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My Heart is Heavy.
Posted June 13, 2016 - 14:05:03

I used to write about Politics a lot more in this blog. I mean, I used to write a lot more in general, but even now it's a topic I avoid. Which is weird, right? I have a degree in Political Science and I used to write about politics all the time. I think this is because my blog now gets displayed on the pages for my two comics -- UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth -- and I'm afraid of offending the readers of those comics.

Well... the readers of one of those comics. I'm not too worried about the UnCONventional readers -- those people probably can guess my opinions pretty easily.

The tragedy in Orlando this last weekend was so severe though that I can't help but think of anything else. Omar Mateen, a US citizen who had a history of spousal abuse, walked into a gay nightclub with guns he had purchased legally and opened fire. It was the deadliest mass shooting in our nation's history, and it's exhausting.

While Mateen claimed to have been acting in the name of ISIS, those closest to him claim he wasn't very religious. Even if he had been "radicalized," he was a homophobic and violent mad long before that.

And again, he was able to buy these guns legally.

And honest to god, I'm tired of it. Every single time a mass shooting happens, we point out that this doesn't happen in other countries, and that we need gun reform... and then nothing happens. I don't know if background checks would have stopped this incident, but it continues to be insane that it's easier to get a gun than a car in this country.

This needs to change.

But it won't. Because ever since the gun manufacturers took over the NRA, any chance of serious gun reform went away. And the pundits are going to misdirect - they're going to look at the claimed ISIS connection and ignore the extreme anti-LGBT+ atmosphere in this country.

But heck, the same people who have attacking LGBT+ rights over the last few years have tried to play disingenuous lip service to the victims.

This whole Presidential election has been exhausting. I've never been shy about my affiliation with the Democratic party, but I've never had problems maintaining friendships or working professionally with Republicans. Usually, while we fundamentally disagree on most issues, I at least know that candidates the other person supports are trying to do their best for the country.

I mean, sure -- I think they're wrong, but I know they have a vested interest in keeping the country from burning down.

This election hasn't been like that though. Even if you ignore Donald Trump's bigotry, rape accusations, and lack of experience running a successful business, his economic policies actually risk bankrupting the global economy. The only think Trump is good at is promoting the brand "Trump" -- which makes him so dangerous I can't even begin to explain it.

He's not someone who should be nominating a Supreme Court Justice, let alone be given the nuclear codes.

I know this is rambling, and later this week I'll do some "behind the scenes" posts from one of my comics to bounce this off the front pages of my sites... but right now I'm exhausted, and I'm really tired of feeling this way.

- Traegorn
[ Comments ( 0 ) ]

The Shifting Main Cast of UnCONventional
Posted June 9, 2016 - 9:48:15

The Original Chapter One Main Cast:

The Current Chapter Seven Main Cast:

UnCONventional has come quite a long ways since its beginning, and one of the important ways its shifted has been which cast members are considered "main characters." The biggest shift happened starting with Chapter Five, as Tara had left the story at the end of Chapter Four (though she's made a single cameo since), and Phil was effectively demoted to "background extra" after spending a year as effectively "main character in name only." Out of the original team, Phil was the least prolific.

I realized last night that I needed to make another change to the main cast list for Chapter Seven - I needed to demote Max to the secondary cast.

I came to this while looking at appearance frequency (which is pretty easy to check on the site with the character tags), when I realized that with the current strip, Ruth has finally appeared more than Phil. This got me thinking about all of the other characters, so I started to go through the numbers.

Like, Veronica and Phil have the same number of appearances, but this isn't as notable as she was originally introduced as a secondary character back in Chapter One. Megan surpassed Phil a while ago too, but she also showed up in the secondary cast long before getting promoted.

Sarah still has the fewest appearances out of the "main characters," but as she wasn't brought in until partway through Chapter Five, that's to be expected. Lynn reigns supreme, but Max isn't that far behind... for now.

You see, I looked at the number of times Max has appeared in Chapter Seven so far. We've had over fifty strips at this point, and Max has only appeared in four of them. To put that in perspective, Awesome Roy has appeared five times in Chapter Seven. I then thought about the storylines I had planned for the rest of the year, and realized that I didn't really have much use for Max in the upcoming stuff.

There's just nothing really to do with him.

So I realized I should just bite the bullet and reduce his credit. I mean, maybe I have some future storyline for Max, but I can't see that happening before the final chapter (Chapter Ten). It also has the weird effect that my main cast is currently exclusively women, and all but one of them lie on the LGBTQA+ spectrum. That... that wasn't on purpose. Honestly, I'm not sure how that happened at all.

But I guess hooray for accidental progress?

- Traegorn
[ Comments ( 2 ) ]

Planning the End of UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth
Posted May 27, 2016 - 14:29:17

Out of ideas

So one of the challenges of writing any comic is knowing exactly when it should end. I mean, I've known since early on in The Chronicles of Crosarth's lifetime that it was going to end mid-2019 (it's going to be about 800 pages in the end), but that comic had a very planned story arc from the start.

But UnCONventional is a very different story. While I usually come up with the big arcs years in advance, a lot of it is written just based off of what I feel like at any given moment. The problem is though that over time I've started to run out of unique stories.

I mean, there's still some stuff I haven't done yet, but there are only so many unique events that can happen at conventions. So, a while ago, I decided I was just going to have to stop.

Now nobody panic, okay?

First off, y'all know I'm a planner, right? I have story arcs laid down for UnCONventional for a while, and I intend to complete all of them. That means that this "end date" is the end of November 2019. That means you have a few years more of story left. Secondly, this doesn't mean it's the last you'll hear from the UnCONventional cast -- I still love telling their personal stories, and some may find their way into other projects of mine.

Chapter 10 will be final UnCONventional chapter though, and that's okay.

I know it seems weird to announce something like this so far out, but I made this decision a while ago, and it seems strange not to share it with you guys. I've always been pretty open about the process behind the comics, and to not tell you guys about such a big behind the scenes decision felt odd... now you know.

Oh, and just because both my comics are ending at different points in 2019 doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing comics entirely -- I'm just going to launch new ones. Maybe do a few short run, stand alone stories.

It's going to be fun, trust me.

- Traegorn
[ Comments ( 1 ) ]

Come Find Me at Anime Central 2016!
Posted May 18, 2016 - 11:20:05

So this weekend, for the second year in a row, I'm going to be at Anime Central in Rosemont, IL. For those of you curious, I'm going to be working two different tables -- both my Trae Dorn Productions table (H04) and the Nerd & Tie Expo ambassador table (CT14). Here's where they are on the show floor:

Anime Central 2016 vendor map

I'll have the latest UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth print collections at the TDP table and you can prereg at the NEXPO table, but most I'd just be happy if you stopped by and said hello.

Because I like people.

And liking people is awesome.

- Traegorn
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Able to Breathe Again
Posted May 10, 2016 - 14:31:15


Sometimes when you walk around with something long enough, you forget you're carrying it. The weight becomes apart of you after a while. And then one day you're finally able to put it down, and you find yourself able to relax for the first time in ages...

That's how I feel right now.

A lot of you know that for the last several months CEO Ryan Kopf has been suing me in the state of Iowa. While I first wrote about Ryan Kopf back in 2013 on this site, the lawsuit was about articles I wrote over on Nerd & Tie.

My lawyer managed to get it dismissed on the grounds of personal jurisdiction (i.e. I write and publish from Indiana), but Kopf's attorney fought it -- dragging this whole mess out. The damned thing just. kept. going.

Until last week.

The judge finally ruled on Kopf's last motions to reconsider, and upheld the dismissals. My lawyer assures me that this thing is finally over. Well -- at least in Iowa.

There's nothing stopping Kopf from refiling this case in the proper venue (Indiana), and if he does the headache gets to start all over again. But I have to think that after all the bad PR this has generated for him, Kopf might take the hint that letting it drop is the best thing he could do.

But even if this respite is temporary, I will enjoy it.

On a more cheerful note, Anime Central is coming up in a week and a half, and I'm excited. I'll be spending the con bouncing between both my Trae Dorn Productions table (Artist Alley H04) selling UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth and the Nerd & Tie Expo table (CT14). If you're around, you should stop by and say hello.

It ought to be a good time.

- Traegorn
[ Comments ( 1 ) ]

No Brand Con This Weekend!
Posted Apr 12, 2016 - 8:53:08

So this weekend is No Brand Con in the Wisconsin Dells. For those of you who don't know, I have a bit of history with this particular convention... in that I co-founded it, held almost every position in the organization including Con Director, and may or may not have come up with the name (well probably not, but no one actually remembers who did).

While I do maintain a minor staff connection as co-founder, I haven't been an active part of management for years. That said, No Brand Con will always be home for me... even though it's now in a completely different city than when I was in charge of it.

Anywho, I'm going to be there, so you should be there too. If you are there, you can find me in a few places over the weekend.

First and foremost, I'll be bouncing between two tables throughout the day. I'm splitting my time between my table in the Artist Alley (selling print copies of UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth) and the Nerd & Tie Expo table (selling preregistrations and dreams).

I'll also be doing a handful of panels this year, which have been scheduled into a single three hour block... because the universe wishes to break me. Or something. In any case, they're all scheduled for Saturday night:
Podcasting on a Budget Sat. 8:00pm Panel Room One
Want to learn to podcast but you're broke? Join me for an hour and I'll teach you how. By the end of it, I'm sure you'll be at least a little less confused.

Nerd & Tie LIVE! Sat. 9:00pm Panel Room One
Join Pher, Nick and Myself for a live recording of the Nerd & Tie podcast! Also joining us this episode is special guest host Gen Prock! Just because! Also, Pher thinks he'll be sober this time around. Let's find out if he's right!

Webcomics A to Z Sat. 10:00pm Panel Room One
Hey, I do webcomics! Hey I want to teach you how to do webcomics too! In a panel that I didn't expect to be in the middle of the night, join me as I walk you through all the stuff you need to know before you do a webcomic! It'll be an adventure!
So yeah, that's what's happening. Remember, my next convention after this is Anime Central in the Chicago area May 20th-22nd. If you can't see me at No Brand Con, you can still totally find me there. But really, you should try to do both -- because that would make you an awesome person.

I mean, unless you can't afford to do both -- then you can still be awesome. Awesomeness knows no economic demographic.

Or something. I'm kinda tired right now.

- Traegorn
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Oh God, Convention Season
Posted Apr 8, 2016 - 12:18:24

Trae at the INDYpendent Show 2016
Photo courtesy of The INDYpendent Show

There's not just one convention in the Greater Lafayette, IN area this weekend, but two. I'm not kidding, both Purdue's Boiler Con (ha, I came up with that name) and Laffy Con are scheduled for Saturday (in what seems like a poor choice for timing), and I think I'm going to skip both of them.

I'm just too damned tired.

I mean, last year I did one of them (the event that is now called Boiler Con), but between all the conventions and weddings I'll be at this year, I just need a regular weekend to decompress. Last weekend I had both a wedding in Wisconsin followed by The INDYpendent Show in Indianapolis (one of my favorite cons). Next weekend, April 15-17, is No Brand Con up in the Wisconsin Dells too. And anyone who knows anything about me and my history with that event (*cough*I co-founded it*cough*) there's no way I'm missing it.

So I skip two different cons, both almost literally down the street from me.

Choosing what conventions I do is a lot harder these days, because I'm being pulled in multiple directions. On the one hand, I want to keep doing shows and promoting myself as an artist. To do that I want to reach out into new markets and get my name out there in more areas. On the other hand, now that I'm running The Nerd & Tie Expo as well, I have to focus efforts on markets adjacent to Wisconsin where I used to be based.

I mean, it would make no sense to promote the Eau Claire, WI based show at most Indiana conventions.

It's a tough call figuring out which part of my life to focus on. Lord knows what I'm going to end up doing long term. Eventually I'll find the balance, but I'm far from that point yet.

On the upside, whenever I go to a convention I get to hang out with my friends. Between No Brand Con next week and Anime Central in May, I ought to have a pretty good time.

It's managing what's in between that's hard.

- Traegorn
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New Books out for UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth
Posted Mar 23, 2016 - 12:44:57


It's the spring, which means it's time for new print collections of UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth to hit the (mostly virtual) shelves! While it's true that my comics are all still available online for free, I know some people like to hold dead tree versions in their hands... so yeah. It's pretty neat.

You can buy both of these directly from my Createspace shops (UnCONventional Book 6, The Chronicles of Crosarth Volume 2 Part 2), or you can get them on too. If you DO buy the books, please consider reviewing them on as well.

If you want to pick up copies from me in person, I will be doing some convention appearances over the next few months. I've been cutting back on them this year (to focus on the Nerd & Tie Expo), but I'm still doing a few. This is where you'll find me over the next couple months:
  • INDYpendent Show (Apr 3)
    Wyndham West Hotel and Convention Center
    Indianapolis, IN
  • No Brand Con (Apr 15-17)
    Chula Vista Resort
    Wisconsin Dells, WI
  • Anime Central (May 20-22)
    Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
    Rosemont, IL
The main advantage, of course, is that if you buy a book in person I can sign the thing and scribble all over it if you want me to. The disadvantage is that I'm probably not doing any cons outside of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for the rest of the year -- and mostly just the latter two.

But yeah, if you're impatient, you can literally buy them right now. Get 'em while they're hot. And remember, if you don't want dead tree versions but still want to help support me, I always have a Patreon running.

- Traegorn
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The Current State of 'Ryan Kopf v. Trae Dorn'
Posted Mar 8, 2016 - 16:15:26

Some of you may be aware that in December CEO Ryan Kopf filed a defamation suit in the state of Iowa against me for articles I published over on Nerd & Tie. After I launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover my legal costs, Kopf had the lawsuit amended to include Pher Sturz (who had vocally supported me on Facebook).

Well, for the first time since this ordeal started, I'm happy to report some good news.

In February my lawyer filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of personal jurisdiction, and I'm pleased to announce that yesterday that motion was granted. For now, it seems, I am (at least personally) out of the woods.

Now, this doesn't mean this thing is over. The case is still active for Pher Sturz, and he'll need to file his own motion to dismiss. That motion would also need to be granted by a judge, so the suit doesn't end until that happens. Likewise, this also doesn't prevent Kopf from trying to bring a case against me in Indiana (where I actually live).

But it's still wonderful news, and things are moving in the right direction.

Update: Aaaand Kopf's attorney has filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Dismissal ruling and also a request to do jurisdictional discovery. Because of course he did.

Update 2: Hopefully the final update.

- Traegorn
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