MONDAY AND FRIDAY BY JOE ENGLAND

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COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR

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11th Mar 2022, 11:09 PM

Joe England

Hi, everyone. Before I unfold the latest lore of Zandra’s future world, let’s address the elephant. The situation in Ukraine is far from over, and it may get worse before it gets better. If you’re in a position to help, here are some resources:

Tab for a Cause

World Central Kitchen

Ukraine's Official Twitter

National Bank of Ukraine Fundraising

Ukrainian Red Cross

Polish Website for Ukrainian Refugees (spread the word)

Global Giving

Nova Ukraine

Razom for Ukraine

Public Good

Other charities

Additionally, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense has advertised on Twitter that Russian soldiers can surrender and say the word “million” and receive asylum, along with 5,000,000 rubles. Not sure how much truth there is to this, but I guess it bears mentioning.

If you’re at all inclined to promote or contribute to any of these organizations then I encourage you to do so. And if you’re in any kind of direct contact with this conflict, then I offer my deepest hopes for your well-being. God willing, we’ll emerge from under this cloud together and see brighter days ahead. Super love to you, all of you, my friends.

Now, for this moment, let’s take a break from the real world and return to my little world instead. Just for a rest.

There’s some Zebra Girl art you may have missed! I made it last month, though it’s just a bit too lewd for the front page here. After putting Betty in that awkward anecdotal getup I felt obliged to draw her in a more comfortable condition, and Betty is most comfortable when she’s salacious. The image is risqué but free to view, though future “pinups” will be available only to Patreon backers! If I’m ever going to make the paywall concept work for me it may as well be for stuff I can’t usually show in polite company. So if you’re interested, you’ll know where to find these prurient portraits in the future! I’ll announce them on Twitter, Tumblr, DeviantArt, Reddit, and FaceBook as they’re finished.

Finally, here’s the lore for the progeny of Tomie, the Inkblood. And yes, it’s going to be in the Omnibus! I swear I’ll finish it, the world just needs to calm down a little! I can’t think with all this racket! But it’s not like I could’ve finished it by now, anyway. Because this will be in it! In fact, I think it could make a wonderful final page.


From the Writings of Martimer Stone, noted Bibliologist (date unknown):

Curiosity. Contemplation. Experience. Education. Patience. Pacifism. Life. Love. These are the guideposts of the Inkblood pilgrimage. Whether they emancipate themselves from the nursery of the Library of the Pointed House or are written into existence under a blessed union, each that sets foot on the ground must undertake a journey to understand their existence and find their Readers.

Like the Mimsy Pook, Inkblood are a young race spawned in the most recent Paradigm Shift. Occasionally described as “book golems”, they represent an evolution of the storied grimoires which served as vade mecums to wizards of yore, compiled in antiquity by mysterious hands and highly treasured before the last magical recession. By the time of the Shift there were estimated to be fewer than a thousand functional arcane artifacts left on Earth, only a fraction of which possessed sapience, proof of the sad lack of security given to a de facto slave race. We will never know how many great books were lost, destroyed, or allowed to perish due to absence of care, or even which were real and which were reprinted into farcical echoes, from the Arbatel De Magia Veterum to the dreaded Necronomicon. Thankfully, times have changed, and it is far more difficult to forget someone when they refuse to stay on a shelf.

The first Inkblood was created (either by masterfully creative application or by remarkably happy accident) through unstable magic channeled by Jack Clarity towards Tomie, the book with whom he formed the symbiotic bond which characterizes Talismancers, magi who use physical objects as focal instruments for their talents. The result was a revelatory being, both ancient and newborn, the “Eve” of a novel race (and yet another example of the Tartan Wizard playing a hand in the creation of incipient magical fauna). Their relationship would become the stuff of fables, breaking the cycle of subservience into which conscious literature was once bound by hoary authors as standard practice. Nowadays magicians are taught to approach living books with the reverence and respect of fellow creatures, and the books in turn approach modern magicians with far more agency than their forebears ever could. At least, when they choose to exercise it.

There are likely many hundreds of volumes born directly from the union of Jack Clarity and Tomie, many of whom have been comfortably cradled within the heights of Khazandra’s home for centuries. The precise number is uncertain, which is typical of the sequestered affairs of the Wooden Castle, but which also reflects the amorphous page count of magical text. Some say that in each of them is a sheet taken directly from their progenitor, and that their numbers vary from day to day as siblings slide into or out of one another by an ineffable whim, a hive mind of words and pictures existing in a dreamlike decimal system, content to be perused.

But those who find the will to shed their basal bindings awaken to a new life filled with fear and desire and confusion. After a period of adjustment under Khazandra’s aegis they leave the Pointed House to see the world with new eyes. They travel far and wide, powerful magicians in their own right, taking shelter in bookstores and libraries, searching for someone who can read them to their core and help them to understand what it means to be alive.

They may find one Reader or several, usually (but not always) wizards, and on rare occasions even other Inkblood. Through intimacy they will gain enlightenment, the ability to know themselves through someone else’s eyes, and to be heard. What are they about? What is the moral of their story? The purpose of their lessons? They may instruct their partner on the vagaries of magic, or the wisdom of gratitude, or the secret of laughter. Only their Readers can truly translate what they were written to teach. And with this epiphany the family may choose to write new books into being, or simply enjoy each other’s company for a lifetime.

Those who fail to find a soulmate will take solace in meditation, living in quiet wonder until they scatter like leaves on the wind, hopeful that their journey will continue in some other form. For Inkblood strive to believe in creation, not in destruction. As it is written amongst their kind, “A story does not vanish once the book is closed.”

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COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

11th Mar 2022, 11:53 PM

Morfos

...And not once did you use the word "intercourse".

If the union of Reader and Book produces offspring, I'm not sure if it even matters whether said union is sexual or intellectual. Reading the book puts an interpretation on the information inside, likely resulting in new ideas, whereas sex is probably a very new idea for a book.

Why, one could probably write a book on the implications of such a thing.

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16th Apr 2022, 10:59 AM

Blackraven2

As a writer of fantasy porn fiction, I'd argue that to some printed works, the concept of physical intimacy might be quite familiar by nature. Although leaving stains on the actual sheets is probably considered highly impolite, but then again, there's a fetish for everything.

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12th Mar 2022, 2:24 AM

Refhi

I like the occasional updates you gives us with sneak peaks into your universe, still expanding (like some Pointed House?)

Inkblood's a nice creature, I like them.

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12th Mar 2022, 1:29 PM

forklifter16

Man, I can't imagine how long it took to draw that picture!

Thanks very much for this new glimpse into Zandra's universe.

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14th Mar 2022, 2:12 PM

MsBee

That is the best possible last line for this series. Thank you.

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15th Mar 2022, 12:24 AM

Joe England

You're truly welcome, Msbee. Thank you for being here!

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15th Mar 2022, 7:11 AM

Valentine

This talk of "Inkblood" brings back a thought. Tomie's ink blood apparently doesn't taste like blood (I suppose that means she wasn't written in blood), but that does raise the question of what it does taste like. Or rather, what it's made of. The composition of writing ink has varied quite a bit over the ages and from place to place. Were the magical books written with normal (or paranormal) inks of various kinds, and does this have implications such as water resistance for the Inkblood? Or is there a metaphysical Idea of Ink that they are instances of? Similar questions regarding the material of their pages.

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21st Mar 2022, 6:31 AM

ttaxus

I don't even know if it was intentional, but-

"...the “Eve” of a novel race..."

Novel race.

Heh.

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22nd Mar 2022, 12:33 AM

Joe England

Heh. The best kinds of puns are the ones that you can doubt.

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27th Mar 2022, 6:06 AM

Nono

As a long-time fan, I'm glad for your little updates. I'm in love with your universe, and I must admit I can't wait for your other projects.

Take care of yourself.

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27th Mar 2022, 5:41 PM

Joe England

You too, Nono!

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14th Jun 2022, 2:49 AM

Umbral Reaver

It's been a long time. This was my favourite webcomic and I've recently come back to revisit old memories. I've been trying to find Sandra's Journal but the wayback machine is unreliable. Do you have the entire journal online anywhere?

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16th Jun 2022, 7:05 AM

Umbral Reaver

I found them!

I have all of Sandra's Journal from the old Keenspot site saved on one of my very old hard drives. :)

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view Joe England's profile

19th Jun 2022, 10:09 PM

Joe England

Oh, GOOD! I was wringing my hands, wondering how best to answer your question, because those old strips are in buckets in my computer, waiting to be assembled into the Omnibus, and I couldn't recall anywhere that they could still be online. So glad you had them! Kinda lets me off the hook! For now, anyway. I really SHOULD recompile them somewhere on this site!

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view Umbral Reaver's profile

22nd Jun 2022, 4:41 PM

Umbral Reaver

If you're missing any, let me know (you have my email address).

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