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Monthly Archives: March 2012
Thrilling Tales – progress on The Next Thing, and also on book proofing

Filed under Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual

I’ve got so many irons in the fire – mainly, wrapping up the book designs for the two editions of The Lair of the Clockwork Book and preparing for the next features at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual – that this morning I finally filled up a page in my notebook with lists of tasks. I will say that after a year and a half I do enjoy having a bit less structure to my days: but it turns out that a little bit of structure is sort of necessary.

This picture is a very happy surprise. It’s a rough layout for the next real serial for the Thrilling Tales (not counting a sixteen week "Intermission" feature) and the happy part is that it works.

That next Real Serial is going to be a little different in several ways. Its updates will be longer, but will appear only half as often; the illustrations will be in black and white – or, as we see here, at least in monotone; the illustrations themselves will be more tightly coupled to the print version of the story, with two-page spreads and wrapping text; and to support that I’ll have to add additional HTML markup to the story pages. The sample picture I dropped into this layout is one of the illustrations I did last year for Starship Sofa Stories, Vol 3: those illustrations, with their old sf pulp flavor, were the whole seed that grew into this New Plan. It turns out that I’ve always wanted to be Virgil Finlay. Virgil Finlay illustration

I mean, who wouldn’t?

Now the two page spread at the beginning of this post has been compressed down to the usual Thrilling Tales size and the text has wrapped around the image – though not as neatly as we’ll see in the real story. I was convinced that this would not work – that there just wouldn’t be enough space to show both the illustration and its text to their best advantage. I’ve been figuring that I’d need to create a mutant page layout to support the new format. Hence my surprise: it looks like the existing page layout can support these changes just fine. It won’t be as nifty as the print version but it will be a pretty decent conversion.

Now… I’m not sure yet how I’ll handle enlarging the image for the pop-up windows; it’ll be a bit odd if that wrapping text disappears. But the first experiment, anyway, is a success.

Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual

In other news I’m now waiting for my second proof of the paperback edition of The Lair of the Clockwork Book. I made substantial changes after I saw the first proof – much more substantial than I had expected to make. The dust has all settled now, though, and I expect that I’ll like what I see when the new version arrives.

Once that fundamental design is set I can start the proofing process for the hardcover edition. I’ve seen paper and linen samples for that now. The interior paper is really, really nice but because it’s a brighter white I may have to make adjustments to the illustrations once I’ve seen the hardcover proof. All in all, though, it seems to be moving along on schedule.

The paperback edition may be available late next week. It all depends on that second proof.

Oh, and then there’s this guy above. The only thing I’m going to say about him is that you should keep an eye on your kittens. ‘Cause you just ought to know.

[tags]thrilling tales of the downright unusual, the lair of the clockwork book, page layouts, experiments, serial fiction, illustrated[/tags]

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Thrilling Tales – new page update for The Lair of the Clockwork Book

Filed under Thrilling Tales: Page Updates

A new page has been published in the story The Lair of the Clockwork Book, at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual.

You can read it here.
Three days (or more) of Alphonse Mucha at Golden Age Comic Book Stories

Filed under Found on the Web

Alphonse Mucha mural

Mister Doortree’s Golden Age Comic Book Stories blog has been giving us day after day of Alphonse Mucha (here, here, and here) including the wonderful, atypical, and seldom seen Slav Epic murals. They’re so very different from his decorative work – not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, but these come as a big surprise if you’ve never seen anything but his Art Nouveau illustrations and borders.

I was lucky to see this one in Paris; through sheer happenstance there was a Mucha exhibition at the Petit Palais during the week I was there in 1980. As I recall the canvas was edged with great big grommets and the painting was stretched on cords looped through them – it looked like a gigantic, taut sail of mythological wonderment.

That nearly made up for the fact that the Louvre had closed its late nineteenth century collections for some kind of renovations. But I did get two afternoons in the Musee Gustave Moreau, and that was a real pleasure since in those days Moreau was right up my street. I think that his street was the Rue de Rochefoucauld.

[tags]alphonse mucha, slav epic murals, art nouveau, mythology, gustave moreau, golden age comic book stories[/tags]

Thrilling Tales – new page update for The Lair of the Clockwork Book

Filed under Thrilling Tales: Page Updates

A new page has been published in the story The Lair of the Clockwork Book, at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual.

You can read it here.
Thrilling Tales – Much Ado About Something, or Some Ado About Some Things

Filed under Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

New People of the Retro Future

It’s been a sort of potluck, catch as catch can week here in the Secret Laboratory. I’ve got several irons in the fire for the print editions of The Lair of the Clockwork Book while – around the edges and in between – I’ve been working on the character designs for people who will be Very Important in the next serial story at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual.

Having these folks staring at me (or, anyway, staring off to my right) is pretty helpful as I soak in just who they are and what that means. This can all percolate and get where it’s going while I work on other things, as I need to do.

Clockwork Book Limited Edition Stamp

I’ve received my custom stamp for the limited edition copies of The Lair of the Clockwork Book and it’s just what I wanted. I can see, though, that I’ll need to practice my stamping before I turn myself loose on those handsome (and expensive) books.

I’m waiting for two other significant deliveries: the first proof copy of the paperback version of the book and a set of linen samples from the bookbinder of the hardcover edition. I’ve done a first pass at the cover stamp design for the hardcover edition, too. I’m quite happy with it but I know that there will be some technical limits on the level of detail I can have… while I don’t have clear guidelines for what those limits are. So I can expect some revisions to that design when we get to it.

I’ve been exploring endpaper ideas, too. Printed endpapers weren’t part of the preliminary quote that I used as the basis of the Kickstarter drive, but I’d really like to add them to the hardcover edition. We’ll just have to see.

I’ve even explored the possibilities for my Thrilling Tales Intermission, which is what I’m calling an interim "story" for the Thrilling Tales site. That’ll bridge the gap between the end of The Lair of the Clockwork Book and the beginning of The Next Thing – which will take a little while longer than I’d like, partly because I’m also going back to work on Part Two of The Toaster With TWO BRAINS. That one’s just got to get done, no matter what else I’m doing.

The Toaster With TWO BRAINS, Part Two

So there you have it. There’s quite a bit going on over here, unlike the front page of this blog – which is starting to get cluttered with more and more Thrilling Tales page updates. I really need to drop the occasional post in between those updates but as you can see, I’m juggling a lot of knives at the moment.

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Down in the Basement. Where it Strains Against its Chains and Turns a Gigantic Wheel of Pain, for all Eternity. Muahahahahaha.