May 27th, 2020
As we move into another holiday season, it’s high time for an update on how things are going here at the ol’ jape-foundry!
I’ll talk about comics, merch, and future plans.
Pretend you’re the bold text, asking me questions. I’ll then…answer those questions!
➡️ How have you been?
My family is doing better than many (we’re safe and healthy).
But as other parents of small kids will know, these last 20-odd months have presented a set of…particular challenges.
My kid isn’t old enough for a vaccine yet, and we don’t have family very close by. Our daycare closed down and we don’t have a regular babysitter. So we spend a lot of time chilling at home.
I had heard that parenting is tiring, but I didn’t realize how much of that would be from straight-up mental exertion. After all, a 4-year-old has nothing better to do than to make everything a battle of wills.
So we’re all fine here — but, like, completely brain-tired 100% of the time. This is a good foundation for the next question.
➡️ What kind of update schedule will the comic have?
As I was posting the latest comic, near the end of November, I realized that it references “Halloween.”
This is a little window into how long comics take me to make, these days, in snatches of borrowed time here and there. I think I first wrote it in mid-October.
So! That’s just the way of the world, at the moment. I’ll continue to make comics, but I can’t predict when, or on what kind of schedule, they will post.
I recommend making sure you’re on the email list!
➡️ Will there be a Wondermark calendar this year?
I wasn’t able to make a new calendar this year. Sad as I am to say it, I think the era of the Wondermark calendar may now have passed.
I will try to redo the existing designs for the coming year as downloadable versions, as I’ve done the past few years. I’ll mention them here if that does become available.
➡️ What kind of Wondermark goodies are still available?
• I’m still shipping things regularly from my store — my holiday cards, for example — and from my TopatoCo store, which sells apparel and comic prints.
• A few of the card designs are out of stock, and it looks like I won’t be able to reprint them before Christmas. So, stock on some designs is limited!
• I also just got a notification from Amazon that they’re going to start charging me extra for my inventory of books sitting in their warehouse. So please feel free to grab copies from there, if you are so inclined. It’ll help me clear them out!
➡️ What have you been up to otherwise?
A few projects are ongoing at the moment:
• Over at Dave Kellett’s sci-fi comic Drive, I wrote a 14-part guest story (beginning here) that’s currently running, alternating with the regular Drive story.
• I’m also posting my original script pages as free posts on Patreon as Dave releases each episode.
• My party game TBH wrapped up its Kickstarter back in the spring and was delivered to backers in September/October. (If you pledged and haven’t gotten a copy yet, we probably didn’t get your address! Drop me a line if you’re still owed a copy.)
• “Friends of Malki” (people who heard about the KS early) also got some TBH bonus cards sent directly from me! If you got a TBH game, but didn’t receive the 2 bonus cards I sent separately, drop me a line. I’ve got some left.
• You can buy copies of TBH now! They ship directly from the factory, so they take a few weeks to arrive, but they are definitely shipping.
• I have another new game coming out in January! It’s called Keep it 100. Then another one in April or May. That one’s called Lineup. Then a few more after that, I think.
➡️ Wow, you’re making a lot of games.
Here’s the other big news (and big reason that comic-makin’ time has become more scarce).
A while ago, I accepted a full-time position as director of product development for Cut, the Seattle-based video company.
My mandate is to make social games based on their values of sincerity, communication, and empathy.
That sounds kind of heady, but it’s actually really fun. TBH is the first game I made following that brief.
I’ve also creative-directed six new expansions (three still forthcoming) to their Truth or Drink series. And as mentioned above, we’ve got several new games on the slate for next year.
I’ve been able to lead an amazing creative team, and I’m really proud of the stuff we’re putting out. Plus, it’s steady work, which was a cool thing to have going into the “year-plus of no conventions.”
➡️ Can we hear more about that?
I’d like to set up a newsletter or something that is exclusively about the games we’re making! Behind the scenes, things in development, and so on.
We just haven’t figured out the details of the newsletter yet. Hopefully in the new year — I’ll make an announcement when that’s live.
➡️ So what happens now?
I’ll keep making comics, and posting to Patreon, at the pace that I can! Please join the WM email list if you haven’t already to ensure you don’t miss any updates when they do happen!
➡️ I’ve got some other question!
Makes sense! I’m just making up these questions, after all. Leave a comment on this post — or this post’s mirrored version on Patreon — and I’ll answer it!
All this weekend, my friends at Draw4Charity are streaming games in a marathon to benefit the charity Child’s Play.
On Saturday, July 10, me and some friends will be playing my game TBH as part of the event!
Starting at 2:30pm Pacific / 4:30 Central, and going as for long as we need to play a rousing game — possibly up to 3 hours! — I’ll be playing along with Your McHenries (Sara & Tom), Jess Fink, and Eric Colossal.
Here is the link to watch at the appointed time! Hope to see you there!
Today’s the last day to back my new game, TBH, on Kickstarter!
We’ve just hit our 1000-backer stretch goal, which means every backer will now get a free pack of Kickstarter-exclusive bonus cards!
These are cards that won’t be in the post-Kickstarter edition of the game, and won’t be available to anyone after today.
The game itself will be widely available in (probably) August, but only Kickstarter backers will get these bonus cards.
The cards that will comprise the bonus pack were made as Mad Lib-style fill-in-the-blanks by our backers! They suggested terms, and we made them make sense (kind of). For example:
(click the images for a closer look)
AND…MORE LIKE THIS
In our final few hours, we’re now hoping to hit 1100 backers, which would mean increasing the bonus pack to include even more cards!
I recently posted a video on the ol’ (very ol’) Machine of Death Kickstarter campaign to explain why I felt TBH might appeal to folks who backed that project.
And I wrote a bit too:
I think you’ll like TBH if:
- You like the creative storytelling aspect to Machine of Death. TBH has that in spades.
- You thought the storytelling in Machine of Death got repetitive. The topics in TBH are about many different things – not just, you know, homicide.
- You thought the storytelling in Machine of Death was too unstructured. TBH gives you a prompt and then provides a specific framework for exploring it.
- You thought Machine of Death was witty and well-written. Not all the same people are working on TBH, but a few are, and it’s my same creative sensibility overseeing it all.
- You thought Machine of Death didn’t go hard enough. TBH has an optional NSFW expansion pack that’s full of butts and boobs and stuff. (If you want that.)
- You think this is a weird time to be thinking about death. TBH doesn’t skew as dark as MOD, in that it is not a game specifically about murders.
- You think Machine of Death could have used more gameplay structure. Unlike MOD, which relied heavily on subjective elements, TBH works like clockwork as a game, with a simple but elegant competition/scoring mechanic that involves all players at all times.
- You wish there could be more Machine of Death. The success of TBH (if it’s successful) may pave ways for more MOD, who knows!
- You are glad Machine of Death is gone. TBH is a totally different game.
…And I mentioned one other thing in that post too! I figured out how to do a personalized incentive for this campaign.
As a special incentive for Friends of Malki, if you add 50 cents to your pledge (at any tier), I’ll send you a handwritten thank-you card AND a special bonus game card.
Look for the “Bonus Support” field on Kickstarter when you pledge, and add the extra bit there.
*Note that I’ve learned some browsers don’t let you add anything but whole dollar amounts in the Kickstarter UI. Adding a single dollar also works.
Doing the above flags your pledge as, “I heard about this from Malki.” This also helps Cut see how many people I personally have been able to direct to check out the game!
This helps me in a variety of ways professionally, so, I’m happy to do the extra work of writing the thank-yous and mailing them out.
That’s it! This is the last day.
If you’ve already checked it out, thank you! If not, now’s your chance!!
BONUS LINK FOR MORE TBH:
The great LoadingReadyRun played a rousing round of TBH the other night on their Twitch show! So this will give you a great sense of the game, too.
We’ve also been playing TBH on Twitch ourselves lately! Here’s my channel. I want to do more of these soon!
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