In the Disqus chat on the latest page of Lineage (Issue 2, Page 17), one of our readers made an observation that we were following the "there is no X" in the future trope, in this case, no racism (and possibly sexism). This observation was made because the children represented in the scene were two boys, two girls, two occidental, one oriental, and one negro. His observation was made with that typical critic's cynicism (that is both annoying and enlightening) of how writers create screwed up future worlds that have some modern ideals shoehorned into them (a dystopian society where the genders are equals, for instance).
To say I was a bit annoyed by this cynical observation would not be inaccurate. The truth is, we have consciously tried to put racially diverse characters into the story. We have even had long discussions on not stereotyping the characters' races (so, for example, our metagen with plant powers should not be hispanic -- something that never occurred to me, but to Californian Chris immediately seemed a slap in the face of the Mexican immigrant populace). Being ourselves minorities of one form or another... Chris both in his sexual orientation and race, and myself for my sexual orientation and religious heritage, we have consciously tried to create a world of many races, orientations, etc. To have that effort scoffed at was a bit hurtful, and in my mind unjust. We have in no way indicated that there is no racism, or sexism, or gender orientation bias in our world, we have simply made certain that diversity in race, etc. is "visible".
But the poke in the eye has merit as a disqus-sion point. Does consciously trying to infuse our world with diverse characters make our world artificial, fake, unbelievable? Does it make our world more real, provide more opportunities for readers of different races and orientations to identify with the world and feel included? Neither? Both? Something else? No matter our intention, the choice will be interpreted by our readers based upon their own backgrounds, their own ethos, their own filters, fears and issues. Some authors and artists may even have such understanding of human nature and skill with their creative powers that they can accurately predict the reactions of their readers/viewers and play them like instruments. I'm not sure either Chris or I are that good.
So, regardless of whether our efforts are perceived as natural or contrived, it is important to us and we will continue to have people of different races, faiths, orientations, etc. represented widely in our comic. We hope it will be well received... but regardless, it is our way of giving voice to the mostly silent minorities of our culture.
After much debate and deliberation, Chris and I (Jay) have figured out what our goals are, what reward we can offer for varying levels of patronage, and so on. We're already pushing forward with some of our goals ahead of the patron support because they will help us keep Chris from going insane trying to do EVERYTHING in this comic.
So, until we can afford to hire help, I'm now flatting pages to free up Chris. Supposedly a "professional" flatter can do a page in 2-3 hours... I can do one in 6-8... still, that frees Chris up to concentrate on drawing and coloring, which is all to the good. We've also gone ahead and hired a letterer to free Chris up from lettering. Issue 2, Page 17 will be our first page utilizing the talents of Tom Orzechowski. We are delighted to have him onboard.
What will happen with Patreon Support? For our patrons it means such things as side story lines, character art, previews of upcoming pages (page 17 is already up for patrons), wallpapers, hangouts with the creators, and so on. For US it means, with luck, that our expenses for creating and maintaining an online comic will be mitigated, the means to obtain professional help with parts of the comic's creation (like flatting and lettering) will be provided, and if the muse smiles upon us we might actually earn a few bucks off our art (the dream of most creators).
So, if you have a buck or more to spare, please click on our support graphic or here.
You haven't actually read Lineage, you can find it here.
Poor Chris can't seem to get a break... well, that's not quite true, but he doesn't have a broken leg -- only a swollen one. Still, this has made it nearly impossible for him to spend any extended time at the drawing tablet/computer/art table because he can't bend his knee.
So, sadly, we must delay posting of the latest update for a little while longer.
The problem with being a one man art team is that poor Chris works himself to exhaustion drawing, inking, coloring, lettering, and posting the pages of our comic. My part of the partnership is fairly easy: I write plot, scenes, dialog, and character development and drop it in Chris's lap; then I get to edit the finished product (within reason); and finally I get to show off the comic to my friends claiming "look at my uber cool creation!" All the while, 99% of the effort is Chris's, and nearly 50% of the credit goes to me. It really isn't fair, but that's the way of things.
So here's the dilemna. Though I am a fairly competent graphic designer, and I can do some good illustration work, my art style is nothing close to Chris's. I'll be better off doing the equivalent of "fan art" of Lineage, or maybe we could say "another artist's interpretation" rather than try to lay my hands on Chris's Wacom!
So we're stuck with the reality that since we can't afford to hire Chris an inker, a colorist, or a letterer, we have to admit to his being Only Human! It is quite hard for him to admit, as he continually tries to prove the universe wrong by trying to literally draw his life into continuance without such meager necessities as food, shelter, companionship, WiFi (okay, not the last... he can't upload his art without WiFi... darn first world problems!).
Because Chris can not clone himself, nor does he have a time turner, nor can he thin dimensional barriers so other aspects of himself can take on some of the burden, we must move to an "every other week" schedule for posting page updates. We apologize. We really do. But we think it is better Chris maintain his health and sanity (both of which have been strained recently) by cutting back on the demands of weekly posting.
Lineage will post bi-weekly for the foreseeable future!