Want to read ahead? We’ve got the script for Chapter Two posted in our Patreon. This is part of the $5 perk, which will soon also include part of my big surprise announcement.
Read ahead here. These scripts are subject to change, so you might be reading spoilers, and you might be reading something we change half-way through. In any case, I hope it’s interesting.
Also, here, have a peek at the last two comics in their various production stages.
It’s impossible to do what we do here when we’re weeping alongside the rest of the rational nation, so we’re putting up splash art for chapter two and continuing with the story next week.
Instead of reading comics this week, find your loved ones and hug them. Call them. Go to them. Exist with them and create memories and moments of happiness.
Write to your congressmen and representatives about their role in this awful, awful tragedy.
Live deeply. We’ll see you in a week.
Proud of how this one came out.
Real quick, here’s the original script for this comic strip. They almost always change a little bit, but today’s was a fairly extreme change, and I thought I’d share a bit about the process with you guys.
Here’s the original script:
See any problems? There’s a couple of pretty big ones. I did a write-up on the process over on Patreon. It’s free, so give it a read and if you find this interesting, you can have constant access to the scripts we use to make the comics by going here and subscribing, and you can find the full chapter one script (and see through the dread murk of time into the VERY FUTURE!) right here.
Zach and I are of different minds about what to do with the funnies, and we’d love some reader input.
We both want to make them, so there’s no real danger that we’ll stop.
But we’re not sure if their place is necessarily on this site. Does the current set up work for you guys and make sense to you?
Oof. We’re all a little excited over here, and for multiple reasons.
The biggest one is that we’ve applied to have Ramen Empire published with Hiveworks.
I’ve been writing short fiction since I was 16 or so, so I’m very familiar–practically immune–to rejection from publishers, and usually not all that excited by submitting my work out there. But Ramen Empire is my baby in a way that none of my short fiction, published or otherwise, has ever managed to be, so I’m revisiting those primordial feelings of hopeful clashing with nervousness in the pit of my stomach. Wish us luck!
The other reason we’re excited is that we’re actually getting a lot more readers than normal. Zach and the others understand the analytics way better than I do, so my understanding is limited to “I’m writing at more than five of you.” Which is amazing enough that we’re going to kick the comic over into high gear. At first, this won’t be noticeable to you guys because, despite producing more comics, we’re going to maintain the Monday updates. This will let us build the coveted backlog so that we can actually attend conventions without missing updates, but it’ll also let us give more to our Patrons, since they’re going to have the ability to read ahead in some fashion or another.
More than that, though, it means we’re taking the gamble of stepping down from our Fiverr commissions and People-Per-Hour commissions and working to produce more content for our readers — Monday + Wednesday updates will be the inevitable result of having spent time on a backlog, but we’re also finally going to have time for the books we’ve been hand-sitting on. I’ll keep you guys in the loop right here with regular production updates.
Also, since Coco is taking a bit of a central role in Phoenix Down, I’ve updated the Cast page with her bio. Check it out and give us your thoughts!
We’re going to follow the cast between their serious film projects, this time. I genuinely love what we have written, and I think you will, too.
Now you can. We’re putting up the scripts for Ramen Empire one chapter in advance, the comic before we begin that chapter. This content will be available to our $5 per month subscribers, who will also get access to our collection e-book collections as we make them. Our ultimate goal is to let you guys read full comics ahead of schedule, but the sad truth is that we just can’t afford to work ahead and stay afloat at the same time. We do, however, write the scripts for Ramen Empire well in advance, and we’d love to share them with our biggest fans.
None of these scripts are locked in stone, either, so the other advantage our subscribers will get at the $5 tier is access to (possibly) changing the course of the comic. The comments on every chapter download will be open and we’re going to read and consider them all closely.
The scripts also tend to be quite a bit different from the final comics they informed. They are very much conversations between Zach and I, and if you’re interested in being able to later compare what made it into the comic and what didn’t, this is the patreon reward for you.
So if you’ve got 5 bucks to blow and want to support Ramen Empire and see where the comic’s headed, click here and go to the script for chapter one of Phoenix Down.
Woof. We’ve finished our second big story. It’s really strange to be sitting here, writing this, and looking back at all the time that’s passed.
We only made it this far because of our readers, so I’d like to give a shout-out to our regular and semi-regular commenters. We don’t have great tools for gauging who is reading and who is leaving, and whenever you guys talk to us, it brings a strong sense of validation to our work, and helps us remember that we’re not posting comics into a void. You guys all rock and we’re really glad to have you.
I’d especially like to thank those of you who are supporting us on Patreon. We’re at about $70 per month at the time of writing this, and we appreciate every single penny. I know that it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s literally kept the lights on a few times over the summer. This drives home my absolute favorite thing about Ramen Empire – it’s my job. It’s part-time, for sure, and I’m not always sure entirely how to do it, but I adore it, and I’m always a little stunned that so many people have agreed to subscribe voluntarily to a free comic. You are all amazing, especially Phoole. (I missed your show last week because I’m awful. See you Friday!) Because Patreon usually goes to the electric bill, I can safely pun that you all have literally given us the energy to go on.
We have the next book planned out for the most part. The Doll with the Tiger Teeth is done, and Zach and I are already dissecting what we liked and what we didn’t about it. That’s the nature doing creative things.
There are going to be some fairly substantive changes that, overall, we think will make a better comic.
We like our general approach to organizing larger stories into books, but…
We think that DTT highlighted how easily it is to get lost, both writing and reading this sort of story.
So while we’re going to keep telling bigger-picture stories that impact the entire crew of character, we’re going to put our focus more on letting every individual strip tell a story, and smaller collections of strips tell a whole story.
This means that going forward into book three, it should be easier to immediately get what’s going on in the story, and easier to find the beginnings of arcs. Overall, there will be less of a need for new readers to do an entire archive dive before being able to follow along, and less of a need for people who missed a ton of updates to have to click back one page at a time until they maybe find where they were. The chapter back buttons will take people to the starts of arcs, which will have something like 6-10 comics in them, rather than flailing between collections of 40 and 80 comics.
We think that this will solve my primary regret with DTT – which is that the ending let Skyler down. In trying to subvert and engage Noir tropes, we think that we denied Skyler a voice and a role of power in the final few scenes of the story. Shorter arcs connected together would have let us have her spike and ending in different places, and she wouldn’t be fighting for screen time with Mei Li, and sadly, despite my best effort, being a color character getting drowned out by white voices. (Art mimics life, I guess.)
Lastly, We’re changing up the work-flow a bit. I’ll be taking over flatting the images, and I’ll do the lettering at the same time. This will give Zach a break between inking and rendering, and an opportunity to spread the workload around his week in a more efficient way. Ultimately, the look of the comic shouldn’t change – if you can tell which of the few DTT comics I flatted, I’ll give you $20 – but what will change is that we’ll start working toward our ambition of having a Dumbing Of Age-esque buffer, which will give us the time we need to create special content that’s just for Patreon subscribers, and other content still that we can take with us to cons or, god forfend, sell in a bookstore.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. If you’ve got thoughts or input, leave a comment or reach out to us on Twitter over @RamenEmpire. We’ve love to hear from you!
See you Monday with the start of the next arc.