So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Well loyal reader, after giving it much thought, I’ve decided to no longer delay the decision. Today marks the official ending of Marooned. The comics landscape has changed quite a bit since 2008 when Marooned began. Long form stories like mine are a very tough sell. In order to succeed you have to put out a LOT of content, and I am simply not capable of doing that, since I work a full time job.
Marooned also suffers from a large archive as a barrier to new readers. And the early stuff is problematic. And I really don’t think there’s much of an audience for my modern flavor of Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon with a twist.
The characters and story has a special place in my heart. I will miss them. But it’s just time.
What is next?
I want to put my full effort behind “The Flower” and get it finished this year. It’s a project that I am excited about, it’s something different. It also feeds into my idea of providing comics to sick children. Ideally I’d like to begin by offering “Green,” “The Flower” and some final version of “The Tallest Robot.”
The goal would be to provide these books free of charge to hospital wards or kids in need. How I am going to do that, I have not yet figured out.
If you want to support me and that idea going forward, I will continue development of The Flower on Patreon. I may also be exploring something new with these dog characters I’ve created. One last call – if you’d like to support me there for as little as $1 per month, head over to Patreon and join me.
I hope you have enjoyed the world of Marooned – I know I have. Again, your support to me has meant so very much. Many of you were instrumental in the publishing of the first Marooned book back in 2013 – and that was a dream come true for me. 🙂
While it’s a little sad, I’m optimistic and excited to explore the next stage in my comics career.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you – I can’t say it enough!
Commander & Scout Book
Although there will be no more Marooned books, I have finished the Commander & Scout book I talked about. 30+ pages of Ril and Asimov goodness for your enjoyment. All the older C&S strips were redone, I wrote a new 8-page story, and Steve Ogden contributed a new 3-page story. It’s an enjoyable way to wrap up Marooned.
If you’d like one last way to support me and say thanks for 7+ years of Marooned, you can pay whatever you like to download the book, below. You can also take it for free if you prefer, as my thanks for your being part of my world.
Below the book offer is a summary of what Ril’s story was going to be. I hope this gives you some closure as to what would have happened.
Thank you again, I hope to see you in my future endeavors.
I wanted to at least give you a high level summary of how the story would have played out with Ril as the next Listener.
It is likely that at the rate I was producing pages, this story would have taken 3+ years to tell.
A big secret that would have been revealed on Sera is that the Mindstones are NOT stones. They are plants. You can see an inkling of this in the flashback page in the temple.
There is one dead bulb on the left plant.
The plants are highly intelligent beings that spawn the “stones.” As Athisla mentioned, the people became corrupt by using the Mindstones to fulfill their own desires vs. serving the people. This created a sort of “mind sickness” among the stone wielders, tainting the stones and driving those people crazy.
This sickness of the mind spread to the populace by the power of the infected stones, and essentially wiped everyone out.
Athisla escaped, as you saw, after somewhat overcoming her sickness with her master’s help. She was the only one who was able to do this. But her stone WAS tainted. And Ril got that stone.
Meanwhile, after the initial shock, Ril begins to enjoy being The Listener under Lian’s tutelage. She finally feels like she isn’t being treated like a kid anymore, she isn’t being pushed away or ignored. She begins to feed on that and the sickness of the stone begins to affect her.
She acts out to the point of even challenging Lian at one point, and inadvertently hurting people. But essentially, Ril becomes addicted to the power of the stone. The story is about how Ril overcomes this sickness and defeats the ill in the stone herself. It’s a story about self-control, or overcoming addiction – choosing what you will allow for yourself.
The group decides they must actually go to Sera as Athisla suggested to see if they can somehow heal Ril – especially because Ril has become a danger to everyone. Athisla put the knowledge of how to travel there into Lian’s mind.
Using that knowledge, and the power of the stone, they travel to Sera in a “ship” (really a round container) via wormhole. They find the planet deserted – an apocalyptic scene. Bodies are long gone, buildings crumbling. Having orbited the planet, they landed at what seemed to be a very populous city, assuming the temple prime would be there – a place they feel they must go.
The plants on the surface seem to have strangled buildings, vehicles, bodies. The bodies do not seem to have fought back. Almost like a death hug to the last. The plants there that spawned the mindstones went mad as well, and it becomes clear that the plants were the ultimate demise of the people. And those plants begin to react when Ril arrives.
At this point the story is rough, and I was still working out details. But I know that the last, ancient Hearing One rots in his body deep in the temple prime, surrounded by the last plant struggling to stay alive. The plant desires to be healed. The temples were built around 8 primary plants, this is the last, most ancient one, and the last one to survive.
Ril’s mission would be to somehow heal that last plant, so the plan can help her overcome her addiction. They would have spilt up into two groups, Lian and Ril and John and Asimov, to explore and find the temple.
As Ril and Lian search for the temple, Ril’s addiction to the stone worsens. She is constantly trying to use it, or disappear into it to explore. Their relationship is very tense, until finally Ril lashes out at Lian. Instead of fighting back, Lian completely gives herself up and tells Ril that if she wants to succumb to the madness and lose herself completely, then she can go ahead and kill her. The plants will react wildly to this in some fashion. Ril is able to power down, and comes off the edge a bit. She is now more aware of her addiction, but it is becoming harder to control.
Ultimately, Ril would have a confrontation in the temple prime, where everyone would end up meeting, and she would be out of control. She zaps everyone unconscious one by one – from the greatest threat (Lian) to John and Asimov.
She pauses at Asimov. She recognizes him as a special friend. Asimov does some sort of callback to Scout and Commander, (the thing he claims to hate but secretly cherishes) to call deep into her. It throws Bad Ril off for just long enough for Good Ril to astrally project herself next to herself, have a brief fight on the astral plane in a Commander and Scout scenario (hearkens back to Lians self conversations in story earlier), and ultimately take control of herself back. This is a metaphor for overcoming addiction. Lian possibly would help guide her there. Ril has to learn to live right with the crystal or perish – she has to become a pure one.
Ultimately she would succeed at the temple and become the best version of herself there, a pure one like Lian.
The ending probably included Ril staying on at Sera to help the last few refugees who had survived. She is their pure one now, and she will help rebuild their society. John and gang return to home to Mars.
That was the main idea. I’m sure it would have evolved and changed a bit over time as I wrote it. You can see how it would have taken years at a page a week to work through such a story.
But I hope this gives you some kind of closure to what the story would have been. 🙂
And a blast from the past…
Again, the C&S Book is available, below.