Muskrat Ramblings
Army of Dorkness…welcome ALINA PEET
posted by John

Today’s Dork Tower? It’s not a “guest strip,” per se. It’s a teaser, perhaps. An amuse-bouche. It’s…it’s…

…hum. How to explain?

Because, honestly, this is important. But, um, the explanation is lengthy.

Yet worth it.

Sooooo worth it.

Seated comfortably? OK. Here we go.

As everybody here is more than aware, I have too much on my plate. FAR too much.

Hell, my plate is piled higher than most of those seen leaving the buffet line of Ponderosa.

A couple of months ago, I made a list of all the major projects I was involved with this year. These ranged from the My Little Cthulhu and Mythos Buddies lines at Dreamland Toyworks (which have become major hits in the vinyl toy world, and have taken on a life of their own), to the re-launch of the Dork Tower and Dr. Blink comic books (progressing well, but a TON of work), to my Munchkin contributions (huge amount of time needed on this – 3,000 cards and counting, so far), to my continued co-ownership of Out of the Box Games (Apples to Apples was only the beginning), to the Dork Tower web strip, to Dork Tower, Dr. Blink and gaming stuff going on in Hollywood (trust me – FAR less glamorous and FAR more of a time-suck than you could possibly imagine), to Kobolds Ate My Babies new hotness, various freelance games and illustrations (I have learned how to say “no” FAR more often, these days), to my paintings, to convention appearances, to my own game creations (“ROFL,” “Person to Person,” etc.) to…to…well, honestly, to SPENDING AS MUCH TIME AS I CAN WITH MY TWO-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER AND WIFE WHOM I ADORE!

Well, you get the idea.

Anyway, ever since the holidays, I’ve been meaning to get ahead of the game, but more and more, it feels like I’m treading water, at best. AT BEST!

And then you may have noticed, a bit of news hit Madison, Wisconsin. Just half a block from my studio, huge demonstrations raged. My concentration was – at best – spotty, and my mind was elsewhere. I kept up with the basic, important deadlines, but others were not given the attention they deserved.

And I do NOT enjoy doing anything other than my best work. And by “not enjoy,” I mean “hate.” Hate, hate, HATE. It eats me up inside.

Something had to give.

Essentially, it came down to this: which do I want to do MORE – Dork Tower COMIC BOOKS, or Dork Tower WEBSTRIPS. In my heart of hearts, of course, I wanted to do BOTH. But that’s simply not a possibility anymore. Not if I want to do my best work. Choose one, John. Just one.

In stepped Alina Peet, the brilliant Canadian cartoonist who’s the mind behind Weregeek.

I first met Alina at a convention in Montana a couple of years ago, and we hit it off like a house on fire. I think she’s talented and hilarious, and truly one of the brightest, hardest-working web cartoonists today.

Alina already ran a guest-week’s worth of strips on Dork Tower a year ago, and the reaction was great. So I asked her, a while ago, if she’d like to fill in on the Dork Tower web strips more frequently. She (foolish woman) appeared all too eager. And a few more series ran. A couple of which folks didn’t even notice were “guest strips.”

ANY-hoo, last Summer, Alina came through Madison on her ay to GenCon, and we got to hang out a bit. And we got to drink a bit more. And it was after several such drinks (doesn’t it always happen that way?) that the the GERM of an idea hit me: if I’ve got to give up something, why not just pass that something on to someone I admire? Someone who’d be not just a caretaker, but who could push the work forward?

I suppose I always knew Alina Peet was such a person. But damn if it didn’t take some Tullamore Dew to get me to thinking about something – I’m not kidding – I may otherwise have been to scared to even think about. Thinking…then talking about it. With Alina.

I asked Alina to take over the Dork Tower webcomic.

And (after some hemming and hawing, and, frankly, more than a few financial negotiations, and months and MONTHS of back and forths – but, for the sake of storytelling, let’s say “immediately”), she said “yes.” (Fortunately, we were BOTH more sober when the financial matters and co-ownership were being discussed.)

The scheming, then, started almost nine months ago. The planning’s been a LOT more complicated than ever I’d have imagined it to be, but it was all amicable. And, in the end, we can finally announce it:

As of Monday, April 4, Alina Peet will be the cartoonist and writer behind http://www.dorktower.com – the Dork Tower web strip.

It’s taken Alina MONTHS to draw the basic characters in what is essentially my “style” (or lack thereof): to the point where she can capture my characters as well as I can. But as you can see from today’s strip, she’s done it brilliantly.

I’ll still dabble in the web strips from time to time, of course, but these forays will be EXCEPTIONS, rather than the rules. I’ll be a guest-artist in my own creation. Let me make this clear: Dork Tower, as a series on the web, is, as of next Monday, Alina’s baby.

We’ll be talking often – more often even than we already do now, believe it or not – to keep storylines consistent between the comic books and the web strips. And, yes, given Alina’s incredibly important contribution to the Dork Tower universe (hey, it’s better than “Dorkverse” or “Kovalicverse”), she’ll become a minority co-owner of Dork Tower, as well as Dork Storm Press and Shetland Productions. She’ll also be a majority co-owner of anything NEW she creates for the IP (all of which I must approve of, beforehand – HEY! I’m still the head honcho in the land of Dork).

And, NO, her Dork Towers won’t be Werewolf-based, if today’s “transition” strip gives you pause. As I mentioned: today’s just a teaser. Expect Dork Towers full of classic Matt, Igor, Ken, Carson and Gilly, the Perky Goth. Classic situations, classic resolutions, and…HEY! Hey! Did he just say…?

YES! GILLY IS COMING BACK! AND SOON! Thank-you, Alina!

In the coming weeks, we’ll both be posting more about our basic agreement. But I have to say, no matter how hard it is to hand your baby over to someone else (and trust me, it is very, VERY hard), there’s NOBODY I’d rather hve doing this than Alina Peet.

Realizing you can’t do everything by yourself is hard. Realizing you have someone like Alina in your corner is utterly wonderful.

Do check out Alina’s prior work, Weregeek, if you can. In fact, I urge you to. She’s astounding, and I’m excited about what she’ll be bringing to Dork Tower. We’ve talked through many of her ideeas, already. And They. Are. ASTONISHINGLY FUNNY.

So, please, Army of Dorkness, join me in welcoming Alina Peet to the fold. Alina Peet. You know. The Dork Tower web cartoonist, starting Monday, April 4.

You know…three days from TODAY… APRIL FIRST.

AKA: April Fool’s Day.

Muskrat out,

====== John

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