Winter of 2001, a pile of sketchbook scattered in the couch in the basement of my mother’s home , i sat down in front of the fireplace, picked a new sketchbook and tried drawing my online D&D game from the perspective of one of the character. I sketched a page with background for the very first time, scanned it , dumped it into photoshop 5 and put text over each panels. With smileys, yes with smileys… It was not a good RP game really, nor was the story particularly interesting , and my art skill abysmal. I had no plan, no experience and the internet was a different beast at the time. But i had something very important: Time and the desire to get better at the craft. Before the era of youtube, social medias, artstation– there was Elfwood. Places like Tripods and geocities were still valid ways of putting web sites up! As for the webcomic scenes? There were a few already around, but finding the right one was an achievement of its own. There were keenspace, and keenspot, both requiring approval to be hosted so i’ve put it on my own site. Coding the thing myself as i started college to become a programmer, this too was of questionable quality and would be hacked many times in the years after. I think, i was very surprised back then to see this little thing gain tractions. Watching the visitor counter(FF tactic themed!) go up at school every day. Perhaps because Drow were a new popular thing and i was trying to give them their own point of view, or maybe i got lucky in a very small budding space. The oekaki craze of the later 2001 being a proof of that as there were many artists on the site already drawing using that online art app. I’ve networked with many artists, promoted the comic , started daydream, finished my year of programming college and then got a job offer —
I sat down with my sister in the kitchen of our mother’s home and we discussed. Go to someone’s basement and work as a programmer, using the knowledge i gained with PHP and html to do maintain his sale web site. Or continue with this webcomic thing. Big life choice’s in retrospect, two branching path to two very different lives. I chose the comic. I would be eventually let go of my internship and focused entirely on DT. It became clear even then that the whole story had to be restarted away from D&D and become it’s own thing. 2003 came and the remake process begun. Drawing two different chapters at the same time, juggling new chapters and remakes ending with this mess of start for DT that we had! Chapter 9 now being the oldest at 2003 , in the archive, While chapter 10 was the oldest to have retained its original text. I still remember that feeling of wishing to do something like Berserk for that chapter, and pushing myself for it. Even now, i don’t stand a chance to reach the knees of Miura’s art. Still, passion and inspiration has its own value. 2005 came, i met my wife to be, Kite, we partnered up , founded a studio , turned it into a legit business , brought a house, and the rest is many years together, side by side, working, growing as people. And much older! Sadly the cat that joined us on this adventure passed last year, i so wish Neige would still be with us. I remember her wandering among the many boxes of printed books of our earlier chapters. And the excitement of sending hundred of packages for them. We did cons tour, made speeches on stage, built kiosks, met comic books shop owners and had our books our display of store. It was a time for dreaming of crazy futures. But after the turn of 2011 things started to downscale instead of growing and we had to begin cutting down on our many , too many, projects. Letting go one person at a time that had joined us in this dream. Till 2020 and knowing DT’s end was around the corner. 2 years to wrap up a story sounds like a huge amount of time but for the only 2 of us left and this huge ball of plot threads, it was a colossal task! Especially on Kite. It felt like being back in time somehow for me, as i was juggling DT’s final chapters while trying to develop the style, skill and world setting for what came after. Now its 2022 and the epilogues are complete, the last page has gone up and the book is closed! Farewell to Naal, and Kiel, my babies whom i’ve known for many years were splintering to our friends’ world settings and other creations. This left me with only Hel in my hands. And that Hel is ready to go live, just like DT did in 2001. But the internet is so different now and comics are by the ten of thousands with new platforms and technologies far beyond what i could have dreamed to code back then. It feels like climbing up on my roof to shout “Its ready!” and notice that I’m surrounded by skyscrapers.
I hope, that somehow, i will find people for whom this story will resonate for them.
A story well planned from the start, built on years of experience, a continuity of the world upon a new continent that will feel like a new world yet retains some basic laws that readers of old will feel familiar with. Optimized for the devices people use to read comics nowadays. With a mirror copy of the story on webtoon, a new territory to see if we can reach a new audience. I fear it may be a too crowded already to make be noticed but i must keep hope.
Hope, and hard work. 2001 and 2022 is the same in that manner. So lets get to work! I’ve a lot to do by friday.