Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Month: December, 2019

What Is Best In Life? – 2019 Edition 

The final year of the decade, and we’ve gone out with some high quality parts, so it’s nice to sit back and reflect on all the good things, and only the good things, just for one moment.

Comic

Every year, I manage to read a lot of good comics, and this year was no exception. I’m always thankful to find new things, and see amazing things continue to be phenomenal, and to see mates making excellent stuff, as such, here are some comics you should scope out.

November by Elsa Charettier and Matt Fraction is a brilliant OGN with a killer structure and some absolutely brutal pages of character and design. Crone from Justin Greenwood and Dennis Culver only just started but it’s already one of my absolute favourites of the year as it depicts a Red Sonja type adventurer who has grown old and now sees the world and herself very differently. John Lees continues to impress with Mountainhead with Ryan Lee and Sink with Alex Cormack, both showing skill, craft, and care. 

But my comic of the year, yet again, is a Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker jam: CRIMINAL

Absolutely stunning, beautifully put together, intricately woven, and just damn fine crime comics. An absolute MVP on the market.

Novel

I don’t give myself enough time to read novels, but this year I finally sampled Fletch by Bregory MacDonald and did enjoy it, despite the eponymous hero being a fairly decent asshole. Killing Gravity by Corey J. White absolutely won me over and I need to catch up with him to get my hands on the next 2 in the trilogy. But my favourite reading experience of the year was: CANARY

Duane Swierczynski always makes his books feel like arrows flying directly at you, and you can either duck, dodge, or take the hit. This one is very much in that school of his shelf.

TV

There are a lot of good shows out there, but I’m trying to spend my time on the truly great stuff. This year I really enjoyed The Kominsky method as it does something a little different with the sitcom format and allows Michael Douglas to seemingly both stroke his ego while completely deflating it. The return of Veronica Mars was really fun because it truly did posit the concept of what this character would be like travelling into adulthood. Life is hard for her, and that’s about right. How interesting then that my favourite show features the same lead actress: THE GOOD PLACE

It doesn’t seem right that this show can continue to be this good. It’s funny as hell, and deep enough to keep you thinking, and structurally sound like a glass snowflake. Every character continues to shine, the plot goes insane, and the heart of it all never leaves view.

Movie

It’s always exciting to find new things in film. Captain Marvel continued the trend Wonder Woman began last year of strong superhero films featuring women in the lead, and this flick really amplified the presence. This flick was funny and full of awesome and Brie Larson can easily carry the MCU for another decade, if she so wishes to. However, my heart belongs to something that’s not a franchise flick because this year I was completely bowled over by: KNIVES OUT

A murder mystery, in the style of old mansion novels, and Rian Johnson nails it all. The tone, the style, the characters, everything. I’m still thinking about the structure of this beast as the audience is given information at different times, and sometimes we don’t even know it yet, and there is so much to learn from this one.

Podcast

Every commute, every time I mow the lawn, I’m listening to someone talk info into my brain. I’ve enjoyed learning more about D&D through their official podcast, Dragon Talk, and it helps the two hosts are great fun. I’ve continued to expand my teaching brain with the Google Teacher Tribe, and my comics brain with Off Panel and Word Balloon, but this year my ears belonged to: SMASH BOOM BEST

This podcast about two people debating two topics through separate rounds got my brain firing with all kinds of rad ideas and desires for the classroom.

And that’s been the best of my 2019, let’s keep the run going into 2020 and the next decade to come.

I Won Xmas 2019

I mean, ’nuff said right here.

I could list the killer paisley shirt, or the beard oil with gold flecks in it, or the EBERRON D&D source book, or the dragon/d20 short. All winners, but ultimately it came down to this pair of socks my sister-in-law got me.

Complete winners.

And now I want to put this character into a D&D adventure. Definitely has washed up barbarian written all over him,

The 2019 Holiday Bag Breakdown

Going away for a break is fun, sure, seeing family, hitting the pool/beach, relaxing.

But organising to pack your bag to go away is the real jewel of the adventure. As such, here’s a quick breakdown of my Go Bag for this end of year family quest.

I’d be cool and tell you what kind of bag it is, like Warren Ellis, but I honestly have no idea. A tag has CYBER on it, and I know it has zips and I think was labelled as a ‘laptop bag.’

My laptop is a Chromebook, because everything I do is online and I don’t game, so it’s being worked on tonight and in the morning will go inside the bag with its charging cord. Never forget charging cords.

On the table, I have my Bullet Journals. One for the first half of 2019, one for the second half of 2019, and one I’ll set up for the first half of 2020. I like starting the year with some clear goals and plans and lists to check off, so I aim to do that by night after days of craft beer, D&D, banter, and kicking the ball with my brother and our kids. These Bullet Journals are A5 Marvel notebooks I got from Target, in 3 packs for maybe $5, perfect size to just scrap lists into, and then tuck away with little fanfare or bulk.

Inside the bag, this is where the real prep goes, but first let’s talk about what’s not in there:

I have no novel or comics for this trip. My plan is to read my brother’s new novel, THE ELDER TRIALS by Marc and James Lindsay, so I’ll take that into possession as soon as I arrive, and then it shall be absorbed into this paper monstrosity. And there are no comics because I’m all digital on holidays, so the iPad has been loaded up with some of Jason Aaron’s THOR, and some more trades of THE IMMORTAL HULK.

Also not pictures are the two D&D books, the PLAYER’S HANDBOOK and XANATHAR’S GUIDE TO EVERYTHING which I’ve subbed into the suitcase as those are crazy quality paperstock of a few hundred KGs each, and I won’t need them in transit, just while we are there.

So, actually in the bag, top to bottom:

My D&D journal, a notebook I bought in Nantes, FRance in their mechanical animal festival. It catalogues the D&D adventures I’m writing.

A BAFFLING MYSTERIES notebook, part of a set of 3 notebooks with old EC-style covers on them, this one specifically has been chosen for its grid paper, perfect for drawing D&D dungeons. A quality mindfulness pasttime if ever there was one.

A composition notebook, cheap in bulk from Target, and this one’s for notes for [THE LONG ROAD PROJECT], which is currently unannounced, and I will be writing the script for issue #2 while away.

A notebook with a tiger’s head on the front, a gift from my sister-in-law she got from the National Zoo. It’s being used to track the insane changes I make in each D&D adventure as I take my kids through the ESSENTIALS KIT adventure book, DRAGON OF ICESPIRE PEAK, which is also found below.

D&D paper miscellania: character sheets [for my kids, and spares in case my brother or nephews want to play], a DM screen [the one in the Essential Kit is really light and thin], the map from the Kit, and some plain A4 white paper.

A plain pink notebook my wife found…somewhere, and it has my pitch and story for [THE MIDNIGHT MARS PROJECT], which I’m pitching, but think I might start scripting in 2020, so I want to break it down in more specificity so I’m ready to roll.

And then a ziplock bag with 5 copies of my latest comic, SKYSCRAPER, in it for family.

Not pictures, in the front pocket, is my pencil case with pencils, erasers, and D&D dice. Also a 7 pen felt tip set I got as a Xmas gift from a parent in my class last year which I use for the dungeon inking.

Chargers [iPads/iPhones, etc] go in the front pocket, maybe some Butter Menthols, and I’ll throw in a water bottle. It’s not too heavy, and I’m rarely walking with it full for long.

Once I pack the bag, I commit to what I’m allowing my brain to look at and focus on for the duration of the trip. I’ve marked what files I need as available for offline, and I know I want to focus, not crazy multitask, so this is the bag to see me through maximum relaxation, and minimum work flow as I glie into 2020.

The Last Comic of the Decade

As 2019 closes, so to does the decade.

It’s been a wild ride, and I like to commemorate events with comics. I can remember the night before my wedding I read THE ESCAPISTS by Brian K Vaughan, Jason Shawn Alexander, Steve Rolston, Philip Bond, and Eduardo Barreto. I’d bought it a few months before and saved it, and thankfully I loved this comic, but it also now always reminds me of my wedding day.

There are other comics that remind me of locations: GREEN WAKE #2 is walking from my hotel in Sydney to go find coffee to survive being in another town with my first child as a baby; Jason Aaron’s THOR run has only ever been read in trade, and seemingly only when on holidays; THE WALKING DEAD Vol. 1 takes me back to a house I shared with a mate when I first started teaching and my brother bought me that trade and got me back into comics; SLEEPER Vol. 1 is on a holiday to Brisbane, and Vols. 2-4 are back home to the first house I almost bought and reading them all on my bed in the sun.

As such, I like to plan ahead, and I’m wondering what comic i want to read as this decade closes, and as the new one opens.

Makes sense I should reread something to close out the decade, and then open the new decade with something new, something vibrant, something that’s a risk. Though, it also makes sense to do the opposite…

I’m thinking of rereading KILL OR BE KILLED #1 to close the decade because I *love* that comic, so it would be a fitting send off.

And to open 2020…I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get something for Xmas? I definitely feel like it should not be a Big Two book, it should be something more personal, something more specifically tailored to my tastes, perhaps.

RANDOM THOUGHT: if someone reads one of my comics to close/open a decade, well, that would be amazing.

Reading Piles

I should really be taking season photos of my reading piles.

Different from the reading shelf, where many things with pages go to sit and politely wait and watch everything else get read before them, the reading pile is for stuff being somewhat actively engaged with at the particular moment the photo is taken.

The reading pile is something special.

I recently had my end of 2017 reading pile turn up in my feed and t was interesting to see what I had been reading, and that all of that did indeed get read. Here it is:

This made me consider my current reading pile. Right now, it is:

Fascinating to stack up all of the things you’ve got going into your head at any one time.

I see I’m prepping a D&D adventure, I’m into a novel, I have two comics on the go, I printed off the PanelXPanel with my essay in it about NOVEMBER, and I’m chipping away at the PKD book.

A good pile reflects a good life, I believe.

Comic Critiques on Patreon

To start 2020 in a nice way, I’m going to offer a one page script critique to everyone who is supporting my Patreon at any $ level by the end of this month.

CLICK HERE TO SCOPE OUT MY PATREON AND JOIN

If you’re currently writing something, or the New Years Fog will lift long enough for a few script pages, then I’m here for you. Pledge by the end of December and any time during January, drop me a line, show me some script, and I’ll let you know how that opening page looks.

I love the Page One madness, that opening contract with the reader, so I look forward to helping a few people out with this one.

PanelXPanel – I Wrote an Essay About NOVEMBER

The latest issue of the comics magazine PanelXPanel is live and it’s all about NOVEMBER, the OGN from Elsa Charretier and Matt Fraction. I was honoured to be brought aboard to write about NOVEMBER, and I looked at a recurring visual which was a chainlink fence and how it represents the many lives that exist in a city and how people constantly affect others, and we get some agency, and sometimes life just happens to us.

The comic is great, so to get to write about it was a joy. There was so much to chew on, and everyone should go check out this issue, and then buy every PXP there is. It’s great brain fuel.

YOU CAN BUY PXP #29 RIGHT HERE!

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