3rd Voice Vattu Rice Boy Order of Tales
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3rd Voice Frequently Asked Questions


Some of these answers are taken from the Second Pitch Video.

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A sort of question or anxiety I have been getting a lot, particularly on the webtoon mirror of 3rd Voice, basically amounts to: “I don’t understand a lot of the background of what’s going on. I may or may not enjoy reading, but I feel like there is a lot of stuff I’m not understanding.” As the story gets bigger, I anticipate hearing this more.

Firstly, I want to underline that there is no “reference material” outside of the comic that I consider useful to reading the comic. The nature of serial publishing right now means that there are occasional extratextual details here and there, but as the author of the thing I am making an effort to keep the comic as the thing. “CANON,” if you like. The 3rd Voice Encyclopedia contains notes mostly extracted verbatim from the comic, for convenience.

Secondly, if there are big things you do not know, please don’t assume that you SHOULD know them, or that you are reading incorrectly. This may be true but it probably isn’t. I am interested in DISORIENTATION as a reader experience. I am interested in limited perspectives on a fictional world. I am presenting this in a way I’m used to reading secondary-world fiction, but which I feel like is a little outmoded or out-of-sync these days with nerd-culture habits of reading. A part of this approach is this: showing IS telling. Revealing detail IS story.

Thirdly, my approach here as I’ve said elsewhere isn’t exactly a high-fantasy one… That is, the story’s focus isn’t exactly consistent with the big-picture questions of the world. The characters so far are somewhat too marginal and ignorant for that. There are things they may never know. AND WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE, ANYWAY?

Anyway whether this disconnect is a failing on my part, or an insurmountable difference in narrative aesthetic, is your call to make. I appreciate your reading and I take seriously a responsibility to pull you through this in a considered way.

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What is the intended age range for this comic? Or, content warnings or whatever?
I’m not terribly interested in going to far into explicit Adults areas, as you may have gathered by now if you’ve read my other work. I am however not going to limit my thinking about this project too much by nailing down any sort of prescriptive content guidelines for myself.

There will in this comic, probably, at some point, be: morbid and apocalyptic themes, responsible and irresponsible drug use, violence, death, sexuality though nothing more explicit than an R-rated movie probably, oblique treatment of depression and self-harm ideation, abusive/maladaptive interpersonal relationships… I’ll adjust this as I think of things.

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Do you have a publisher for this thing?
I do not have a publisher for this thing.

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Does it take place in Overside?
Overside is a fantasy setting I developed through different comics since 2006. I understand the disappointment some of you might feel to hear that I’m directing my focus towards something that is not that. It might feel like I’m dissipating momentum, or abandoning a lot of stuff that I’ve built. Please trust me when I say that there is more potential energy in the direction I’m going. This story concerns an entire world in a way that I haven’t really attempted before, and I would be extremely limited in what I could do with it if I was beholden to a bunch of setting principles I came up with when I was practically a child. The thing is, Overside is just a collection of premises I built up according to what I was interested in. It doesn’t exist outside of my creative tendencies and interests, and I’m still here. I’m earnestly trying to double-down on a lot of those same tendencies in a way that I think is smarter and more self-aware than I was when I started Rice Boy.

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What’s this about PATREON?
I’ve had a Patreon for several years, I really love it, I think I don’t talk enough about how much I love having that place to share a bunch of material and how much I appreciate people’s support and interest there. I have generated a huge amount of development art for 3rd Voice that’s up there now, and much of it will never be seen anywhere else. And there’s a backlog of some thousands of other posts, pertaining to Vattu and the Island Books and all the other stuff I’ve been doing. With the 3rd Voice launch I’m reformatting the Patreon slightly and attempting to foreground it a little more:

There is no $1 reward tier anymore, though people can pay monthly whatever amount they like of course. SO, the big main thing now is the $2 a month tier. That will include early pages, development work, sketchbook stuff, etc. And access to the backlog. I’m pretty meticulous about avoiding any narrative stuff, anything spoilery, that is important to me. But there’s a LOT of stuff and there will be more. It feels worth it to me, if you’re looking at it as paying for Content, instead of just paying in support of the comic. BUT look at it however you like!

The $5 tier is a big new thing. It includes naturally access to the $2 stuff, AND ALSO, access to a livestream of at least once a month, starting in January 2023. These will mostly be live drawing and coloring and Q&A’s or what ever. But I want to leave it open to do some different things in future with this somewhat exclusive little space. Streams will be recorded and available to patrons after the fact, too. I have really liked doing livestreams of drawing in the past! And i like having little focused spaces like this with readers. Let’s do it.

edit: Streams have not proved terribly popular, SO for the time being I’m putting up extensive notes for each scene as I post them for $5 backers. Maybe more stuff in future! Still working it out but trying to keep it feeling Worth It.

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Will 3rd Voice be in PRINT?
I’m aware I’ve established a kind of precedent here; I make a big graphic-novely comic book, and I take preorders in order to fund the nicest and most straightforward print version of the thing that I can manage, as a mostly-self-publisher. I don’t know what the plan is for this comic, however. I love designing books, I love having books, but keeping multiple books in a series in print as a self-publisher is uhh difficult, as things stand now. This is going to be a big overcommitted genre story that is I think somewhat flashier and more popcultural than Vattu was, but still it’s probably not the sort of thing that’ll fit into the print comics publishing world as it stands now.

I am sensitive to the sort of person who says that they only read comics in print, that comics are Better in print, etc. A lot of people tell me this when they buy a book from me. Sometimes I am kind of that sort of person. But I have to for now prioritize a little more the distribution method that will get this thing immediately and for-free in front of a theoretically infinite number of eyeballs.

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Should I just wait for 3rd Voice to be done to read it?
I have avoided saying how long this thing will take to make because I don’t know… When I started Vattu a lot of people said they’d wait for it to be done; maybe they did, but it took years longer than I would’ve guessed, and there was more of it than I thought it would be. I don’t feel like I can tell anybody how they should or shouldn’t engage with things I make. BUT yes I’m trying to take serialization more seriously, and make something that holds together as a large self-contained story, but also lives as an active, in-process thing, a big cascading mysterious structure that we’re all in together at the same time in an ongoing way. I want to encourage people to see this as a thing to keep up with, check in on, appreciate as an ongoing process for the window of time in which it is that. Some ways I intend to do that are:

Weekly updates of a slightly more digestible self-contained mode than the individual tiny pages one-at-a-time model.

A SOUNDTRACK, and more broadly a MULTIMEDIA PRESENCE for this thing. It’s still a comic and it’s still one picture after another. But it has a sound and it moves in my head and I’d like to have that be a present thing, to the best of my ability and my capacity to hire people to help with that. So far my brother Lewis has made a couple songs for the teaser and launch videos.

A LETTER COLUMN. This is modeled on letter columns in serialized comic books of decades past, and provides some small place where bigger and denser talking, in a somewhat time-delayed fashion, can exist around the comic. The lack of that sort of thing has really been hitting me lately, what with social media and all.

A DISCORD. I set this up a bit in advance of the comic starting and there’s a good friendly few hundreds of people in there, if you want to talk about the comic or anything at all.
 
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3rd Voice logotype by Andriy Lukin.