The Hero's Handbook --Where doing things by the book just doesn't turn out right at all.


The Hero's Handbook

by HHB BOOKMASTER

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News Archive

6/2/06: I was really hoping to avoid missing a strip this week but a sudden illness-of-evil struck yesterday thwarted my noble plans. Fiendish virus! Thank goodness I actually got started early, so I at least have a few sketches to show off as a teaser for next week. Also in the fun-bag next week, if anyone here happens to be a fan of the game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is my final project for my Senior Seminar class. Our project assignment involves creating a web site to host our info, and Iíll get a link up for anyone whoís interested it my project. Iím basically analyzing two different adaptations of the game (the official manga and cartoons by Hail-NekoYasha) so expect a lot of jargon there. Iíll let you know when I finish it. Iím already done with my final test; I just have a big essay and this huge project to finish by the middle of next week. I bought a book to help me learn how to work Macromedia Dreamweaver, so Iím gonna be getting better at my site building. Next up, I need to complete/revamp the HHB site and Shada wants me to help with hers.

5/12/06: It's getting close to finals and things are heating up at school. I didn't have time this week to do a full comic, but I did a quick sketchy to check in on some characters. They're still on watch-tower duty. Bummer! To give this sketchy comic some importance, I took the liberty of including some background details about someone...

5/9/06: I had a funny idea strike me and I wanted to use it. Since I intended The Heroís Handbook to have some strips devoted to plot, some to jokes, and some to both, there will inevitably be random gag strips that really have no identifiable or important placement in the plotline. I havenít been able to do much with that aspect because I hardly have any members of the main cast active, let alone together. Lord Gaurtros is easy enough to work with since he doesnít require much more than random minions or himself to interact with for jokes. As for where the idea for this strip came from, well...I get strange ideas when Iím daydreaming in school and trying to think of anything BUT the homework Iím supposed to be doing. Funny newscasts are always amusing and I thought that would make a good strip. I wrote a bit of dialogue involving a scenario where Hermione Grangerís S.P.E.W. organization actually has some active members who have no clue how utterly pointless their cause is. Somewhere along the line (I think about multiple subjects as once--itís the ADHD) I thought itíd be funny that since Sauron has such a hard time keeping track of his jewelry, itíd be quite embarrassing if he lost his wedding ring. This required a search through my memory of villainous ladies to use, and Maleficent was the best I could come up with. Besides, sheís cool! DRAGON! So thereís a new obscure shipper pairing for those of you romantics who are into that kind of stuff. Have a party.

Oh, and btw, that reporter lady is another minor character. She reports on various events in Eoa and is one of the most popular and well-known reporters in the land. She has a strange ability to tell when something newsworthy is going to happen and where, so if sheís hanging around you know something big is about to go down. She also has a fierce rivalry with her twin brother, who works as another popular reporter for a rival news station. More info on them later as the story progresses.

Sadly, There wonít be a usual update this Friday. My workload is increasing exponentially and I had to put of some of it just to get this strip done. Unfortunately, I must devote Friday to an essay on adaptations of Mary Shelleyís Frankenstein. Iíll see if I can get a sketch or something done. Maybe I can tie it into the story events in a pathetic effort to make plot-progress despite an official strip...weíll have to see. Thereís only a month left of the quarter and I have a ton of catching up, reading, writing, studying, and a group presentation to work on. May usually is my busiest school month, with it being the last full month of the school year and such. But school gets easier after that, and I may only have a couple more quarters left. Then I get to stress out about the REAL world. Oh goodie. The fun never ends.

5/5/06:Alright, it seems Iíll update Monday. I decided at the last minute to include something that required twice as many drawings than originally planned. Why? I figured itíd be fun to show something and have a guest appearance by a well-known character from another story drawn in HHB style. Before, it wouldíve just been the characterís dialogue. Youíll have to find out later on Monday. In the meantime, you can check out a couple preview drawings for the strip (no, the guest isnít one of them, but a new minor side-character is).

5/4/06:OK, I havenít updated the news in a while. Iíve been usually too rushed. Because Iím taking the crowning class of my universityís English major program this quarter, Iím busier than ever before. As a result, the comicís schedule has been majorly whacked. Expect the chaos to continue for another four or five weeks or so, getting worse closer to Finals Week. Once summer comes around, Iím gonna need to get a job. On the plus side, since my sister Shada is home for the summer (YAY!), I have access to her scanner and can now create by entire comic from home! Assuming, of course, that I can get enough time on the high-in-demand family computer..but thatís another issue. Trouble might occur in September when Shada takes her scanner with her back to school; I guess weíll see if I can backlog enough to avoid a hiatus like last year. At any rate, this is probably my most chaotic quarter ever (hence my wacky updating habits) and then the summer is always unpredictable, but the next school year should be much more manageable. This is all just FYI, so you can know what to expect in the future.

Now then, on to commentary of todayís strip. Check it out! Fancy, huh? I would have had it done sooner, but I picked a real rotten week workload-wise to experiment with shading and highlighting. In addition, I accidentally deleted the dialogue bubbles, which prevented me from putting this up yesterday. GAH. Since I had already stayed up past midnight and was running on 3-4 hours of sleep for the past 10 days, I decided to crash for the night and fix the strip today. So I did. And it turned out for the best, because I could fix that line of Luteís that was bugging me. It kind of implied that Lute has had a lot of nightmares, possibly recently, and since Lute isnít afraid of much that didnít seem to fit with the character. So I changed it. Oh, and by the way, you might notice an absence of the characterís shadows on the backgrounds around them. Itís a bummer, but I simply canít spend any more time on this. I colored this strip all fancy because I was curious to see how long it would take me to shade and highlight using a quick-and-sloppy but still effective method. The verdict is that it more than doubles the coloring time and is not worth the effort in most cases. Still, Iíd like to do this when I have the time in the future (it is, after all, what I want the comic to look like permanently by the time I reach the Second Saga, which is the primary and most important HHB plotline). I may at least add highlights to the charactersí hair from here on since that looks nice and is fairly quick to do. I also wanted to match the fancy door I did in the last strip (since the look of it didnít fit in well with the rest of the stripís coloring style). So thereís the story behind this.

One more thing..the next update will simply be a gag strip (not in the plotline). I need some time to work out the kinks in the way the plot will unfold for the next bit. The original plan was kinda long, so Iím cutting it down drastically while still attempting to include the two scenes depicted in two previous Future Shots. The next strip may also be delayed to Monday, depending on how fast I get it done and whether I want this colored version of last weekís strip to stay on the front page a little longer because it took so much darn time. I put effort into that! ADMIRE IT!

PS: Iíve archived the old news, so this front page no longer suffers the Scroll-of-Death Syndrome.

4-3-06: BAH! I finally got the comic done! Sheesh, this quarter of school is really weird. What was that? No, the class schedule I can handle; itís the assignment schedule thatís driving me bonkers. Long story--maybe Iíll rant on it in my DA journal later. In addition to the existing confusion, I had to go make life even more complicated. Hey! It was a SIMPLE schedule! I canít have a simple schedule; the universe itself will implode! Or so it seems... Anyway, due to the fact that I have serious personal, religious, etc., issues with the obscene material required for the first couple weeks of my Senior Seminar class on adapting texts, Iíve sought special permission to do my essay on a different subject. So instead of reading the comic book ďGhost WorldĒ and watching the movie based on it, I get to read the comic book ďBatman: the Dark Knight ReturnsĒ and watch ďBatman BeginsĒ instead. Yeah, I know what youíre thinking. Bites to be forced to read comic books and watch movies for homework. ^_^

So why is all this important? Well, the sad part is, the assignments are due at weird times, such as in between class days at twelve, weekends with full moons, holidays in 1805, leap-years, and whatever. I planned this quarter to have my Fridays free for the comic but this week I need my Friday to write my paper since Iím spending the whole week reading all-new material for it. This delays the next strip to next Monday at the earliest. Then enter the next problem. This next strip will be...well, different. This is the one I for which I needed to design a map of Eoa (the world in which the HHB story takes place) and come up with some decent place-names and stuff. So weíll be taking a one-strip time-out from the story for a little exposition, history, and geography with the help of a familiar character. Afterwards, itíll be back into the story for a new character debut with a BANG! At any rate, I really hope I can finish it by Monday. Iíll keep you all updated on the comicís status on the tagboard.

3-13-06: Oops. Heh. Late again. I know I ought to feel worse about it, but since Iím so psyched about some of the stuff I learned how to do in Photoshop, I feel the delay was well worth it. I spent hours surfing the web looking for tutorials on how to create beam-like effects as well as hours playing around with my own ideas. There was this one AWSOME tutorial that really would have worked well with the HHB art style, but sadly it wouldnít work with anything but a flat color background behind it. Anyway, the method I finally decided on is actually a very quick method. I may have spent hours to find it and work out how I wanted to use it, but it will save me loads of time in the future. Plus, it looks awesome! Anyway, all of the magic effects in this most recent strip are here thanks to an awesome brush set I downloaded. Since I believe in giving artists their due credit, the brushes can be found here. In addition, I played around with layers and effects and spiced the beam up even more to give it the 2-color look and oncoming perspective angle. As for the reason why I have a stark blue background...well, I had to get this darn thing DONE. The blue was actually just a test background color used when I was trying out the beam tricks; I liked how the beam looked against the blue and stuck with it.

As for the strip content, Star continues his rampage. Itís not like he has anger issues--he just takes offense really easily. Plus, he has a high sense of vengeance and a very good memory. I imagine heís getting even for a lot of injustices he received at the hands of these thieves. Like, say, the whole locked-up thing. And before you start wondering why he didnít blast the cell door off itís hinges or crash through the wall, Iíll tell you now that the dungeon walls are too think to bust through and the door had a magic-proof seal on it--a seal that only a spellcaster can put on it...

Well, this is it. Finals Week is finally here! Next week is the infamous Spring Break followed by the first week of Spring Quarter. I only have a fairly-easy take-home Shakespeare final to do this week, so I have plenty of time to work on not only this Fridayís strip, but next Fridayís as well. That means I will NOT be missing a strip during the break! Neat stuff! Anyway...now Iím off to complete said to-do list so I can focus my break on my recently-revived Legend Of Zelda obsession. I want to finish playing Minish Cap, read more scanslations (translated scans) of the mangas and comics (I'd kill for those books to be officially translated so I can actually get my happy paws on some copies), and maybe play Ocarina of Time for the billionth time. Good times. ^_^

3-7-06: Sadly, the saga of life-over-webcomic continues. Due to a list of boring circumstances (that I won't bother you with since they're...well...BORING) I have to go with a Future Shot for last Friday. I also have a teaser for this Friday's strip here, if you want to see a few of the drawings. I've been dreading this part of the story for over a month since I had no idea how to pull it off and still hit all the marks I wanted to. I'm not sure my layout plan will be satisfactory but it was the best I could come up with. More comments on that after Friday. As for the Future Shot today, I'd like to remind everyone that while BookMaster represents yours truly ^_^ and stands as the cartoonist in the comic, she's still a character in the story--much like a narrator, to be exact. Since she posesses the ability to interact with the other characters, the other characters can therefore interact with her as well. This isn't always a good thing since the cartoonist is NOT exempt from harm or damage and gets very ticked off when cast members are careless. Anyway, I know the Future Shots are starting to add up and so far only one has been hit in the plotline. Rest assured that two more will be tagged soon.

2-27-06: Perhaps you might have noticed by now, but this has been one crazy month. (O_o) I've had a much harder than usual time keeping up with the strip. Accidentally deleting my file last Friday sure didn't help. I FINALLY finished that strip today. Just as a word of warning, this week's strip will also be delayed to Monday. I simply have no time at all to work on it. Hopefully, the following strip will be back on schedule. I'm aware I haven't colored the Valentine Special yet but don't worry, I will eventually. I think you'd prefer me to place higher priority on actually completing updates. ^_~

What's been so crazy? Well, for starters, with my brother's return I've taken some days off from school for family activities and such, so there goes that homework/webcomic time. I've also had some major things for school, all of which is DUE THIS WEEK (if it wasnít due last week), such as my second Shakespeare paper, a literary analysis, and the short story and poem I'm entering in a scholarship competition. The short story is Eclipse, the one based loosely on HHB--you'll know what I'm taling about if you've been reading the news. In addition, the Olympics ran these last two weeks and Iím a huge fan of the Games. I still didnít see as much as I wanted to (missed most of the ice dancing, bobsledding, and snowboarding and didnít see any ski jumping at all). There are other things that take up time too, but I wonít go into those.

2-13-06: Sorry for the late update; I decided at the last minute to combine two strips and cut a redundant one out. As a result, Starís full appearance has been bumped to...today! ^_^ Letís see what kind of chaos a prideful unicorn with an attitude can kick up--literally...

FYI, my little brother is coming home from his mission this Wednesday!!!!! Heís been gone for two years on a mission for the LDS church, so his homecoming is a big deal. As a result, expect a possible delay for the next strip...again. Iíll work hard to at least get a black-and-white up in time. Thank goodness thereís nothing major due in school this week.

2-3-06: I got the update done! Who-hoo! The forces of fate tried to thwart me, but I conquered! Um...other than that I really donít have any news today...

OK, thereís one thing......WEíRE IN THE SUPERBOWL! GO SEAHAWKS!!!!!!

1-28-06: Would you look at that! BOTH blades broke! ^_^ Oh, and FYI, hereís a plot hint treat for those of you who bother to read the HHB News: Rashar rarely shows any emotion and rarely is caught off guard. So why is he so shocked his sword broke...? And why doesn't he have a sheath for it?
My apologies to everyone. I missed last week's strip and this week's is not only late, it lacks color and stuff. I came down with serious "upper respiratory infectionĒ (ooo, that sounds serious!). It started on the 18 and I still have it. It was really bad for a week but Iím slowly recovering. I know I get sick a lot but this is the worst thing Iíve had for years. Now I have some MASSIVE homework backlog to slog through. I'll add the color and stuff to this weekís strip later after I write five pages about ďwhatís rotten in DenmarkĒ (Hamlet).

1-10-06: It seems that the holiday guest strip fell through. Sorry about that, everyone. I'm back in school and back in buisness, so things should start picking up again. Since you've all been so patient through the holidays, here's a sneak peak at this Friday's strip. I actually had to do a lot of research for this blocking pose; ideally I would like to adhere to actual sword techniques when I'm drawing battle scenes. This isn't a garantee since it's rather hard to find the poses I need and I'm no expert in any kind of swordsmanship, but I'll keep it as close as possible.

12-16-05: Well that was fun. Not. First time in two years my bus failed to show up. So I guess Iíll upload the strip while waiting for my ride to rescue me. -_-
Hooray for 50 strips! ^_^ And on this VERY bad cliff hanger, weíll enjoy a holiday gust story by Skullbearer until I get back in school in January. To fit in his story, the update schedule for this strip will occur more frequently. Iím not sure just how frequent yet but there will be updates several times per week.
On a FABULOUS note, I now hold in my hands NOT ONLY my very own copy of Adobe Creative Suite 2, but also Macromedia Studio 8!!! Three cheers for AWSOME DEALS! I felt like I robbed the place! I now own Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, Flash 8, Dreamweaver 8, and many other fun programs. All I need now is a GOOD scanner and everyone else off the computer (or my very own laptop) and I can update from home anytime I want. This is GREAT news for this site. ^_^
Oh yeah, and I have a voting pic! Vote for me in TWC and youíll see the sketch I drew for my cousin of Lute and Star in a slightly more detailed style (you can tell by the hair, which took some time to figure out how to draw on Lute). Iíll warn you: itís CUTE. See, this is what happens when I overdose on the Christmas Spirit. Looking at this drawing makes me want to melt and gag at the same time.

12/09/05: I just canít turn it off!!! Every time I draw some supposedly random one-time-only character the character factory in my head spits out personality and/or backstory to go with! I actually managed to avoid developing the two guys in todayís strip up until I colored them; at that point, it was unavoidable. So now I have an unusual pair consisting of a boisterous, self-centered pirate and a quiet, brooding flare-ninja who speaks with a monosyllabic vocabulary. Since they donít have much of a role in the plot, Iíll just use them as thugs and side characters when needed.
Well, finals week is coming up. Sorry todayís strip was late; I had a few things to get done first. Iíll have to finish the backgrounds on Monday. I should even be able to finish a strip for next week, too! After that, Iím on winter break for a couple weeks with no access to a scanner or the programs I need. Thankfully, Skullbearer is creating a sequence of holiday guest strips; these will run during the holidays so things donít get boring around here. ^_^ Since there will probably be more than two or three, HHB will update more than once a week while they run (the exact schedule will be determined later).
Oh yeah, and remember when I mentioned that the stripís site address will be changing from theheroshandbook.keenspace.com to theheroshandbook.comicgenesis.com sometime? Well, expect that to happen before New Yearís. So set your bookmarks.

12/2/05: This weekís strip took AGES to finish! Just about every step gave me problems, but I finished. I almost cried when I had to ink this; these were some of my best sketches for this strip, and you always lose something from the energy of a sketch when you ink over. Good thing I always scan my good drawings before I ink. Iím something of a digital packrat like that. Oh, and I discovered some great tricks, too! I finally managed to produce a satisfactory chain mail pattern that actually can pass as chain mail. I also figured out how to make a glowing crystal ball look cool. ^_^ But Iím not happy with some things. For example, I feel like some during the construction of this strip, the second panel lost a lot of its speed. I think itís the border in conjunction with the background gradient thatís ruining it..
At any rate, I think we can safely assume Lute has at least a fairly good idea on how to use that weapon. Oh yes and by the way, this is why The Heroís Handbook is rated PG rather than G; violence, serious injury, and even DEATH. Bwhahaha! But the ďgoreĒ level stays low (itís not PG-13, after all).

11/25/05: Sorry for the late update; I was having problems with my home FTP program. And speaking of problems, I made quite an oopsie this week. I totally forgot about the Thanksgiving holiday break. This quarter I usually work on the comic on Thursday, however I remembered on Wednesday that I wouldnít be in school that day or even Friday. Being nowhere near done with the strip and not even having enough time to do a decent Future Shot, that left me in quite a pickle. So hereís an apology for this week. Yes, this is totally my fault and if anyone is upset with me thatís understandable. I will keep better track of my time in the future. While the next update will be in another week, you can still get a sneak peak here, so at least this week isnít a total loss (I usually would put this in my scraps gallery on DeviantArt, but DA is being annoying right now). I also didnít do a Thanksgiving Special this year because I had no time and there are so many world and US holidays during this time of year, Iíd never make any progress in the comic if I celebrated them all. I hope you all (those of whom this applies to, anyway) had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

11/17/05: Funny, werenít we just having a conversation about something like this in the tagboard? How ironic. ^_^ But does Lute even know how to USE that thing? Stay tuned! Gasp, the suspense!

11/10/05: Finally, Lute's starting to look like a hero! You might notice he's missing a few items such as the fancy sword and matching vambraces (forearm guards). This is an epic! He can't find all the goodies at once, where's the fun in that? The leather gauntlet-gloves are new, and he might keep them once he finds the vambraces (I kinda like the look). The trick will be drawing all this gear on the guy without making him look fat or his equipment look paper-thin.
This strip also introduces a new character that I didnít even know about until I drew the final draft. As soon as I got that middle guy on paper, he shoved his whole back-story at me. This REALLY messes up what I had planned for the scene but it might help this section move more smoothly in the long run. He even opens a few more doors-of-possibility in both the story and character development. So everyone, Iíd like you to meet Rashar, the blood-thirsty punk who forcibly elbowed his way into my comic. And as for you, Rashar, IíM REMEMBERING THIS.
On a more somber note, my family had to take our cat to the vet last Saturday to be put to sleep. He was 18 and a half, so he lived a good, long life. His sister died a year and a half ago on Motherís Day. I wrote about this in detail in my Deviantart journal. Weíll pull through, but itís tough. Iím glad I have this comic to work on; it helps to laugh.

11/4/05: My sincerest apologies, but between the Halloween special and studying for my midterm test (which I SO totally aced), Iíve had zero time to work on a strip for today. I do NOT like missing an update, though, so once again Iíve pulled together a Future Shot for you readers to stare at and ponder for a bit. Sorry itís sloppy - - I mildly injured my drawing arm so using it today is a bit of a pain. I was able to sketch out the characters (Lute and Chastalynd) but the background was expendable in favor of saving my arm for taking notes in class later today. With midterms over with, I should be able to keep up with strips for another month or so until finals roll around.

10/28/05: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And hereís a special Halloween artwork to celebrate. Characters from left to right are: Lute, Chastalynd, Princess Miara, Shali, and BookMasterís just kinda thrown in there (run, me, run!). Chast, Miara, and Shali have not yet appeared in the strip (though you might want to look back at one of the Future Shotsóthereís a cameo of one of these three), but they will eventually. Just to clarify, Chast is a Drow (dark elf) and Shali is a Genie.
Oh, and by the way, I actually made that costume BMís wearing. Iím going as a flamboyant Sith who thinks sheís a lot better than she really is. ^_^ I donít make costumes; I make characters. Itís a lot more fun.
Nobody submitted guest strips this month, though I have extended the deadline for two people. Well, maybe next year thereíll be more takers. ^_~
I just noticed that I totally forgot everyoneís SHADOWS in the Halloween Special! That BITES! Iíll have to fix that later when I have the time. And maybe do a little more with that lame background. Thisíll do for now.
Now itís cram-time for the big test this next week. Itís worth almost half my grade...(O_o) How's THAT for a scary Halloween?

10/20/05: HA! I set a new speed record for this week's strip! I'm finally getting faster! This is good, considering I have midterms comming up and I gotta STUDY. *panic*
IMPORTANT: I MUST have all guest strips in NEXT WEEK. Prefferably by Wednesday. I will not be putting up any guest strips after the Halloween Special. So hurry!
Also, there's more new fanart up by Corey and Plaid! There's also a fan-done wallpaper by Kristin. ^_^

10/14/50: Sorry, I became sick again and ran out of time to color. But at least it's an update! I'll add color sometime before the next update. ^_~

9/30/05: Greetings again, everyone! I hope you all had a great summer! Weíre almost ready to get back on track here. The first official update after my break should be on October 16, so mark your calendars. But before then, thereís something to celebrate! On October 1, this webcomic will be officially one year old!!! ^_^ To commemorate the event, I did a piece of artwork that should update tomorrow. You can find the wallpaper for it in my art gallery. In addition, due to expressed interest, Iíll be excepting guest strips during October. Iíll put them on the site as I get them, so there will be some sporadic strips tossed about here and there, but my own schedule will remain unaffected. Please note that I will NOT be putting up guest strips AFTER October. So donít delay and get Ďem in if youíre planning to do one!
On another note, Iíd like to extend my own condolences and sympathies to everyone affected by the recent hurricanes. Iím keeping you in my prayers, my friends. For those of you who are planning on donating to charities to help these people, I applaud your efforts but give you a word of warning. After 9-11, a whole pack of crooks started phony charities to swindle from well-meaning good Samaritans. This problem continues to exist. Before donating, be sure to check the credentials and backgrounds of the organizations you are donating to! We want to help those who need our help, not these wolf packs. So good luck to all, and my God be with you!

8/24/05: Ok, several items to address:1) Since we are taking Shada back down to school this week (as well as attend two family reunions--whew!), there wonít be an update to the strip for at least two weeks.2) As a result of the above, I no longer have access to Adobe Photoshop or a scanner. The only way I can get anything done on the strip would be to take frequent trips up to school. I canít do that--at least, not a lot. I may be able to do some strips, I may not. The result is that I may (quite likely) be forced on hiatus during the month of September. Many apologies, but this is still our first year, and there are bound to be kinks to work out for some time.3) Uh...confound it, I totally forgot the rest of what I had to say. Well, if I remember, Iíll update the news when I get back in about a week. See ya all!

8/12/05:Ok, sorry for the late update. I couldnít get on the computer. Why does everyone always need this thing at once? Also, since I was on vacation this week, I could only do a Future Shot (so Lute will have to find that Plot Point next week instead, sorry folks). The next strip will require more attention than usual. Heaven only knows itís taking forever to draw. Well! Itís a good thing I like to draw, or this might start getting #!@$%!&! frustrating! Now excuse me while I return to beat this sketch into submission. In the meantime, you can wonder who this spunky spitfire is.
My birthdayís in two days! I turn 24. Sheesh, time flies. I hope to get a Paypal account up, since several wonderful people have offered to donate (thankyouthankyouthankyou). All donations will go to helping this site and keeping it running (namely, the purchase of a program package that will allow me to work on this at home and school).

8/5/05: Next week...Lute finds a Plot Point! ^_^
Also, an important notice: The Hero's Handbook will be changing its URL to theheroshandbook.comicgenisis.com very soon. This is due to the fact that Keenspace has changed its name to Comic Genisis. So you might want to change your links accordingly.

7/29/05: Only one more strip to go, and then... *cue ominous dramatic fanfare*
Hey, I got that up rather fast (not really, thanks to the host site), considering how I couldnít draw for a few days. I pulled just about every muscle in my right arm. Ow. Also, Shada and I had a bit of a frightening event a couple nights ago. It's cool now, looking back on it, but still a really close call.
In addition, this site would have updated at noon, but Keenspace/ComicGenisis (the name is undergoing a change) was having server problems. Perfectly understandable. What grates me was that the Tagboard was down at the same time, so I couldn't explain the situation. Oh well...it's up now.

7/22/05: Short news blog today. Just a reminder, HHB updates anytime on Friday; during the summer months, however, updates may occasionally suffer some delay due to my very unpredictable schedule.

7/22/05: Well, ainít Lute a slippery one! ^_~ Catch Ďim if you can!
Now about last weekÖok, that was fun. Not. Double whammy of illness, followed by problems with Photoshop. Well, Iím feeling way better, and I managed to eventually negotiate around the technical problems. Hopefully, there wonít be any further delays like that. The storyís close to an important plot point and Iím getting antsy. Man, Iím rather ticked off about that delay, but sometimes thatís how things go. Ah well. Iím cheerful now because I might actually get a JOB soon! ^_^ Still, I gotta get that Paypal thing going.
Oh yeah. I missed out on one thing. I hope all of you American readers enjoyed your 4 th of July! A pardon to all you international readers while BookMaster indulges herself. ^_^ Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays, and I had plans on redoing the siteís colors for the day just to celebrate (Iím a big patriot). Bummer I had to go and totally FORGET WHAT I WAS DOING. (Begin wall pounding) *sob* Man, Iíve been planning that from the start. Itís just as well, I guess. The site still isnít even remotely close to completion. Heh, just another mindless goof for BookMaster! ^_^ This happens a lot, huh?
AhÖone personal note. I just looked at the calendar. I turn 24 in exactly one month. Where does the time go?

7/01/05: Well, sorry for the delay. Itís way harder to update from home than I had thought. And Iím totally bummed about missing Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy while in theaters. Iíve been waiting over a year to see it, put it off as a reward for accomplishing something, and missed it. Bites. Good thing I had a rough script for todayís strip, though my disheartened attempts to refine it may have botched it. Oh well. Off day. An entertainer of any kind who relies on humor needs to be funny regardless if he/she feels funny or not at the time, anyway.

6/27/05: My appologies for the late update. I had one doozy of a migraine last Friday. I get headaches a lot--they're kind of hereditary. I couldn't get up to school to do this strip, so I did it entirely from home. This is complicated by several things: A) I don't have Illustrator at home, so I had to do the speech bubbles, red arrow, and other text in Photoshop (so that's why it looks different), B) It's hard to get several hours without interruption to do something like this, and C) both computers are in use constantly, and getting enough time on either Shada's (which has Photoshop and both of us need it for our comics) or the family's comp (which is the one with Internet) is difficult. But I managed to get it done today. And next Friday's strip is comming along great, too.

6/17/05: Well..um..gosh. No news today. I guess I'll talk about the site, then. Iím trying to come up with a map for the HHB world so I can get around to continuing this siteís development. Iím largely interested in several pages: Completing the ďAbout this MessĒ page--which means getting up a loose description of the comic, the updating schedule, and providing some info on the lunatic who created this mess in the first place (yours truly). Next up I need to provide a character profile for the Black Lord Gaurtros. After that, I need to update the ďStory So FarĒ page. THEN I can get to the extremely expansive ďThe HHB WorldĒ page, which will probably be something like a mini-site itself since thereís so much to explain. Thatís where I get to show off just how complex this world is. But I donít know how long this will take, since Iím still ironing out details myself.

6/10/05: Aaaaaaand...weíre back with Lute. (Yay!) Letís see how Mr. Hero-Wannabe gets out of THIS mess. But just who is that person in the cell next to him?
Yeah, I know. Not much news today. La, de, da...

6/6/05: Woof! Ok, my bad. ^_^ Sorry about the delay, folks. I had a lot of last-minute work to do this past week. I was literally working until the last possible second on Friday. So the comic kinda fell behind a few days. But I got all my work in! Schoolís over! Whee! Still donít have that program package, though, so Iíll have to wing this thing by the week. Oh, and stay tuned for this Friday! Weíre going to check back and see what Luteís been up to. ^_~
Ok, now for some awesome news. If you read the tagboard, you might be aware already, but I finished the HHB short story! The weird thing is, this story sorta wrote itself, and the ending turned out quite different than I thought it would. But if you want to check it out, hereís the link: Eclipse Iíll be putting the link up in the Extras page, too. While there are some differences between the characters in the short story and the characters in the comic (needed to meet the class and the instructorís criteria, so I had to sacrifice exactness in favor of making the story good in every stylistic way possible), this story still can serve as a kind of look into the future of the Second Saga (or Adventure 2, as Iíve called it before). The Second Saga, just a reminder, is really the main story of HHB, so thatís what everything pivots on. Feel free to read the story and offer critique if you want; Iíll be submitting this to a Sci-Fi/Fantasy amature writer magazine.

5/27/05: Sheesh, that took a while. Ever have a problem where you didnít know you donít know how to draw something until you need to draw it? Well I found out I canít draw zombies. This is a fairly big deal, because our big and bulky villain here specializes in zombies. Like..crud. So Iím going to have to work on that. In addition, it took me ages to design the dime-a-dozen minionsí armor, and now itís one of the most complicated pieces of clothing so far. That is SO opposite of my intentions. So Iíll probably just cheat in the future and not draw as much of the detail. Still, itís one of the best suits of armor Iíve done. ^_~ *sigh* So much for keeping the art of this strip simple.
Getting toward the end of the quarter. Next week is the last one (I donít have any final tests, so I donít need to worry about finals week). Since Iím not sure how this will work out for the strip, Iím going to have to wing it as I go.

5/20/05: Ok, that didnít work out right at all. I was planning on doing a normal strip the whole time...until I came to school today. There are a whole lot of reasons why this couldnít happen. One of them happened to have been the fact that I had neglected an essential design that would appear in the strip, and I havenít worked it out yet. Basically, I need to design the uniforms/armor of the dime-a-dozen minions. Thereís a surprising amount of thought that needs to go into this for certain secret reasons, so itís not coming easily. Suffice to say, I had to come up with something else this week. I know itís frustrating when a weekly comic doesnít update the plot every week, and I can certainly relate. Lemme tell you, itís no picnic for the cartoonist, either. So I made sure that todayís Future Shot was extra cool. ^_^ Nope, Iím not sayiní whatís happening. ^_~ I will say that I have no idea how to draw ground bursting upwards. Oh, and yes that background REALLY bites. But I had to work fast. Not bad for not having any of my art books to help me! Iím getting better at poses.
FYI, the quarter is almost over and Iím getting into crunch time. Not much time for other stuff. Not sure how this will affect the comic yet, but Iíll keep you posted. Due to financial problems, I havenít been able to get that program package, so I really am not sure what Iím going to do for the summer. :-( At least my sis had her computer, which is equipped with Photoshop. But I still need a scanner and Illustrator...
New fanart! ^_^
Oh yeah...STAR WARS came out this week, and I have no time to see it! *sobs*

5/13/05: I broke two personal records today: being the farthest behind on a strip so far, and the speed with which I caught up. I guess it was drawing the darn thing that took by far the most time this go 'round. The suddent burst of speed was probably due to the fact that I didn't have anything fancy to work with as far as effects are concerned. The biggest time snag in the conputer work phase was in ironing out Dayshade's coloration, but that went pretty fast. It was almost as though she was looking over my shoulder and telling me just how she wanted to look, though the experience wasn't as annoying as it would have been were she actually there for real.
The Charcter page is updated! And so is the Extras page, where I've added a couple new link images. I've discovered that making those things is quite fun. I also moved the April news to the News Archive.
Shada's sergery went very well. In fact, she's recovering almost three times as fast as it took her last year. Hopefully, she'll be able to sit at a computer soon so she can work on her own comic. Sadly, I was supposed to update Nowhere U for her today, but I left the guest strip at home. Boy, have I goofed up, or what?
For those of you who have e-mailed me within the last two weeks or so: I'm not ignoring you, I'm backed up. -_-; I'll be getting to answering my e-mail ASAP (it's now a priority). VERY VERY SORRY! Bad BookMaster! Bad!

5/6/05: Ok, first of all, youíll probably notice the massive amount of text in todayís strip. This is a result of my continual attempts to move the story along by combining several strips into one in order to A) keep the plot rolling and B) not bore the readers with strips that contain explanatory information, but no real use or purpose otherwise (and sometimes no joke either). So I condensed several potentially bland strips into one. I had to cram the dialogue, but at least the forward momentum isnít damaged. And now I can move on to introducing another new character next week! ^_^
Itís ok to be proud of your own work, right? Because this has to be one of the cutest things Iíve ever drawn. Mini-Mez would make a good plushie toy. X-D Boy, would he find that humiliating. ^_^
Thanks everyone for voting for me on TWC! Once HHB hit the front page in the top 100, it started bringing in a lot of hits. I owe it all to you readers!
My sis, Shada of the Nowhere University webcomic, is in the hospital for her ankle surgery. Sheís been having problems for many, many years, and we hope this will help. So good luck with that, Shada!

4/29/05: Ok, this week has been insane. I had a lot of catching-up to do in school due to previous illnesses, various projects to finish, the comic to worry about, AND a midterm Shakespeare essay. Plus, my twin who runs Nowhere University is back home for the summer, and thatís always a big distraction. ^_^ Jeepers. But, Iím plugging through just fine...sorta. I didnít have time for a full comic, so I did another Future Shot. Ever wonder what happens if the hero actually fails to show up? I kinda too a long time drawing this, but it was faster than a strip and did want it to look nice. Hey, maybe in the future I might color this for my DeviantART site. Not anytime soon, though.
In addition, one of the projects I was trying to finish is a guest strip for Checkerboard Nightmare, a very popular webcomic on KeenSpot. Iíve been working on it when I can for several weeks, and I had to make it a priority before he was no longer accepting any (Kristopher Straub asked for guest strips last month). I hope he decides to use it. No link to my guest strip available yet, but there will be when I verify if heíll use it or not. If he will, Iíll post a notice and link to his site. If he doesnít, Iíll put it up in my DeviantART gallery. In the meantime, since it is his strip, he gets the right to put it up on his site first if he wants to use it.

4/22/05: Sorry about the delay; it took a while to get Mezmoro's spell right. The particular method I used turned out to be way too realistic, and I had to make my own adjustments in order to "toony" it up a bit. Boy, the big villain guy takes ages to draw! It's getting the position of his head right that's tricky. I'm also starting to have difficulty fitting characters that are very tall and very short into the same panel. Mr. Baddie is just going to have to bend over a bit when he's interacting with shorter characters. I also had difficulty with the text, partially since I LEFT THE FRIGGIN' SCRIPT at home. (*bangs head against wall*) @_@ I KNOW this isn't what I had written down...at least, for the second panel, anyway.

4/15/05: Introducing: The Great Goblin Magician, Mezmoro the Magnificent! (in the world of HHB, magicians are wizards or sorcerers that specialize in illusion and hypnotism spells) I am for once quite happy with my drawing here...for the most part, at least. Mez is fun to draw, albeit kinda difficult. Heís one of my favorite characters, so Iím happy I finally get to bring him in. He has a fun personality (zealously over-confident egotistical failures have so much comedic potential), and a great visual character design. The cast is finally beginning to grow...
Oh yeah, and this is also the first time that the character BookMaster and the cast actually get to interact with each other. While the presence of the cartoonist in the strip may seem like a cheap fourth-wall-smashing gimmick, it is actually essential to the plot and nature of the strip. The story isnít so much about the characters having adventures, but more about characters having adventures in trying to have adventures(dizzy yet?). So there are essentially two stories going on: the story of the characters in their world, and the story of the characters acting in a comic strip. In other words, the characters are acting out their own adventure as it happens, under the direction of the cartoonist. Since events in one story can dramatically affect the other, things do not always go as planned. Sometimes, the world of HHB can get out of hand and the cartoonist looses control. If that happens, things could go horribly, horribly wrong...

4/8/05: Well, despite getting sick for half this week, I still managed to get the strip done before most of today was over. Of course, I kinda cheated by reusing artwork, but at least I got it done on time. I think I over-worked the joke, though. It just doesn't seem funny to me anymore. I usually do change some dialogue when transitioning between the rough draft and the final strip, but I mightíve reworked the joke on this one too far. Iím learning that sometimes my second or third instinct on a joke will be far better than my fourth or fifth. My first instinct can go either way. At any rate, Iíve got to learn not to think about the joke so much. If anyone finds this funny, then thatís good. Maybe itís not as dead as I thought.
Ooo, and look what else! Iíve archived the old news! The link to the news archive is only on the homepage for right now, though. Iíll add it to the others later. Iíll also eventually organize the news, too. But for now, the homepage looks much neater. Hopefully this will help the pageload time, too.

4/1/05: Itís April Foolís Day! So has anyone been fooled yet? My own joke here on the strip was kind of accidentally timed. I did plan on suddenly cutting to a different scene, but it didnít occur to me that it would be ironically timed to occur on April 1st until yesterday. How appropriate. I hope the fancy shmancy coloring job makes up for abandoning our novice hero in a thievesí dungeon for the moment. I think heíll live (though he might be a bit upset with me).

3/28/05: Back from Spring Break! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter Holiday, if you celebrate it. If not, I hope you had a good Sunday anyway. ^_~ Glad to see Autokeen held the place together while I was gone, though Iíve heard about problems. It seems the Keenspace server had to be taken offline Friday and Saturday for a good error cleaning. My apologies for the site being down during that time. At any rate, Iím back in school now, so Iíll get a jump on catching up with stuff today, such as the tagboard and emails. Iíve already been working on the next strip, which should take some time in order to capture the dramatic effect Iím aiming for (which in turn should offer some comfort to readers for the evil thing Iím going to do... >:-D ). I spent hours Saturday and Sunday already drawing up one image that, once almost finished, Iíve kinda tossed aside in favor of redoing it in a vector program like Illustrator. Itíll make things a lot easier, particularly since I plan to use this image a lot. The time I spent drawing it wasnít entirely wasted, though; I did work out all the bugs in the design and refine it to where Iím satisfied.
One big good thing! Dad spent last week working on the new computer, and he may have solved the big problems! We were worried that he might have to totally erase the thing and start over, but heís done some research and asking around, and came up with a few methods that mightíve solved our problems. If this is the case, I can start doing stuff from home again. And it gets better! If I donít have to delve into my birthday/Christmas money savings in order to pay for school this quarter, I just might have enough to finally buy the Adobe Creative Suite program package! This means Iíll have the full Photoshop program plus Illustrator at home. Iíd only need to be at school to scan stuff and upload, and I can probably easily fix the home comp for uploading anyway, which leaves only the scanning for at-school jobs. We do have a scanner, but itís incompatible with the new comp. Thereís a possibility that we could trade it in for a new one eventually, which would mean I could finally run my entire comic from home. The only restriction Iíd have is...well...about half-a-dozen other people need to use the computer, too. -_- But I can stay up late at night and do things, so this would basically all boil down to my being able to spend more time on the comic and not be restricted by my school and bus schedules..assuming homework and other important things in life donít trip me up (I do have higher priorities, after all...like a LIFE). Iím in my major now, so the workload will just get steadily larger. Still, I remain hopeful that things will go better for the comic. Another plus of working at home is that all my concerns about summer break will be totally taken care of. I REALLY hope I can get this program package...

3/17/05: I had to study for finals all week, which was a major drag, and didn't have time to do a comic. :-( So I finished a drawing I had started a couple weeks ago for a Future Shot. Should still be interesting. ^_~ It'll go up tomorrow, assuming AutoKeen does its thing. Whoohoo! No waiting for once! I'm also having MAJOR computer problems at home, so there's no telling how available I'll be next week. I should have a regular strip done for next Friday's update, though.

3/11/05: Yes! Up early! Again, just a reminder: I update anytime on Fridays, but no later than 5:00PM -8GMC (US Pacific). Yeah, I went and checked to see which time zone Iím in for sure. My apologies to all the readers who are a lot further ahead than I am, and sometimes donít see the strip until Saturday.
Iím getting more than a little cross with that tagboard. The host site seems to be having problems, so I apologize to everyone who wants to use it. Hopefully theyíll get this fixed sometime soon. Eventually, when the need develops, Iíd like to get a forum. But thatís a while off, still.
Also, FYI, itís finals next week, followed by Spring Break. Iíll be spending half of next week in solid study, and Iím not sure how Iím going to manage the next couple of strips. I may have to come in on my break. Weíll see. But I do promise to get something up each week for updates. Worst case scenario would be not having time to do one of the strips, and therefore a filler would be required. Iíll use fillers as a total LAST RESORT since I hate comic delays as much as anyone else. However, unlike some comics out there, I plan to make the filler drawings actually useful in a way. I wonít just draw static poses or scenes that donít have any real impact or point in the story. What I have in mind is a concept I call Future Shots. If Iím going to be forced to put up a quick drawing, it will be a scene from somewhere in the future storyline--kinda like a clue or a hint to what may happen. I may even use these to my advantage once in a while and drop a piece of hidden information that could be crucial to further events. The fun for the readers will be in trying to figure out how the scene relates to the story and/or to the characters, and if thereís any hidden clues that might reveal something important (IF! Not all FS days will be clues. But try to guess which ones!). It should at least provide something to think and speculate about in the absence of a regular strip. Nevertheless, I will only use Future Shots as a last resort to getting an update done. I certainly donít plan on missing many--this is going slow enough as it is.
The Fanworks and Links pages have been updated!
A little while ago I signed up for TopWebComics.com. Over to the right is the link button. Vote for The Heroís Handbook!

3/4/05: I think I figured out why I'm having such a hard time drawing all of a sudden. I'm trying to hard to draw perfectly. Itís time I faced the truth: My current skill level simply is not as high as Iíd like it to be at this time, and forcing it is only making things worse. I need to just do the best I can for now, and let my skill evolve in due time. So, while the artwork isnít quite as good as Iíd like it to be (I can spot lots of proportional problems), thatís what Iíve got right now. Having admitted and accepted this fact, I feel much better. ^_^ So, that brings us to todayís update, and fun with effects, gradients, the works. Sorry if the page is slow in loading; despite not being the biggest strip in pixel dimension, this strip is much larger in file size due to the huge gradient in the background. Hazzard, (the darn guy I was having such a hard time drawing this week) has finally been pushed over the edge of his patience. But how can anyone be stronger than a berserker?
There's new fanart on the Fan Works page! ^_^ Thanks to Dragonwing for Hazzard art! Nice timing too, seeing as how that tough guy just stole the spotlight this week.

2/25/05: Who-hoo! Done almost two hours before quitting time! And that was despite running late on this one. Had to redraw parts of the darn thing multiple times. I'm still not happy with some of it...oh well. As I see it, I think there are two more action sequences to go, then I might be able to do a couple of normal four-panel strips just in time for finals week and spring break. Now THAT'S timing! The ability to do stand-alone non-plot strips probably won't be available until much later when there's more of a cast. But in the meantime, this story really needs to move on. Man...in a novel, no more than two pages would have covered everything that's happened in the past two months of strips. I'm really looking forward to getting faster at this--at the current rate, it'll take me years just to get through the First Adventure. -_- And when am I ever going to get around to creating a news archive!? This page length is rediculous!

2/18/05: Ooooo...suspense. Yeah, I know. Cliffhanger, sorry. ^_^ No joke this time, just building tension. At least I got it done, and a few hours early, too. I have some concern about next week's, though. I may have to simplify it. I really should have split this one in two, but for cryin' out loud, I want to get this story MOVING! So consider this as something fo a "two-for-one" deal. ^_^

2/16/05: Ok, there seems to be some disquiet pertaining to the one-a-week updating policy. Thatís certainly understandable; Iím impatient too. I feel like banging on my own door and yelling, ďHey! Hurry up, already!Ē Really. I want to get this story out just as fast if not faster than any of you want to see it. Sadly, thatís impossible. The deal is that with practice Iíd go faster. Well, Iíve gotten practice, and things have speeded up a little. Unfortunately, to counter balance that, Iíve become more detailed and picky in my artwork. -_- Even worse, these recent strips are incredibly large, and take up to three to four times longer than a regular 4-panel strip. Basically, it can take over 15 hours to do a complex action sequence strip. To boot, Iíve fallen behind in my reading homework. Oops. At any rate, it takes in reality more time than I really should have to do these complicated strips. Luckily, Iím a master at fudging and bluffing in essay tests, so even if I donít complete my reading homework I can still pass with flying colors; so long as I get at least some of it done. But Iím still going to have to stop and study extensively sometime soon (I canít fudge and bluff on the Astronomy tests). Iím trying to reach the end of the sequential action strips before finals, so I can do some easy regular strips while I cram. So really, I can understand the frustration. Itís at my end too. But maybe I can help out a little by posting teasers on my Deviantart scrap page. Iíve done that before, and Iíll try to do that in the future for the larger strips. Oh, and I do still expect to get faster with time. Iím still learning how to work Photoshop and all that itís capable of, so I should eventually no longer need to do quite so much testing to get things right.

2/11/05: Once again, this update took way longer than anticipated. I don't even have time to design the template for next week. By word of warning, I might need to do another background delay on the next strip. I will get one up, though, with or without backgrounds.

2/4/05: Today's strip came out without a hitch, other than I blew the time lead I had today by playing with background gradients. I'm already drawing next week's, which will be another break from the four-panel layout. I think the next several will be as well, since the usual layout doesn't work well for action sequences. Besides, Hazzard's patience isn't going to last much longer...
Fixed the links on the archived comic pages.

1/28/05: Well, here's today's comic, and it's lucky that I got it up today. I almost missed school. I woke up to a nasty allergic reaction to something, and had to go in to see the doctor. For details, check my journal entry. Anyway, I managed to get here with enough time to accomplish most of my goals for today, and the comic was one of them. For future reference, I will post in the tag board any notices that are important enough for me to post from home (since I can't upload from there), such as if I was too sick on a Friday to go to school and that day's update would be delayed.
Also, the links on the pages of the archived comics don't seem to be working. I'll try to fix that next week.

1/26/05: Check it out! I put a tag board up! ^_^ (it's on the right) This should be fun to try out. Please don't abuse it, though, or I'll have to remove it.

1/25/05: Heh, sorry. A day late. I had a large batch of surprise homework to get through. Anyhow, here's the final version of the strip. It took me forever, but mainly because I was toying with various things. I learned a lot more about doing backgrounds, and got a really good feel for what I can do in the future. I also had tried a new method of creating the strip. Usually I print off border templates, and draw in that. This time, I drew three pages of individual sketches and assembled it in Photoshop and Illustrator. That took a VERY long time, and I'm not doing it that way again. I'll go back to the template thing, thanks. As usual, I make everything so terribly complicated. -_- Now, on to this Friday's strip, which I'm on schedule for....
This is awesome! The first-ever Heroís Handbook fanart is up! ^_^ HHB is getting fan-art! Way cool! I donít run an entirely obscure comic! Thank you, Ratha Shadar, for your contribution! ^_^
Also, I spent a couple of my precious free minutes unifying the site a bit. So all links should (in theory) point to where they ought. The Characters page is also updated.

1/21/05: Ok, today's comic is taking a LONG time. I think I'd better stick with printing templates in the future rather than attempting to assemble separate sketches. The comic will be up today, but it might get up late. For the record, I'd like to point out something I should have mentioned earlier. When I said I will update every Friday, what I mean is I will update when I get the thing actually finished on that Friday. If I get it done earlier in the week, Iíll slap it up as soon as I get to school. Otherwise, I use today (my only day off from classes) to do much of the computer work. So comics can go up any time on Friday. Also, I realize that there are time zone differences. I happen to live in the Pacific Northwest of the US, and just about everyone east of there are ahead by the clocks. So if I get my comic up by 4:00 PM by MY watch, itíll be much later to a lot of other people who live out East. So, I give my apologies for all that. In summary, Friday updates have no set time, other than I need to have it up no later than 5 PM (by my watch), or Iíll miss my last bus. If I miss that deadline, well, thatís usually what delays me until Monday, when I get back to school. Someday, Iíll gain the ability to update from home, but I canít promise when thatíll happen. It really should be an option by now, but the new comp isÖnot ready yet.
UPDATE: This comic is taking a long time, mainly because I have to make up almost every step as I go. In the worst case scenario, I'd be late and would have to put it up Monday. I don't like that. So, in order to ensure that all two of you in the sparse group of viewers who read this strip get something this Friday, Iíve put the strip together with the bare essentials. Still no backgrounds and there are some missing sound effect words, but you can still follow the deal here. Iím going to get back to work on finishing it. Depending on when I complete the job, the final version could be up later today, or possibly later on Monday.

1/14/05: On schedule! For once. WOW! Actually, I'm ahead of schedule (been done with today's strip for two days), and I've been working on next week's. This is a good thing, since the next installment is a bit more complex, and involves a lot more drawings. I'll keep ya posted if problems arise, though I forsee none for the time being.
Woohoo! Arcives! I finally got around to entering that stupid caladar tag (*sarcastic* man, that was hard!) into the coding and actually updating the archive page. Now it's a lot easier to backtrack. ...It's also easier to see just how erratic my updates have been. -_- Oh well, I did expect that for the beginning. Here's hoping I can keep to a decided schedule, now.
Check it out! I finally got Illustrator to cooperate and create the navigation buttons I started making, like, a YEAR ago. I guess the problem was converting the old file to the newly updated program.

1/10/05: Happy Belated New Year! Gah! I've FINALLY got on! My apologies for no updates on Friday, the FTP program was...uh...inaccessible. Darn thing. Ok, Iíve got it up now. Whew! Yeah, Hammerís hair is a slightly different color than in the Halloween special. He wasnít supposed to be blonde to start with (all the orange in the Halloween strip threw me off), and he looked WAY too much like a few certain anime characters for my liking. Besides, the ďdumb blondeĒ thing is overused. At any rate, the dialogue is getting boring, so things are going to start moving shortly...
Another thing thatís been slowing me down is that I really havenít thought out how this next sequence of events will play out. Iíve given it a lot of though during the break, and I think Iíve got it kinda worked out. There should even be some action sequences shortly. In an action sequence, I use more of a manga-page layout rather than the comic strip panel layout, because I can better express the actions of the characters and events.
Yet another thing thatís tied me up is an awesome new toy I got for Christmas: A GRAPHICS TABLET! WOO HOO! Eventually, this should help make things easier, but I gotta get used to it first. Iíve been practicing on various scans and stuff (such as todayís strip. Take a look at the first comic Iíve done with the help of my new graphics tablet! ...Although, there really isnít anything spectacular here that I actually needed the tablet for...but itís the principle of the thing. ^_^ It did help in the cleanup), and also strip #4, which Iíve finally got around to coloring (not done yet). So shortly, I should have that strip colored as well as colored artwork to show for all the work Iíve been doing. The artwork will be posted on my Deviantart page, which Iíve recently set up to house all my extra art. Iíll be changing all the ďartworkĒ links on this page to point there soon.
Just so you know, Iím going to try to stick to a schedule, or at least my useless-New-Yearís-resolution is to do so. Monday and Tuesday are for drawing, Wednesday is for inking and outlining, and Thursday and Friday are for cleaning, coloring, and final computer work. In all, I hope to update on Fridays (unless something goes wrong like last week). I am thinking I wonít have quite so huge a workload this quarter, since Iím pretty good at Astronomy (Iíve got a class on the planets this time) and my Modern/Postmodern Literature class focuses on developments in detective fiction, something that might actually rivet my attention. Weíll see. If I do well, I might also try to get a job. That could crimp things a little, but Iím in desperate need of school funds.
Iíll keep you posted! ^_^

12/16/04: Good grief. I finally finished it. This Christmas special took me longer to make than ANYTHING, and when the whole thing was shrunk...you can't make out much of the detail. -_- Boy, have I learned a few lessons. Maybe I can make a wallpaper out of the original. I also made a newsbox ad using this image, so keep an eye out for that.
As for the stars in today's comics, a few notes. Lute appears here for the first time in full hero gear with accessories he acquires a little later in the storyline. And those other guysÖtheyíre just random bad guys. Yup. Just random. Some big evil cloaked medieval-Vader-wannabe attempting to pass off as Santa (heís not trying very hard, is he?) and a smirking goblin posing as an elf. Nothiní special about them at allÖÖ.If you think these two look WAY too thought-out to be just one-time-only extras, pat yourself on the back, youíre right. Iím not saying anything yet, but expect to see a little more of them later. Man, Iíve GOT to get more characters in here to work with...
On another note, it's time for Winter Break, and boy, do I need it! I'm gonna be out of school untill January 3, so there won't be any updates at least untill then. Hey, if I'm not in school, I can't do the computer work. But I will try to draw up a few more strips, and that's where most of the time goes. So I hope to see you all in 2005! Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year everyone! ^_^

12/7/04: Finally put something in the "About This Mess" page: a very detailed account of where the HHB concept came from, and what I plan to do with it in the future.

12/6/04: Bah. I was supposed to have this up last Friday, but I ran out of time. So here it is a little late. Had a few problems getting it up, but that's fixed now. Man...you'll notice I forgot to draw the background again...Bonehead. -_- It's the last week of instruction at school, so next week is finals. Hence, it's time for chaos...
I can't believe I forgot to mention this. The guest strip I did for Adventurers! was used two Saterdays ago! I was so excited I forgot to mention it here. Like, duh! But I'm really proud. This strip is the one that got me hooked on webcomics in the first place, so it means a lot to me to be able to have this kind of an opportunity. If you'd like to see my guest strip, it's here.

12/1/04: You know, that holiday special was huge. So I shrank it. I've also been advised to make my strips no wider than 800 pixels, for those who's computer resolution won't fit the 950 pixel width of my previous comics. This leaves me with a dillema. The while site is designed around the 950 pixel width; if I should change the comics to fit low-res monitors, I might need to squeeze the page design as well. This bites, since it messes up the measurements in all tables in the entire site. I'd also have to re-format and re-size my comic's panel borders. I'm going to have to think about this one. In the meantime, I'll keep doing what I've been doing. But I would like to know what people would prefer so e-mail me if you can at hhb_bookmasterNo@SPAMMINGyahoo.com (take out capital letters). Yeah, I'm using Yahoo, but I hope to switch to Google's webhosting as soon as they are done with their beta testing.
Oh, and by the way, check out my twin sister's comic, Nowhere University. She's got some good ideas for it.

11/24/04: Ok, plugging along here (you know, I really need to create an archive for the news here. The page loading is getting rediculous). As you can see, I have the Thanksgiving special up; you might also noticed it's not shaded like the last holiday special. This is because I had to do a last minute guest comic for another webcomic, Adventurers!, which I hope gets accepted. I've never done a guest strip before. I'll keep you two viewers out there updated on how this goes(that's a joke at this site's expense, haha...'comon, laugh, people). At any rate, I may shade this later, I may not. Probably not. I'm sure most people would rather I just move on with the comics...or at least get around to refining and coloring strip #4. -_-
On a simmilar note, you'll notice how the lawer in today's strip doesn't appear to exist from the waist down. Funny things happen when you rush a job. Rest assured, however, I'm sure there's SOME way to explain that. Maybe he's in the middle of teleporting from some evil dimension, or something. Use your creativity.

11/12/04: Well, dang. Sorry there haven't been any updates; I have been REALLY buisy with school. And now I've begun the odessey of cleaning my room, which contains far more stuff than should be physically possible to fit within the given cubic space. I am currently working on a normal strip and the Thanksgiving special at the same time. They are both still in the drawing stage. I hope to get at least one more normal strip up before the special. I also need to work on a Christmas one, but I'm not sure if I'll have time for New Year's. Somewhere in all these holiday specials I actually have to have a COMIC. I'm going to aim to have the normal strip up next week on Friday, but I'll post it earlier if I complete it before planned.

10/29/04: Happy Halloween! ^_^ Here's a very special holiday edition. You can see why I needed to get the previous strip up before this one; the Halloween special features Hazzard's gang who appeared in strip four. I figured they'd make a good holiday special. For this comic (and future holiday specials, hopefully) I drew a bit more detail and used shading and highlighting. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated. I hope to be able to get going fast enough that by the Second Adventure I'd be shading every strip, but I can't promise anything. I did finnaly refine my method of coloring now, and figured out how to keep the black lines strong. This is also the first drawing where I really nailed down what these characters look like, as well as their color scheme.
Oh, and for some odd reason, the archiving is fixed. o_O I didn't even do anything.
Everyone have a Happy Halloween! ^_^

10/26/04: OK, update is late. I'm going to have to stick up a rough strip for the time being. Sorry there's no color yet. Heck, it isn't even refined. I'll have to finish it later. Why? I have no time. I have homework and I need to finish the Halloween special. I need to get this strip up before I put up the Halloween strip this Friday, because...well, you'll find out.
Meanwhile, I STILL can't figure out what I'm doing wrong with the HTML coding for the previous strip pages. I tried a few things, and only made the problem worse. I have no idea how to fix this.

10/15/04: Woah! Wait...wha? I think something's wrong with my archiving. What the heck is it this time? Both previous comics aren't supposed to appear on the page at the same time. What gives? Man, this is the most bizzare glitch yet. Nothing in the coding explains this.
As for today's strip, check it out! Backgrounds! ^_^

10/8/04: Thanks to another very helpful visitor to the site, I have the problem with the first comic fixed. Viewers can now see both strips. Thanks for the support! ^_^ Also, I updated the Characters page.

10/7/04: Ok, there seems to be a bit of a problem. How do I get the first comic to show up on its appropriate page? It occurs to me that I don't know what the special Keenspace code is for that. I'm going to have to look into it. Sorry, but the first comic will be hidden until I figure this one out. Oh well, the second strip is better, anyway.
Also, I've put up a blog page. I don't know how often I'll update it. Probably when I get weird thoughts like today's entry.

10/6/04: Second comic is up! As you can see, I'm still perfecting backgrounds. Next comic should be much better. I'm going to warn you; untill I get some kind of a system going and lotsa time, there will be some black and white comics without color. In these cases, I hope to add color at a later date. Number three is in color, but no promises after that. I will try to keep color ones at least as often as black and white, but since I have a very heavy workload this quarter, I can't promise anything.

10/1/04: I've got the comic up! We've officially started! And I've got links working! Thanks a ton to the person who e-mailed me and pointed out my goof. ^_^ It will take a while before I get all the content into the site, but I'll be tackling that a little bit at a time. My Dad is working on assembling our new home computer, but it will be another eight weeks or so before the slow-pokes at Comcast and thier contractors get the cable internet connection installed and working. Also, I still don't have the money to by the Adobe package I need, so it looks like I'm still stuck doing this from school for a while. We'll see how things work out. Sadly, comics won't be very regualr or frequent untill I can establish a working pattern.
Thanks to everyone for your support! Now let the good times roll!

For anyone who's interested, here's the selling pitch for the story:
Lute wants desperately to become a stereotypical hero. Too bad he's too short, too sheltered, and too average to make the cut. However, Lute's in for the adventure he's been waiting for when he stumbles across The Hero's Handbook, the essential guide to becoming a cookie-cutter hero just like everybody else. Along the way Lute collects a not-so-normal fellowship of friends as they all try to save the world from whatever's threatening it that week---and all while trying to either follow their own guidebooks as close as possible, or intentionally break every rule written in them! With country-singing swords, self-rescuing princesses, vegetarian dragons, time-traveling adventure-seekers, overqualified evil minions, genies that won't grant wishes, and more, The Hero's Handbook proves to be a not-so-stereotypical adventure that can even crack a smile from a golem! Warning: this comic is a comedic slap-stick fantasy parody, so if you don't like laughing, beware. Also, this comic may be light-hearted most of the time, but there is also a serious story going on and there will be dark times ahead as well bright ones, with some strips dedicated to plot only with no jokes. If you can't take plot, turn back before it's too late!
Currently planned are four Adventures (plotlines), the main one being Adventure Two. LOTS of characters and twists planned, so once this gets rolling it should be fun. Initially, this story was going to be written as a novel series, but I'm doing the comic as a testing ground. In the future, I will publish the stories in novel format! ^_~

6/7/04: Got some more of the site up. Sorry I'm so far behind; it's finals time. My sister's staying for the summer, so I've got access to at least ONE program I need at home, but I still need equipment and resources here at school to complete and post up strips. I might have more time in the next few months, but commuting's a hassle. I guess we'll see how things shape up this summer. I had a setback in drawing strips because I lost my sketchpad, but I've found it again and now I'm desperatly trying to get comics done and ready for scanning. I hope to get the first strip up by the end of this week, but my sister's going in for surgery and that might throw my plans off if my studdies take too long.


All original characters and contents and stuff copyright 2004 A.L.McMullin
Contact me! hhb.bookmaster@gmailDIESPAMMERS.com (take out the letters in caps; they are there only as anti-spam protection)
The Hero's Handbook is hosted on Keenspace, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics. The ads on this page support the site; I'm sorry, but you'll have to deal with them.