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Journeyman 1: Thought and Process

As I get set to write what will hopefully be the first Journeyman story, these are my goals:

  1. Write something that is interesting to draw and to read.
  2. Keep it simple.

Journey has already rejected two stories for various reasons (see the previous post), so this is where it gets difficult. “Interesting” and “simple” are in conflict with each other, especially with a character who is not established. Furthermore, there is much of the real world that I cannot use. I can’t put Journeyman in Macy’s, for example. And Journeyman is not much of a warrior, and even if he were, Journey and I don’t want to start this series with a fight. It’s been done.

But no fighting, no real world stuff, keep it simple, and create something with an actual plot. This is a puzzler, but there is a solution. There are three types of antagonists: Others, Self, and Nature. Others doesn’t work because those antagonists would require some fighting and /or too much design work on Journey’s part. Self is difficult because the Journeyman is unknown, even to himself. But Nature always works, and a conflict with Nature allows the Self to come out as well.

Time to build a fire.

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The Story about the Journeyman Stories

Years ago, Journey drew Journeyman (take a look at the prints for sale: It’s the robot wearing a mask under a tree) before he even knew who Journeyman was. All he knew is that Journeyman was a robot that wore masks, and that he ran into trouble as he traveled.

Now that Journey is drawing again, he wants to revisit Journeyman, and he asked me to help him do so by writing Journeyman’s stories, which Journey will layout and paint.

It’s been tough going for Journey and I, two old dogs trying to relearn old tricks, never mind new ones. My first attempt was an origin story for Journeyman, a tale full of mythological symbolism and human frailty. But Journey did not want the character’s origin told first. He wanted Journeyman to remain a mystery, and I see his point. The origin will be much more poignant at the end of the Journeyman series, rather than the beginning.

My second attempt involved an awesome spectacle of a journey: Journeyman wandering around a sci-fi / fantasy battlefield, after the battle has been fought. I blame Journey for this one: Read Azrach (by Moebius) he said, and I did, and I was inspired, and it was too much, too soon. Journey reminded me that when a writer composes a sentence, even a simple one, the artist has to do a lot of research and design work. When I write “Giants and siege machines” — four words — Journey has to design a race of giants, their culture, and the weapons of war, all while not ripping off Attack on Titan. And I wrote more than four words.

And now, I am lost, but not for long, I hope. I want to get Journey something by Saturday, if not earlier. I will see you soon.

P.S. A poem for you:

No Title

The empty rustling of leaves–

Nothing there–nothing here–

nothing is, I fear.



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The Writer and the Artist

I first met Journey sometime in the 20th century. We had started a gaming group with some other guys, had a falling out with a couple of them, moved what was left of the game to Journey’s place, and then Journey showed us the part of himself that he kept hidden: The twisted, angry , truth-telling jester. This is the guy that you see on the World of Warships stream. But I also saw another side of him: The thoughtful, joyful, sometimes insecure artist. This is the side you see on the art stream. There are other sides to him, but those are the sides he has shown to the public.

We became fast friends, best friends, tested by a bunch of shit both literal and metaphorical. And we also became artistic collaborators.

Our first collaboration was a roleplaying game. It was about kids growing up in the 1950’s who find a portal into a pagan-fairy realm in which they are quite powerful. The game had some cool innovations: The kids’ strengths in the fairy realm were based on their weaknesses in the real world. In a sense, the fairy realm was a bit of wish-fulfillment, and even though it was dangerous, the real world was cruel to the kids a, and the kids were basically helpless in it, as they are today.  Another innovation: Both Journey and I GMed at the same time. But our group hated the game. They hated the helplessness of the children, and, now the game is lost, but I still love it.

Our second collaboration, begun years ago, is what you see now on the art stream, the stories that would have formed the comic we planned to publish — Huzzah!

Our collaborative process is this: We discuss an idea for a story, I write a rough draft, Journey critiques it, then I rewrite it, and so it goes, until Journey and I are happy with it, and then he draws it.  You might think this is no fun for a writer, but this process was more than fun, it was necessary: When I began writing, I needed to outsource my critical voice — it was blocking me, telling me how much my work sucked. Working with someone else helped me silence that voice in my head. I’m better now, but I still like working with Journey a lot, and I am glad that Twitch and the people who convinced him to Twitch and his fans on Twitch have brought him back to his art. It was miserable seeing him stuck, so thanks you all.