The aircraft in strip 176 is a Fokker F2, far more abundant that the Breguet I picked for Tayaut to fly over in, so I've less need to hunt down obscure references.
The story meanders a fair amount, but is sustained throughout by the visuals, the characters and the surprising twists and turns in the plot. No character, except perhaps the main one, Sophie, is clear-cut, and you lose yourself in the film as you try to get a fix on them. Sadly, Howl's Moving Castle does not have the perfection of Spirited Away, Miyazaki's last big release for western cinemas. The resolve is too sudden, too easy, and storylines are despatched with a couple of sentences in a scene at the end that produced a cringe on almost every line (for a film that so far had me completely lost in its world). Blink and you'll miss an earlier reference to the lost prince, until the end. I was also disappointed that we had the dubbed version rather than subtitled, but then this screening was timed for half-term. Having said that, adults outnumbered the children, and I wonder how well children as young as 7 or 8 would follow it. Maybe they don't have to in order to enjoy what is, in the end, a great piece of cinema fantasy.
Most of these visitors were thanks to a very nice review on The Noob, an intelligently funny comic strip inhabiting the world of MMORPGs, so thanks to everyone who came over to check out Orchid.
The Rainbow Orchid is not a particularly fashionable comic. It's not in the 'in-crowd' of webcomics, namely geek-comics, gamers, movie-loving flatmates or manga and anime inspired fantasy. It's not within the current trends of printed books either, such as autobiographical, introspective, or highly stylised Art Comics, or even more mainstream hard-boiled violence. In many ways, Rainbow Orchid is actually rather old-fashioned. An historical adventure of the type that had its hey-day in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in a style that is not exactly cutting-edge, but quite traditional in a European sense, and there primarily to serve the story. The story's the thing!
I have not gone out of my way to market Rainbow Orchid on the web in a big way - the main thing I'm working towards is the printed book - so I find it even more gratifying that you, dear reader, have found your way here and stuck around. The number of registered readers also shows that, despite my view that my comic is perhaps rather unfashionable, people do like it, and nothing could be better than that.
I'll just end by saying that I have nothing against the other kinds of comics mentioned above. Many of my favourites reside in those categories, and there are many excellent comics from those genres and styles. Manga doesn't worry me one bit, and to see so many people drawing and talking about comics because of the Japanese influence, I think is marvellous.
I have to admit I have not been greatly inspired by the strip format for Rainbow Orchid's webcomic version, and looking at the complete pages as they come together shows to me that part of the appeal of a comic strip is the full page. There's something aesthetically pleasing about the repeated characters and colours across the panel grid of a page that a single strip cannot contend with.
It's also rather piece-meal doing it like this, even though I am now quite ahead with the script, which has helped. But as far as drawing goes, at the moment I don't have much choice; life has a way of filling days (and evenings) with work and weekends with birthdays, weddings and lawns that need mowing, etc. Still - I am getting on with Rainbow Orchid, and it is getting there.
Stay with it!
I still had my 'eclipse shades' from 1999, so tore them out of my scrapbook and got a crisp view of the phenomena. Then I decided to try the shades over the lens of my camera, with results not quite as crisp (and I only have a 1.5 mega-pixel). The large photo shows the eclipse sans shades - not viewed with the naked eye, of course.
See the BBC News on the eclipse.