Friday, September 15, 2023


To the surprise of nobody who has followed my blog for any length of time, my productivity fell off the cliff right around the first of September. It MIGHT be that it coincided with the start of school. I just checked my history, and I often go from 20-30 posts in August to 1-3 in September, and then I start to slowly tick up again the following spring, peaking in the summer before crashing to earth again.

I managed to get a bunch of Army Ants pages in the pipeline by the end of summer, so I've been releasing new pages every day, and today finally hit the point where I had to go in and start adding more pages again. 

All of my creative energies at present are being devoted to staging our high school's production of "Romeo and Juliet", which I just cast on Tuesday and which has its first read through on Monday. I'm pretty jazzed for it. Maybe I'll share more about this at some point. I don't know if this will make as much sense to anyone else as it makes to me, but the pivotal fight sequence between Romeo, Mercutio, and Tybalt is underscored by the entirety of Ah-Ha's "Take on Me" and it's going to be sublime.

Trust me.

I would love to give you an update on gaming and comics stuff, but there isn't one, and I really just wanted to pop in, say hello, and remind you that the Army Ants pages are being remastered, released a page a day over on Comic Fury.  

I was thinking I might get a little solo gaming in this weekend, and the possibility is still out there... if so, I'll post about it. If not, I'll probably touch base again after "Romeo and Juliet" closes on October 27. 

Be well.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Of Cupcake Scouts and Composition

So, I've been a little bit grumpy about how everything played out with the Kickstarter that I still think borrowed a little too heavily from Cupcake Scouts (and how it raised over $100K with 'my idea'... if I'm being honest). I've kind of avoided Cupcake Scouts stuff for the last few weeks, which has been fine, because I've gotten a good deal of Army Ants '81 stuff done, and I'm very happy with how that's turned out, and I probably wouldn't have started that at all if not for the Cupcake Scouts snafu.


Mary is out of images for the Instagram she maintains for Cupcake Scouts, and asked for a drawing of the girls in a cemetary fighting zombies that are coming out of the ground. She really likes Halloween. So, I did this drawing, and as I was working, I realized that the composition of this piece is really strong. I didn't intentionally design it this way, but it sort of happened. But then I realized that 'good design just sort of happens' is what you get when you've been trying to get better at something for a few decades. I like how the whole image uses triangles - there is a line that goes directly from the hand in the lower-left along the arrow, up across Harper's arm, and then across Bri's arm. There is a straight line down from there along Bri's left side and her leg; there is a line back to the hand across the ground. Everything goes to a focus point on Bri's face - everything in the frame directs you back to that. I'm just really happy with how this turned out - when I do a full supplement for Cupcake Scouts, odds are really good that this is the cover.


Thursday, August 31, 2023

Army Ants '81 Resources

Army Ants isn't just a game, it's a veritable media empire. 

The Game

- The Core Rules for Army Ants '81 are now a PWYW release.

The Comic

- The original series is being re-mastered and released a page a day.

Other Cool Stuff

- Brandon posted a youtube video review of the game. on his RPG Overviews channel.

- Quinn made a fillable character card. Thanks, Quinn!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

History Repeating Itself

I'm having the longest experience of déjà vu... back in the mid 1990s, I went to a comic convention with two projects in hand. I had a box of Seymour #1, a fantasy comic about a teddy bear that fused pro wrestling with Dungeons and Dragons and my emerging sense of how I wanted to tell stories that I'd been laboring over every detail of for weeks. I also had a bunch of army ants mini-comics that I'd thrown together in like three hours and printed up on my way to the convention.

People could have cared less about Seymour, but they were all about the Army Ants. Almost everyone I talked to grabbed a copy (that I was charging maybe a quarter for, which didn't even cover the costs of the printing, so I was not the greatest businessman). 

Fast forward almost 30 years later. I have a book that I spent a bit of time laboring over, trying to get every detail right about a group of scouts going on fantasy adventures - and then an army ants book that I put together remarkably quickly, and put up as a pay what you want for the heck of it.

And, again, people are responding to that. I'm not at all unhappy about it - I'm thrilled that people are responding to Army Ants, which was my first love and the thing I've created that is the most uniquely 'me'. 

Two quick things to share:

@rpgoverviews posted a review of the game, which I truly appreciate. 

There was a request for a character sheet, so here's a blank version of the card I posted for Phil a few days ago...


Monday, August 28, 2023

Remastering Pages

As I go through the process of re-mastering the pages, I have the benefit of three things:

1) I know where the story is going! I've already got the whole thing done, so when I make edits, I know how these are going to affect other things. One of the biggest edits is that I'm changing the setting from the back yard to the larger area around Warwick Pond. This is necessitating some edits, and will require a little bit of re-drawing later on, but it's a relatively small edit that (to me) has significant implications. It makes the world of the ants, and the forces they are dealing with, much larger. It doesn't change the story per se, but it changes the context of the story.

2) I'm just a better writer than I was 30 years ago. I would HOPE so. It means that I can layer in more subtle things that help frame the ants, their worldview, and some of the larger themes more consistently. 

3) The font I'm using is how I wish my lettering looked. The lettering, to me, has always been the weak point in my comics, and being able to use a font cleans the pages us SO much. 

Also, time and space has given me an appreciation for my work as an artist. It's a good comic. I'm proud of it. I'm going to be very happy to have a definitive edition that is clean and tightened up that I can add to my shelf and share with people. 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Phil File Card

I'm playing with the file card design. I worked out a file card for Phil as of the beginning of the Army Ants comics (I cheated a little and gave him a 1-point discount since the gear he has adds up to 16 Clout but he only has 15). This is, of course, for Army Ants '81 the RPG, which is a companion for Army Ants '81 the comic, which is a re-master of my original comics from the 1990s... which takes place in 1981. Because it does.  

Friday, August 25, 2023

Army Ants '81 Now Available

So much for THIS stealth operation.

It was a simple enough mission. Sneak up on the termite compound. Take some notes. Get out. You weren’t geared up for a full frontal assault.

But then Gonzo thought the tower guard spotted him. And Burner got an itchy trigger finger. And, before you knew it, the compound was a smoldering ruin, and you’d used up all of your grenades. 

The Colonel was going to go ballistic. You would be lucky to have latrine duty for the next fortnight. You’d barely broken in your sergeant patch, and you had visions of it being ripped from your uniform in a barrage of obscenities.

… But maybe it didn’t have to happen that way. Because maybe THIS didn’t happen that way. 

What if you had done your recon, but realized that the termites had a bomb - no, a MISSILE. They had a missile that was going to destroy the Hill. Your only choice was to throw caution to the wind, to respond to the new intelligence, and risk your life for Queen and Hill.

You gathered your patrol together and explained the plan. If they could stick to this one, maybe things wouldn’t turn out so badly after all…


Army Ants ‘81 is the RPG I wish my friends and I had when I was in eighth grade. Because that would have been SWEET.