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#496: What Dreams May Come, Part Four

August 4, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #493: What Dreams May Come, Part One; #494: What Dreams May Come, Part Two; #495: What Dreams May Come, Part Three

Don't forget that there are THREE STRIPS this week, so I'll see you on Friday, with the conclusion of this arc, more or less.

WARNING: The blathering below might be spoilery about Inception to some sensitive types, even though I don't get very specific at all. See it already. It's good, clean fun.

When I come up with the characters' opinions about a movie, I have a few resources: my opinion, my friends' opinions (hi, Peter!), and the asshole of the universe… a.k.a. the internet. 

Reading comments on the internet about movies like Inception gives me a freakin' headache, because you end up with everybody crapping out their theories and "evidence" (many of which are factually flawed) and half the people insulting anybody who disagrees with them — or simply didn't like the movie — by saying they "didn't understand it." ugh

For instance, two details often raised as "proof" that the ending was still in a dream: the children at the end of the movie are neither the same age, or in the same clothing. They're played by different kids and identified as two years older than the other (dreamed) appearances in the movie, and the costume designer has confirmed that they were wearing different clothes.

I (and Jason, who usually — not always — shares my opinions about films) are in the minority here, it seems, but as much as I liked it (I've seen it twice) I felt that it was a pretty straightforward movie. My "interpretation" is that the whole movie is utterly face value. Other than the opening, which flashes forward to Cobb's second time in Limbo, the entire story is completely linear — even when they're jumping in and out of dreams and going up and down dream "levels," or whatever. And the "ambiguous" ending is really cut and dry if you understand that tops that spin infinitely do not wobble because of physics.

Yes, it's a dream, but they previously showed the top spinning infinitely and it never wavered. To say it's still a dream even though it wobbled requires some other explanation about why the totem…

GAH. I don't even like talking about this stuff. The big question of "was the whole movie a dream?!" to me is just… well, frankly, it's annoying to me, because honestly, if Inception isn't straightforward — if the events as we see them and as the characters explain (a bit too much) to us throughout the entire movie — then I like it less, because it's one thing to misdirect and then have a reveal, or to have an ambiguous ending — neither of which I think Inception does — and it's another to waste an audience's time with utter bullshit. That's simply not good storytelling (to me), and I don't think Christopher Nolan is a gimmicky bullshit director.

If you give me a puzzle, I want enough pieces there that I can make some sense of it — like in the time travel mindfuck Primer, for instance, which I've also seen twice and still am not totally sure what happened (because they don't show you all of the pieces of the puzzle). And it's brilliant.

Don't give me a jumble of cardboard and pretend it's a puzzle — I'm looking at you, Donnie Darko. I enjoyed you while I watched you, but you don't make a goddamn bit of sense. I don't care about the endless theories of time warps that were on the website or whatever; if it's that crucial to the story, it should be in the freakin' movie.

So yeah: Inception. Lots of fun. The zero G hotel fight was fantastic. It's also not at all hard to follow, complicated, or ambiguous. And if you really want to make it out to be more complicated than that, go right ahead, but… seriously. Why make life harder on yourself than it needs to be?

(By the way, if you disagree about any of this, feel free to pop into the forum and tell me why — but keep it polite, or I will punch you in the throat.)


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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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