Out on the new frontier

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's Selenis in a big cowgirl hat, it's a sketch for a reader who's supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign :") :
 
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Rope skills! : o Thanks everyone for your support, it means a lot to this here lil' ol' webcomic! : D
 
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Well it ain't Uncle Sam

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:Readers keep A* going by supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign; here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for their support:
 
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I want to thank *you*! ^_^
 
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But can you really spoil a cliched plot?

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:No special archive art auction this week—I gotta get some sleep! : o
 
My brain got into working on episode outlines today, maybe because this current episode—30—ends on Friday! Two pages left!
 
So next week, episode 31 starts; we'll be leaving The Pearl after that episode, but first we'll be seeing what goes on in the lower levels of the planet, where the Council is not fully in control—or are they?
 
I even found plots of two more future episodes popping into my head this morning. Although the murder mystery on a remote planetoid one probably still needs work; the initial outline I came up with ended up being way too Risk movie / Diagnosis: Murder episode / Harlan Ellison "Daredevil" comic / uh some other comic or movie plot—oh! Maybe one bit of the She-Hulk graphic novel. : P So I would probably have to scrap that all the way back to the opening line, because how can you go wrong with the old "By the time you receive this message, I will already be dead" bit? Eh. Hrm... Okay so that one needs a lot of percolation. : P Might just be too cliched, even for me. : o
 
The other episode idea started with catchy opener too: "[Character name to be determined] owes me money!" Aw yeah. And then somehow gets into nightclub pursuits and electromagnetic mind battles. Okay that one is a *definite* lock, woo!
 
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Ink shmink!

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:I have an 11" x 17" A* ink illustration whose auction on eBay ends tomorrow; it's one I did back when was first moving to doing the comic traditionally, rather than digitally, and I was experimenting with things like white ink on sea sponges to make starry backgrounds. I've only got 6 or 7 pieces of original A* art left in this size—bigger than my current watercolor format, and all done in ink—and I'm going to be auctioning them off in the coming weeks. Once they're gone, they're gone, so keep an eye out if you're interested in such things. : )
 
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Masks and martinis

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comic | episodes & e-books | store | about | forum
 
Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's an ink sketch I sent to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign :") :
 
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It makes a huge difference—thank you very much! : D
 
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"Cassini's" last visit to Mimas

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:Just as NASA's Cassini probe, in its final tour of the Saturnian system, last week returned some great up-close photos of the tiny moon Pan, now it has got some from about the same distance (25,000 km) of the larger moon Mimas:
 
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image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)
 
If you crank up the brightness and contrast, you can even see the side of the moon that is dark in the above image, since it is actually very faintly illuminated by light reflected from Saturn itself:
 
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NASA has a less grainy but also less seamless mosiac image doing that on the same NASA source page.
 
This is not the closest Cassini has come to Mimas; in 2010, it passed within 9,500 km in 2010, and got a clearer if less dramatically lit image of the Moon, including its large crater Herschel, which is about the right size to make Mimas look kind of like the Death Star from Star Wars (although in this case, it is a moon : p):
 
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image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)
 
Mimas is about 400 km across, but if you look closely at those photos, it might start to look a little funny to you; you see, it isn't quite round! It's "about 10%" taller than it is wide—prolate—due to the tidal force Saturn exerts upon it, scrunching it up a bit.
 
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A* art archive sale: ink & sea sponge stars!

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:Okay! I'm out of original art pieces I consider particularly nifty from the last few A* episodes to try to sell you on in our weekly Wednesday archive art sales, so now we're going back in time—way, way back to late 2011, toward the end of episode 13, when I had just switched from digital to traditional art, and was experimenting with various techniques. I had just got some crisp new paper to try out, and I had picked up a few dried sea sponges on a whim at a local art store, so I took those with some ink and ink wash and lots of white ink on the sponges and came up with this extra-large illustration on 11" x 17" paper which is now up for auction at a special sale price right over here on eBay:
 
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If you look closely you can see a rectangle in light pencil sort of just inside the sides of the illustration, marking my normal 6.75" x 16" A* page size. At 17" long, this one is a little too big to fit in the imaging area of my current scanner. : P You can see it in full in this photo (bigger images in the eBay listing):
 
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I should probably do more sea sponge stars because those came out pretty cool! Then again, I feel kind of bad for sea sponges, so maybe not. Back in the day (my 2011 blog post for this piece is here) I called this one "Ripple" because the 70 lb Bienfang Raritan drawing paper I was trying out was thin enough that it sort of rippled up in the margins after the center part was inked over.
 
By my count, counting this one I have six remaining 11" x 17" A* pieces left to sell—I guess seven if I want to take the one at my parents' house that we've been putting in art shows out of its big frame...maybe we'll see how these others do. Three of them are A* comic pages, while the others are special A* illustrations like this one. They're all in ink! So those will keep these Wednesdays busy for the next few months. : )
 
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"Cassini" sees tiny Pan's giant ridge

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Many thanks to my readers, who keep A* going with a buck or two a month through Patreon. : )
 
Added 1 new A* page:NASA's Cassini probe is getting some great stuff in its last sweeps through the Saturnian system; it just passed within 25,000 km of the tiny, 35-km-wide inner moon Pan and found the moon's shape dominated by a massive equatorial ridge:
 
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image by ASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)
 
^ More photos of the strangely shaped moon on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's site at that "source" link. : ) The equatorial ridge forms when material from Saturn's nearby rings falls onto the moon as it sweeps past them. Such ridges are not unusual among Saturn's moons: Atlas and the much larger Iapetus have them, for instance.
 
Thanks to my brother for tipping me off to the new Pan photos. : )
 
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