Comic Morality

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

The lines of morality have shifted and evolved over the course of the development of Eternal Knights. At first, in the early days working out the mechanics of it all, the heroes were simple in their approach to right and wrong, with little in the way of grey area. And the bad guys were just bad guys. Good and evil. Nice and clean.

Fake as hell.


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Jenny McCarthy's boobs fake.

Influenced later by Alex Ross' austere and reverent approach, I tried to adopt a sort of DC Silver Age morality to EK's Kathryn/Artemis. She would be a stalwart paragon, all restraint and reason, a real white knight.

Bull. Shit.

It's not that there's anything wrong with that approach or that it can't work, but it didn't work for her. She couldn't be pure (by complete stroke of luck, this is what Kathryn actually means); I'm not pure. Attempting to write an ideal bored me. I wanted to write what I knew: knowledge of what it takes to be the best version of one's self mired in reality, temptation, and weakness. The failure and greyness moved me, it spoke to me.

Right and wrong is sharp and clear in my comic, but the means to achieving it taken by its heroes are often questionable at best. In real life, I mean very well -- but I still have a lot of dark thoughts about grudges and people who have wronged me and the shortcuts to outcomes I desire.

I have been royally fucked over by grand forces at times. I have wished cancer and sharks and bus crashes on my enemies. I have held doors open for old ladies and given money I couldn't reasonably afford tot he homeless.

I have been a hero of sorts in real life...

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...and an absolute bastard in my head. Mostly just in my head. I try to rein the bastardry in tight.

In striving to be a better person, one often has to abandon or at least give less attention and energy to selfish desires. I struggle with this pretty much daily. The protagonists in EK are often called to serve the public good, but their answer to this call is hampered by their selfishness -- both in the pursuit of their own less important goals, and in allowing themselves to be driven by their weaknesses and self-serving desires.

When they attempt to do good, their belief in the ends often justify less than commendable means. I've been there, too.

Jack's need for revenge clouds his judgement and closes his ears to the truth. Kathryn's emotional weight turns her away from selfless service and toward suicidal self-destruction. James would rather drink and shag than be bothered helping people who need him. Though concerned for her sister Kathryn's well-being, Arayna offers scorn and judgement in place of kindness. Julia feels the pain of human suffering, but she's really here to play. Erica devalues herself seeking the temporary self-esteem boost of meaningless sex.

They'll all get better, but they have a long way to go to become a little more selfless.

I see a lot of flaws in the mirror. I use EK as a mirror. I am most of my characters' flaws, and in journeying with them, I kinda hope I learn a little something about right and wrong.

An important part of the moral framework of the EK universe is to understand that MacKnight, even as he's chopping your arm off to steal your power ring, is not an evil man. He's not a sociopath. He doesn't want to hurt you. He's doing what he believes needs to be done. He'll usually give you a chance to do things his way before acting the villain. But he believes himself to be the hero of the piece, and with the greater good honestly in his heart, he's not entirely wrong. When he sacrifices a piece of his humanity, it's often for that greater good he believes in.

*     *     *     *     *

The inherent morality of human equality is meant to permeate the work. The boss is a woman, and when she is questioned, it's never on that level. She's multi-ethnic. So is her butler/sorcerer, Robert. I believe we are all equal.

...except, I tend to feel like I'm smarter than everyone. And I might be. But I sure am a Sheldon Cooper-esque condescending prick about it sometimes.

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A lot of the time, actually.

I see this as a failing. There's this Dave Matthews lyric: "If kindness is your king, then Heaven will be yours before you meet your end". I try so hard to live up the simple wisdom of that, but I fail constantly.

Kathryn shares this shortcoming with me. She thinks she's so damn special, almost to the point of infallibility at her worst. It leads to her taking whatever action she deems necessary at times, even those common sense and her religion expressly forbid. She insists she knows better.

She might be compensating for low self-esteem.

I believe in redemption, in the abilty to change. Sadly, most people don't self-assess well, or else needs everything to blow up in their faces before they can see the light -- it's like we're all on Kitchen Nightmares, telling Gordon Ramsay how great our food is until he plays us the blind taste test that shows us how much the public hates our terrible pizza.

I've met sociopaths in real life, people so damaged they cannot self-assess at all, and honestly cannot be saved by any means we have available today. But most villains really aren't. I believe that. Most people doing terrible things are doing so with their conscience intact, and just badly beaten down. They are squarely in the grey, surviving and justifying.

Eternal Knights, beyond simply trying to entertain, thrives on parsing and exploring the morality of our protagonists as they wrestle with the grey, as they struggle with their weaknesses and failings, and they strain to rise above it all and be the heroes that the world -- their fellow humans -- need them to be. It's hard to be unselfish. It's a lifetime struggle, from what I've seen so far.
In the first arc, "A Dark and Stormy Knight", Kathryn starts out depressed, pissy, violent, and self-destructive.


Suicide is about the most selfish a person can get; a lifetime of potential, an extended family of people who love you, and you just want to flip it all off. You don't trust the good, you can't take it at face value -- it defies your self-loathing narrative. Friends are your enemies, and family is in your way. You want out, and you really only think you know why.

I have been (and remain) depended upon by some very good people. My wife, our cat, family, friends... I would argue that most of us are like tiny superheroes in our own lives, helping each other out in ways we take for granted, ways we don't realize mean the world to the people who care for us. I think a big central theme in the moral fabric (shit, have I used this term twice in the same blog?) is recognizing that we don't just belong to ourselves --

-- not that we need to sacrifice ourselves and our happiness for others, mind you. But here's a give and take, and there are a million tiny rescues needed in the communities of our lives, and to focus only on ourselves is to fail to connect and to spit in the face -- by purpose or by oblivious accident -- of what it means to be a member of the human race.

I am not religious, and I don't believe in traditional concepts of sin. But, to quote the great Bono: "To hurt is to steal." In a world view absent a God, a well-meaning atheist such as myself has to work out what a naturalistic morality looks like for ourselves. Easing pain, and avoiding causing it, seems a pretty logical measure.

The moral fabric (hat trick, bitches!!!) of Eternal Knights has changed a lot over the years, from the almost black and white simplicity of the overgrown kid I was when I started this enterprise to the seasoned and weather-beaten beyond my years even more overgrown kid I am now. I used to see a lot of us v. them, and not enough middle ground and second chances.

There aren't that many pure heroes, and there aren't that many pure villains. Most of us are deeply flawed, scared of more than we care to admit, and trying our best. It's either all this, or I'm just writing a turgid supernatural soap opera. Or maybe both.

...and maybe, just maybe, people should have to start passing background checks before being let into the Eternal Knights. 'Cause these fuckups do a lot of crazy shit. I just try to keep it honest.

Fishcakes of honesty,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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Watch Orphan Black

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

I heard mixed reviews about BBC America's Orphan Black when it debuted, and decided to skip it. Regrets, I've had a few --

-- so many, it's almost like they've been cloned and have different accents and haircuts and stuff!

Two of the TV shows I've been most impressed with since I've developed the kind of skill and taste needed to rise above the rank of Casual Viewer are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Broadchurch. The latter is one of the most perfectly conceived and executed stories I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying, whose pickable nits are so small they really aren't even worth mentioning; the former is a brilliant achievement on a lot of levels, but suffers from somewhat scattershot plotting in places.

Orphan Black is what would happen if someone spliced the DNA of both shows, perhaps in a cloning lab of some kind.

In case you haven't heard, it's about a group of women whose paths cross in the discovery that they are all genetically identical. They are illegal clones, and someone is hunting them down, presumably to keep the secret of their provenance (I'll just assume I've used that word correctly) a secret.

The writers, directors, and especially the wonderful Tatiana Maslany deserve a mountain of praise for creating a space in which the disparate personailites of each clone breathes vividly on their own and spark with wonderful dramatic chemistry in conjunction with the others. The question of nature v. nurture naturally arises, and it's handled with intelligence and resonance in way I desperately wish franchise-killer John Logan had had even half the capability of exploring or even bloody understanding.

Star Trek: Nemesis was a painfully dumb clone story with a painfully dumb and artificial clear-cut moral divide between the "good" and "bad" selves; nothing in Orphan Black is nearly as tidy.

In devising the lead character Sarah Manning's lives (her old one and the new one she assumes), it would have been easy to run out of inspired steam and have something in the mix be a cheap contrivance, but every new revelation and upset feels very real. Furthermore ('cause I'm still typing), the antagonistic forces never feel cheap or hyperbolic. Even the "monsters" in the mix come across as disturbingly human.

Watching Sarah come to realize she has a calling beyond her own selfish needs to the greater good in the face of versions of herself both better and far worse is handled perfectly. I like watching characters who had no intention of becoming a better person get caught up in events that force them down that path anyway.

The other thing I like about this show is its deft employment of humo(u)r. NBC's watchable but wonky Believe is overly dark and then forces humor in like a sledgehammered stake. The jokes in this show feel like they just happen -- like they do in life. They make it look so damn easy...

Sarah's foster brother is the main source of levity; the role could have cross(dress)ed the line into parody, but in keeping with the rest of the enterprise, his ridiculousness is warm and human. And then bitchy and human.

Whether you view casually or want to be a writer when you grow up, you need to watch this show. It's smart entertainment, and it's a writing school in 10 parts.

...and a second season, debuting 04/19. It's on Xfinity On Demand right now. Binge.

Fishcakes for all,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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Taking Comics Seriously

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

What does it mean to take comics in general, and one's own comic, seriously? For me, it starts with saying things like "one's own comic", which makes me sound like a well-educated butler. And it means treating Eternal Knights like a job -- long before it makes any real money. While it's costing me money. And time. Time I could use for a day job's larger short term paycheckery. And it's hard.

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So hard.

And you have to say things like "I'm an artist" and "I write and draw a webcomic" and "I have many readers who cannot wait until the next page drops, yo", no matter how only vaguely true any of this is in the baby giraffe finding its walking legs days. You have to say it to strangers. You have to ignore your day job. Your day job is mere survival, but if you're serious about funnybooks, your day job ain't what you do.

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(When I can finally quit, I'm gonna have a Scottish day --
wherein one answers all calls received
with a thick Scottish accent.)

Despite my rent and electricity payments being derived not from EK but from uncountable hours of spelling names like "John" and "James" back to callers who clearly think I've bumped my head several somewheres, my comic has managed to keep updating -- like a lingering sporadic hiccup on the one hand...

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...and yet, despite chronic mild lung infections and the like, relatively steadily on the other.

I have a wife with intermittently severe depression issues and who suffers from cerebral palsy which prevents her from doing such simple things as enunciating clearly enough to say things like "z", and from balancing on her own legs. Sometimes I think I'm getting a relaxing Sunday... and then my mom calls and asks me to watch my sister, who has MS and needs a lot of assistance.

And I sigh and in my head and sometimes out loud too and often say "Yes."

My call center day job keeps getting tweaked to be harder and harder, the demand of ready-to-talk-time raised higher and higher until every shift means a sore throat the next day. I'm usually exhausted, and often bleary-eyed from missed sleep. It would be so bloody easy to give up, but I don't.

Because I'm Jesus.

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...or was that just a cool dream I had?

...regardless of whether or not I'm Jesus (and there's strong evidence either way), comics are important to me, and I treat them that way. I have to draw. I even say "have to", as in "Pardon me, wife -- I have to go draw now." And "I can't do X, mom, because I have to draw."

I have to draw.

I've always loved it, and I've spent my young adult life through now honing the craft to the point where I think my pages are really worth looking at. I have to write, too. The worlds just won't stop colliding and taking shape in my head. I call myself and artist and a writer and a comic book creator. That's not what pays the bulk of my anything yet (though I am getting a decent if sporadic page rate on a side project). But that's who I am. That's what I do.


...I ripped that last bit off from the Kung Fu: The Legend Continues opener. :D

Fishcakes for all,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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Try Not to Mynd the Typoes

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

Here at Eternal Writes, we (me and my bitterness) review and recommend the best undiscovered webcomics shameless Eternal Knights plug that, well, no one is reading -- the opposite of well-produced yet hollow and terrible crap. And I simply must apologize, as we've been doing it absolutely willy-nilly. So, in case you weren't yet aware --

DANGER: Webcomics recommended may contain typos or other human errors. Please immediately stop reading any webcomic I recommend if you spot even the slightest mistake. Even the most microscopically irrelevant mistakes automatically render a work of art a compleat waste of your time.

...see what I did there? I used my smartness. If you missed it, Facebook your English teacher, meet them at a bar, and slap them SO DAMN HARD. Then, if you feel a spark,pick a safeword ("poodle" is a good choice), rent a cheap motel room, and have depraved Craigslist-y sex.

I am full of good advice. I recently recommended The Adventures of Jonas, THE GREATEST WEBCOMIC IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, a staggeringly brilliant life-reassessing work of blinding, exciting, gushing, raging, fiery genius. A friend tried it, but then flat-out refused to read further than a couple pages because, and I quote:


...because, of course, the video games, comics, and movies my friend currently enjoys have no mistakes in them. At all. Nope, they're all inspected by God and that famous chess robot before being safely released in absolutely perfect form to the general publick.


Okay. I love Star Trek. Like, I mean I fucking LOVE it. I trick-or-treated as Geordi LaForge. I have a First Contact poster in my art studio -- along with a model of the Enterprise NX-01 (it lights up and makes noises, woo!). LOVE.

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You know what else I love? My Nitpickers Guides. To Star Trek. You know what my beloved professionally produced TV serieses (plural) are full of? Wait for it wait just wait a little longer are you still waiting wait okay here goes MISTAKES! ZOMG!

Everything is wonky, people. Human perfection is not really perfection; it's just better than human sloppy (not seconds, although also that). Everything you love, everything that is made by so called amatuers (I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL THAT -- MISTAKE! STOP READING NOW!!!), everything Hollywood spends hundreds of millions of dollars on, every car, bridge and skyscraper, and certainly this pathetically rambling blog post... everything is riddle* with errors.



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You can call those God's mistakes or Nature's, I don't care. What I do care about (weakest segue ever, although not as weak as an actual Segway, which has to be the dumbest, most anti-health invention since butter) is story. That's what I care about, the art of a thing. The expression. I hope you care about it too -- and if you do, I hope you care more about those things than picking pointless nits.

Ideally, we would all know how to spell everything and never crash buses or date crazy chicks. In a perfect world, no one would ever spell athelete "athleat".

But if you consider yourself a true enthusiast, fan, or student of art and storytelling... then (ideally) a dinky-ass typo won't be all it takes to get you too pass on something that might be worlds better than the sum of it's little errors.


I used the wrong "too" on purpose, Shurlock. It's thematical. I is a genius.


Fishcakes for all,
-Caley Tibbittz

*Seriously left the "d" off. Incredible.

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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No One Is Reading The Best Webcomic EVER

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

No, I don't mean my totally bitchin' webcomic (yes, I'm gonna pimp it in pretty much every entry, sue me) --


-- I'm talking about freaking brilliant and staggeringly incredible and super-fantastic and stunningly stunning and witty and pretty and shockingly fun to be gawking totally rockingly great webcomic The Adventures of Jonas.


Despite your immediate confusion, no, this is not a fan tribute to the incredibly terrible brother band; it's a diary webcomic by the titular and insanely talented Jonas.




It starts out a little aimless and episodic, and even the author doesn't seem to much love the start -- but he's wrong. Even in its infancy, the strip is fantastic. His world view is unique, artistic, vibrant, smart, wonderfully blunt, and genuinely alive in a way most of us have forgotten how to be in our lives, let alone in our work. Even simple situations come across as inspired in the telling.

And the art -- my God man, woman, child, and surly teenager, the art is FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. It's like Bill Watterson fell in a blender with Charles Schulz and a big dash of non-douchey alt-comics. From character to expression to rough-hewn natural linework to inventive and just plain delightful color work... it's all here. It's not somewhere else. This is the place that you get this. All the this that you need.

And once we get past the high school years... holy SHIRT. Son of a HORSE. It gets kinda... mind-blowing and life-reassessing? Soul-touching? MORE DEEPLY HUMAN THAN ANY OTHER WEBCOMIC YOU WILL EVER READ EVER?


Don't trust the Eisners; there really isn't anything better than Adventures of Jonas. It blew me away; if it doesn't reach you, you may have, in fact, died several years ago.


I'd mean, I'd definitely go see a doctor just to be sure.


Medium toast on a cracker,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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Bone Up On Kay & P

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

You are seriously missing out if you're not reading the wonderful webcomic Kay and P:


There are several things about this comic that would normally annoy me to the point that I'd say say "Feh!" loudly -- transparent balloons, a compendium of trendiness from Kay's hair and piercings to her art studies and seemingly stereotypical young adult's love of music. With almost any other writer's sensibilities, this would be a laundry list of ham-handedly obvious and overplayed clichés to slog lazily through.

But not here. This is inspired stuff.

The trappings and cultural touchstones at play here -- so often forced, phony, and a waste of everyone's time in other works -- instead ring through this work with depth and authenticity. The bare-bones (ha!) of the premise is that college student Kay's best friend since childhood is an invisible skeleton that only she can see. His name is "P", short for Peaches (or Peach, it's been a while since I read it AND I'M TOO LAZY TO CHECK WOO GO AMERICA.

This is not an adventure piece; it's very slice-of-life in its scale. It's an engaging character drama, raising uneasy questions of loyalty and friendship.

Kay herself is a cool female character, strong and emotional and vulnerable independent and needy all at one -- exceptionally human. For all her ups and downs, she seems to have a solid handle on her odd life; watching her struggle to maintain that handle is, like, all watch-y and stuff, but then also struggle-y.

...sorry. Low on sleep lately. It is a genuinely interesting balance she has to maintain, and it's another-word-for-interesting watching her do it.

The art is lovely as hell> While I am only in my early 30s, I am a bitter old past-clinging curmudgeon at heart, so I'm not the biggest fan of the digital paint revolution, but there is a very organic quality to this artist's approach. The world is animated enough to be engaging and real enough to feel, well, like it's really there -- impressive, for a book so clearly step outside our reality. There is a naturalism to this cartoony paint style that really sells the situation at the core of the premise, and wins over the bitter black heart of this grousy old compu-Scrooge.

Of course, Kay may just be crazy -- but from her perspective, it is a supernatural story. From mine, it's... well, this is the point at which your average review blog stoops to bring you awful puns like "it's just super" or "it's super AND natural", but we don't tolerate awful crap around here.

How this marvelous comic has gone unnoticed and un-picked-up by, say, Image, I have no idea. Whatever comic you just bought, Kay & P is probably better. WAY better.


Frogs on a bog log,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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It's All Spider-Man's Fault

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

Why aren't you reading this? Or this? Or especially THIS?

Well, it's not really your fault. It's Spider-Man's.

Batman's too, he's such a spotlight-hogging prima donna. And then Buffy's all "I need a terrible audience-sucking comic too!"


Now don't get me wrong -- I love a lot of the big trademarked characters. I like following their adventures here and there. But then again, it's often disappointing, with the demand for stories leading to a lot of barely passable make-work and fanfic-ish stories. I'm not judging any creators here; under the deadlines they face, I'd be hard pressed to come up with engaging originality and true verve, let alone pipes and pipes of the stuff.

Speaking of engaging originality and true verve, it's out here in Webcomicland, which is like Radioland, but without the dials. Anyway, there are a LOT of great stories and characters waiting to be discovered, via Google search or via this stupid blog -- the latter being better because I can pimp my webcomic as much as humanly possible (sometimes I do it twice or even THRICE* in a single post!), which is good for you if you like violence, nudity, sex jokes, and faeries as superheroes (who wouldn't, amirite?).

And the best thing about webcomics?



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Free comics. Hundreds and thousands of cool stories to choose from, full of the characters you don't even know you love yet. So I ask you: does it need to be Spider-Man? Like, all the time? Does every bloody story need a Witchblade or a Superman or a Willow or always something you've already heard of to be worth reading?

We live in a digital age, yet popular, heavily trafficked webcomics remain the exception, not the rule. The simplest and therefore scientifically likeliest explanation is that there's a vanity press vibe (which would be a cool name for a vibrator with a mirror on it) to webcomics: thanks to our lovely host here, ComicFury, which I adore and rules all and other much crappier free hosts, anyone and their relatively talented monkey butler can make and post a webcomic. How can anyone sift through 10,000 webcomics, or even a hundred, just to find a couple good ones?


Well, I can. I get very bored at work. And then you can, 'cause I'm doing the heavy sifting (har) for you.


And really, are you satisfied with the endless rehashes and "events" the big two use to flog the mortally syphilitic horses of their creaky aging trademarks? AVX? Really? Interest v. yawning, I declare ('cause I declare things). It's not a story that needed to be told for any reason other than they have to tell SOMETHING to fill all those pages.

And again, I love a lot of these characters -- mostly just when Warren Ellis writes them, and I think he hates at least half of them. I prefer the stuff he cares about -- Ignition City, Planetary, Doktor Sleepless...

That kind of love is for the material is everywhere in Webcomicland. Why not take a Spider-Break and read some stories about characters the authors don't just love because they once wore (or are still wearing) the officially-licensed Underoos? Characters who are a true part of them? Characters that inspire them so much that they toil like pros on comics YOU GET TO READ FOR FREE?


Webcomics aren't all just shitty fanservice masturbation; some of us are trying hard to create truly professional quality comics... and more of us are succeeding than webcomics as a whole are given credit for. And we're doing it for us, sure, it's what we love... but we're doing it for you, too. Our audience. 'Cause we wuv you.

And like Enzyte's Bob, we just want it to be bigger and satisfy our wife. Is that too much to ask? The answer is no, no it's not. So goddamn read some fucking free comics and like it already, you lameass corporate whore dicks.


...sorry, I'm just all tired and cranky from working around my day job to give you over 4 issues of my comic for free. But go ahead: read more pointlessly rehashed Spider-Twat while I cry in the corner. Or, y'know... don't. Even once in while, indulge in sparks of creativity younger than your damn parents.


Boy do I like swearing.

Cheese sampler from way back,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!

*Just for Conan O'Brien.


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My Writing & Editing Process

by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

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Hi there! If you've ever wondered what the difference between a writer and an editor/director is, and if you've ever wondered about my writing/editing process or why a page gets posted at 12:30 am instead of several hours earlier... well, here ya go, the actual script page I was working from while drawing

I write in straight screenplay format and then break it down into panels on the fly.

Cheri got added to the scene late when I realized what a great emotional counterpoint she'd be to Jack and James.

Zora got added to the scene late too; it's her bar, but she and Jack never really talk before the story that follows this one, so I hadn't put her in. She's a better person for James to talk to energy-wise, especially as they have a history that will come into play later.

And dialogue breakup and even lines that have survived at least 11 drafts sometimes need changing or deletion when the ink hits the paper., there you go. I skip panel breakups at the writing stage, and this is what happens next.

Soup Sock,
-Caley Tibbittz


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