I don’t usually post sketch diary comics here on the ol’ homepage because, I guess, I generally prefer to stick with finished, professional material for Studio NDR. Hence the Patreon and the Tumblr at this time.
Anyway, today is Trans Day of Visibility, a day about which I have very mixed feelings (see page 3).
Trans Day of Visibility did not exist when I first came out, but I have to suspect it would have helped me if it had been a thing 20 years ago. Simply knowing transness was an option would have been an improvement over “something about me is wrong, but I don’t know what.”
Unfortunately, a lot of people have confused “people getting the information they need at a younger age than previous generations were able to” with “trendy badness that is bad,” so visibility is not sufficient in and of itself.
Anyway, I am definitely a trans elder now, as demonstrated by the fact that I am excited-about-a-salad-spinner years old.
Why yes, I do actually have some new comics for you. First up, a short diary comic called “Stimuless.” I guess you could say this is an AUTO-bio comic, har har. But yes, this is more or less the sequence of events that occurred, though the real life version had less anthropomorphism.
For the last few weeks I’ve been running a Valley of the Silk Sky short story over on the VotSS website. (I typically only publish pages from The Long Run here on Studio NDR; any VotSS extras and short stories are to be found on VotSS.) Well, that short story, “Extraction,” is now complete, and you can read the whole thing in one go. So go:
Finally, I’ll be vending at a virtual convention this weekend, Rainbow Space Magic Con. There will be a bunch of readings and panels with various queer authors of genre fiction, so if that’s of interest to you, come join us this weekend, March 12-14.
I’ll have a vendor pop-up slot on Saturday, March 13 (PT 2:00pm / MT 3:00pm /CT 4:00pm / ET 5:00pm / UK 10:00pm). In addition of a quick run through of my various wares, I’ll also be doing a live reading of some of my comics, so be sure to tune in for that!
Best of all, registration is free, so get yet butt over to the RSMC site to sign up:
Waaaaay back in the early days of the pandemic, Melanie Gillman organized and edited a digital zine of recipe comics called Parsley Sage Rosemary and Quarantine. You can still snag a copy of the whole zine on a pay-what-you-want basis, but since the rights have reverted I figured I’d share my recipe here:
If you want that whole “recipe with life story” thing, hit up the Patreon link. If you want the recipe and NOTHING ELSE, stick with Studio NDR.
Other Goings On
So yes, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve updated here. Honestly, like a great many other artists, the bruising ordeal that has been 2020 has pretty much done in my creative drive. I have been struggling to make anything more complicated than a sticker of a bear drinking bubble tea (it is a very cute bear, though).
So right now I’m mostly focused on trying to take some down time, in hopes that actually officially chilling for a bit will help recharge the ol’ batteries.
I do have the next chapter of Valley of the Silk Sky thumbnailed, though I have not yet commenced penciling (that’s what I’m hoping to get the energy to undertake).
I do have a VotSS short story that has not previously been published online that I intend to start running in January, so there will be comics come the new year, even as I hide in my hidey hole.
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Now that this comic has wrapped, perhaps you’re wondering what comes next. Well, I’ll tell you.
I’m about halfway through coloring the next chapter of Valley of the Silk Sky, so that’s getting extremely close to done. I’ve been avoiding setting a specific date for when I’ll start running the chapter as my workflow has been painfully slow (sometimes due to literal pain, mostly due to Anxiety About the World We Live In).
BUT. Know that progress is happening, and new pages shall emerge very soon.
Like a lot of gothic metal bands, Mejibray’s style leans heavily on BDSM themes, so it’s not too surprising the crowd would be exuberant about being spat upon.
Also, I would have expected a mosh pit if it had been an American show, and would have avoided front and center accordingly. But no such scrum developed here. I don’t know if moshing just isn’t a thing in Japan, or if it does happen but sticks to other genres. Clearly one of these days I will need to do further research on the matter.
If you check out the Patreon post, you can read some of my musings about concerts past and present, should such a thing be of interest to you.
I will add this one translation note here, though:
The actual rendering of “encore” in Japanese is アンコール (ankouru), where the final “ru” would only be partially voiced. But the crowd was definitely saying a fully-voiced “re” at the end of the word, giving each syllable equal weight as basically a three-beat chant. JUST in case you were wondering.
Since this is a short comic, I’ll wait until all the pages are up to post it over on Tumblr (for the five of you who still use Tumblr).
To answer my own question from the first panel, this is not a thing specific to Mejibray shows. I’ve since gone back and watched music videos by other Japanese rock bands, and have noticed the crowds acting in unison there as well. I suppose to the extent I noticed it before I’d just assumed it was a staged coordination for the sake of the video. And, well, it IS a staged coordination, but being filmed has little to do with it.
Tune in next week for more lessons in Japanese rock show etiquette!
To refresh your memory, this is my diary comic about going to see a visual kei heavy metal show in Japan a few years ago. Because I’m a nerd for making playlists, I put together a soundtrack for this comic. It’s on YouTube because a lot of the featured bands never had their music licensed for U.S. release, so many of them (Mejibray included) are not to be found on Spotify or iTunes here. (Several of the bands on my playlist make cameos in this comic as t-shirts – this page features Dog in the PWO, a.k.a. Dog in the Parallel World Orchestra.)
True fact: in order to buy Mejibray’s albums, I had to purchase them on CD (!!) which I was only able to find at a Tower Records (!!!) in Shibuya. It was like traveling backwards in time.