Monday, December 25, 2023

No New Chapter, But Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Hello, friends,

I’m writing to you today on what is still technically Christmas Day for me (even if it’s 1:20 AM when I started - I have a late night schedule).  I want to start by wishing you all a happy holiday, whatever you might celebrate - even if you don’t celebrate anything.

Divinity knows we need happy days in these trying times.

As you are no doubt aware by now, I don’t have a new comic for you this Christmas.  This is the first Christmas since 2019 that I didn’t get a comic out, breaking what would have been a five-year streak.  I’m really sad about that, but I’m also not in a position to really do much about that.

At the end of this post I’m gonna make a small little ask of you.  It won’t cost you more than a minute of your time, but if you’re a big Alleron fan, do read this.  Consider it my honest reflections on where the comic lies.  No worries - it certainly isn’t going to disappear forever. It just means there's a lot going on in my life that kept me from getting this done.

And not for entirely negative reasons!

Let me explain myself.

After all, this is the first year since 2017 I’ve gotten a novel out (it’s the finale to the Physics Incarnate world, but it works great for newcomers, too!) - and the first year since 2020 I’ve put out any kind of official publication.  It’s the first novel I’ve worked with an editor for, and I think that good work is evident in the text.

It’s dedicated to my father.  It took a lot of work and time, especially in the last few months.  Work on it only ended around December 3rd, and it came out December 15th.  And around that time I really wanted to get something together for Alleron, even if it was just a tiny tack-on to the story as a promotion for the book coming out.

…Which is right around when my family and I had our latest bout with CoVID, so I couldn’t really do much of anything to get a last-minute comic together.  In fact, I still don’t feel entirely great, though that might just be some other ailment kicking my rear end.

So, the formula is: Novel + Coronavirus + Other illness and physical injury + mourning the second anniversary of my dad’s passing while cleaning out and preparing to sell the house I grew up in = No new chapter.

…I may have left out a minor Baldur’s Gate 3 addiction, but that's a big enough list already, right.

But What If You’re Just Here For Alleron?

So here’s where I discuss the future of the comic.

In my head, I have a story.  I have a few different paths and/or orders the story can take place.  For example, do I want to do the tournament/training arc now, or an at-sea arc where the characters are on boats for their journey back to Bluefield?  I’m leaning towards an at-sea arc, since that might be more doable with my current situation.

I don’t want to build gigantic Lego sets to eventually have to move houses (Our situation is a medium-term one at this time, which isn’t bad, it’s just medium-term, 2-5 years) and have to transport them either piecemeal or collectively.  I’ve seen far too many sets get destroyed beyond repair to want to go through that work.

For instance: Building the entire Lion Knights’ Castle only to have it broken beyond repair is not on my list of things I want to do.

Furthermore, I’m spatially constrained in a relatively small house, which leads to the appeal of an at-sea arc - I just lay down a blue blanket to be the ocean and put Lego boats on top of it.  Boom.  Sea arc.  Easy with some camera trickery.

But I’d still need to basically build a shoreline scene or two, somehow - though that, at least, could be ditched once the setting is no longer necessary.

But Can I Do All Of This…?

I honestly, genuinely don’t know.

In the short term, maybe even the medium term, yes.  I can build a shoreline.  I have most of the bricks I’d need, I have some little boat sets, and with the right formula - That is, “Comfy Chair” plus “Pain Meds” plus “Heating Pad For Spine” plus “Space to work” - I could put that together.

But ultimately I’m afraid that my artistic capabilities are not going to live up to my artistic vision.

I’d love to do a hand-drawn comic, but with a fine motor skill impairment that makes building Lego bad enough, I don’t think my art would do well enough.  And, no, I believe AI “art” is more like theft since it’s trained on a database collected without the artists’ consent, so that’s not an option.

I kind of tested the waters with commissioning an artist (Frosty’s work is here), and I’m sure I could find an artist I could work with, but that money has to come from somewhere - and it doesn’t come from this comic.

I’d also probably want to legally incorporate something or another if I were to hire an artist for such an expansive task.  In all likelihood, I’d need to hire more than one person for a project like that.  It’s basically starting a whole new “branch” to my business of creativity, and that would require some legal protections for everyone involved, including real, lawyer-drafted employment contracts.

And…The comic’s readership hasn’t justified that investment, thusfar.  Chapter 59 was about 2.5x longer than most chapters, it came out on October 8th and it only garnered 46 views in over two months.  Frosty’s hard work (Seriously it's awesome) only got 44 views.  Chapter 54 is the last one to break 100 views (though 57 is at 95 views).

And those are just, “This person or web-crawler bot clicked on and peeked at the site,” not “This person read it and really engaged with the material” indicators.  They don’t tell me who is engaged and who is just peeking in and turning away.  And, lately, the stats have been suggesting that more people are turning away than are engaging.

So, Then…Now What? What's The Ask?

But maybe analytics are off.  Maybe you’re reading this and you think, “Wow, I’m here!  I want to see more!”  And, if so, first of all, thank you.  From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for reading something I’ve created.

Second, here’s my ask:  “Really cheer this project on!”

All I’d ask you to do is to share the comic’s first chapter on social media, or with your friends, or whatever.  When applicable, tag me on whatever socials you use (I’m usually @JPohlmanWriting), and I’ll let you know you’ve been seen.  I’ll even honor whatever counter-requests you have.

But, as for the plan?  Basically:  Initiate them into the story you love.

Chronicles Of Alleron, at least in its current form, is free and always will be.  If it’s made into a hand-drawn comic adaptation where I hire an artist, well, that might be something I charge for.  And Lego is a passion of mine since childhood.  I love telling stories using Lego as a medium!  But when life is overwhelming I have to manage my resources somehow, and this year, Alleron just wasn’t able to fit in.

I’m sorry to those of you who were looking forward to a new strip this year.  I’m sorry I just couldn’t get that done.

But if you, dear reader, show me you’re interested in seeing more of the comic, then I’ll go out of my way to make it happen.

If I’m shouting into a void, well…I’ve honestly got to save my breath a little, these days.

Let me know.

My warmest regards,

And my deepest love,

–Jesse Pohlman

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Chapter 59: Three Scenes

Previously: Chapter 58 - A Brief Respite | Next:  Coming Soon!

                                       The Author, Jesse Pohlman's Website! Jesse Pohlman's Patreon!


And, so, Chapter 59 is complete!  I know it's really late, but it's also extra-long, so I hope that makes up for the delay.  I hope you find the character and plot developments worth it.

In this chapter, I focused on three of our main storylines:  Samuel's quest to gain control over his Balancer abilities; Victoria's quest to gain significant progress in her career; and Habbo & Goldhook's pursuit of their own pirate-y justice.

Also, we've finally established the formal tie between Goldhook and Merryweather, who I suspect will play an important part in future events.

As far as future storylines go, I have ideas, but none of them are quite fully baked.  I know I'd sort of promised that I'd try to get six bimonthly chapters out, this year.  I know that's pretty much shot, but I'm hoping to get one more done for Christmas (to keep up with our pseudo tradition). I just don't exactly know the best way to do it, and/or if I have to build any scenery to make it work.  I think I might, and if not, it'll definitely be necessary for the ones after that.

I sometimes feel as though I'm reaching the limits of what I can do with Lego as the literal building blocks for this comic.  I feel like I repeated the use of a lot of the images I took for this one, and that maybe if I had known how expansive the dialogue was going to get, I'd have taken a few more poses into consideration.  The conversation just kind of happened as I drafted panel after panel.

I don't know.  I have ideas, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment.  Let me know what you think of the story so far!  Comments are creator-fuel.

Also, one more time:  Check out "Gurubunder's Challenge" by Frosty.  He's an amazing artist, and could use commissions.

Previously: Chapter 58 - A Brief Respite | Next:  Coming Soon!

                                       The Author, Jesse Pohlman's Website! Jesse Pohlman's Patreon!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

No New Comic - It's Been A While! Here's A Quick Progress Update!

 Hey folks,

I hope you've been doing well.  It's been a while since I posted Frosty's take on King Gurubunder challenging Prince Darius, but I wanted to give you a little update.

Basically, I've just been having a hard time getting outside to take pictures.  It's been, you know, kind of very hot.  And I've been unfortunately busy with family issues, and while everything is okay it's just been time consuming and draining.

So here's where we stand:

I have a bunch of pictures taken.  I plan to make them into a chapter as soon as I can, but this may take a bit.  It should be a little longer than previous ones, and it should work through some worldbuilding as well as character development.

We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Commissioned Artwork: "Gurubunder's Challenge" by Frosty

 Hey all,

No chapter today, but I commissioned this wonderful piece, made by Frosty (@Icy_Melancholia on Twitter), and now that Chapter 58 has hit 50 people, I'm sharing it with the world.  I chose this panel because it's the note I chose to end Chapter 52.  As those of you who read closely no doubt remember, my father died on December 3rd, 2021; Chapter 52 came out just a few weeks later.  In vibe that resonated from the change in my life circumstances, Gurubunder broke out the magic of his ancestors and changed Prince Darius' situation up.

This is something like what I envision existing, some day.  Maybe I'll commission a few more scenes for future chapter milestones?

...Maybe I'll look into collaborating with someone on a whole comic, sorta like a One Punch Man deal w/ONE writing and storyboarding and Yusuke Murata drawing?

Things that make you go:  Hmmmm.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Chapter 58: A Brief Respite

Also:  Check out "Gurubunder's Challenge" by Frosty.  He's an amazing artist, and could use commissions.

Hello again!

I hope you've enjoyed reading Chapter 58 of Chronicles Of Alleron.  Thank you for checking the comic out!  We're officially in a transition between two arcs of the story, wherein we're planning to start a new one.  At this point, I'm less writing with an outline and more just writing with a curiosity for whatever's gonna happen next.  I know we are approaching a tournament arc, but I don't know if I want to sow some plot seeds in advance of that.  I have...Ideas.

So what else is going on in the story?  Are Habbo and Goldhook paranoid?  Is Darius right to trust Samuel?  Did Victoria give Goldhook half a heart attack?  And why is Darius so interested in Goldhook's wife?

Sooner or later I'm going to upload a Lego Build Log for one of the boats that're gonna take the characters back to Bluefield.  I just need to splice it together.

Otherwise, if you want to support this project, check out my Patreon!.  I have a lot of stuff that I'm working on, and any help is surely appreciated.  You'll be seeing some of it soon!