The Complete “Nocturnal” – All 11 Pages Of The New Halloween Comic By C. A. Brown

Well, in case you missed any of it, here are all eleven pages (including the cover) of my new Halloween comic in one easy-to-read post πŸ™‚ You can also find loads of other comics featuring these characters here too.

This comic went surprisingly well and was a lot of fun to make πŸ™‚ The initial inspiration for it was a phase I went through where I re-played “Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines” almost obssessively. I then realised that whilst I’d made a haunted house comic in 2015, a zombie comic in 2016 and an “evil alternate dimension” comic in 2017, I hadn’t made a vampire comic yet.

Unlike last year’s comic, I initially decided to return to black and white artwork (mostly for time and/or sanity reasons, given the length of the comic). But, this soon mostly turned into limited colour greyscale after I realised that I could use red ink for blood effects. And, well, you can’t have a vampire comic without blood in it…

Anyway, here’s the comic πŸ™‚ I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had making it πŸ™‚

As usual, all pages of this comic are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence. Likewise, you can click on each page to see a much larger version of it.

“Nocturnal – Cover” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 1” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 2” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 3” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 4” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 5” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 6” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 7” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 8” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 9” By C. A. Brown

“Nocturnal – Page 10” By C. A. Brown

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All Ten Of My “Halloween 2018” Short Stories :)

Happy Halloween everyone πŸ™‚ In case you missed any of them, here are links to all ten of this year’s Halloween stories. If you want more stories, be sure to check out my 2017 Halloween collection, my 2016 Halloween collection and the interactive story that I wrote in 2015. You can also find lots of other short stories here too.

Anyway, the theme of this year’s collection was “The modern world”, which allowed me to include a good mixture of horror, dark comedy, satire and even a little bit of dystopian sci-fi too πŸ™‚ If you don’t have time to read the whole collection, the best stories are: “VR“, “Zero“, “Update“, “Void” and “Killer App

The production for this collection was also a bit random too. In short, due to being busy with lots of stuff, I’d expected to only have time to write five stories rather than the full ten. Because of this, I also wrote (and queued up) this year’s stories in the opposite order to the order they were posted here. So, if you want to read the stories in the order I actually wrote them, then start with the tenth one and work backwards.

Anyway, here are the stories πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

VR: In the neon-drenched future, Trey is on the run from Blue-Corp’s security bulls after a hack went wrong. But, things aren’t quite what they seem.

Rules: University students Joanne and Toby have got tickets for the Halloween party at the student’s union. But, can they comply with the union’s costume policy?

Zero: Bert is congratulating the branch managers of his company after a few contractual changes have resulted in increased profits and relatively little grumbling from his employees. What could possibly go wrong for him?

Update: Sally isn’t enjoying her date with Tom. There’s just something strange about him…

Pop Up: When a giant ossuary appears in the middle of the high street, Dan and Tina aren’t sure whether to go inside and take a look…..

Limelight: Two people sit in a cafe and discuss the sorry state of the modern horror genre.

Void: Reza is combing a field for historical artefacts. But, just as he detects something, it starts to rain…

Let’s Play: ‘Tis the season for low-budget jump-scare indie games and two people are determined that their ‘let’s play’ video will be hilariously watchable.

Remnants: Driven off of the high street by the rain, Steve takes refuge in a large chain bookshop. But, something is very wrong with this shop…

Killer App: Laura is bored, so she goes shopping on her phone’s app story. One of the apps on offer looks a bit unusual. But, hey, it’s free…

Today’s Art (31st October 2018)

Happy Halloween everyone πŸ™‚ Here’s the final page of “Nocturnal” πŸ™‚ But, don’t worry if you missesd any of it – I’ll be posting a full retrospective here later tonight. In the meantime, you can find lots of other comics featuring these characters here.

Wow! Although the ending ended up being a little bit compressed and contrived (eg: I didn’t have space to include an explanation that the main characters survived because they were only recently turned into vampires), making this page was a surprisingly eerie experience.

Basically, my drawing pen ran out before the last two panels. So, I was forced to switch to one with a finer nib when drawing these panels. Then, when I was editing the page on my computer, I suddenly had vivid flashbacks to my early experiments with comics (using a finer pen than I normally do) during 2010. It literally felt like no time whatsoever had passed since then. It’s a difficult experience to put into words, but it really caught me by surprise.

Anyway, I’m rambling. So, here’s the comic page. Enjoy πŸ™‚

As usual, this comic page is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Nocturnal – Page 10” By C. A. Brown

Top Ten Articles – October 2018

First of all, Happy Halloween everyone πŸ™‚ Anyway, since it’s the end of the month, it’s time for my usual list of links to what I consider to be the ten best articles about making art, making webcomics, writing fiction etc… that I’ve posted here over the past month. As usual, I’ll also include a few honourable mentions too.

All in all, this month probably wasn’t the best one in terms of articles. Partly, this was due to being busy with a couple of other projects at the time of preparing this month’s articles in addition to problems caused by tiredness and/or writer’s block. Still, there were some good articles posted here this month.

So, without any further ado, here are the lists. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – October 2018

– “Three Stress- Reduction Tips For Making Comics And/Or Webcomics”
– “Why “Less Is More” Applies To Blood In Horror Comics – A Ramble
– “Time Travel And Art Mediums- A Ramble
– “Are Games Art? – A Ramble
– “The Joy Of … The ‘Hedonism’ Genre
– “Three Things An Old Computer Game Can Teach Us About How To Add Some Heavy Metal To The Fantasy Genre
– “Three Unusual Things To Do If You Write Yourself Into A Corner
– “Single-Location Comedy – A Ramble
– “Three Ways To Deal With Comparing Your Own Creative Works To ‘Great Works’
– “Making Art – Do The ‘Graphics’ Matter? – A Ramble

Honourable mentions:

– “Using Fake Anachronisms In Historical Art And Fiction – A Ramble
– “Creativity, Subcultures And Fandoms – A Ramble
– “Four Reasons Why Creating Stuff With Older And/Or Low-Tech Tools Is Awesome

“Killer App” By C. A. Brown (Short Story)

Nestled amongst row upon row of icons, the little grey square with the smiley face on it didn’t stand out. Beside it, a crimson chameleon and a maroon camera jostled for Laura’s attention. They had the advantage. Warm colours get people’s attention. Every app designer knew that. It was one of a million little brain hacks that should have been second-nature to whoever made the grey square.

Laura’s finger hovered over her phone screen. Against the red tiles, the little grey square receded like a stone at the bottom of a pond. Below it, the words “Happy Time” sat forlornly. Her eyes drifted over to the camera beside it. It was a “Blood Red Halloween Selfie Filter“. Only ninety-nine cents. It looked suspiciously like the “Rose Red Valentine Selfie Filter” she’d bought a few months earlier.

Her eyes drifted back to the grey square. It smiled back at her. Happy Time. There wasn’t a price below it. Her eyes flitted over to the chameleon icon. ‘Privacy VPN‘. Ten bucks per month. She thought about tapping away and doing a currency conversion. Ten bucks had been about seven quid the last time she’d checked. The economy couldn’t have gotten that worse in that amount of time, could it?

She shook her head. What the hell did she need a privacy VPN for anyway? If any of the five intelligence agencies currently watching her internet traffic actually paid any attention, the worst thing they’d discover was the obscene amount of time she spent on Facebook.

Her pattern of likes was so bland that every political party, even the fringe ones, thought that their campaign ads might stand a chance come election time. Maybe that was suspicious in and of itself? Maybe some suits in an undisclosed location had thought she was covering something up? Maybe they had people watching her right now? Maybe she needed that privacy VPN after all?

Laura sighed. No, that in itself would look suspicious. Her finger hovered above the icon. This was silly. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Plus, seven quid a month too. It’d be smarter to buy nothing. It wasn’t as if her phone’s memory chip was short of apps. Half of them cried out for updates every day. It was hit or miss whether she recognised their names.

Do the smart thing. Buy nothing. What’s the point of buying something new if you aren’t going to use it? Her eyes flickered back to the grey square again. No price. It could be free. She tapped on it.

The square expanded to fill half of the screen. Below it, the words ‘Happy time fun‘ appeared in tiny print. It had to be a scam. A virus that would brick her phone at best. She was about to go back when she spotted the review score. Five out of five. She swiped down and read the reviews.

Don’t be put off by the shoddy icon, this game is really addictive. A real indie project too, no micro-transactions. Just don’t expect to get past level thirty. (5/5)

OMG! Downloaded this 4 a laff on my old phone. Stayed up half the night playing. Awesome πŸ™‚ (5/5)

The list went on and on. Each review looked real. There was enough variation in register, syntax and tone to tell her brain that humans had written them. There were enough grammatical errors, mispellings and sloppy phrases to tell her that whoever wrote the reviews hadn’t been paid for them. She tapped the icon.

A pop-up appeared: ‘This app collects personal data in order to improve the user experience.‘ She tapped it without thinking. A few seconds later, the program downloaded. She opened it.

To Laura’s delight, it was a fun game. As simple as Tetris, but with all of the complexity of chess. Sure, the animations were a bit primitive and the sound effects reminded her of computers in old ’90s TV shows, but that didn’t matter. It was fun.

Every now and then, her phone pinged and buzzed. Laura didn’t care about the notifications. The Facebook messages could wait. She reached level thirty. The review was right, it was tough. Something tinkled behind her. The wind howled. She almost beat the level. Nearly. Another go.

As the blade whipped across her throat as swiftly as a bullet, Laura barely registered the single second of stinging pain. Her final thought before the choking darkness engulfed her was ‘Goddamn it, I was so close.’

The masked man stood over the cooling body. An unseen smile played across his lips. As he wiped his knife on his lucky cloth, something buzzed in his pocket. He trembled with glee. Peeling off his gloves like a surgeon after a long operation, he tapped his phone. So many downloads, so little time….

Today’s Art (30th October 2018)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the ninth (and penultimate) page of “Nocturnal” – this year’s Halloween comic. You can check out previous Halloween comics here: 2015, 2016, 2017.

If you’ve missed any of this comic, you can catch up here: Cover, Page One, Page Two, Page Three, Page Four, Page Five, Page Six, Page Seven, Page Eight,

You can also find lots of other comics featuring these characters here too. Stay tuned for the final page of this comic tomorrow πŸ™‚

As usual, this comic page is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Nocturnal – Page 9” By C. A. Brown

Creativity And Learning Random Factoids – A Ramble

Well, for today, I thought that I’d talk about how learning random amusing factoids can be good for your creativity. I was reminded of this topic when I happened to discover that the background music for the American national anthem was taken from none other than the official song of an Ancient Greece-inspired 18th century drinking society.

But, what does learning random factoids have to do with creativity?

First of all, even if you don’t remember all of the hundreds of random factoids that you’ve found over the years, they can still spur your creativity.

This is because the reason why most of these factoids are interesting is because they either show that things are different to what we would expect (eg: like how archaeologists in Sweden during the 1950s found a small Buddha statue in a Viking-era site ) or they show that familiar things have more of a strange history than we might think (eg: the standard keyboard layout on most computers was originally designed to stop typewriter keys jamming.). In other words, they are irreverent things that make us think about everything slightly differently.

So, coming up with interesting pieces of backstory or interesting fictional background details is a lot more easier if you have the vague memory of hundreds of amusing factoids for the simple reason that they put you in the right frame of mind to come up with intriguing details for your story or comic.

Plus, random factoids can be used to make stories more memorable or interesting too. For example, although it’s an incredibly boring book that I had to read when I was in sixth form, one of the few surprising things about John Fowles’ “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” was the staggering statistic that something like 1 in 50 houses in Victorian London were brothels. Then again, thanks to it’s stuffy and uptight reputation, Victorian Britain is fertile ground for surprising factoids.

For example, drug use was surprisingly common back then. If you don’t believe me then read Thomas de Quincey’s “Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater”, read about Laudanum, read the first chapter of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sign Of Four” and/or read about how Queen Victoria apparently took “tincture of hemp” for monthly cramps etc.. Most surprisingly of all, it was all perfectly legal back then too.

Of course, if random factoids contain an element of mystery or horror then they can also be the starting point for stories or comics in their own right.

Finally, knowing lots of random factoids will also improve any dialogue that you write since, as long as they are relevant to the story and/or your characters, you can liven up the dialogue in your comic or story by including some of the amusing factoids that you know.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful πŸ™‚