS will wrap up with the end of the story. And the plan remains never to miss a daily update, because that's AKOTAS's one true claim to non-dayjob webcomics fame.


Meanwhile, today's cartoon is one of the ones I scripted during the first year of the project, perhaps even before the first update debuted. I've had no indication that anyone has seen this development coming. Everyone seems to have believed that running Excalicorp is meant to have been the contemporary timezone equivalent to the British High Throne of the other two primary timezones. But things called Excalibur aren't ends, they're means.


Now, to some things I could've mentioned before now but haven't. I fell out of the habit of posting in this space during the hiatus. By the time I had something I wanted to mention, I was afraid everyone was out of the habit of looking and would miss these if I didn't wait to mention them till there were real strips here again.

First, in regard to the stressor linked in the second paragraph above, the PayPal donation button on the front page became an indefinite feature as of September 27. At that time sketches started being colored regularly, since I felt bad about asking for donations for uncolored sketches.

Next, in regards to a stressor that may have causal links with the other stressor, the webcomics watch blog Fleen wrote me up for having a heart attack over Thanksgiving and still not missing an update (even if it was during a sketch hiatus).

Then, I first noticed in August's site stats that AKOTAS has achieved a landmark I'd been watching for: it's been linked from the front page of the webcomic of a major webcartoonist, one "notable" enough to have a Wikipedia entry. Thanks, Chris.

Plus, during the hiatus I was solicited for a guest strip for the second time. David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic asked me. I was going to write a fantastic crossover gag between his comic and mine, on the hook that both umbrella multiple timezones, his with different characters in each and mine with the same characters in each; and how the recent time traveling plot in his comic allowed his characters to realize that about mine when my characters don't. But I couldn't think of a premise for a punchline to hang it on. So instead I called on another artistic preference we share and and drew a pun.

Then I volunteered for a guest strip at LitBrick, where John Troutman of divers previous webcomic experience riffs weekdaily three days a week on the Norton Anthology of English Literature. The drill for guest strips there is for the artist to riff on some favorite work of English literature of their own. I, naturally, drew a crossover.

Finally, pursuant to the subject of the paragraphs immediately above, I added these strips and the previous instance of having been solicited for a guest strip to the AKOTAS Extras page.

Webcomics I read mornings: Kevin & Kell, For Better Or For Worse, Tux & Bunny, Sluggy Freelance Webcomics I read M-W-F mornings: General Protection Fault, Nukees, Newshounds, Spacetrawler, Girl Genius, LitBrick Webcomics I read Tu-Th-Sa mornings: Scenes from a Multiverse, Blue Milk Special, The Gutters, Ctrl+Alt+Del
Webcomics I read middays: Calvin & Hobbes, Least I Could Do, User Friendly, LuAnn, Pearls Before Swine, American Elf, Devil's Panties, Narbonic, Schlock Mercenary
Webcomics I read weekday evenings: Questionable Content, El Goonish Shive, Striptease, Dinosaur Comics, Medium Large, Girls With Slingshots, Shortpacked, Wapsi Square, Sheldon, Devil's Panties, Help Desk, LitBrick, Real Life, PvP Webcomics I read M-W-F evenings: xkcd, Two Lumps, Order of the Stick, College Roommates from Hell!!!, Bruno, Little Dee, Penny Arcade Webcomics I read Tu-Th-Sa evenings: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Starslip Crisis, Darths & Droids, Let's Be Friends Again, Bruno, Little Dee
Webcomics I read bedtimes: B.C., Something Positive, Station V3, Sinfest, Skin Horse, Peanuts
Webcomics I read Sundays: Get Out of My Head, Three Panel Soul, Hijinks Ensue, Zortic, Count Your Sheep, The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Megatokyo, Head Trip, Irregular Comic Webcomics I hope will start updating again: Boxjam's Doodle, Punch an' Pie, The Angriest Rice Cooker In The World, My Name is Might Have Been, Dandy & Company, AppleGeeks, No Room for Magic, Li'l Mell, Breakfast of the Gods, Something Happens, Butternut Squash, Sketchies, 13 Seconds, Anywhere But Here, Crap I Drew On My Lunch Break, Kismetropolis, The Magnificent Adventures of Hieronymus Bosch, esquire, The Green Avenger, I Draw Comics, Reasoned Cognition, Perry Bible Fellowship, The Whovian Observer, Gossamer Commons See also The Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge, Talk About Comics, The Living Comic, Online Comics Day, The Belfry Comics Index, The Webcomic List, Mister Bloo, Nth Degree, 100% Originality Theatre, Brian Roney's Webcomic Reviews, Girls Read Comics (And They're Pissed), Fleen, Mr. Myth, Comixtalk and Websnark.

Arthuriana sources I use or recommend:
Arthurian Legend
Arthuriana - the Journal of Arthurian Studies; the website of the quarterly journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society.
The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester.
Camelot In Four Colors: A Survey of the Arthurian Legend in Comics
Mystical-WWW - The Arthurian A2Z knowledge Bank which has encyclopedically-arranged entries on the characters of the Arthurian legends.
Early British Kingdoms - Arthurian Bios.
Historia Ecclesiastica.
Le Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory's Book of King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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