Issue 96 Creators’ Notes

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    • #10643

      This is a thread for the creators’ notes for Issue 96!

      Usually, we like to use the SSBB wiki to give authors and artists a chance to leave commentary, notes, links, and other useful information about their stories. However, since the wiki is down, this thread is intended as a temporary holding place for those things. Once the wiki is revived, any material left here will be transferred over there.

    • #10645

      Author’s Notes for “All This Damn Gravity”

      You know how sometimes you’re, like, dead certain that you know how a song goes? Not just vaguely sure, but with ironclad confidence? As in, you’ve known the lyrics for literal decades confidently enough that, if someone handed you the mic on karaoke night, you wouldn’t even need the monitors? And then you go — again, literal decades later — and look up the song lyrics juuuuust to double-check because you want to use one of those lyrics (the ones you know really well) as a title for a story, only to find that the internet seems convinced that you’ve been mishearing your favorite line (and only that line!) from this song for decades? Except you can’t go listen to confirm your mishear, because the singer (who still has a vibrant career as a recording artist) seems to have scrubbed her early work from the internet? But you finally find a live version and, dammit, you were right the whole time and it’s the internet that was wrong?

      Anyway, “Gravity”, Jennifer Nettles.

      This started from a stray idea I had for a wordless comic … what, maybe fifteen years ago? But I can’t draw, so it’s probably better this way.

    • #10646

      Author’s Notes for “Our Bodies, Our Scales”

      The first of my betas to read this story messaged me immediately after she finished reading it to ask “So how fast do Max and Eddie U-haul?” and honestly, I wouldn’t even give them six months. Four, maybe.

      So this is a monsterverse story! Previous monsterverse stories have been about werewolves and concubi and witches, but I figured out the vampire stuff around the same time as everything else, I just haven’t finished anything with one in until now. This takes place about a year before The Virgin Incubus, in the city where Hassan’s parents live. Shoba the research witch in the techno coven is actually Hassan’s mom.

      I’ve been working on this story off and on for years at this point, but it never really clicked until I was like “oh Eddie is trans” at which point I no longer had a problem figuring things out.

      “Ani is there any good reason for vampires to have weird shark eyes” Yes! It’s sexy! I came of age in the heyday of Supernatural, I make no apologies!

      I knew I was being self-indulgent with this story in particular and with the vampire lore in monsterverse in general, but I didn’t realize precisely how self-indulgent I was being until my first beta messaged me like “ah, glamours as crip tax, nice” and I realized this story was Very Much About Disability Also. Oops all self-indulgence!

    • #10664
      Iron Eater

      Artist’s notes for “Skin Deeper”

      This one’s not too fancy: waaay back in 2014 I ended up with a repetitive stress injury, and while I still wanted to contribute to the zine I didn’t want to exacerbate things further. I drew a weird little robot guy with his skin off, inked him with the least painful tool I had available (my trusty brush pen), added some digital color, and called it Good Enough. Now, eight or so years later, my RSI is under control and the issue theme of do-overs was a perfect opportunity to return to that weird little robot guy. I think it worked out pretty okay!

      Aside from trying to preserve a solidly recognizable amount of the original endoskeleton design, I wanted to up the ante with the pose and composition. No longer gazing sadly into the distance, our dudebot is now smugly looking at the viewer and showing off what he’s got, complete with bits of actual (synthetic?) meat to compliment the metal bits, and he’s even grown his hair out a little. How exactly the seams on his chassis work is left as an exercise to the reader. I don’t draw robo-guts very often but they can be pretty fun! His junk situation is modular. Of course it’s modular. There is absolutely no reason why it wouldn’t be. The lack of a specific genital choice also felt like a good way to further lean into the queer-erotica side of the zine despite there not technically being any saucy parts on display, barring one (1) nipple. Gotta keep things pinuppy.

      The background was my attempt to both hearken back to the scribbly waist-height cutoff lines from “Skin Deep” while also breaking up the main silhouette and adding a bit more technological flair to the design. The cables are both ways to get more of that cyan into the shot, ways to keep the harsh circuitry lines from feeling to brittle, and whoooa cooooool dude’s got CABLES in him, that’s a thing robots can do! It helped me keep more visual interest without straying from the limited palette of the original. I’ve been toying with more background-drawing styles lately and this was certainly a fun way to do that.

      This illustration was created entirely in Clip Studio Paint EX, with some of the circuitry referenced from edited royalty-free stock images. No biomechanical hunks were harmed in the making of this image.

    • #10670
      Togi Kayako

      Author’s notes for Bleed Me Dry:

      F/F, just under 9000 words. Probably best described as a slow burn speedrun, hurt/comfort flavor. Content warning for depression and some behaviors that fall somewhere between extremely poor self-care and passive self-harm. There is minor bloodletting a few times in the first half, but it’s not described in much detail.

      Summary: A traveling medic named Frida stops in a village beginning their planting season, and she quickly takes issue with the way they’re treating a key religious figure. She wants to help, even if she’s the only one who thinks the woman is a worthwhile cause.

      2022 started rough for me, but I’m very happy to get back to writing again. Infinite thanks to both my husband and Emm; I could not have finished this without their kind encouragement and suggestions.

    • #10673

      Artist notes for “i have you close (but i want more)”

      I revived the lovely gentlemen from “The Thin Line Between Love and Hate”, from Issue 92. I’ve thought about them a lot since I made that first piece, and I’ve been badly wanting to find out more about them!

      So I did.

      I really love making up constructed worlds, it’s a very passionate hobby of mine. So I decided to plop these two in their own for funsies. I made up a tiny naming language with the help of several guides and a generator, plotted out a very shallow world history, and over the course of a few days, I managed to bang out a small plotline during my morning coffee hours. Obviously, I don’t get to show all of that in one image, but I’d love to do more with it.

      Their names are Jachi (black hair) and Zeche (‘Zeh-cheh’, the one with white hair). Their relationship is still very complicated, but slightly softer than what Thin Line started off with.

      I imagine Jachi being involved in a lot of political intrigue, and Zeche not only being employed by someone also involved in the intrigue, but intensely loyal/devoted to that person for significant personal reasons, and VERY mistrusting of Jachi’s intentions. Unfortunately, oh noooo, he’s hot. Whatever will Zeche doooooo. Clearly, it isn’t staying away from him.

      For his part, Jachi’s completely smitten and will go to ridiculous lengths to get a few minutes of Zeche’s time, probably against his own best interest. He’s a clever boy, though; he’ll be able to handle any problems that come his way. ;3c

      SO. I WANT TO KNOW MORE. I’ll have to make stuff up on my own time; I’ve got like four WIPs including this one and I can’t hold them all. [/frantically dropping limes everywhere]

      Got to push a lot of art boundaries, too. I learned a new coloring style earlier this year, and I’m still learning to control values and do exciting lighting tricks. I learned how to do a bokeh effect! I’m very excited about this.

      Jachi and Zeche are equals as much as they are rivals (I think). I hope I’ve communicated that sufficiently. They are a set, do not separate.

      Thank you for looking. >w<

    • #10679

      Getting to do a cover this year was unexpected, but I gotta say I’m pretty jazzed with how it came out! I didn’t have a piece to revisit, but I thought it would be fun to have a couple that’s on-again, off again, fighting and making up and coming back together.

      I also wanted to use older OCs for the theme, and I ended up going with Mac, who I first made when I was 11, and his boyfriend Hiro from a script I wrote in college. Hiro didn’t actually have a design, so I had fun thinking about how he might change over time, just slowly adding to his body mods.

      For some reason the sketches had mid 00s BL vibes during inking, so I leaned into it quite a bit in coloring and effects. I’m finally getting the hang of clip studio paint, and it’s really great how many cool brushes there are!

    • #10697

      Author’s Notes for “oh Charlie Harper we love you get up”

      Firstly, a pretty mild CW for disordered eating and body image issues, within the context of the Movie Star Industrial Complex :/ It’s not really gone into in detail but is present so proceed with slight caution.

      Secondly… haHA can you tell which issue this was originally meant to be a pinch hit for? The second chance is for me, a certified flake. I won’t get all dramatic over what is essentially a rather silly rom-com, but I was saddened not to get this one together in time in February, and very happy that I pushed through and finished it in the end. I typed out a whole thing about what the ~ themes ~ are — authenticity, the importance and limits of professionalism, the intersection between insecurity and self-absorption — but basically it boiled down to: We can’t all be Meryl Streep. And that’s okay! Maybe that mass-appeal-oscar-nominee standard we’re holding ourselves to is a very narrow, normative idea of “success”. Maybe we’ll never achieve it; maybe we never could. Maybe it’s possible that we still deserve love — or a chance at something like it — anyway. Maybe what we authentically are is enough.

      Or something like that. It was also an excuse to write quite a lot of porn!

      Thank you so, so much to my lovely betas, especially Sinezona, and to our wonderful Editor for all your kind feedback and assistance. Thank you both particularly for helping me with the Americanisms! Any remaining goofs are entirely my fault. If you spot anything egregious, please kindly pretend that the Brits are just rubbing off (lol) on Charlie more than he realises.

      The title is a paraphrase of a line from Frank O’Hara’s seminal “Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)”. I love Frank more than I can say, and I hope to God I earned the homage. Lana, Charlie, we’ve all been there. Here’s to collapsing! Here’s to getting up! <3

    • #10699

      Note for “The Summoning (Huldra remix)”:

      The creatures pictured here are the huldra, Scandinavian forest guardians who present as seductively beautiful women but possess cow or fox tails and/or their backs resemble hollowed-out trees. Huldra can be kind if treated with respect but can also control natural forces to wreak havoc if humans are troublesome.

    • #10710
      The Burning King

      Artist’s Notes for Delineation:

      I illustrated for the first version of this story way back and I remember feeling absolutely stumped that I could not draw Brannon how I wanted him. Several kinkier, queerer years later, I was tickled when Etienne Telling hit me up to illustrate for them again. Brannon was an absolute babe to draw, especially with such a blissed out gone expression. I’m glad to have another opportunity to inject some of my own touches to this beautiful and intimate story.

    • #10711

      Author’s Notes for “The <i>Petit Allegro</i>”
      Welcome to my pastiche on the space-AI genre in which I join the grand tradition of making shit up about planets, space travel, and quantum physics. If you notice a glaring error of scientific impossibility, pretend you didn’t.
      The “ancient” poets quoted herein are in approximate order: Coleridge, Shelley, Dickinson, Blake, Shakespeare and Tennyson. Despite any appearances to the contrary this does not owe any particular debt to any particular sci fi franchises. I truly didn’t notice the significance of naming one of my protags “Lucas” until I was 3/4 of the way through and by then, well, that was his name.
      Many thanks to the Editor for being welcoming and supportive! Delighted to be here.

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