Inktober Day 2: The Fire Pliers Pilferer

For the second day of Inktober, I made another generic bad guy: The Fire Pliers Pilferer!

This pilferer belongs to a group of former farmers who were born with sticky fingers instead of a green thumb. His pliers burst into flames to ward off anyone who wants to take back what he acquires.

The pilferer’s shoresh root is לקח, which carries connotations of taking, acquiring and catching fire. If you mix the letters, you get definitions for agriculture among other things.

I’m not sure when this character might appear in “Milhamah.” I can’t really see him or his fellow members being directly tied to Bavel. The macrostructure obsesses too much with its own absurd conception of order.

But maybe the pilferers could appear in a farmland world around ‘Ever, where Ḥeleq might have a safe house. Part of the fun of making new characters is expanding the possibilities for your creative world!

October greets us with a guf

Get used to seeing these bad guys in “Milhamah” Issue No. 3!

A third-rate Bavel guf is armed with a numbing needle.

This is a guf (plural: gufim). These soulless husks make up the Bavel Macrostructure’s shock troops and cannon fodder.
Giant corks replace what used to be their heads. They have the power to partially dematerialize. And they often fight with syringes that numb or weaken their opponents into blacking out.
In Hebrew, “guf” means body, but is also used for the grammar terms “first person,” “second person” and “third person.” Likewise, Bavel’s gufim come in three ranks; this one is from the third.
The guf’s shoresh (גוף) is associated with corpses, stopping things, plugs, vests, high boots, and gate valves. Mixing the letters also produces definitions of weakness, numbness, fainting and fading to black.

Inktober begins

Last weekend I started designing the first page of “Milhamah” Issue #3 after a couple of weeks of finessing the script. But in the meantime, I’ve also been thinking up characters, items and other new content to populate the “Milhamah” universe. I’ll be drawing them everyday during Inktober, so here is my first:

Inktober #1: Compassionate Vulture

Meet the Compassionate Vulture, a “caring” carrion eater who consumes the weak and dying just a bit early. But does she do it out of mercy, or hunger?

This will eventually be a generic baddie in the “Milhamah: Fighting Words” series. Its shoresh root is רחם — which encompasses compassion, wombs and vultures.

It’s a simple sketch, but I hope to do more of them in the days and weeks to come. So much of “Milhamah” is in my head, so the faster I can get the ideas down on paper, the more I can share with the rest of you!

Meet Em Qeriah, the enthusiastic interjection!

First there were Shem the noun, Tiqwah and article and Etgar and adjective. Now meet Qeren-Or “Em” Qeriah, the interjection!

Em Qeriah is the Holy Tongue Society's interjection.

Qeren-Or is the fourth revealed member of the Holy Tongue Society. In the linguistic world of “Milhamah,” she represents two things. One is the interjection part of speech, which makes up exclamations. Due to her nickname, “Em” (or mother), she also represents the em qeriah, Hebrew for the mater lectionis.

Qeren-Or may be an old, but she’s energetic enough to lug around heavy scrolls, a teleprompter staff and a squash purse. The particular scroll on her back is the Miqra, her most prized scroll is the Sefer Milhamah, a Dead Sea scroll that reveals the enemy’s secret military operations and how to beat them.

Em Qeriah spends most of her time in an underground library in Arqah, below Heleq’s Binyan headquarters. While she might clown around with cutting jokes, she’s forgotten more than you’ll ever know. Don’t underestimate her!

More Qeriah design notes

In terms of Hebrew etymology, Qeriah’s name comes from “millat qeriah,” which means interjection. Many of her clothing patterns have subtle exclamation point patterns.
Her shoresh root is (קרא), which generally refers to reading or calling out. In “Milhamah” she is a comical character, who is boisterous and always bragging about her reading, while only sometimes understanding. Her teleprompter cane and squash motifs are also inspired by this root.
Look forward to Qeren-Or’s debut in “Milhamah” Issue No. 3 and in webcomic updates to come!

‘Aravah ‘Ivrit appears on Hebrew Day

Just in time for Hebrew Language Day, “Milhamah” is previewing a new character for 2019. Meet ‘Aravah ‘Ivrit!

‘Aravah’s character is based on the shoresh root ‘ayin-bet-resh (עבר) and its permutations. While it may be awhile till she appears in the webcomic, here are six things to know about her character in “Milhamah: Fighting Words”:

1. ‘Aravah is the embodiment of the Hebrew language who is leading an independence movement against the Bavel Empire. Her goal is to break Bavel’s global dominance by “mixing up the tongues,” or scrambling its communications.

2. She works with the paramilitary Holy Tongue Society but isn’t part of it. She has ties to numerous other anti-Bavel associations, including an alliance with the guardians of the Arabic language. Hebrew and Arabic share similar shoresh roots: עבר and ערב.

3. She set up a headquarters in a western territory called ‘Ever that’s home to expanses of old Wild West desert-like wilderness. This explains why she is dressed as a cowgirl.

4. ‘Aravah is pregnant and way overdue for unknown reasons. As a result, she is often famished and rarely engages in combat. Her baby, however, is known to teleport out of the womb to fight the enemy.

5. Her personality switches between pleasant and hot-tempered. Her opponents underestimate her as a boorish fool — and learn to regret that.

6. ‘Aravah likes it hot. Her main weapon of choice is a flamethrower, and legend has it that she can summon holy fire from heaven.

As we await 2019, look forward to seeing ‘Aravah ‘Ivrit in upcoming episodes of “Milhamah”!

Deli is delighted to meet you.

Finally, “Milhamah” reveals its first main villain, Deli!

Deli is an evil urn held up by a winged humanoid golem.
Don’t expect this Deli to make you a sandwich.

Deli (pronounced duh-LEE) is a member of Bavel’s linguistic imperialism division. He is on a mission to silence the Holy Tongue Society.

While the jar and its carrier might appear to be a team, they are one combined being. Only the urn is sentient; the winged humanoid is a muscle-bound puppet that can’t think on its own. Rumors say both entities are thousands of years old.

Just like ancient Babylon, the new Bavel Empire obsesses over space and its stars. So Deli represents the water bearer Aquarius.

(The Aquarius symbol is on the character’s crown, and the cuneiform version is on its forehead. Ishtar Gate designs inspire the rest of the costume.)

One might wonder what Aquarius has to do with the grammar and language themes in “Milhamah.” But it does, as you’ll see!

Deli’s root letters are dalet-lamed-yod (דלי), which deals with water extraction. When he undergoes permutation, he has control over life, the tides, doors and more.

Watch Deli in action when “Milhamah” Episode 6 is published next week. Stay dry, Shem!