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Ultra Publications Updates - The 100 Episode Work-Study Retrospective Special!!!

The 100 Episode Work-Study Retrospective Special!!! 

So, the 100th Episode of Work-Study is finally here; though - I must admit - there were definitely times along the way when I didn't think the comic would ever get this far.

It was back in the summer of 2001, while waiting long hours between classes at OSU, that I first discovered in full the wide world of webcomics (which, believe it or not, back then largely meant that I found Keenspot). As I clicked away through comics such as RPGWorld, Schlock Mercenary, and a few others, it began to dawn on me that I might be able to do something like this as well. This lead to the conception of an idea known as "A Gathering of Zeros"; but thanks to some heavy ridicule on the part of one person, it never progressed past the first strip ever drawn.

Then, a short while later in September of that year, I learned of the comic "The Sonic Zone" by Jason Holmes (a name that readers of Work-Study should recognize). It was a sprite comic based on the Sonic the Hedgehog game series, it was also a shameless rip-off of Bob & George of the worst order; however, back then, the fact it was a shameless rip-off did not deter me from reading it (especially since I was friends with the person making it). At the time the comic was only updated Monday through Fridays, not on Weekends; at the time I tried to convince Jason he should be updating seven days a week if he was making a sprite comic, but he did not seem to agree.

About a week later I proposed to him an idea that I (at least at the time) thought was brilliant, I would produce a backup comic for his series that would run on the days he wasn't making his own updates so that his website would have a draw for the readers all seven days of the week (sort of like how long ago PvP used to have the backup comic: After Hours). Still remembering the thrashing I had gotten during the AGoZ incident, I decided I would do it in MS Paint instead of trying to draw it on actual paper; as a plus, I would be able to reuse artwork from previous comics which would help alleviate the pain of constantly making comics over time. Within about two weeks I had produced the first eight strips of Work-Study (with Bryan and Clovis being toned back versions of the main two characters from AGoZ), which would have been enough comics to last for three and a half weekends; one of which was the comic where Jason's sprite comic got laughed at, hence the fake punchline about me having to look for a new server.

Unfortunately the punchline was actually quite real, never once did Jason put a single strip of Work-Study up; he would always claim that he had merely forgotten to do so, and eventually it would become irrelevant when his comic permanently died at 46 strips long (the impetus behind another obscure joke on the 47th page of Work-Study). Although I would not have been able to prove it at the time, evidence discovered many years later would reveal that the comics were not going up accidentally-on-purpose so as to lash out at me in revenge; however, the matter of the blood-fued that Jason had with the RP Group that I am in is not the focus of this discussion. So, with only 8 strips finished, I stopped producing Work-Study comics as it did not seem to matter as no one was ever going to see them.

However, despite having claimed that Work-Study was over, I would - through out 2002 and 2003 - produce 14 more strips at a very slow rate; basically, I would sit down and make one if the muse suddenly struck me. However, for some bizarre reason, at the tail end of 2003 - when I first started living at the OSU dorms - the muse struck me far harder than it normally ever did with the supposedly discontinued project; it was during this time that I produced an extra 14 strips in a period of just three months, the so-called version 2.0 era of Work-Study. It must be remembered that during the entirety of the Version 1.0 and 2.0 time periods of Work-Study, which contained a grand total of 36 strips within them, the only people who ever got to see these were the members of my RP group; after all, Work-Study still did not yet have a place to call its home.

However, during my first quarter at OSU's dorms I began using Deviantart; this, despite the fact my hand-drawn art was still attrocious at the time, lead to the notion that I could start actually drawing out new pages of Work-Study. So, now bolstered on by the fact that DeviantArt finally permitted me an audience, I began to struggle with drawing Work-Study by hand; due to this struggle, not counting the two cast pages, I only managed to produce six new pages during Winter and Spring quarters. However - that following summer quarter, which I did not take any classes - I became exceptionally inspired once more; and thusly, despite the fact I had to draw them by hand, in the period of one summer I produced comics 45 through 55.

However, while the streak did continue a short while after that, quickly after I got back to college I learned of developments that helped to re-kill my fervor. You see, part of the reason I had produced over ten comics that summer was because I had joined an art Club at OSU that put out a comic anthology every quarter that permitted each of its members to have ten pages; however, when I got back to OSU that fall quarter I learned that they had decided to discontinue it. A quarter later, for unrelated reasons based on various issues we disagreed upon, I would quit the art club.

This, coupled with a few other factors, caused the longest lapse in Work-Study production ever before seen; basically put, the joke on page 61 of the comic about me having not done anything with it in over 9 months was very real. Part of the problem I had was that it took me so long to ink and hand letter the comics that by the time I made one comic I'd lose the interest to make more, thus the next comic would usually only happen when I had an idea such that I was driven to make the comic once more; the other part of the problem was that I was depressed with the fact that the revelation of story in the comic was progressing abysmally, something that's bound to happen when you're averaging less than 3 comics some years.

After graduating college I began to feel guilty about the fact I had so greatly abandoned the project, and managed to force myself to make 10 new comics across the entirety of 2007; which, admittedly, was a far cry from the time back in the Summer of 2004 when I made 11 comics in just 10 weeks. Part of what didn't help my attempts to make a come back, with better story focus being my new goal, was that back in 2005 I had taken up the mantel of continuing the flash animated series "Chrono Trigger Unglued" in Andrew Himes's stead; getting both of them out at a respectable clip, especially considering the massive demands of producing good looking flash animation, was just too much to take on. To help alleviate some of the burden, I asked Andrew Himes to do a few pages of Work-Study while I worked on Chrono Trigger Unglued - Episode 17; when my friend Jeff saw these pages of Work-Study done by Andrew Himes, he asked if he could do a guest page as well. So, later on when I was trying to learn how to deal with the new time restrictions placed upon me by being an employee at Wal-Mart, I let him draw the script for page 82 of the comic while I was in the process of forcing myself to get page 81 done.

The results of this, as those of you reading the comic today know, were legendary; before I could even finish the first panel of my comic, the speed-demon known as Jeff had already made the entirety of comic 82. I was made distraught by how easy he made it look, wondering if this was at last a sign that I truly did not have the skill to do this properly and should finally at last give up. However, my friend Bryan Jonshon (the real life one, not the one in the comic), convinced me - after much urging - that I should ask Jeff if he'd like to keep doing the comic; the results of that meeting, obviously, go without saying. At this point I was freed up from my inabilities with art to just focus on the writing, which made making the plot move forward an actual possibility; no longer did I have to worry about having another nine month black out in the middle of a story such that I did not care to return to it when I finally started drawing the comic again, nor did I have to cancel a good idea just because I feared I wouldn't be able to force it all to fit within the space of a single page (those who've noticed how much trouble I sometimes had fitting the dialogue into some pages I drew will probably best understand what I mean here).

So here I am today with the comic slightly over 8 years old, and at long last hitting its 100th episode, something I could not have done without my best friend Jeff. Furthermore, as proof that people actually care about the comic these days, this amazing piece of fanart was made by the wondrous Malaysian Artist: TaraGraphics; although there had been fan images in the past, they were all images I had traded art for (as opposed to this one, which was a pure fanwork of the artist's own volition). Without Jeff, I'd probably be driving myself insane somewhere around year ten to force out enough comics so that I could say I hit 100 comics before the tenth year of Work-Study came to a close.

Anyways, here's to the glorious future of Work-Study! I hope you'll all continue to enjoy reading it as much as Jeff and I have lately enjoyed working on it. Now let's all open up a can of Code-Red and teach some squirrels how to wield rocket-launchers; and quickly, I hear that Professor Zeek might possibly be up to something (ooo-EEE-ooo)!

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