This blog began in 1997 as a single news page called Nucelus. In 2005, during a long wait to move into a new house, I decided to learn some php and MySQL and write my own blogging system, which became inkyBlog and which now powers this, my own Webbledegook blog.
Thank you to my brother, Murray Ewing, for help with some of the more challenging aspects!
What about the new Julius Chancer strip? That will launch in February, once I've completed my work for Maschinen-Mensch and I can turn my attention more fully to it. In the meantime, have a look around the site, and do let me know if anything is broken. I have not yet fixed blog comments, and there are coding and css improvements to be made, but there's time for that yet.
As a little blog test I thought I'd indulge in a post about my Minecraft world ...
I'm kind of new to this, buying the game for my children during the lockdown months of 2020 and having a go myself in August of that year. In 2021 I didn't play much at all as I got rather absorbed in the incredible Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but I picked up Minecraft again a little over Christmas.
Really, I've not explored very far from my spawn point at all. I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat, especially with caves! I've built a house with a farm and barn and I've done a lot of strip-mining. It took me a number of weeks to realise there was a village just across the river, beyond a few trees, and when I got there it seemed to be deserted.
In fact the few villagers had all got themselves stuck in a cave, so I rescued them and went home. When I returned a little while later there were only two left - so I blocked off the cave and started developing the village. Now it's bustling with master craftsmen, new houses, and a very healthy number of golems, as well as being protected by a wall of thorny sweet berries!
Eventually I decided I should get a bit braver about exploring, so I've built a boathouse and a lighthouse from which to launch my expeditions. There's also a big ravine near the village, and my 10-year old daughter, who's far braver than I, has promised to hold my hand when I go down it, and pass on some of her top adventuring tips. My 8-year old son has about my level of bravery, but is a walking encyclopaedia of Minecraft lore, so he's good to have close at hand as well.
Wish me luck!
Optimism also as human ingenuity through the power of science came through with several effective vaccines against the virus that has caused so much misery and death. Of course, it's not over yet, and in the UK we are currently witnessing the worst wave yet - though not with the previous high level of deaths - thank you vaccines, scientists and health-workers (no thanks, Tory government).
Our own household has not been hit too hard. Schools were disrupted which meant homeschooling our two children at various times, and that did affect my wife's and my work (and earnings), but we did not have it as bad as I know many did. And we staved off the actual virus until November, when both children and my wife came down with it. I'd just had my booster-shot, so was probably fizzing with antibodies, and despite the close quarters we kept I experienced no symptoms and had negative daily test results. For my family it was an annoying heavy cold, thankfully with no lasting effects.
I was extremely sad to learn, in September, that the actor Antony Sher was terminally ill, and then that he died in December. I'm a long-time fan of Sher, first seeing him in Tom Stoppard's Travesties in 1993, and then being hugely inspired by his diaries, particularly Year of the King. I followed his career closely, read his books and enjoyed his art. In 1994 I sent him a copy of my comic adaptation of The Tempest and had a short but kind postcard from him in reply. (Here's an old blog post about Sir Antony.)
Work-wise, 2021 saw my third full year working for Berlin-based games studio Maschinen-Mensch on Curious Expedition 2 - in fact I did no other work this year at all. Alas, this wonderful project is coming to a close at the end of January 2022. I'll leave a review of the project until it's all done, but it's been a fantastic experience, and the game is so good - I urge you to give it a play if you haven't already done so! (Available for PC and Switch now, with X-Box and PlayStation in the next few months).
What will I do next? I don't know yet ... except for one thing - Julius Chancer will make his (long-awaited?) return. I spent my Christmas break re-designing the Julius Chancer/Rainbow Orchid website - this will be uploaded early in the new year and will include the first few strips of the new adventure, which I plan to continue as often as possible throughout the year. So watch out for it in the coming days.
I wish you all a better, prosperous and happy new year. Deep breath, let's go, 2022 ...
Notes (top row to bottom, left to right):
'The Mighty One' by Steve MacManus (Steve's autobiography of his time at IPC and 2000AD); 'The Osamu Tezuka Story' by Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions (manga biography of the great Osamu Tezuka); 'The Story of Life in 25 Fossils' by Donad R. Prothero' (fascinating account of the development of life on our planet, I'm a big fan of Mr. Prothero).
'Warring Clans, Flashing Blades: A Samurai Film Companion' by Patrick Galloway (a great 'dipper-in', I really want the first volume too); 'The Attention Merchants' by Tim Wu (had to buy this after reading a recent interview with Mr. Wu); 'Moments of Adventure: Collection One' by Colin Mathieson (great to see a new publication from Mr. Mathieson - and in full colour too, really enjoyed it - get it here!).
'Ambassador of the Shadows' by Mézières and Christin (limited edition hardback from Cinebook of this terrific Valerian and Laureline adventure, in anticipation of the upcoming Luc Besson film adaptation); 'The Adventures of Dieter Lumpen' by Jorge Zentner and Rubén Pellejero (loved these stories when I read them in Heavy Metal in the 80s, wonderful to have them all together); 'Explorers' Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery and Adventure' by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert (a nice surprise Christmas present from my brother, a real treasury of adventure inspiration).
'William Simpson's Afganistan: Travels of a Special Artist and Antiquarian During the Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-1879' edited by Peter Harrington (where my interest in adventure and the Afghan war meet, a very splendid book); 'The way of Judo: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and His Students' by John Stevens (I don't do Judo (karate for me) but am fascinated by Kano, in particular because he was an influence on Gichin Funakoshi and his development of karate into a budo); 'A brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes' by Adam Rutherford (can't wait to dive into this!).
2016 has been a turbulent year, and I am a bit worried it's just a warm-up for things to come ... but let's keep the hope, do good things, create lovely stuff, be nice to people of all stripes and see if we can help steer things back on course in some way (even if it takes a little while).
Best foot forward!