Thanks to a dynamic duo of duress and a Dalet, Shem ‘Etzem undergoes an underwater transformation in Episode 13 (Part 3). Green shoots of hope erupt from the grotto, absorbing the water below. Is the Holy Tongue Society finally equipped to harvest a victory?
This episode is an important one. It marks the first time Shem is seen in the holy form he is supposed to have. Up until now, Shem’s appearance has been based on the “‘Etzem” part of his name, which largely deals with bones and tangible objects.
His new form is based on the “Shem” portion, which mean “name.” Associated words include, nothing “there” and nothing. The title HaShem is associated with God, which is why Shem is wearing an outfit inspired by the ancient Israelites’ high priest. Name tags are fastened to his belt, and location markers are atop his crown.
In “Milhamah,” Shem ‘Etzem’s holy form lumped in with the Shin-Waw-Mem (שום) root. This root is tied to words such as garlic, evaluation, estimate and warts. The Sin version of Shin also includes words involving placement. Shem’s balance scales, magnifying glass, epaulets, and garlic fringes convey some of those traits.
So to summarize, Shem’s faith brought the Dalet to him, and through his transformation he is able to grow garlic plants from the earth. The plants drained the grotto’s water, and now the villainous Deli faces a more powerful hero.
I’m looking forward to explaining more, but this arc will soon wrap up Issue #2. More worldbuilding and lore will appear over the next few months in Issue #3. Don’t miss it!
The action turns grim in “Milhamah” Episode 13 (Part 2), and it’s up to Etgar (and maybe a miracle) to save the day!
After Deli’s geyser blast hit Shem in the last scene, Etgar tosses Shem a life preserver — the Dalet foundational glyph. The glyph can alter reality through the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and a legend says its origins date back to God’s creation of the world.
But will it save a doubting protagonist like Shem? Only with the help of a mysterious fish (which is composed of other fish). Where did this helper come from, and why did it deliver the Dalet to a drowning Shem? The answer is unclear, but for now let’s call it a miracle.
At the end, Shem musters up enough faith and hope to make a prayer — a form of reality-altering speech that differs from the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or Deli’s twisted magic. But time will tell whether divine intervention will come through…
Look forward to the next “Milhamah” scene, which should be released in a week or two! Also, I’m working on an Indiegogo campaign that I hope to have ready in July.
In addition, the Michigan Comic Con in Detroit is not too far away, so I hope to wrap up an Issue #2 by the end of July. So the upcoming month should be a busy one!
After a hiatus to complete print Issue #1, “Milhamah: Fighting Words” is back in action as good and evil strive for the upper hand in Episode 13 (Part 1): “A Name for Himself.”
Despite a bout of overconfidence, Shem ‘Etzem continues to struggle in battle. This time Deli actually finishes his water extraction special attack. But does it mean a watery grave for the Holy Tongue Society’s leader? We’ll see, though he’ll need to change tactics if he wants to swim and not sink…
Prepare for a steady string of story updates throughout June. I’m strongly motivated to wrap up this fight arc by then so I can move on to worldbuilding and other characters in the “Milhamah” universe!
Issue #1 in more stores
As a side note, “Milhamah: Fighting Words” is now available for sale at two additional metro Detroit stores:
May 17-19 was the 2019 Motor City Comic Con, and Aksanyah Studios was there to sell print comics of Issue #1 of “Milhamah: Fighting Words”!
Issue #1 follows the adventures of Shem ‘Etzem (the noun), Tiqwah Tawit (the article) and Etgar Toar (the adjective) — three linguistic warriors of the Holy Tongue Society. The new print edition contains remastered pages and additional exposition not found in the webcomic.
While at the comic con, I sold 33 copies of the comic, or about one-third of my first print run. Some stickers and prints sold too.
From here, I look forward to making the comic available in metro Detroit comic book shops. The goal is to get back to work on finishing the current story arc and proceeding to the next one while producing enough content for an Issue #2. An Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign could fund a large-scale print of #1 and #2, plus the UPC codes that will let the comics be sold by national retailers.
I apologize for the lull in new “Milhamah” content, but much more will be on the way in June!
As I finish the last few panels of my current “Milhamah” story arc, I have a couple of big convention events coming up.
On April 20, Lawrence Technological University will hold its LTU Expo 2019. An Open Crate art gallery will display some of my “Milhamah” artwork, and I’ll be there to discuss my projects and meet new people. So if you’re in the metro Detroit area, check it out!
From May 17 to 19, I’ll be back at the Motor City Comic Con to sell comic panel prints, light merchandise and —if all goes according to plan — full comic issues! I’m in the last stages of formatting it all into book form, so if I hustle, I should have a full book or two ready to sell.
The next couple of months will be pivotal toward the future of this comic series. And when the print issues are ready, I’ll have much more news about how to get them online and in select stores.
In Episode 12 (Part 2), the action picks up where we left off, with Etgar sending a speech balloon to rebuke the enemy and destroy his magic. While Shem struggles to defeat Deli’s water bearer, the Holy Tongue Society devises a new strategy to defeat evil. But has their arrogance outpaced their faith?
Tiqwah wants Etgar to invite the Devir — the Temple’s Holy of Holies — into the fray. In the Bible, the Holy of Holies is a room where a vessel called the Ark of the Covenant used to dwell. The high priest was the only person allowed to visit it.
The ark is a chest that held the tablets of the law, manna and Aaron’s budding rod, and man generally was neither allowed to touch it nor even look at it. According to 1 Samuel, when the Philistines captured the chest, they began experiencing plagues.
Although the ark’s whereabouts are unknown today, it’s carried a sort of mystique throughout the ages, as any Indiana Jones fan knows.
Nevertheless, Tiqwah’s strategy of carrying the ark into battle is either naive or arrogantly foolish. Fortunately, whether it’s due to divine mercy, luck or Etgar’s ineptitude, the Devir never shows up.
Instead, the Holy Tongue Society’s alfon interprets the ד-ב-ר shoresh code in a way that calls up a “dovrah” instead. Morfix defines that word as a “barge, lighter; raft.”
A raft might not be much of a weapon, but it may prove to be a lifesaver…
In other news, it feels good to be back! Behind the scenes, I’ve been drafting out the print versions of “Milhamah” in time for spring and summer conventions. I’ll certainly have enough for one issue or possibly even two. Get ready for much more information in the weeks ahead!
What is truth, and what is magical thinking? In Episode 12 (Part 1): “Spray and Pray,” our heroes start to explore this theme, and the answer is subtler than you might think.
Most fantasy universes have a system of superpowers or the supernatural, and “Milhamah: Fighting Words” is no exception.
Blessed truth, cursed deception
At the end of Episode 11, Deli speaks an Akkadian shoresh root (based on birth) to repair the hole in his face. And now he uses another root to fire water cannons.
In “Milhamah,” the Bavel Empire (or “macrostructure”) corrupts and twists languages in order to replace them with nonsense. Their motive is to assert control and manipulate reality for selfish, destructive ends.
Deli calls this “magic,” but Tiqwah calls it lies and manipulation. In terms of worldbuilding, she’s right. Bavel seeks to impose its will to power through its quest to destroy the Holy Tongue.
On the other hand, the Holy Tongue is associated with candor, accuracy, and “telling it like it is.” In this episode, Etgar sets his alfon to use the dalet-bet-resh (דבר) root. He sends out a roaring speech bubble to destroy Deli’s magic.
Under the Holy Tongue’s authority, our heroes use speech as a prophetic rebuke, speaking truth to power.
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
One more thing: Etgar mentions the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. This provides the scientific explanation for why the “Milhamah” can use the shoresh roots to enhance their alphabet abilities.
As the link explains:
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks. The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior.
Read more on the topic here. But basically, the “Milhamah” characters’ thoughts, words and outlook determine their reality and destiny. Those who prize truth and goodness turn their Holy Tongue alphabet powers into blessings. Likewise, characters who use language to enslave others perform magical curses.
And in that context, think of the curses that lurk in the background of our own real lives. What hells are often unleashed by the quick fix, the empty “something for nothing” promise, the slick corporate marketing pitch, or the focus group-tested political sound bite!
All of this only scratches the surface to how language shapes the “Milhamah” world. Now that we touched on truth, we’ll see how faith shapes the Holy Tongue Society in the next episode. Hope you’ll join us and keep reading!
While the battle continues, the evil urn Deli startles our heroes from behind. The villain seems to be reformed … but not in a good way! Will Tiqwah and Etgar find what they’re looking for in the aural grid before it’s too late?
This is Part 2 to “Slaughter in the Water,” and you can see the earlier part here.
Things get technical behind the scenes in this episode, as it starts to explain how the “Milhamah” characters weaponize their alfons to make blessing attacks outside of their own natural ability. Gradually readers will learn about these things over the next few episodes, but I’ll give a preview here.
Basically, Tiqwah and Etgar connected the speech balloon and the foundation glyph to their alfons to make new letters appear in the aural grid.
The aural grid shows sound frequencies, and Tiqwah and Etgar are looking for ‘Ivrit ones to do new attacks. The evil Bavel Empire try to scramble these ‘Ivrit frequencies to make it harder for the heroes to do this. (Though in Bavel’s perspective, they believe they’re actually unscrambling their own language!)
Anyway, it’ll be up to our heroes to find the correct sequence of letters needed — a shoresh root — to code in an alfon attack, or a blessing. Will they do this next episode? Maybe…
Meanwhile, what is Deli doing?
Etgar shot the urn in Episode 9, but now the fiendish jar is back. Well, it used an Akkadian curse called walа̄du. Deli’s natural shoresh root is dalet-lamed-yod (דלי). He’s using a permuted power caused by switching the letters around, (ילד). This undergoes a consonantal shift, as in Akkadian the same Semitic root is spelled waw-lamed-dalet (ולד).
The pink seal beneath Deli contains real Semitic letters and words. The Akkadian for walа̄du in the center. The Paleo-Hebrew and Ugaritic letters for (ילד) are in the middle orbit, plus the six different root permutations in Aramaic-style Hebrew script. The outer ring has the alef-bet.
So as the comic says, Deli permuted or switched his powers around to heal himself through a rebirth. Of course, since he’s from Bavel, he does this through the power of trickery and evil. Next episode you’ll learn the difference between the Holy Tongue’s Society’s truth-guided blessings and Bavel’s manipulative curses, and why it matters.
A side note
Please take a moment to vote for Milhamah: Fighting Words” on the Top Webcomics site! The more votes we get, the more visible this comic becomes.
This new episode’s first part isn’t exactly a slaughter, but good and evil go at it for another round. The last time “Milhamah: Fighting Words” had this much fighting between Shem and Deli, Shem took a walloping. Check and see what happens here…
Action scenes always take more time to design than talking head panels, but the end result is often satisfying. This time I tried to make things more dynamic by breaking the panel’s perspective with Shem’s “osteoblast” bone shard missiles.
I also added more sound effects and used the negative space outside the panels to contribute to the storytelling. I’ll probably do that more, especially in my remastered print edition. The goal is to begin selling copies in April with a couple of comic cons on the horizon!
Storywise, while Shem’s limited attack moves are a punchline here, I look forward to giving him more to work with in the scenes to come. Plus we need to see what Etgar and Tiqwah are doing in Episode 11 Part 2!
In other news…
Just a reminder: You can also see “Milhamah” comics on Tapas and Webtoon. I’m trying to grow those subscriber bases, so if you use those sites, you can get automatic notifications when new episodes come along.
Also, you can vote for “Milhamah” on the Top Webcomics page site, which draws a lot of webcomic fans. I’ll be promoting this more in the near future. Help this series climb the ranks!
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