Journal Entry: Tue Jul 22, 2014, 3:04 PM
The big picture, you may ask? What does that mean? It means that here, with this journal entry, I am going to explain where my current graphic novel "The Longest Night" fits in with the overall saga of Ethan's Gang.
First, a background.
28 years ago, I began writing a story.
I'm still writing it today. It is over 6100 pages long.
I write it in chapters, each chapter being between 6 and 110 pages in length. In the earlier years, a chapter would be either hand-written on lined notebook paper, or typed ( yes, TYPED, using a typewriter-- those old-fashioned things that people once used, before there was any such thing as Microsoft Word, or home computers, etc. ), and a chapter would be perhaps 5-8 pages in length. For each chapter I drew an illustration using pencil, pen, and colored pencil. By the mid to late 90's I was using a computer for my writing, and the chapters were often 80-100 pages in length, and the text would be interspersed with multiple illustrations. I continue writing and illustrating my story chapters to this day.
And they all are connected.
THEY ARE ALL CONNECTED!!
The story continues from one chapter to the next, like a never-ending soap opera, and I've been writing it for decades. It has no real overall title. I just call it "My story" when thinking about it, because 95% of what I have ever written is part of this one great plot, centered around Ethan and whoever his current friends are. The cast of characters changes as time goes by. Various dramas unfold. I do not claim to be the best writer around. I know that my work tends to be long-winded, pedantic and overheated. Ludicrous slapstick involving obese people from other countries, or bizarre scenarios involving facets of bourgeoise existence twisted into psychotic escapades, are what I consider humorous. Such as a bald-headed waiter on roller skates zooming across an underground parking garage and falling down a stairway with a tray of poorly-mixed drinks. When I wrote that scene it had me laughing for a long time. I do not like vulgar or sexual humor. It pisses me off. In that respect I'm rather Victorian and proper. I do like to write poetic meditations on the changing of the seasons and the rhythms of nature as they correlate with our perceptions of our own lives. I sometimes feature these seasonal rambles as journal entries. I put them in my fiction also.
And I like writing about people shrinking and being stepped on by teenagers, or being held down and smothered by teenagers holding their hands over the person's mouth and nose. Those are my two primary fantasies, though they are not the main subject of my stories. They are simply part of the landscape. No, the main subject is 'adventure', if I had to choose one word.
I don't often write anything that has a clear beginning or end. I'm hopeless when it comes to character development. My stories, and my characters, exist in a moment in time. And that moment lasts forever.
All of that is simply the way I write, and it suits me just fine. I don't much care if anyone else likes it. The fact that some people do is just peachy.
SO - I've got this 6100 page story that I continue to add to every year. I print out each chapter and keep it on a shelf in my home. I seldom if ever go back and read it later. I never do first drafts or second drafts or anything like that. I write, and that's it. The fact of creating it in the first place satisfies me. Having dealt with it once, while writing it, I have little interest in reading it again. Instead, I want to write MORE.
So how does this mass of fiction translate into the stories and comics on my page here?
A number of years ago I started to put various parts of my story online here on my DA page. Understand, you must, that I am a control freak, and I won't do anything unless it's ruthlessly organized. Much of my story from 2003 and earlier existed only as a written hardcopy. There was no computer file. So I had to re-write thousands of pages before I could put any of it online. And I had to choose a point in the past to begin. So I chose to begin where "Unholy War" begins, a part of the story I wrote in 1996, and then laboriously re-typed over 2000 pages of fiction. Then I had to break it into chapters and 'novels' suitable for presenting onlline. I spent years organizing this. What resulted was "Unholy War, Books I through IV", which can be found on my page by looking in the gallery. I did some comic pages to accompany Unholy War, but it is mostly written fiction.
I have written up various other parts of the story and presented them here on my page under titles such as "The tale of Boyo Blixxen", "Middle of Nowhere", and "Escape from L.A.". All of this is part of the same overall story.
My current work, "The Longest Night", is simply part of the tale that I decided to present in a graphic novel format, using DAZ Studio, the 3d modeling software I began using a number of years ago. Until then, I could never have undertaken doing a graphic novel. My hand-drawn pictures typically take me from a week to a month, for each one, and I can only do a few in a row before getting burned out and having to take a break for a month or longer. So using computer-aided illustrations has enabled me to do the unthinkable -- to bring forth "The Longest Night" as a graphic novel, which contains all the text of my original writings from 2005-2010, presented in comic panels.
I've also written over 400 pages of my ongoing master story that comes AFTER "The Longest Night", and this will be seen in due course ( sometime within the next 5 years perhaps ). I do take my time to present things in their proper order, and present them properly. Why? Because I can, that's why. Question me not, Malachai.
NOW, to put things in perspective, here is some information presented in a handy table-like format that shows a timeline of the entire saga of Ethan's Gang as written in my original source material stories, with notes about what is online. This will help people figure out what order everything is in.
"Written" = when I wrote the original stories
"pages" = length in written pages of the original text making up the story
1986-1993 1700 pages Not online and perhaps never
will be. It exists only as written
pages and would all have to be typed
into Word or something. Not something
I plan to do unless somebody pays me
a lot of money to do it.
March 1993 9 pages "Pleasure Cruise of Death" short story
I plucked this little segment out
of the middle of the first 3000
pages of the story which, other
than this, has not been shared
1993 - 1996 1362 pages Not online for the same reasons as
the 1986-1993 writings, see above
1996 - 2003 1838 pages "Unholy War Books I - IV" 4 novels plus
In addition to Unholy War, the following stories were also written
during the same time period, and they all occur during the events
detailed in Unholy War. They are all part of it, to be honest, and take
place parallel to the main action surrounding Ethan's Gang. I have
presented them as individual stories ( some of which approach novel
length ) for the sake of clarity-- in my original writings, all of this was
thrown together, and the story would cut back and forth between
nearly 2-dozen subplots every few pages, following each for a time, then
going back to another, and in this way I spent nearly 8 years and over
1800 pages telling a complex tale. To be honest, I sorted out some
of the subplots to present on their own for the convenience of my
internet audience. I accept the fact that not everyone has the level of
unending relentless nuclear-powered focus that I do. I can focus on
one plot for decades and craft it into a staggering epic. In fact, that's
really the only thing I DO. But I make concessions for those who may
be intimidated at the thought of trying to read the mega-hunk of
fiction that results. So there are individual tales such as these...
"Day of Mayhem" short story
"Madness in Ohio" short story
"Benji's Quest" novella
"Adventures of Donny Donder" novella
"The Tale of Boyo Blixxen" novella
"Escape from L.A." novella
"Prisoners of Ugly Coco" novella
"Doctor Barney's Shoe Mall" short story
"Aaron and the Pool Boys" novella
"The Midget in the Basement" short story
"Middle of Nowhere" novella
Then we have what comes after 'Unholy War'
2003-2004 204 pages "Night on Puppy Lane" novel
2005 100 pages "The Hotel" novella
2005 - 2010 460 pages "The Longest Night" novel
Currently being translated into a graphic novel
estimated to reach 1300-1500 illustrated pages.
It's about 21% complete as of July 2014.
2010 - 2014 427 pages untitled recent chapters not online
This should serve as a handy reference to anyone trying to figure out what order my stories should be read in. Note that if a story or comic isn't mentioned above, it is not part of the official Ethan's Gang storyline, and is a side project.
Some Side Projects :
"Justin's Evening of Peril"
"Wolf Brothers on Vacation"
"The Bad and The Ugly"
Those three graphic novels / comics may feature some familiar characters from Ethan's world, but they are not connected to the main storyline and should be considered daydreams.