Along for the ride....

Along for the ride....

Postby Jaydub on Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:11 am

RH, you have had us in the back seat all along and have we have enjoyed the ride. Just keep up the good work and watch out for those darn speed bumps...
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Postby Madmoonie on Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:22 am

I don't know about ya'll but I am rather interested on this will go. Best of luck, RH. Onward and upward.
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Postby Rangers on Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:54 am

I anticipate there'll be a fair amount for me to learn on the journey as well, so I'm in!
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Postby Fusion on Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:59 am

One ticket to where ever he's headed please!

Good luck RH!
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Postby Jwrebholz on Sat Nov 04, 2006 8:21 am

My advice--watch the road, not the mirror.
^ the above was me sounding like I know WTF I'm talking about.
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Postby The JAM on Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:40 pm

[...unWARP!!!]

Good evening.


Ralph, let me ask you this:

Do you enjoy your work?
Do you truly enjoy churning out strip after strip, and have you enjoyed doing so all this time? I saw every bit of the Uber CD, and I was impressed by all the effort you put into it.
But do you yourself find it fulfilling?
I don't know what I would give to have 2/3 the talent you have (I won't say half because people tell me I'm already a good writer ;) ) and you really don't know how much I would like to see just ONE of my stories/fanfics in comic form, so I've resigned myself to enjoying your great work, your hilarious storylines, and your uncanny wit to pick on the liberals.

Now you throw us this.

Will these be more or less a cathartic work for you? Are these new strips basically just a way to vent for you?

Now, that in itself is not a bad idea. I'm basically a very quiet person, and I can express myself better through writing than through speech. Perhaps you can express yourself better through drawing than through other means (and also, you can't exactly lose your temper when drawing a strip), but as you do these, I'll ask that YOU also read your own strips. Reading back my own stories, sometimes I surprise myself with what I said, what I thought I said, and what I thought what was I wanted to say.

That could help you see where you've come from and regain your bearings. And don't forget, you also have your own parents, your pastor, and (hopefully) your church has councelors that can look over you and help you along with what you're doing.

You also have quite a few fellow brothers and sisters here on these forums to help you out, should you need to discuss matters you need (and perhaps take a break or two from politics). I myself am a teacher at our church, and I've helped counsel other members (some have been in hospitals, and some are kids, but you'd be surprised at what the kids tell me). Sure, I'm not an American, but given that we both believe in Yeshua as the Mashiach, we might as well start getting along now because we, and quite a few of those here, (hopefully) will be together for quite a long time in the Next World.

I'm on AIM, ICQ, and YIM, and you know my email addresses.


¡Zacatepóngolas!

Until next time, remember:

I

AM

THE

J.A.M. (a.k.a. Numbuh i: "Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean I don't exist")

Good evening.

[WARP!!!]
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Postby Tom Mazanec on Sat Nov 04, 2006 3:06 pm

I have been obsessed by TotQ for over a year, and hope to have many more. Don't run out of gas, Ralph.
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Postby MikeVanPelt on Sat Nov 04, 2006 6:33 pm

Ralph -- Don't shortchange what you've done so far. There's great stuff in these comics --

Quentyn's conversation with Fr. Lineus about the Gragum's search for God, and Fr. Lineus going out on the mission field of Gragum swamps...

Quentyn reciting the 23rd Psalm as he hacks his way through zillions of wights to get at the rat king, and his following vision...

Ben's confrontation with "Ronald McSatan" at the end of the "Schlock Mercenary" crossover...

And that's just what comes immediately to mind, without actually thinking much about it.

Not to mention dropping the house on Beltane.... Twice! (OK, maybe that one wasn't, strictly speaking, as edificational as the others I've mentioned, but it cracks me up every time I read it.)
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Postby Werekitty on Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:33 pm

Okay. I know you don't like me, Mr. RH, but I don't really care.

I read through this "Hard Onions" comic of yours, and it seems like you've come to a point where your comics have become more of a grind-job rather than something you truly enjoy doing.

You're doing this for a living, and probably not making the kind of money you want.

You've offered update frequancy for donations, and cameos, and CD's, and other wonderful things... But I'm sure that the initial heady days of frequent donations have tapered off, and still you feel obligated to grind out comics for three sites.

The impression I get from your "Hard Onions" comic is that you are no longer satisfied with the choice you have made, or the comics you have been drawing.
Never mind the fact that you have already radically changed the concept of one comic you have created, it is obvious that you are somewhat dissatisfied with your work.

Then, since that may have become the case, it is time to ask yourself the hard questions.

Do you like what you are doing now?

Do you think you could be doing something else, and be happier than you are now?

Is it time for a change?

If it is time for a change, then change. If it means that you have to leave the comics incomplete, then so be it. It is not like you can not take up the reigns of these comics, at another time when you feel better about where you are and what you are doing with your life.

Ultimately it is YOU who should make this decision. Do what you must.

If the folks who post on these boards are true fans, and friends, they will support you, no matter what you do.

Good luck and Godspeed with whatever you choose.
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Postby Agvulpine on Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:38 pm

I don't know. Even without the direct biblical references, I've found the story of Quentyn to be exceptionally inspiring. They brighten my day, make me feel good, and people who interact with me notice that. That's what a comic is all about, right?

If anything, I would say that rehearsed recycled and spoonfed biblical references only muddy up the message and set people (especially those who need it) into a mindset of "icky icky poopy bible thumping, getitoffme getitoffme!" I don't know how you feel about that, whether you could give a darn about people who cringe at biblical references and all the social-political realworld garbage that has been associated with them, but there you have it.

As far as these strips being your career. Frankly, I would feel more comfortable donating more often if there were more than 4~5 strips per month. I know recent hardships and moving and manual labor have been a priority, but it's really disappointing to check for updates every day and be let down that it's only someone's birthday and their $20 commission is more important than Quentyn and all our contributions to keep him running.

The sad reality is, a career is about money, and that money needs to be earned through more effort than we've recently seen. Sorry if I'm sounding like a jerk, but you are searching for answers. The answer is simply that you've made numerous promises that you haven't kept, and your contributors are conscious of this. Charity only extends so far.

On the bright side; we still love your comics. It's a wonderful fantasy, and a valuable asset of yours. Consider grabbing hold of the reins, fulfill your promises, and see if anyone takes notice.
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Postby Dapple on Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:25 pm

I wish you good fortune on your journey. A bit of advice, analyze your forbarers. Those who have gone before in your feild and who have been succesful both financialy and artisticaly are a valuable source of information. By learning form them you may avoid some of the pot wholes along the way.
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And now for something completely different
http://allyourbase.planettribes.gamespy ... view.shtml
hehe
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Postby Forsooth on Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:07 pm

Well, as a fellow Christian who's also had career disappointments (several layoffs, failed seminary applications), perhaps I can offer a little encouragement that helped me:

Don't get so anxious about what you haven't been given, that you forget the gifts you have. Brightening people's days with drawings is not a trivial thing. That your faith shines through a bit is also an encouragement to your brethren and an appeal to unbelievers. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to do better. But don't belittle what God's doing through you either, or let greed for more dampen your joy and thanksgiving.

Had God wanted every Christian to serve like the apostle Paul, he could well arrange it so. Instead he takes pleasure in putting us in all sorts of positions, even ones that have little honor among men. We're called to do good to others in the position we're in. God certainly doesn't despise such worship by his own. If this work isn't quite what you would have chosen for yourself, well, such suffering on God's behalf isn't a bad thing either. And God will certainly take care of you in any case.

I also wouldn't worry overmuch about your comics not being enough of a testimony. I remember the advice C.S. Lewis gave hopeful Christian writers: If you can write a story without including Christ, do so. Not that it's bad to bear witness, but stories will touch on what you deeply care about, almost automatically. Keep refreshed yourself, and I'm sure you'll not have too much trouble refreshing others. I've certainly found your work helpful in some dark moments.

Best wishes, and thanks for all the comics - whatever you decide to do.
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Postby Wanderwolf on Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:11 pm

Well, I suppose I should weigh in, for what it's worth. Take it for what it's worth, Ralph...

To begin with:

Having a creative profession as your calling, whether art, writing, acting, music, or what have you, will always be financially unrewarding. Worse, it is often emotionally unfulfilling, given the standard lack of response when things go well.

Spiritually, however... that's where the payoff often lies.

In your three strips, Ralph, you've approached Christianity, morality and spirituality in general in the manner approved long ago by Mark Twain:

Mark Twain wrote:Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever. By forever, I mean thirty years.


You have blessedly avoided the trap sprung by many Christian authors, who consider the precise wording of the Bible, without alteration, far more important than any facet of the story. You write about the characters first; the events second. Spirituality is a leitmotif, rather than the sledgehammer of the Chick Tracts or the consistently unpopular DragonRaid Adventure Learning System. (A company so religious, they had to call it something other than a Role Playing Game.) Rather than just being Christians, or being Spiritual, your characters act in a Christian manner, making Christian choices.

When Ben and Beltane faced off, Ben wasn't some verse-spouting Fundamentalist, and he wasn't a New Age dishrag; he made his point, but remained civil, as Christ did before the Pharisees, and even before Pilate. As Christ tolerated Simon Magus, Ben tolerated Beltane... and like Simon Magus, Beltane eventually shot her mouth off one time too many and got creamed. (Simon Magus just got expelled; but hey, it wasn't a real house...)

When Quentyn had to face the fact that he'd killed the Gragum, and the Gragum weren't just some cardboard cutout... when he had to face that he, himself, had ended the life of a sentient being, he didn't just say "It was the Lord's Will", like that made it all better. He had the same problem that all moral people have when they find themselves forced to end a life, especially for the first time.

<ponder> I can't come up with an example for Nip 'N' Tuck, offpaw. But then, that's mostly your Humor Strip, as far as I can tell, with occasional side trips into Politics and Storytelling. And if it's subtle enough that it can't be pointed to, then it's as subtle as they come.

In the end, of course, your heart is the only compass for this sort of journey, or at least the only acceptable one. We're just the audience; this is your business.

But you do it well.

Yours truly,

The wolfish,

Wanderer
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Postby RHJunior on Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:26 am

*snort* More I'd say Ben behaved exactly as a real person would--- less than perfect. He was snarky, he was sarcastic, he dropped a cardboard house on her. (Okay, not what one would call a NORMAL situation, that....)

They may be Christian, but they're also human. I'm not silly enough to be making characters that are Sunday school cardboard cutouts. How is it supposed to teach anyone anything about being a Christian, to present them with characters that are "better than good" rather than flawed and in <I>need</i> of Jesus' grace?...
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Postby Sariah on Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:35 pm

Ah, but he could have dropped the house on her two frames earlier, even while she was screaming at him. And he lifted it off her in the first place.

And echoing what Forsooth said "And God will certainly take care of you in any case.":

Matthew 6:26 - Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
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Postby Steltek on Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:00 pm

I'd like to share a testimony with you, Ralph. I feel I've been called to serve the Lord with my art. God gave me a gift, a talent. And like the good servants in the parable, I've been trying to multiply that talent, but too often felt like I've been burying it in the Earth, spinning my wheels spiritually in what I'm called to do.

But for a long time I never knew how to express that. I figured I couldn't make money as an artist. So I took jobs like technical support, because computers are another thing I have an aptitude for. It got to the point where I had to quit, because it actually caused me to become sick physically. Even though I was good at it, it just wasn't what I was supposed to do. It wasn't my vocation. I was miserable to the point of exhaustion, I did not feel I could sink any lower. I had no money, and was forced to lean on my parents for support. I am ashamed to say at times I doubted God had any destiny but mediocrity for me. Of course, that's no one's destiny in God's plan.

So, I watched and waited, and sometimes despaired, but continued to pray for God's hand on my life. Not long ago, those prayers were answered. I saw an ad in the paper that just felt right, and so on faith I took a low-paying job as a video engineer (which is a fancy term for a guy who does simple editing on videos for broadcast and presses a handful of buttons) at a local television station/production house. I prayed that if it was His will, God would let me advance over time to something more creative. I figured if I paid my dues pushing buttons in the control room for a year or so, I could get a low level position in the production department, just maybe.

Well, that's what I figured. But God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. Within one month, I was promoted to Producer -- at the bottom of that department, but a producer nonetheless. Within a week after that, the Lord answered the prayers of another Brother in Christ who worked there, and gave him a job he wanted more elsewhere. And so I was de facto promoted to second in the department. So now I find myself working as an artist, and also producing and directing professionally. Three months ago, I would have laughed in your face if you told me I'd be doing all of that! I pray my faith has grown since then, watered by the rain of blessings God has poured out on me.

Anyway, since then, the Lord has caused me to find favor with the management of the station and with my co-workers, and everything I have put my hand to has prospered. And I give God the glory, blessed be His name. And this isn't the end. Down the road, I know God has something even bigger and better in store for me, and this is preparation for it. For now I plan to use my talents to make my workplace prosper like never before, and with God's help and guidance I will.

My point in saying all that is this: "God is no respecter of persons." I am no better than any other saved sinner, and I am for darn sure that I am no more dedicated to the Lord than you are, Ralph. What God has done for me, He can and will do for you, if you keep your eyes open and seize the opportunities He sends your way. After all, manna may fall from heaven, but you still have to go and gather it up. I'll be praying that God will bless you, Ralph, and I know He will. The High King of Heaven is righteous, and He is a giver of many gifts.
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Postby Capnregex on Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:11 pm

"Annuit Coeptis"
God prospers us.
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Postby The JAM on Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:27 pm

One more thing, Ralphie. I'd recommend the book "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren (2002 Zondervan). I like how the title was done in Spanish: "A Life With Purpose". Read it. It's BOUND to help you, one way or another.
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Postby Wanderwolf on Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:08 pm

RHJunior wrote:*snort* More I'd say Ben behaved exactly as a real person would--- less than perfect. He was snarky, he was sarcastic, he dropped a cardboard house on her. (Okay, not what one would call a NORMAL situation, that....)

They may be Christian, but they're also human. I'm not silly enough to be making characters that are Sunday school cardboard cutouts. How is it supposed to teach anyone anything about being a Christian, to present them with characters that are "better than good" rather than flawed and in <I>need</i> of Jesus' grace?...


<APPLAUSE>

THAT, dear bear, is why I enjoy your writing; it is also why your characters are Real. You don't write plaster saints, but real people.

As for temper, remember: Even Jesus could lose His temper. Remember those moneychangers...

Yours truly,

The wolfishly-Christian,

Wanderer

Edit: It strikes me that, given your response, you have been mercifully spared the most strident of Mainstream Christian Literature. Far too many authors, desiring to write "Christian novels" and such like, forget that even saints had failings on Earth. They hand us stories of Good characters; characters that are sweet, and kind, and polite, and, in the words of Roald Dahl, "horribly good". They only do, say and think Good Things.

Then, to face them, they have to assign Vices to the role of villain; after all, hurting or thwarting a Real Person could be seen as un-nice, you know. So the villains are all brainless Vices, running around doing Bad Things because they're Evil, and they're Evil because they do Bad Things.

It gets worse when the author tries to show Temptation; it's usually clearly marked as such, and appears about as tempting as a rotten apple covered in maggots. This is where you have drugs being pushed by wheezing, filthy capital-A Addicts, or prostitutes that look like your school lunch lady, or a temptation to "steal" that's nothing more than finding five dollars on the ground, in a clearly marked wallet. It lasts for one chapter, and is never mentioned again.

Some of us on this forum remember a New-Age version of this same problem: Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The closest thing any Planeteer had to a failing was the "angry American", Wheeler, who wielded Fire. You could tell he was angry; he yelled once per episode. :roll:

Then you had the Bad Guys, all walking caricatures, all with appropriate names: Verminous Scumm, the disease-carrying rat-man who wnats everyone to be like him; Dr. Blyght, the Evil Scientist who wants to make the world ugly so she can be beautiful; Hoggish Greedly, the Evil Resource-Waster; Duke Nukem (Turner owned the series), the Evil Radioactive Mutant.

May you never know how happy we all are that you have good characters, rather than Good characters.
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Postby UncleMonty on Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:19 pm

Of all of the online comics I've read, none of the authors have ever said they were getting rich at it. I can only guess at the difficulties involved in creating a coherent, long-running story and illustrating it.
I really can't think of ANY promise or commitment made but not carried out by Ralph, by the way...
I like the comic. I like all three of them. I want to keep reading them. I want to bribe Ralph to get my avatar back into the "Movie" story instead of leaving the poor rat floating around in a cargo can.
The last two emails I've sent to Ralph bounced, though.
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