layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Before getting into the annotated Raven's Children, I figured I'd make this post to link back to, with some introductory information and a set of standard warnings.

In case you missed the first Raven's Children introductory post or don't wish to read it, the important things to be aware of are these:

Raven's Children is a series of self-published minicomics, plus one final web-only chapter, that I worked on from 2000-2005. It contains mature content (graphic violence, profanity and nudity) as well as material that may be triggering to some (sexual violence, child abuse, animal harm, and in-universe racism and sexism). There isn't really an ending; the story stops at the end of the first story arc, without much resolution, and probably will never be continued. Also, the series clearly demonstrates my learning process as I got the hang of writing and drawing a comic, so the early material is pretty rough and it gets better as it goes along.

I will be talking about my own creative process and the flaws that I now see in the series, including some unconscious racism and sexism on my part. However, this is open to interpretation -- I don't mean to invalidate the experience of those who read the series and liked it! Questions, disagreement and vigorous discussion/debate are encouraged. Also, as I go along, if you feel that I should add anything to this warning post, please let me know.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
The last in my series of backstory posts for Raven's Children is going to be more of a definition post. I'm going to be talking about cultural appropriation quite a bit as I go through the series, so I thought it would be a good idea to start out with some basic information and definitions.

Explanation and links under the cut )

And that's it for the introduction posts! Posting of actual pages starts tomorrow.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
In the previous two posts, I talked a little about the Raven Tribe and Fivemoon. Now things get interesting. (Well, for certain values of interesting.)

Up to 1999 or 2000, these were completely separate stories in separate worlds. Fivemoon, as noted before, was the setting for several unfinished fantasy novels. The Raven Tribe's story was slated to be a comic, and I had an adventure/exploration/quest story mapped out in rough strokes.

When I started seriously looking at getting my Raven Tribe story underway, I decided to combine them. At this point, more than a decade later, I don't remember why, although my guess would be that I didn't want all the world-building that I'd done on Fivemoon to go to waste. At that point, the Raven Tribe had been developed in a lot of detail (one might say absurd detail, looking at all my ridiculously detailed family trees and lists of tribe members from 30 years before the story takes place and so forth). However, the rest of the world wasn't really developed at all. I had a couple of characters from other cultures and a vague idea that there some sort of medieval-ish empire, and that was about it. In Fivemoon, I had tons of different cultures to choose from, all of them well fleshed out, so I decided to transplant the Raven Tribe there.

Day 3: Merging the two )
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
This is part 2 in a series of posts on the history of Raven's Children. As mentioned in the last post, these are entirely skippable; when I get into the commentary on RC pages, I will be linking back to the pertinent posts as necessary.

In the last post, I mentioned that I spent a lot of time coming up with little tribal societies when I was a kid. Aside from that, I also enjoyed making up planets, just for worldbuilding kicks. Some were more scifi-ish, some were more in a fantasy vein. Some of them resembled Earth in most ways (the Raven Tribe's world was one of these), while others were built whole-cloth from the ground up, with mostly made-up plants and animals.

The main one of these that I worked on in my later teen years was Fivemoon. When I did the wholesale reworking of the Raven Tribe in 2000 that resulted in the current version of Raven's Children, I transplanted them from their geographically Asia-like, never-quite-described-in-detail world into Fivemoon, because I had done such a tremendous amount of worldbuilding on Fivemoon and had maps and cultures and everything, so I didn't have to reinvent the wheel. However, this turned out to be not the brightest idea, because some aspects of the two worlds didn't mesh well at all. That'll be discussed in tomorrow's post.

Meanwhile ... Fivemoon.

Day 2: Fivemoon )

Tomorrow: putting it all together and trying not to make a mess!
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
I'm going to start posting the annotated Raven's Children on Friday. In the meantime, I'll lead up to that with a series of information posts on the background of the series. These are entirely skippable, although they will be helpful when I get around to talking about certain aspects of the comic in the page-by-page commentary. The idea is to organize all my backstory information into manageable chunks, rather than dumping 4000 words of it on you when it becomes relevant.

I realize that this is slightly backwards, because most of you aren't even going to be interested in any of this until I provide context for it (in the form of pages). *apologetic grin* But there's no way I can do this that isn't going to involve infodumping on you at some point. And pulling all of this together has turned out to be very useful for me in getting my thoughts in order before I start posting.

This week's posting schedule:
Monday (today): the history of the Raven Tribe
Tuesday: Fivemoon
Wednesday: putting them together
Thursday: cultural appropriation and borrowing (definitions, etc)
Friday: first RC page

Day 1: the Raven Tribe )

Tomorrow: Fivemoon!
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Continuing onwards with my introductory posts to my creative projects:

Raven's Children is a series of copied-and-stapled minicomics that I produced and sold from 2000-2003 (plus a final, online-only chapter in 2005 to complete the story arc). I collected them into two graphic novels, "Shadow of the Snow Fox" and "Dogs of War". Both are now out of print, although by "out of print" I actually mean, "In fact, I still have several boxes of them, but I think selling them would do my career more harm than good at this point."

Raven's Children was the result of me realizing that I could spend my whole life fantasizing about making comics, or I could just get out there and do it. So I got out there and did it. It's a massively ambitious, massively flawed project. The amount of improvement in my ability to visually tell a story, from Issue #1 to Issue #13 (the last one) is absolutely staggering. But the story also went completely off the rails in the process. There is a lot about RC that I'm proud of, and a lot that I'm embarrassed about now, and a few things that I'm ashamed of.

Starting in (probably) April 2012, I'm going to begin serializing the old RC pages, with commentary: what I think worked, what I think didn't work, and all the things I've learned in the 12 years since I started it. It'll be a good opportunity to talk about writing and the creative process, as well as to do something useful with my huge backlog of RC pages (about 300 of them, not to mention vast quantities of sketches, promo art, covers, parodies and so forth).

A little more about the project under the cut )

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Layla

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