It is my opinion that when you start a story or comic as a parody. homage, or some subversion of a genre, you are inevitably faced with having to choose between continuity or gag-a-day.

Both options are fine, and there are many excellent examples of each. But while gag-a-day can continue on skewering the same genre tropes by bucking what has happened in strips before it, if you want continuity in the story you need to find a new way of subverting expectations.

If your characters show up at a castle, and the previous joke was that the moat is filled with donuts instead of alligators, you can’t subvert that again. You’ve already established the donuts and saying “Look, now it’s filled with cotton candy!” doesn’t work anymore, because this world already accepts donuts as something to put in a moat.

But you can make the joke that on the return visit the moat is now filled with alligators; “Oh, yeah, we brought in the alligators to protect the donuts.”

I didn’t say it was a good joke. But it is taking the established expectation in this world and subverting that.

The point is, that if you want to take a trope subverting story on the long journey, you either have to find new things to subvert, or begin subverting the world you already built. And I love the goofy or progressive things that have been introduced in EXIERN through subversion, and I don’t want to undo them.

EXIERN is about to start its journey towards inward subversion and new tropes to mock. I know that the latter part of my previous chapter got a little heavy. But we’ve already seen how life in the castle works and differs from classic sword and sorcery. I had to decide, do I undo some great unique differentiators, do I continue to push this world in ridiculous and world-fabric-stretching directions, or do I set the stage for different fun down the line?

And we’ve already had fun mocking the epic rescue and return quest, where can we go next that will be different and funny? And how do I get us there? Yes, Typh and Peonie battling pirate Rus on the high seas would be a great opportunity, but what would get the story there? A smash cut to an entirely different story and genre without explanation would be a cheat I would not be satisfied with.

Oh, yeah, we’re definitely getting a ship-to-ship battle with buccaneer were-bears. I didn’t just throw that out there unprepared.

Anyway, yes, I know there’s been some serious stuff and a lot of one-pagers lately. I hope you can be patient, we’re returning to multi-panel works soon. But I wanted to set a new status quo and establish the tone of things as we start the story-line.

I’m looking forward to tearing it all down.

And I hope it will be somewhat enjoyable to watch.

Thanks for reading,