Sunday, March 27, 2005
So, okay. I have a new blog, and its primary function is to promote The Defender, the newest book I'm working on (you've seen the poster on the main page, I'm sure). It also keeps all and sundry updated on my various projects. So, anyone who actually reads this blog can find the same randomly updated posts you've come to expect from Chrisville over at:
Actually, I expect to be updating it a bit more than this one, as I'm hoping to have plenty of good news to share regarding The Defender's fortunes.
The blog contains character bios for The Defender and a 7-page preview of the book, as well as links to my other projects and links for the other two guys working on the book with me (Ariel Iacci and Hernan Serrese). I have also posted a call for artists, as well.
So, go check it out!
posted by Chris at 5:27 PM
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Aha! Twice in one year!
So, a bit more news and whatnot. First, some important whatnot. Thanks Jeff, for putting up The Defender poster. It's much apppreciated.
Jeff's a swell guy. But you all know that.
Which leads me to news. The Defender is at 9 pages and climbing of fully (and beautifully, I might add) rendered art. A 7-page preview of Issue 1 will be available on the book's site just as soon as I get the zarking thing up. Links to come once there's something to link to. The site will also be a studio thing, advertising the talents and wares of Ariel Iacci, Hernan Serrese and myself. Watch this space for more details. As for the book itself, there is currently no publisher, but we'll be doing the usual shopping around. Power 5 and Agents of the Round Table are still in development.
Still writing Meet the Haunteds. There would seem to be a DVD/TV thing happening with it. All I know about it is what's on the Platinum Studios site. The plot of it appears to be more an extrapolation of the concept than a literal translation of the story I'm writing for the book. Which is kind of cool, actually. I always liked the idea of creating a concept for stories to be told in, and am rather pleased that I created one by accident. Again, with the watching of this space for more news. No new news about Warrior's Honor.
And that's all I have to say for now.
More later. At some point.
posted by Chris at 6:35 PM
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
So, yeah. It's been a while...
Hi all. I've been poking around the site today and noticed it has been ages since I posted anything. Unfortunately, I don't have a story to post. But, in looking over a lot of Jeff's posts, I thought maybe I should do some of this "what's going on with me" stuff that you kids all seem to go for these days.
So, what's going on with me? Quite a bit. I'm still at the day job working for ADP. Can't complain, really. Well, I could, but in this economy I think it's the height of poor manners to complain about not loving your job. I have one, it's pretty stable AND it's in IT. I know full well how lucky I am. So yes, I COULD complain, but I won't. My daughter Sage is coming up on 4 years old, and as any parent can tell you, that's almost a full-time job right there. Not that it feels like work, most of the time. Being a dad is great. I strongly recommend it to any who are currently considering it.
So now some of you are probably saying, "Yeah yeah, whatever. Who gives a crap about your home life? What's up with the writing?" Others are saying, "Who is he again?" or, "Why is Jeff letting random people post on his website?" Anyway, writing. It's been mentioned (I believe) in Jeff's posts that I've created a comic called "Ironstar" which is currently over at Bloodfire Studios. It was drawn by my old friend and fellow "Kubie" Sean Tiffany. Someday, it will be published. I'm also working on two books for Platinum Studios. The titles are "Warrior's Honor"and "Meet the Haunteds". I've also completed scripts for the first issues of three new creations of mine: "The Defender" (to be drawn by Ariel Iacci), "Power 5" (to be drawn by Matt Magill) and "Agents of the Round Table" (to be drawn by Adrian Alpanseque). All three artists have their scripts and I anticipate putting the books together by the end of summer. When you'll be able to read any of the aforementioned books depends on a great many things, few of which are currently under my control. "Ironstar", "Warrior's Honor" and "Meet the Haunteds" are at the mercy of their publishers (WH and MTH don't have artists yet, and I'm still writing my fourth draft of the MTH script). "The Defender", "Power 5" and "Agents of the Round Table" don't have publishers yet, and may end up being self-published (because apparently I've forgotten what that particular brand of torture feels like).
And that's what I'm up to currently. Well, that's not all, but that's all the stuff you might find even the least bit interesting. Jeff and I are always talking about the various possibilities for "Mystic for Hire", so I'm sure you'll be seeing more of our girl soon, even after issue 4 is done. We'll keep you posted.
So there you go. Type at you all soon (or at least sometime in the next 2 years).
posted by Chris at 8:45 AM
Friday, October 18, 2002
Can I embarrass this guy for a minute?
So, its been ages and ages since I put something up here. And, unfortunately, its not a new story. Sorry. I've been almost as busy as Jeff lately, and haven't been able to devote the time to MFH that I should.
But, this isn't about me. This is about Jeff, and why you should help him out.
As you've all no doubt noticed, Jeff is a very talented guy. When he and I were doing the initial development of this book (character sketches, locations and whatnot) he drew exactly what I had in my head for just about every character in the story with very little direction from me. Often, as we were putting the books together, his art would inspire me to change whole sections of dialog, simply because of how he drew a facial expression, the positions of the characters, etc. Essentially, what I'm saying is, Mystic for Hire wouldn't be half of what it is without Jeff's talent.
Unfortunately, what Jeff does takes a lot of time. A LOT of time. You might think it takes a while to clean your house or build a nuclear reactor from scratch, but that's peanuts compared to drawing a comic book. It takes FOREVER, and it can often be really tedious. I initially wanted to draw comics myself, even went to the Joe Kubert school in pursuit of that goal, and gave up quivering in abject terror at the amount of work that goes into drawing each page. Add to that the fact that Jeff needs to take on quite a bit of freelance work on top of his day job to pay his bills and pay down his debt, and you've got precious little time left over to draw Mystic for Hire. Particularly since said freelance work and day job involve sitting in front of a computer, as does drawing MFH. As anyone who works with computers all day long can tell you, that much sitting in front of a monitor can burn the eyes right out of your head. Help from you fine folks could go a long way toward letting Jeff cut down on his freelance work, which would leave more time for, you guessed it, drawing this comic.
So there you have it. Neither of us wanted to ask for money to do Mystic for Hire. But, well, we are. Its a matter of necessity, unfortunately. Also, just so you know, I have a good 50 issues or so scripted and waiting to be drawn. And if you like where the story is going so far, this stuff is going to knock your knickers off. Help us tell these stories to you guys, by helping Jeff crawl out of his debt pit.
Okay. Pledge drive's over. I now return to the ether, though hopefully not for too long...
posted by Chris at 12:09 PM
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
And now for something a little different...
So, I'm heading off on vacation tomorrow, and it looks like I won't get a chance to write a new blog story. However, I have something that might be just as good. Its a script I wrote shortly after 9/11, in an attempt to sort out all the wretched feelings I was experiencing. I'm putting it up for a couple of reasons. One, I think enough time has passed that it won't seem in poor taste (at least I hope not), and two, its been over half a year since I wrote it, and I still like it. That's pretty rare for me.
Now, this script was never supposed to see the light of day. It was more a therapeutic exercise than anything else. So, some of the language might be a little rougher than you're used to from MFH, and our cast occasionally act out of character.
That said, I hope you like it.
Technical note: Since this is a script, and not a story, its structured a little odd (particularly if you don't read scripts that often). Its mostly short scene descriptions and dialog. Also, the word "Cap", followed by a dash, is short for "caption", which is the little box on the page that usually contains Rachel's internal monologue.
Rachel is running across the rooftops, a grim expression on her face.
Cap – I never thought I’d have to deal with this. That’s odd, I know, coming from someone in my line of work, but I always thought it would just be vampires and magicians and big ugly immortals. I never thought I’d have to deal with real humans and their myriad ways of killing each other.
She continues running.
Cap – The Inquisition, over in Southtown, are a real bunch of bastards. They practice a rather hard-line form of Christianity, and consider it their duty to eradicate the heathen from the face of the Earth. For years, since they seized power, they’ve been threatening Pagan City. They’ve built an army, developed an arsenal of weapons, all while their citizens starve to death in broken homes without electricity or running water. They built a wall around the city, keeping all of us out, and the people in. The Witches have been secretly sending in food and medicines, but it’s not near enough. Still, for all that, I always thought they’d content themselves with posturing, and that one day the people of Southtown would rise up and overthrow them.
She stops running, coming up short. We see a plume of smoke rising in the background, though we don’t see the source yet.
Cap – Even if they did try something, I always figured the police or the Witches would be able to protect the city. I believed that if it came to it, I could protect the city.
Full page shot of Rachel looking down from the rooftop, onto the smoldering ruins of the Taggart Railroad Building. Witches, police, Magicians and rescue workers swarm over the rubble.
Cap – I was wrong on all counts.
Scene of Rachel lifting a huge section of wall, helping with the rescue efforts. Jenna approaches.
Jenna – Rachel. I didn’t know you were here.
Rae – Just got here a little while ago. Figured I should get to work, rather than announce myself.
She continues searching the wreckage.
Jenna – We’ve been in touch with the mayor in Southtown. He denies responsibility, and truthfully, this doesn’t seem his style. From what I’ve heard of the current leadership, they’d be more likely to hit us with soldiers and tanks.
Rae – So, you don’t think it was them?
Jenna – I didn’t say that. I just said I doubted this was done directly by the Inquisition. However, there are one or two fringe groups operating out of Southtown, and this would certainly not be beyond them. The most likely suspect so far is a group called God’s Fist. They make the Inquisition look like a Unitarian Fellowship. The Inquisition claims to have exiled them, after a brutal raid on an Apache city west of here.
Rae – You don’t believe them, I take it.
Jenna – No. Its clear they’re setting up some plausible deniability, knowing that we’ll seek retribution for this.
Rae – But why strike at the railroad? Why not bomb Temple Avenue? That would certainly be more symbolic of their cause.
She shifts even more rubble, still finding nothing.
Jenna – Temple Avenue is a conduit for magical power, Rachel. A conventional weapons attack would have absolutely no effect on any building there. Besides, the Taggart Railroad Building housed the main transportation hub of the Western Territories. They’re hoping to cut us off from everyone, dry up our trade, that sort of thing. They –
Rachel gasps, dropping the I-beam she was lifting.
Jenna – Rae? What is it? Did you find…oh Goddess…
Worm’s eye view of the two heroes, with the silhouette of a child’s arm in the foreground. Silent panel.
Focus on the two women. A tear runs down Rachel’s cheek.
Rae – Damn it. I knew this would be hard, but…
Jenna(comforting hand on Rachel’s shoulder) – I know. Its worse when its children. We’ll be seeing more of them, I’m afraid.
Rae – Why?
Jenna – Well, this building housed the Taggart headquarters, as well as the station, and I believe today was Bring Your Child To Work Day.
Rae (horrified look) – Oh no. (confused) Wait. How would you know that?
Jenna looks away, hiding her own tears.
Jenna – My brother works here. My niece…she was so excited about it. She – (small voice) – she was only five…
Rae (sad face) – Oh Jenna…
She reaches out and hugs her friend.
Scene inside the Temple. The room is filled with Witches, as well as various members of the magical community, the police and the Mayor. Rose is speaking. Rachel is standing against the wall in the back of the room.
Rose – Obviously, our first priority is rescue and recovery, and caring for the victims and their families. Eventually, we’re going to have to decide how to respond to this.
Rae – What’s to decide? We respond in kind. I can be over the wall and tearing the Inquisitors’ Tower down around their ears before this meeting is even over.
A number of police and the younger Witches cheer their support.
Rose – QUIET! (to Rachel) – First of all, we have no evidence that this was the Inquisition. Everything seems to point to the God’s Fist group, and –
Rae – Fine. I’ll go after them then. But even if the Inquisition wasn’t directly involved, you can bet they know where these bastards are. I can find out with –
Rose – You can do nothing, until you are told what to do. You forget that your presence here is a courtesy. This is a delicate situation, and we don’t need some brash upstart rushing in and causing a war!
Rae – Me?! Those God’s Fist assholes started a war when they blew up the Taggart Building! How can you suggest we do anything but retaliate! We have to –
Jenna lays her hand on Rachel’s arm.
Jenna – Rachel. Lets go outside.
Scene of Rachel and Jenna sitting on the steps of the Temple.
Jenna – I know how you’re feeling, Rachel. Believe me, I want justice for this too. But, this isn’t the time for that sort of decision. Emotions are running high, everyone is too raw. The people of Pagan City need comforting and reassurance, not anger and more violence. We don’t have all the facts.
Rae – How can you say that? Your brother was in that building. Your niece is—
Jenna (angry) – I know what’s happened to my niece! I saw what was left of that child, and you can be sure I pictured my niece in his place! If you think I’m not angry, just because I’m counseling you to patience, then you are SADLY mistaken! Right now, what I want more than anything, is to raze that whole damn city to the ground!
Jenna collects herself.
Jenna – But I’m a Witch. I swore an oath, before the Goddess Herself, not to use my power in anger or revenge. I’m sworn to champion the cause of justice and truth, which means I don’t have the luxury of indulging myself whenever bloodlust overtakes me.
Rachel – Well, okay. But, I’m not a Witch. I’m not bound by any oaths to anyone. If I want to use my powers to kill every last Inquisitor I see, until they tell me where God’s Fist are hiding, then there’s nothing to stop me.
Jenna – Nothing? There’s nothing inside you that tells you what you’re thinking is wrong? I’ve always thought you were a woman of principles, Rachel. I’ve always believed in your integrity. Is your integrity so disposable, that you’ll trade it for anger and barbarism the first time its put to the test?
Silent panel. Rachel looks down at her feet.
Rae – No.
Jenna – I didn’t think so.
Rae – But I want to do SOMETHING!
Jenna – As do I. And, believe me, there’s plenty for both of us to do, that doesn’t involve killing more innocent people. Because, make no mistake, if you storm into Southtown, blowing things up and killing Inquisitors, that’s just the excuse they’ll need to go to war with us. And you can’t have a war without innocent people dying. I think what happened today proved that.
Rae – Yeah.
Jenna – Trust me, Rae. This is just the beginning. We’ll find out who did this, and when we do, there isn’t a god in Heaven who’ll be able to protect them from me.
Rae – And me.
Jenna (sad smile) – Right. But, for now, lets tend our wounded and bury our dead.
Jenna – You coming back inside?
Rae – No. I have…something to do.
Scene of Rachel at the disaster site. Bright globes of light hang in mid-air, obviously a Witch’s spell. Rachel moves to help some workers, but then hears a shout behind her.
Witch (off-panel) – I’ve found someone!
Rachel zips over to him.
Rae – Where?
The Witch points to a pile of rubble with a large section of wall on top.
Witch – I can sense a living mind under there. But this is too heavy for me to lift, and a levitation spell might shift the pile too much.
Rae – Hang on.
Rachel lifts the piece of wall, taking care to place it gently on a clear piece of ground. She digs through smaller pieces of debris at super-speed. She uncovers a man dressed in a dusty and torn business suit. The Witch levitates him out.
Witch – He’s alive, but unconscious. I’ll get him to a healer. (looks up at Rae) – Thank you.
Rae – Thank YOU. Without you, he may have been found too late.
Witch – We all do what we can.
Rae – So I’m told.
The Witch carries the victim away, and Rachel continues to dig.
Dawn comes, and Rachel is still digging. She’s filthy, covered head-to-toe in dust and dirt, but a large portion of the debris has been cleared. Bridget arrives.
Bridget – Jenna told me you were here. Have you been at this all night?
Rae – Yeah.
Bridget – You should rest. Even your endurance has its limits.
Rae – Later.
Bridget holds out a cup of coffee.
Bridget – Here. Stop for a minute to drink this and tell me how it’s going. Have you found many survivors?
Rachel takes the coffee. Drinks it throughout the scene.
Rae – Thanks. We found a few, but we’re mostly digging out bodies. The rescue teams (indicates EMS and FD workers) say the ratio of bodies to survivors will only get larger as time passes. They’re still hopeful though.
Shot of EMS and FD workers sifting through rubble.
Rae(voice-over) – They’re incredible. They’ve been here even longer than I have, and they just won’t stop. And they’re just regular people. They don’t have my endurance, and they’re still here working.
Shot of Rachel and Bridget. Rachel finishes her coffee.
Rae – That’s why there’s no way in hell I’m quitting before they do. Where have you been, by the way?
Bridget – I’ve been handling the phones and helping with the injured over at the Crisis Center. I took a break to come look for you, and make sure you didn’t run off and do something stupid.
Rae – I almost did. Fortunately, Jenna convinced me otherwise.
Bridget – I knew I liked her for a reason. So, once you’re done here, what do you plan to do?
Rae – I’m not sure. Jenna says they need more information before they can act. Information’s going to be hard to come by, though, unless I take matters into my own hands.
Bridget – Rachel…
Rae – Relax. I don’t intend to kick down the gates of Southtown and demand information. There are other ways to get what I want. But, as I’ve been reminded recently, there are more important things to do right now. You headed back to the Center?
Bridget – Yes. I’ll meet you later? Maybe we can get something to eat.
Rae – Sounds like a good idea. I’ll be here.
Rachel and Bridget each head back to work.
Establishing shot of Southtown, featuring the Tower of the Inquisition. It is night.
Cap (non-Rachel) – One week later…
Interior of Tower, the Mayor’s offices. The Mayor of Southtown is talking with his secretary.
Mayor - Offer the usual condolences, tell them we deplore such an act of violence, assure the pagans we had nothing to do with it, our hearts and prayers are with them…blah blah blah. I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.
Secretary – Yes sir.
The Mayor enters his office. It’s dark, with bright moonlight shining through the window. Rachel is silhouetted there, her back to him. The door closes behind him.
Rae (still facing the window) – Have a seat, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor – Who…who are you? What are you doing here? How dare you invade my private offices? I’ll –
Rae – You’ll sit down and shut your mouth, is what you’ll do.
The Mayor tries the door, it doesn’t budge.
Rae – Don’t bother with the door, it won’t open until I want it to. And calling for help won’t work either. I’ve arranged it so no one can hear you.
The Mayor sits, never taking his eyes off Rachel, who is still staring out the window.
Mayor – W-what do you want?
Rae – You know, when you look at it from this height, it almost looks like a city, doesn’t it? Its only when you look closer, that you realize all the windows are dark, that the cars in the streets are rusted heaps, and that not a single soul is outside. On the surface, it looks like a city. But scratch that surface, and you see it for what it is: a prison. And a graveyard.
She turns and looks at him.
Rae – You know what I want. God’s Fist. Where are they hiding?
Mayor – I don’t know.
Rachel turns away from the window, walking toward the desk.
Rae – Of course.
Suddenly, she’s behind the desk, with her hand clutching his windpipe.
Rae – How about now?
Mayor – I don’t –urkh- I…you can’t…hhnnkk!
Rachel releases him, and he collapses across his desk, gasping.
Rae – Of course I can’t. I kill you, and our cities go to war. But you do know where these people are. And you will tell me.
Mayor – Why…gasp…why would I do that?
Rae – Because if you don’t, then I won’t be able to find them. If they can’t be found, then they’ll just blow up another Pagan City building, or assassinate our Mayor, or something equally damaging. Eventually, if they inflict enough damage, Pagan City WILL declare war on Southtown. People will die. Innocent civilians from both cities will lose their lives. Clearly, the lives of your people mean nothing to you, but the lives of my people mean the world to me. If it comes to war, I will do everything in my power to keep them from harm. Trust me Mr. Mayor, you won’t survive that.
Mayor – Fine. I give you God’s Fist, and your city is safe. What do I get out of it?
Rae – You just don’t get it, do you? This was a real city once. A good city. You took control, and set yourself up as their ruler. I’ve read the speeches you made then. You swore to purify the city of Southtown, and make it a true Christian city, free of pagan influences. You promised peace and security to the citizens, but all you’ve given them is tyranny and oppression. You claim this is a Christian city. I’ve known many Christians in my life. It was always my belief that one of the most basic tenets of Christianity is charity. Charity and love for your fellow man. I don’t see much of that here. I see a man living in opulent luxury, while his people live in squalor and kill each other for scraps of rotten meat.
She leans over his desk.
Rae – You want to know what you get out of helping me? You get another chance. This can be a real city again. Be a true leader to your people. Serve them, as a leader is supposed to. Care for them. Build Southtown into the kind of city it once was, with a thriving populace and a vigorous culture. If you want the Pagans to stay out, we will. We’re quite content to leave you alone, so long as you do the same for us. All these weapons, this army and your gang of thugs are unnecessary.
She pulls a phone out of her jacket.
Rae – Jenna, I’m ready.
She turns back to the Mayor.
Rae – Remember that I came here to talk. I didn’t have to. I could have behaved like the animals you’re protecting.
She disappears with a loud PORT!
Scene of Rachel, in the desert, overlooking a raid by Witches on the God’s Fist compound.
Cap – So, obviously, the Mayor told us where God’s Fist could be found. The Witches hit their compound this morning, and they’ve been dragging terrorists out all day, though it’s a fair bet we won’t get them all. These people have holes all over the desert that they can crawl into. But, this raid should cripple them, and the Collective has assigned two covens to hunting down the rest of the organization.
The Mayor of Southtown has stepped down, and elections will be held soon. Hopefully, Southtown can get back on its feet, and the two cities can rebuild their relations. Or, they’ll just trade one bastard for another, and we’ll be right back where we started.
Full shot of Rachel, staring into the distance, wind in her hair, a very heroic posture.
Cap – Regardless, I’ll be watching. This will NEVER happen again.
posted by Chris at 10:21 AM
Monday, April 08, 2002
So, it will be a little longer than previously announced until the next page is up. Things are beginning to get pretty hectic for our Mr. Zugale, and, as he only has two hands (last time I checked), some things need to go on the back burner for a wee bit. Have patience, as I'm sure the new pages will be well worth the wait.
In the meantime, I'll post a new story this week, so you all have something to read until the main event.
posted by Chris at 10:54 AM
Monday, April 01, 2002
BWAHAHA! You should see the looks on your faces!
Actually, judging by your emails, you pretty much figured this out already. But, for those that haven't, today's (4/1) page is an April Fool's Day joke cooked up by none other than Art Master Jeff Zugale himself! When Jeff suggested the idea, I couldn't resist. So, I banged out a quick "Jesus script", and Jeff worked his usual magic. My "Jesus Blog" was supposed to have been up the same time as Jeff's, but some technical glitches kept me out of the fun for half the day.
At any rate, we hope you enjoyed the joke, and to show what good sports we are, there will be new "Mystic for Hire" tomorrow (4/2).
posted by Chris at 4:46 PM
And So I Turned My Face to the Light
A Tale of Salvation by Christopher Wichtendahl
It had started out as a normal day. I got a call that some vampires were running mad across the Quaint District, and I zipped on over to bust them up. When I got there, Bridget and Jenna had set a trap. A flaming pentacle, hovering over a magic circle drawn in human blood. I felt my powers leave me then. There was no escape.
That was when I heard their true story.
“It is true, Rachel,” Jenna cooed, laughing at me from outside the flames. “I am a bride of Satan, who you’ve come to know as Obsidian, as are all in the Witches Collective. I have been chosen to deliver you to my Master, for which my infernal sisterhood shall receive your heart to use in sacrifice.”
Bridget approached me then, stepping easily through the flames she’d created. She walked around me in a circle, further binding me within their hellish trap.
“I am a demon.” Her body had changed. She was in her flame form, but larger than I’d ever seen her. The hint of fiery scales blazed on her cheeks and arms, and long horns of flame grew out from her head. “I will feed on your soul, which my Master will drink from my veins. But first,” she advanced, “you must die.”
I turned to see what had distracted the fiend I’d once called friend. It was Buster, a cross of gold around his neck, running up the street. “Stop!” he shouted. “I command you, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord! Release her and be gone!”
The circle of fire vanished, the bloody circle dried to powder. I stepped closer to Buster, while the two servants of darkness looked on warily. “Buster!” I was incredulous. “When did you—?”
“It’s a long story, and one I’ll tell you later.” He looked over at Bridget and Jenna, but they were gone.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“They are revealing their true colors,” he said. “Come. My eyes were only recently opened, but you must have seen that it was the Name of the Lord which drove those beasts away.”
I can’t deny what I saw, and I tell him so. We talk for hours then, and he tells me of his conversion to Christianity, during the Southtown Easter Celebration. He prays, and we read the Bible together. And through it all, I come to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.
I must relinquish my powers, Buster tells me.
I’ll do so gladly, for I need them no longer.
For I walk with the Lord.
posted by Chris at 4:14 AM
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