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#468: It’s a Miracle

May 3, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #425: A Christmas Miracle; #431: Evil to the Last Drop

I know a few of you are dying to know what's up with Whitey and Ariela, but I had to fit this one in, since it's sort of based on my own experience with this movie. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are Facebook friends with me will have already heard me gush about this movie, but… well, whatever.)

After How to Train Your Dragon had been out for a couple of weeks, all the glowing reviews finally got me to check the movie out. It wasn't that I didn't think it would be good; I just didn't expect it to be very good. I mean… it's Dreamworks Animation. I love (and own) Kung Fu Panda, but every other movie of theirs I've seen has just been pretty good — at best — just barely worth watching, nevermind buying on DVD.

To my surprise, I didn't just think How to Train Your Dragon was a good cartoon. I flat-out loved it. Yet to say that How to Train Your Dragon is Dreamworks Animation's best movie doesn't even begin to explain how much I love it. It — like my favorite Pixar movie, The Incredibles; and only a handful of others is what I consider to be a perfect movie.

The characters are wonderful. The film looks breathtakingly beautiful. The 3D flight sequences are exhilirating. The story has a surprising emotional depth, despite an impressively brisk pace. John Powell's score is both rousing and deeply moving — it's easily my favorite score of the past few years. I rarely see a movie in theaters twice, but I've seen it three times already and have every intention of seeing it at least once more before it leaves theaters.

All three times, tears welled up or full-on streamed down my face at all the same points; my heart burst with joy or sadness at all the right points; and what could only have been the most ridiculous smile ever plastered my face for every other second.

As I've told everyone I've recommended the film to, your mileage may vary — but it's absolutely no exaggeration when I say that How to Train Your Dragon is the most fun I've had at the movies in the past decade. As a proud, jaded 35 year old cynic, I was actually a bit surprised to learn that I'm capable of loving an unabashed children's film as much as I do How to Train Your Dragon, but I guess that's the secret behind HTTYD's magic: it takes me back to when I was a kid like no other movie I've seen since I was a kid.

 

For the curious, the only other movie I've seen more times in a theater is Braveheart, back in 1995. I saw it five times in the seven months it spent in theaters. (Dragon probably won't make it  to three months. The movie theater biz has changed an awful lot in the past 15 years.)

Braveheart hasn't aged as gracefully as other movies in the wave of the action epics it ushered in, but Gibson's most recent directorial effort (Apocalypto) was a lot of fun, so when Mel Gibson comes out with his planned Viking movie, I could be in trouble. (Unless maybe I'm just a big fan of Scottish accents.)

UPDATE: The bad news is, Thursday's comic will be late! Sorry, spent too much time getting the Chapter 5 HD Edition eBook finished. The good news is, the Chapter 5 eBook is finished and available, and for you non-Kickstarter backers, there are six new-to-you strips in it. The free Online Edition will be up in a few days.


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The Multiplex: The Revenge (Book Three) Kickstarter is GO!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Short version: The Book Three Kickstarter project is live. Please support it! I love you.

Long version: Much of this is also on the Kickstarter project page, but I wanted to mention a few other things here that aren’t necessarily relevant to people who aren’t already familiar with Multiplex. Apologies about the long-windedness, but I want to be as transparent as possible in these projects.

So today’s good news is that because I’m almost finished with grad school (December! Hopefully!), I finally have the time to make a third Multiplex print collection. For the rest of the summer and into the winter and spring, I can work on Book Three — if we can raise the funds to cover the printing costs, of course, and to supplant the freelance work I’ll need to forego to work on the book.

The bad news is, printing costs have skyrocketed in the last two years. The quotes I’m getting are uniformly much higher than they were for Book Two (which had identical specs), which not only raises the printing costs, but the taxes and fees associated with the whole project. And so, the funding goal is significantly higher than the last project: $24,000.

If we can reach the funding goal, I’ll be able to work on Multiplex and the print book full time for the rest of the summer, pause for the fall semester, and then jump back in again after I complete my MFA in December. (The Kickstarter project page has a detailed tentative budget and timeline.)

Hopefully, I can count on you to help make Book Three happen!

And, ideally, we’ll even surpass the goal, which would let me move straight into working on the new material for Book Four. I’d really like to put the remaining books out once a year — or even faster, after the webcomic ends. For those of you already lamenting the imminent end of the comic strip (in a couple of years), the print books are not just a great keepsake — but the bonus comics mean they’re also more Multiplex.

Book Three can only happen if we hit the funding goal by July 31st at 9pm Central, so please don’t wait. Remember, you are only charged if and when we reach the funding goal by the deadline!

“Tell me more about this ‘Book Three’…”

Multiplex: The Revenge, as Book Three is officially titled, will collect #217–338 (March 2008 to March 2009), which includes Jason and Angie’s brief relationship, the Multiplex 10’s ultimate battle against Flickhead Video, Gretchen getting her due, and much more. It will have the same high production standards as the award-winning Multiplex: There and Back Again (Book Two) collection.

The book will be 208 pages long (just like Book Two) but have about 35 pages of new material spread out across its five chapters, with two slightly longer arcs set on opening nights of The Dark Knight and Watchmen. (Some of this material has already been shared with Patreon backers!) That’s like four months of new stuff!

These new strips will also answer one of the most common questions I get at conventions: “Whatever happened to Brian?” Brian and his accomplice will appear in new strips throughout the book, building on their appearances in the original strips, and culminating in the Watchmen arc that closes off this volume.

This plot line just kind of unceremoniously slipped between the cracks of too many other storylines  back in 2009, and I eventually realized that it made more sense to revisit it in a print book rather than try to pick it up again after too much time had passed.

(Not the final cover)

(Not  final art)

“When will it come out?”

I’m hoping to have Multiplex: The Revenge printed and in your soft, supple hands in September 2016. There is a more detailed timeline on the Kickstarter project page if you want to know more. (Full disclosure: I’m likely to be moving out of Minnesota next summer, and I’ve set this date to accommodate that. If I don’t end up moving, I will be able to move up the timeline by a few months.)

“What kind of rewards are there?”

Rewards include sketches, the Multiplex Chapter eBooks, movie parody mini-posters, cameo appearances in the book or the online strip, and much much more. You can see the complete list on the project page, but one of the coolest ones (in my opinion) is the set of three 11″x17″ movie parody mini-posters, though, which includes The Breakfast Club and Serenity (previously seen on the backer-exclusive T-shirts from the first two Kickstarter projects) as well as a new design based on suggestions from the Kickstarter backers! Brokeback Multiplex? Multiplex Strikes Back? You decide!

(Not final art — obviously, with the last one

(Not final art — I mean, obviously, with the last one)

But I don’t have Book One or Two!

Book One is nearly sold out, but there is a (very!) limited number available at some reward levels, and I have a second printing of the book as a stretch goal. Book Two is available in some of the reward packages, as well.

Many of the reward levels also include the Chapter eBooks of Books One and Two, as well.

I plan to use BackerKit to allow backers to upgrade their rewards packages even after the funding period ends and for “add-ons” — but those orders don’t contribute toward the funding goal, and they won’t open up until after the project has been successfully funded (if it is funded).

What if I already own too many things, maaan?

Now, if you’re not interested in having the printed book, you can also read all the new stuff by pledging to receive the eBook collections (which, personally, I love reading on my tablet in ultra-high resolution) or back the Patreon project instead — although that doesn’t contribute toward the funding goal.

Other ways to support the strip and the book project

The Patreon is an ongoing subscription for the ongoing production of the comic strip. It currently raises roughly $600 a month after fees and such, so while those funds are ostensibly for the comic strip, it still lowers the amount of money I need to work on the book (that is, to pay my rent and bills so that I can work on the book instead of freelance work). I’d rather work on Multiplex than do most of that freelance stuff. You’d rather read Multiplex. Win/win, right?

All funds raised by the Kickstarter will be used  for the production of the print collections and the various Kickstarter rewards (including “hiring” myself for the time to create and fulfill everything). If you want to support the comic but aren’t super keen on the monthly patronage thing (which I totally understand), supporting the Kickstarter project is a great way to make a one-time contribution.

Patreon patrons will have access to all the bonus comics for Book Three that Kickstarter backers do through the Patreon Activity Stream, so unless they want to get the printed book — or just want to chip in a little extra money to make sure the book series continues, there’s no reason to contribute to both.

If you’re allergic to Kickstarter, BackerKit will also facilitate pre-orders for non-backers — but again, those orders don’t contribute toward the funding goal. For Patreon patrons: I don’t yet know whether BackerKit supports coupon codes (all Patreon patrons at the $3 level and up get Multiplex Store discounts), but I’ll figure it out when the time comes.

Finally, if money is tight, you can still help by telling your friends about the books and the Kickstarter project! It all helps me, and that means more Multiplex for you.

Did I mention again that Multiplex is ten years old this month?

Well, it is!

Thank you for your continued support!

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