Xemnas (A Sketch)

Yes, I finally got a copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 and started playing it recently. (Don’t spoil anything! I’m still only one world into the game).

Kingdom Hearts is a game series I have a lot of fondness for in my heart, despite all of its issues. It was the series that convinced my teenage self that video games could be an art form because it prompted SO MANY FEELINGS (instead of just rage and frustration at the mechanics of whatever game I was playing).

This was the series that helped me get through high school. Not just because of its cool game-play or its silly character moments, but also because of the fandom.

Yes, I was one of those fans who giggled at the idea of rearranging Xemnas’ name into “Mansex.” Who loved all the crack comics comparing Saix to a puppy and having Demyx and Roxas use a laser pointer to torture him. I even devoured so many hours of a video series called “The Stupid Files” where a fan with a LOT of time on their hands spliced comedic audio samples over Kingdom Hearts cutscene footage. It was like a precursor to all the abridged anime series’ out now.

But.

Kingdom Hearts as a game series has a LOT of issues. I am not a fan of the fact that the spin-off titles, or “interquels,” change the core mechanics of the gameplay. I did not like the card system of Chain of Memories, but I ESPECIALLY hated the Tetris-inventory mechanics of 358/2 Days. I could not finish either of those games because of those gameplay mechanics.

As a fan of the series, I feel like a lot of those in-between games could have just been made into movies and be JUST as effective. Most fans of Kingdom Hearts I know only ever watch the cutscenes of the side games and play just the anchor games (the anchors being games 1, 2, and now 3).

That’s the thing that being a fan of Kingdom Hearts has taught me: that you don’t have to consume EVERY FACET of a property to be a big dork for the thing.

I will never play the interquel games. At most, I will watch the cutscenes. Heck, you can watch videos on YouTube summarizing the lore of Kingdom Hearts so far and – ta-da – you’re now caught up to the series without having to touch any of the crap side games.

(358/2 Days, why did you have to SUCK?)

That said, I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts 3 so far – on Proud mode! I haven’t touched a new video game in 13 years and I can play Kingdom Hearts 3 on Proud Mode without dying. That…actually might be more a statement on the game’s difficulty than on my expertise. But that aside…

Playing Kingdom Hearts 3 reminded me why I love this game series in the first place. It’s fun to play (at least the anchor games are). The characters are stilted but they’re still fun. The dialogue is cheesy but it works. And GOOD GOLLY JEEZ, the fact that you can play as a character interacting in Disney worlds is great. I’m looking forward to the Toy Story world the most because those were some of my favorite movies as a kid.

It’s a game series made for people who are young at heart, who need a little light to combat all the cynicism and self-awareness that the video game industry is saturated in. And thank goodness for that.

That’s all I’m going to write for now. I could talk for days about this series.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Punks, Comics, and Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh

pittsburgh sketches

This was a surprisingly long weekend, even though it was only two days. I had multiple stops over the two-day span, which is why.

The first stop was Copacetic Comics Company, on Dobson Street in Pittsburgh. I was worried that I would have to pay for parking (because city life), but I found a space around the corner.

A while back I had called Copacetic to ask some questions about author appearances and consignments, and somehow I forgot that Bill (the man on the phone) said the store was on the 3rd floor of the building. So I was a bit surprised to see Kaibur Coffee on the ground floor. I had to approach the building to be sure I found the right space.

Turns out – yep, I found it. So I went up the narrow blue staircase, past posters of indie bands, local theater productions, and guest lectures, and found THIS:

Continue reading “Punks, Comics, and Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh”

Black Friday Warm-Up Sketch

owl deity warm up sketch art

It’s Black Friday, but I have no special announcements to make. So instead here’s a warm-up sketch I did this morning.

She doesn’t have a name yet. Feel free to suggest one in the comments.

Witches: The Sketchbook Looking for KickStarter Funding

“Hold on a second,” you might be thinking. “You just had a KickStarter campaign, and you’re running another one so soon?”

Yes – the previous KickStarter was to get funding for Validation buttons, to have something for sale at conventions. That KickStarter ran in June for a week and raised just a little over $800 (holy banana pants!). Since that campaign was so short, the rewards were not super hard to fulfill. In fact, all the rewards for the backers are taken care of for that campaign.

I like to make sure loose ends are tied up before moving to the next KickStarter, thank you.

So, with previous campaigns taken care of, I’ve launched a new one: Witches: The Sketchbook is looking for $500 to get its first print-run going.

Witches: The Sketchbook is a compilation of sketches I made during Inktober, featuring nothing but witches. Why? Well, in promotional posts on KickStarter I say “because I love witches” and leave it at that. But there’s a little more to it than that.

The reason I drew witches is not just out of a fascination for them, but because as a Pagan person, I like seeing witches of all stripes and backgrounds. There’s not much representation of witches, Wiccas, neo-pagans, or the other branches of Paganism in art unless they’re super-sexy or the Macbeth variety of wrinkled cautionary witches.

I wanted to see something different – witches rooted in the old Gaelic traditions, witches of African descent, witches that could spring from old lore, modern-day witches, and witches of other backgrounds. And my method is usually, “Huh. I can’t seem to find anything like that. Time to draw it myself!”

There was also the desire to have a book of character designs and concept art, because I love those types of books and wanted to make one of my own. And a book of witch concepts is a good place to start, I think.

The KickStarter is still running – in fact, it has 11 days left in the campaign and ends on November 21st. Check it out and see what you would like. (Also there’s a ton of original sketches left to claim and they’re priced reasonably well, so be sure to get those before they run out).

If you can pledge, that’s fantastic! If you’re broke, please share the link with your friends. Every bit helps.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.