Issue #2 to debut at Michigan Comic Con!

Issue #2 is coming out at the Michigan Comic Con!

After a successful launch of the “Milhamah: Fighting Words” series at the Motor City Comic Con, “Milhamah” Issue #2 will debut Aug. 16-18 at the Michigan Comic Con at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Aksanyah Studios will be at Table F24.

Issue #2 is coming out at the Michigan Comic Con!
This action-packed issue continues the fight against the Bavel Macrostructure and its henchman Deli. If all goes well, the comic series’s evolution will get congoers excited and build a bigger local following. If you’re from the Michigan area or a nearby state, I hope to see you there!

What’s next

In the meantime, expect a short lull in the usual webcomic generation. “Milhamah” Issue #3 will be more carefully planned than the serial comics I’ve made so far. I’m currently designing and illustrating several new characters that will appear over the next several months, including Em Qeriah and Beli Ya’al. New locations and settings are also on the agenda.
Over the next month or two, I also plan to turn Shem, Tiqwah, Etgar and more into animated sprites. The goal is to make some simple video games that people can play online and eventually in apps. Hopefully something will be ready by the start of 2020.
Expect some changes to the website too. I plan to turn the glossary into a wiki, add a discussion forum, update the comics section and overall give the site more polish.

Shem’s garlic drives Deli away in Ep. 14

Shem attacks Deli with garlic.

Armed with priestly robes, garlic grass and the dalet, a newly transformed Shem ‘Etzem sees growth in Episode 14: “The Grass is Greener.”

Etgar sees Shem's transformation.  Shem blinds Deli again.Etgar chases after Deli.Etgar leaves the group while Tiqwah is summoned elsewhere.

Shem’s new priestly form is related to the word HaShem, a Hebrew title for God. His holy transformation is more commonly recognized among the Holy Tongue Society’s members, though the reasons why haven’t been revealed yet.

Unlike Shem’s exoskeleton form, which uses the עצם root, his holy form uses the שום root. The latter root has garlic superpowers and evaluation powers that increase accuracy.

Shem quickly shatters Deli (once again) by filling him with garlic grass. Deli flees into his Bavel gate portal, and Etgar follows just before the portal closes. While the party has split up once more, Tiqwah now plans to visit the mysterious Em Qeriah. Soon we’ll find out who she is!

As the writer, it feels good to finally close this yearlong “Milhamah” arc. This also finishes print Issue #2, which will be printed shortly.

I’m now feeling more confident in my writing abilities and plan to plot out Issue #3 more carefully. New characters, memorable locations and worldbuilding will be top priorities and show how the Bavel Macrostructure oppresses the populace.

Also, I will overhaul the website in the next couple of months.  I plan to add a forum where people can discuss “Milhamah” as well as languages, comics, games and other entertainment. The goal is to build a fun fan community outside the usual social media sites, though new Instagram, Facebook or Twitter followers are still welcome!

Shem sees transformation in Ep. 13 (Part 3)

Preview pic for Ep. 13 Pt. 3
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?

Shem's transformation sequence Plants soak up the water. Shem's new transformation is revealed!

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!

Shem reaches for a miracle in Ep. 13 (Part 2)

Etgar rows to save the day.
The action turns grim in “Milhamah” Episode 13 (Part 2), and it’s up to Etgar (and maybe a miracle) to save the day!

Etgar throws the Dalet toward Shem.Shem struggles with doubt as he is drowning.A fish (made up of fish) delivers a miracle.

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…

Updates

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!

Evil gets the upper hand in Ep. 13 (Part 1)

Shem dodges a punch.

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.”

Shem gloats while dodging a punch.Deli floats to an attack position.Shem gets blasted by Deli

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

Cover of "Milhamah" Issue #1

As a side note, “Milhamah: Fighting Words” is now available for sale at two additional metro Detroit stores:

Comix Corner: 32032 Utica Rd, Fraser, MI 48026
Warp 9 Comics: 21 W 14 Mile Rd, Clawson, MI 48017

Soon I’ll set up a page that will have all the store locations where you can buy “Milhamah” comics. And don’t forget the Storenvy page!

Metro Detroit stores are now selling ‘Milhamah’

Cover of "Milhamah" Issue #1

If you didn’t get a print copy of “Milhamah: Fighting Words” Issue #1 — sure to be a collector’s item! — at the Motor City Comic Con, you can now buy it at several stores.

If you live in the metro Detroit area, the following stores now carry copies:

Look forward to additional stores carrying “Milhamah” soon. In the meantime, people outside the metro Detroit area can buy “Milhamah” at my Storenvy store.

New updates to the “Milhamah” story are coming next week. Keep following for more updates!

 

Motor City Comic Con was a success!

Cover of "Milhamah" Issue #1

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!

Spring convention season is here!

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.

The heroes rock the boat in Ep. 12 Part 2

Tiqwah eaves off Shem.

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?

The Holy Tongue Society rebukes Deli. Tiqwah dismisses Shem's request for help. Tiqwah comes up with a new plan. The plan barely stays afloat.

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!

It’s truth vs. tricks in Episode 12 (Part 1)

Teaser image of Etgar ordering his speech balloon for Ep. 12-1

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.

Deli recovers from his wound and talks about being "reborn." Tiqwah dismisses Deli, who starts shooting water cannons with his Bavel magic.Ep. 12-1 Page 3. Etgar calls his speech balloon. The speech balloon destroys Deli's spells. Etgar boasts that he doesn't rely on magical thinking, but the truth.

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!