|Bedivere and Kay's previous discussion runs through four cartoons starting here.|
I want to take a moment to reassure the AKOTAS readership that there is
no expectation at this time to halt production before the story conclusion,
currently scheduled for May of 2017.
It's true that Iíve taken to going through occasional, even frequent, public fits in which I complain that I wish I'd never started the AKOTAS project and that I ought to give it up and go back to my first best destiny, fanfiction, in its current form of The Hero of Three Faces. It's true that I worry I'm not doing the project justice anymore and that I'm certain I'm not doing it justice many cartoons out of any given week. (Though, granted, that has as much or more to do with outside factors than with any waning of interest on my part; which waning itself is at least partly, and may be wholly, attributable to pressure from those outside factors. Those outside factors are generally summarized in realtime at Creative Process.)
(Another factor is that we're winding down to the end of the story, which is sad. (Well, in the baseline arc it's sad. (I can't say any more.)))
(Also, I hadnít reckoned on Arthur becoming president at a time when the government makes me so angry. Iím not accustomed to being angry.)
One of the things that keeps me going (not the only one; e.g., there's also that the non-baseline arcs' endings will never play out if I quit) is reader feedback. Audience consensus seems to be that I'm still doing the project justice, on average if not necessarily with every cartoon. However, that doesnít mean itís a case of my continuing the project for others instead of myself - which would be a recipe for disaster - so much as it's a case of realizing that things must not be as bad as I often feel they are.
I appreciate it whenever I go on a rant like this about it and there is reader response indicating that AKOTAS remains something of value. This time, though, itís my turn to respond to a reader comment that more or less came of out the blue, encouraging me to keep calm and carry on. If thereís one of you thinking it, there are probably others.
While the bonds with fanfiction are strong, if or when I would leave AKOTAS it would be only because the bond with AKOTAS was broken, and the work being done on the project showing it. Things are not that bad. For the next three years plus there will probably continue to be, as there has been recently, moments of doubt; a lot of reused art supporting one-liners that are either topical comments or puns; on bad days, sketches and fillers; and, on stretches of bad days, "hiatus" formats. But, on really good days, real gags with new art. Somewhere in the rough there will also be the rest of the stories I started out to tell.
Thanks for reading.
I had more than one reader write in to complain about the analysis in the
AKOTAS of November 17 of the situation with the President and the
cancellation of health insurance plans. That's fair; I said in this space
over a year ago that politics and
government are not actually an interest of mine and I wasn't certain how well
I could pull off doing cartoons about them. I also said in this space
a few weeks ago that I hadn't
anticipated doing cartoons about them in an era when they'd make me so angry,
so it's turning out not so good for me either.
So it wasn't a new idea to me when one reader went on to suggest that I ought to just get back to retelling the Arthurian legends. The problem I'm having with this idea is that, barring another timeskip, there're three and a half years to go on this project and hardly any legends left. In the classical sources - e.g., the Vulgate, Malory, White - there's the Pinel business and the Meliagrant business, and then there's nothing else before Mordred and Agravaine confront Arthur about Lancelot and Guenevere, and the manure hits the fan.
You may recall, until the timeskip that led directly into the Grail year, I was in the habit, whenever stuck for a gag, of going into Malory's tales of Tristram and picking up wherever I had left off there. This worked because a) Tristram's story takes place nearly all away from Camelot and could be dipped into without mucking up what plot arcs were running with the main characters b) it was a means of getting genuine legends covered in my project. But that well's dry now.
There are at least a few stories I skipped over and could do in flashback: Tristram and Isolde's first meeting after his fight with Morholt, Lanval, the Loathly Lady. But each of those is probably good for a month, tops, as Gareth was. Morholt, Lanval, Ragnell, Pinel, Meliagrant - five months out of thirty or thirty-six that would still have to be filled out with stand-alone dailies.
My enthusiasm is at low ebb at the moment due to outside causes, obviously,
when we're doing the intermediate hiatus format thing again. It's the wrong
time to be making any longterm decisions
The script for this cartoon had two endings. I even drew the other one a week
ago, that's how much Iíve been flipflopping on this. But now I believe my
days of drawing a cartoon every day are over; and I'm not willing to do
AKOTAS on a lesser schedule.
I first started drafting this script the day before Thanksgiving, a few days after running that mid-November pledge. That was the same day my wife most recently went to the ER (see the Creative Process of 11/29/13). I note this because I want to emphasize that the October essay in this space, claiming no intent to bring AKOTAS to a close, predates by about a month the exterior factors that have been the last straw that brought me to this decision. I did mean what I said in October at the time. But since then I turned 54 and, well, you've read the highlights of the rest over the course of Creative Process. At this writing we're not certain what income my wife can still bring in and I may end up, though perhaps only temporarily, with an actual part-time second job.
There will be about six more AKOTAS cartoons, proper cartoons (unless there are also some fillers, an undeniable possibility), wrapping up the major story arcs and the new slayer story arc, derived from preexisting scripts some of which predate the AKOTAS debut.
Sorry about the mess.
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