Category Archives: graphic novels

Concerning Minecraft, Faerie Bargains, and an Early Peek into The Doors of Stone.

Okay. There’s a story I’ve been wanting to share here for a couple days, but with all the chaos of the fundraiser, I haven’t been able to manage it.

Sorry it’s taken so long, as it’s related to Book Three, and I know that’s something everyone here is interested in to some degree or other.

So here we go:

Once years and miles away, there was a man who loved books, and games , and stories. He did not consider himself wise, but was still wise enough to know he was happiest when he was being a bit of a fool. He was an odd sort, beset by melancholy, and often felt as if he didn’t fit into the world. He was uncommonly lucky, and uncomfortably honest, and he always kept his word.

All of this taken together led some folk to wonder if his mother had been visited by the sort of odd folk who always seem to be showing up in the dark hours just as children are being born. The sort of people that leave no footprints, and speak oddly, so it’s hard to tell if they’re good oracles, bad poets, or merely self-important busybodies who lack proper jobs and have too much time on their hands.

Other people suspected it had nothing to do with events surrounding his birth. Instead they thought perhaps he had a demon riding in his shadow, or a single drop of faerie blood, or that one of his long-forgotten ancestors had lay down among the Gorse…

His name was Patrick Rothfuss. Those who knew him, knew he enjoyed a good wager. But those who knew him better knew the truth, and that was that he *loved* a wager, especially if it was reckless and unwise….

*     *     *

About a week ago, we fired up our yearly Worldbuilders fundraiser.

It’s going pretty well so far, by the way. As I write this, we’re just on the cusp on unlocking a new chunk of Matching Money….

As you can see from this year’s swank thermometer, it’s not just direct donations that will help us hit that goal. We’re also factoring in bids on our vast array of auction items and all the holiday shopping y’all are doing over in the Worldbuilders Market.

And as many of you know, I’ve been doing a lot of streaming over the last week. Talking about the charity. Playing games and doing various promotional events.

None of that is particularly new, of course. I’ve streamed a lot to promote the charity over the last 5 years.

What *is* different is that this year, I decided to kick off the fundraiser with a Marathon Minecraft Stream (TM) where I vowed to keep playing until I beat the Ender Dragon or my actual human real-world body failed me.

(Fig 1. promotional graphic.)

It was just some goofy fun. I enjoy Minecraft, but I’m not great at it. I’ve never beaten the Ender Dragon, or even made it to the end. I’ve never even found to the Stronghold or made an eye of Ender, now that I’m thinking of it.

And I knew it beating the game would take longer than normal because I’d be pausing to give away prizes and talk about charity. And I hadn’t played Minecraft much in the last six months, so I was pretty rusty….

Even so, I was pretty sure I could do it. I mean, I’ve seen people beat the whole game on youtube in under twenty minutes.

I know I’m no speedrunner, it might take me 8-9 hours. But that’s nothing. I’ve streamed 14 hours straight in previous fundraisers. Plus, I knew that me struggling and sometimes failing would be just as fun for people to watch as me succeeding, if not more so….

Fast forward. Charity is going well. Money coming in. People watching the stream. My Minecraft run was…  unimpressive. I was playing the long game, and making methodical progress. Hadn’t died. But I had no diamonds. No enchanted gear. No real lucky breaks. My base was a haphazard hole in the ground. The opposite of a hobbit hole. My farms were like something Dante would have written about if he wanted to scare cows into being better Christians.

Fast forward. More money. More stream. My boys came in to cheer me on. They brought me water and cuteness and comic relief. Perfect pit crew.

Fast Forward: I read the boys their bedtime story live on the stream (a chapter from Something Wicked This Way Comes). Then I went to tuck them into bed and came back to do charity and search for diamonds. I was fully prepared to play straight through the night until I had to drive them to school in the morning, then come back and keep soldiering on until I finally won or collapsed.

Then came the first wager. In a fit of hubris, I bet the chat that I could beat the Ender Dragon before they raised $100,000 on my team page. I dared them. I taunted and cajoled….

…I told them if they won, I’d read them the prologue of Book Three.

And thus the deal was made.

(Would you buy a used car from this man?)

But life is what happens while you were making other plans. My boys had been vaccinated that day, and over the next 4-5 hours, when I went in to check on them, they were increasingly sweaty and restless. So after 12 hours I bowed out of the stream with the blessing of the chat so I could go be a good dad. Because when you wake up sweaty and sick in the middle of the night, it’s nice to have your dad right there ready to take care of you…

And then, packing lunches, and school, and organizing and promoting the fundraiser, and scheduling events and being a dad…

… and I honestly I forgot about the wager.

But forgetting doesn’t make a wager go away. And, to make a long story short, after picking up my playthrough on my stream two days later, I lost.

So I brought to bear the fullness of my power. I summoned up the fullness of my will and wit, my terrible persuasion. All this and more I focused on the folk who were tuned in to the stream. And thus I spoke:

Yes they’d won wager. I would read them the prologue. Absolutely. They had it. Fairly fought and fairly won.

But a prologue. What is that, really? Just a taste. A tease. A paltry page. It’s barely a bite. A meager morsel for those whose hearts are hungry for a story.

Wouldn’t they like a chance to win… more? To wager what they’d won in hope of greater gain? Wouldn’t they like the chance for More? More secrets? More story?

Thus I offered them a second wager.

Their stakes: the prologue they had fairly won.

My stakes: Three things. Three secrets from Temerant:

  • I’ll read the prologue of The Doors of Stone live on stream.
  • I’ll provide a full, self-contained, spoiler-free chapter of Doors of Stone.
  • I’ll share some early, finished pages of my the comic I’ve been working on for years with Nate: the illustrated version of the Boy That Loved the Moon.

This is what I offered the chat of the livestream. A chance not just to win, but to win so much more….

But only if they raised more money for charity. Only if they got the donations on my team page all the way from $100,000 to $333,0000.

BEFORE I beat the Ender Dragon.

And then we took a vote:

I’ll embiggen the relevant portion myself so you can see…

(As you can see, the folks who follow my stream enjoy a wager too)

And so the deal was struck.

And now, even if you weren’t there, you know the story.

And t’know what? As a gesture of good faith, I’ll give you the first page of the comic right here and now, out of the goodness of my heart…

(Never let it be said I do not bargain in good faith.)

So. If my team page hits $333,333 before I beat the Ender Dragon. You win three things.

If I beat the Ender Dragon first, you lose.

That’s the Wager.

I’ve taken a break off from my playthough to manage the fundraiser and run other events. Also, I promised I wouldn’t continue my run until I’d made the announcement here on my blog to let y’all know the whole story. To let you know what was happening. What the stakes were. And as you all know, I keep my promises.

But I’ve done it now. Shared the news. Told told story.

As soon as I post this, I’m jumping back onto my livestream, and will be heading for the Ender dragon with marked determination. Because I *do* love a wager. But I also always play to win.

So. The clock is ticking.

Here’s the link to my Team Page.

Come at me.

pat

Also posted in Beautiful Games, Book Three, calling on the legions, cool news, hubris, My brilliant ideas, my dumbness, My Iconoclastic Tendencies, Nathan Taylor, side projects, Stories about stories., upcoming publications, video games, Warning: Mild Literary Faffery, Worldbuilders 2021 | By Pat36 Responses

The New Corinthian.

So if you read the blog, you’re aware that a lot of the stories I tell here feature my kids.

Sometimes they’re sweet stories. Sometimes funny stories. Or sometimes they’re stories about how I struggle to balance being a dad with… whatever else it is that I’m supposed to be.

(Huh. Went looking for the link for that blog and couldn’t find it. Did I never post that one online? It’s possible. I have roughly 300 half-written blogs that I don’t know if I’ll ever finish.)

Anyway. Not every parenting experience contains a lot of narrative. Sometimes your kid just does something and you want to share it….

For example, this Saturday, Cutie came into my room and told me that he wanted me to see his new “art installation.” So I go into the other room and this is what is on the computer screen….

(You can click to embiggen if you really want to, but….)

I want to say, “There’s a lot to unpack here.” But the truth is, I don’t think it will bear up under much unpacking. Instead can we just agree that this is… That there’s just a lot.

I wish I could share the entire experience with you of zooming in…. and in… and in…. Like an endless Mandelbrot nightmare. Like some cocaine-fueled Hollywood producer working on Sandman gave the note, “Listen, I love this Corinthian character. Super spooky. The best. But… and just come along with me here… what if we kept all that AND made him somehow cuter and also more purple and infinite?”

Y’know what? I’m gonna retract the cocaine jab there. That is an actual non-drugged, non-ironic thing someone would say in LA. I think Neil would back me up on that.

Also, I’d like to make it clear, there’s no cheap cut-and-paste going on here. It’s bespoke. Each of the faces-in-eyes-in-faces is its own small-batch artisanal horror.

It’s the night terrors of turtles all the way down….

And that’s it. No moral. No narrative arc. No sense.

Just nonsense.

That’s something my boys help me remember. I am too often with the world, getting and spending. My boys help draw me back to my other, better self from long ago, that knew the joy of the ridiculous.

So I’m sharing it with you.

Hope y’all are doing okay.

pat

Also posted in Cutie Snoo, day in the life | By Pat32 Responses

R&D&D (& Morty)

Hey there everybody,

It’s been a hectic time over here at RothCo. Due to various projects combined with some unfortunate scheduling, I’ve been traveling more than any sane human would ever choose to.

How much travel? Well, just for reference, I was only home 16 days over the months of February and March. So much travel that my bones hurt.

So much travel that I haven’t had the chance to officially announce that this is happening:

And by “this,” I mean there’s an official Rick and Morty Dungeons & Dragons crossover comic happening. And I’m writing it.

I get invitations to be involved with a lot of projects these days, and I say no to the majority of them. It’s my job to say no to things these days so I can focus my energies on essential things, and as a result, I’ve passed on some really cool gigs over the last couple years.

But when this got offered to me, I really couldn’t say no.

For those of you who want all the official details, there’s a little article about it over on io9.

For those of you just want the jist of it. I’m working with Jim Zub and Troy Little.

When asked for a quote about the project for the press release, and how I felt about being responsible for bringing together Dungeons & Dragons and Rick and Morty, here’s what I said:

“That’s some serious you-got-chocolate-in-my-peanut butter $#!& right there. I’m in. I’m all the way in. I’m gettin’ that chocolate all up in the peanut butter. Like, deep in. All the way in. It’s going to be sticky and delicious.”

So… yeah. I think the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t ask me to contribute to press releases.

It comes out in August, and while I don’t have a preorder link yet, you could always contact your local comic shop and make sure they know you’re interested…

There’s other news brewing, and a few blogs I managed to start but not finish while I was on the road. So expect to see them over the next couple weeks.

And if you have any questions about the comic, you can ask them in the comments and I’ll take a poke at answering the ones I’m allowed to when I wake up.

But for now? Sleep.

Later Space Cowboys….

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, being awesome, comics, cool news, my rockstar life | By Pat61 Responses

Graphic Novels and Beautiful Books

So while I was off in Seattle for a quick trip, we hit our 500,000 dollar stretch goal.

Which means this is happening:

Yeah. The delightful Brothers Chaps over at Homestar Runner are going to put together a full-length video of Strong Bad (re)writing and reading that beloved children’s classic, The Ocelot and The Porridge Maiden. I think Hans Christian Anderson wrote the original version of that one late in his life when he was addicted to cough syrup. 

Needless to say, this is pretty cool for me. As I’ve been a fan of Homestar for nigh unto a decade.

If you don’t understand why this is cool, you should probably head over here and browse around.

Those of you who do understand why it’s cool: Spread the word.

And now, today’s books

*     *    *

  • Copies of In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang. Signed and inscribed to Worldbuilders by Cory Doctorow.

IRL

Everything about the description of this book made Amanda want it. MMORPGs? Yes. Cover blurb by Felicia Day? Awesome. An honest and beautiful take on poverty, culture clash, and adolescence? Abso-freaking-lutely.

“A lovely graphic novel for gamer girls of all ages.” – Felicia Day

“The combination of girls-only gaming; gorgeous, stylized artwork; and a meaningful, sophisticated message about online gaming makes this a surefire hit for readers everywhere, especially girls.” – Booklist, starred review

Normally we don’t put two blurbs up for books, but this one seems to warrant it.

We have several copies of this, most are going into the lottery, but we’re also putting one up for auction, so you can bid on that over here.

  • Copies of Through the Woods. Signed and doodled by Emily Carroll.

ThroughTheWoods

I read this book a couple nights ago, and honestly? It kinda freaked me out.

And I mean that in the best possible way. These stories were unsettling. Unnerving. I read it before going to bed, and after I finished it, it had given me too much of a wiggins, and I had to read something else before I could turn off the light and get some sleep. Seriously. I’m 40 years old, and this book *got* to me.

Simply said, I *loved* this book. It’s probably one of the best things I’ve read all year.

Before you think to yourself, “I don’t want to read anything that causes a great brimful font man-toughness like Rothfuss to flip his shit.” Let me share with you what one of the worldbuilders team had to say about this book:

“I’ve loved Em Carroll for years, ever since I read ‘His Face All Red’ – that particular story still sticks with me and gives me the shivers in the best way possible. Her haunting stories could scare the pants off the most hardened hearts (which I definitely am not), and the beautiful artwork just makes the words all the more chilling. Even if you don’t like scary things, go buy this. I scare easier than a cute kitten and I still loved Through The Woods.”

The copies we have are signed and doodled in them by the author/illustrator. Most are going into the lottery, but we’re putting one up for auction, so if you want to see some of the art, or bid on it, you can head over here.

This year, faboo publisher First Second Books sent us some graphic novels as well…

_DSC0623

I’ve enjoyed a lot of Box Brown’s work over the years, so I was excited to see this book included in First Second’s donations. Plus, who doesn’t want to know more about Andre the Giant?

“Larger-than-average André the Giant had a larger-than-life personality to match, and award-winning cartoonist Brown manages to capture the legendary wrestler’s career in charming, heartfelt black-and-white panels.” – Booklist

_DSC0619

“Expect readers to clamor for the next installments of this.” – Kirkus Reviews

_DSC0617

“A sort of Games of Thrones for the younger set, this epic adventure is filled with battles, swords, and ancestors showing up as ghosts and zombies … Giallongo’s artwork is gorgeous, filled with rich colors that capture the wildness of the mountain. He gives even the faces of passing animals complex emotions.” – Publishers Weekly

  • Copies of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff.

_DSC0621

It’s great to see a series with a strong and adventurous heroine, and from the looks of this book we’ll get that and more.

“… destined to join the ranks of such classic duos as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A scrumptious Turkish delight.” – School Library Journal

_DSC0625

I read this comic last year, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was the first project of a new publisher: Improper Books.

Simply said, I dug it. And after they read my gushy review about it online, the folks in charge sent some along to the fundraiser. They’re cool like that.

“Porcelain is a gorgeous, gothic fever dream, beautiful and terrifying and funny and sad all at once. It is also that precious rarity, a perfect comic.” – Lev Grossman

GG01

These come from my very own collection. As I’ve mentioned before in the blog, I love Girl Genius and I love all of you, so it seemed only fitting to bring those things together.

As it says above, these are signed, so we’re auctioning them off over here.

  • Sets of 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth and How to Tell if your Cat is Plotting to Kill You. Punch a Dolphin is signed and doodled by The Oatmeal.

_DSC0651

I did a signing with Matt Inman (also known as The Oatmeal) a while back, and it was a blast. He let me touch his Tesla (which isn’t a euphemism) and I was delighted to discover that he’s as delightful in person as his writing might suggest.

He was kind enough to send us some copies of his books, so we put one set into the lottery for all of y’all to enjoy. And another set up for auction, where you can bid with gleeful abandon.

Books from Dreamhaven.

Last but not least, we’ve got some lovely stuff from Dreamhaven Books. Dreamhaven is a bookstore (and publisher) located in the Twin Cities, and they’ve been supporting Worldbuidlers for ages. They also are Neil Gaiman’s go-to bookstore since he has a house so close to there, and because of that they carry a lot of exclusive and otherwise cool Gaiman items, some of which are included down below…

_DSC0528

Greg is the owner of Dreamhaven, and he’s put together a collection of stories about bookstores. Something that’s close to our hearts. This is the original hardcover printing with more than 5 bookstore-centered stories, and an introduction by Neil Gaiman.

  • Hardcover, first edition copies of The Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady.

_DSC0526

This is a collection of short stories by the Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning author Jack Cady, who passed away back in 2004.

Greg discovered a box full of first edition copies, and sent them all along to us. They’re hard to come by, many of you will have the chance to win them in the lottery if you donate to Heifer International on our the team page.

  • Auction: A hardcover copy of The Best American Comics 2010. Edited and signed by Neil Gaiman.

_DSC0533

The Best American Comics series invites a guest editor every year to choose the best comics from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet. Back in 2010, Neil was asked, and it created an awesome collection.

“It’s hard to flip through this book without finding a lot worth reading (and rereading).” – The Onion, A.V. Club

If you want to add this to your collection, or just want to read what Neil thought were the best comics of the year 2010, bid over here.

  •  Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion by Neil Gaiman.

_DSC0525

Published in 1988, this is one of Gaiman’s earlier works. It’s a great examination of the Hitchhiker’s Guide universe and all that surrounds it.

“Definitely a devotee’s book, Don’t Panic operates on several levels at once. The book pokes hilarious fun at the tell-all books by cult heroes as well as at the industry that inevitably grows up around phenomenal successes like Douglas Adams’s bizarre, witty radio series and ensuing novels.” – Publishers Weekly

  • 50 copies of Now We are Sick: An Anthology of Nasty Verse edited by Neil Gaiman and Stephen Jones.

_DSC0521

“Slick, gross, humorous, wry, slanted, poignant, moving, vomit-inducing and great, great fun . . . If you have the same warped sense of black humor as I do, then this is a definite must.” – Starburst

_DSC0548

Neil Gaiman worked on the reboot of this series and made it entirely his own. There’s also beautiful art within the series by John Romita Jr, who’s done a lot of other great work for Marvel. This includes a gallery of all the original comic covers, Romita’s character sketches, and Neil’s original pitch to Marvel for the project.

“Gaiman’s storytelling savvy combined with Romita’s distinct and compelling artwork makes this omnibus collection of all seven Eternal comic books an absolute must-have for all those who call themselves comic book fans.” – B&N Review

There are also two copies (one of each cover) up for auction, so you can bid on the green cover over here, and the comic cover over here.

  • 20 copies each of Telling Tales and Speaking in Tongues CDs, both by Neil Gaiman.

GaimanCDs

These are a bit more rare. They were published Dreamhaven Books, which makes them extra cool, and also means that’s really the only place you can get them easily.

Or, you could donate some money to the Team Page and have a chance to win them while making the world suck less.

  • Rare, limited edition, slipcased copies of Anansi Boys. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

_DSC0540

Everybody here in the office is coveting this book.

This is a super-rare and beautiful edition of Anansi Boys, featuring some great artwork. Aside from the book itself being full of awesome, there’s a companion notebook containing all sorts of goodies: an interview with Neil, his original outline, deleted scenes, manuscript pages…

We’ve got one going into the lottery, and another up for auction, over here.

* * *

We’ve unlocked some great stretch goals in the last week or so, so be sure to swing by the Worldbuilders website to check them out.

One of the ones we passed recently is a livestream of a day in the office here at Worldbuilders HQ. It’s going to be tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9 and we’ll probably start it around 12pm CST so that folks can tune in during the day or in the evening when they get home. We’ll definitely be here late that day, so be prepared to see us in all of our frantic glory as we get everything ready for the final days of the fundraiser. We can’t promise to be as cute as something like a Panda Cam, but the team does tend to flail around almost as much as baby pandas, so there’s that.

I’ll be in the office helping out (or at least trying to), and in the evening I’ll be having an AMA on Reddit, so we’ll be hanging out and answering questions while that goes on as well.

We’ve got 8 days left, folks. Help us spread the word so we can end things with a bang….

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat7 Responses

Girl Genius

If you would have asked me yesterday, I would have sworn I’d already written a blog recommending Phil Foglio’s work. I would have gone so far as to bet money on it. A lot of money.

And, apparently, I would have lost that money. Because today when I went looking for it, I discovered I’d written no such blog.

So, in an attempt to set things right, I’d like to talk to you about Girl Genius.

*Ahem.*

I’m guessing a lot of you already know about Phil and Kaja Foglio.  They attend a lot of the big conventions. And, if you’re an experienced gamer like me (and by ‘experienced’ I mean ‘old’) you probably remember Foglio’s comic from Dragon Magazine: What’s New with Phil and Dixie.

Oh, and they’ve won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story the last two years. In 2009 they beat out Joss Whedon’s Serenity comic. And this year they beat out Neil Gaiman’s Batman story.

Yeah. That’s right. Their graphic novel Girl Genius not only beat out Whedon and Gaiman, it beat Firefly and Batman, too.

If that doesn’t convince you of how awesome their series is, I don’t know what I can say to convince you. How about we just look at the cover for a moment while I think of something sufficiently gushy:

Simply said, Girl Genius has everything I look for in a story. The worldbuilding is clever and internally consistent. The characters are interesting and multi-faceted. The story is complex while still being clear, and surprising while still being satisfying. (Which is really fucking hard, let me tell you.)

Did I mention it’s funny? It is. Consistently, honestly funny. I don’t need to tell you how rare that is.

It has a strong female lead character who’s good with science, which is nice to see. And it’s perfectly appropriate for just about any age group. In fact, I probably should have mentioned it when was putting together my list of YA recommendations a couple weeks ago.

If none of that convinces you, let me say one more thing. Every time a new volume of Girl Genius comes out, I buy it, then I read all the other volumes leading up to the new one before I let myself read the new one. I haven’t done that with a series since I read Dragonriders back in the 6th grade.

Okay. Enough gushing.

Because Phil and Kaja are really cool, you can read their comic for free over on their website. However, I have to say that the story really deserves to be read in book form, rather than sitting hunched over a computer monitor. I’ve read it both ways and it’s so much more satisfying to read it as a book.

In fact, I like this series so much, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.

Here’s my offer. If you buy a copy of the first volume of Girl Genius, and you don’t like it, you can mail it to me and I’ll buy it off you for whatever you paid for it.

I’m that sure you’ll like it.

Here are the conditions:

  • If you mail me Volume 1, it has to arrive more or less intact. It can’t be missing pages, crumpled up, or covered in jam.
  • You need to include the receipt showing me how much you paid for it.
  • You need to include a SASE.

As I type this, part of me worries that this might be one of my ideas that seems brilliant when I’m typing it, but later, when I’m not full of coffee and love, I end up kicking myself.

But you know what? I’m fine with that. What’s the fun of being a published author if I can’t occasionally do something lovely and foolish? In my experience being clever and careful is highly overrated.

Here’s the link to the Girl Genius website. Go on. Order the book. I dare you.

pat

Edit: Rest assured that all nine volumes are in print. I know this because I ordered them myself just a couple weeks ago. If you’re having trouble finding them on the girl genius website, you just need to follow this link.

Also posted in comics, cool things, Firefly, Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman, recommendations | By Pat58 Responses
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