Episode 6: A Jar is Born

In Episode 6, Shem ‘Etzem rejects the evil jar Deli and his suggestion to surrender to Bavel. Will Shem’s ability to form bone armor help fight off this intruder?

Deli reveals himself in a Bavel gate.

Deli the evil jar introduces himself. Deli introduces his humanoid "vessel." Deli urges Shem to surrender. Shem drops the dalet... ... then grows bone armor and charges toward Deli. Follow us on social media!

The conflict is starting to heat up, and we learn a little about Bavel’s ideology. It not only wants a world with a single language, but also a world with no competing nations, cultures or religions. As the comic develops, the characters will show how Bavel plans to do this.

After earlier using his spiny bone armor to break through a wall, Shem is ready to use it again: This time for attack! Look forward to seeing more of Shem’s superpowers in the next installment.

This episode stylistically marks a big change in format. This is the first time I switched from a standard comic strip format to a webcomic one, as commonly seen on Tapas and Webtoon. I also punched up the colors and refined the color levels to alter the mood. And this time the comic incorporates several effects from Clip Paint Studio EX.

Overall, I hope Episode 6 marks a new milestone in the development of “Milhamah.” I already started the seventh episode, and I hope to get on a consistent release schedule soon.

So what do you think about the characters, plot and setting so far? Leave questions and suggestions in the comments!

How to stay motivated as an artist

Sometimes people ask me how I stay motivated as an artist, especially when I’m just starting out and trying to get my work seen.

Here’s my advice: Pursue whatever motivates you to plan and research. That’s where your passion is.

Shem finds a dalet glyph.
Shem found what motivated him. Will you find yours?

Staying motivated is easy when I have a 20-plus chapter story outlined on paper with over a hundred scenes (so far) roughly sketched out in spreadsheets. Plus there’s filler when I feel like it.

But you really have to like your characters and your setting, and have a fire in your bones to share it with the world. In my spare time, I get a kick out of learning Hebrew and other Semitic languages, so creating this comic is like a journey or game in itself.

“Milhamah” has been floating around in my head for a couple of years. Finally bringing the story to life has been very rewarding so far, even if only a few people are currently seeing it.

Also, since I use vector art, making comics is like killing four birds with one stone.

Design a new character? That can be the backbone for a video game sprite animation or a future  merchandise design. Make a new panel? That can be reused as future card game art or a print for conventions.

Just make sure you save and back up all your rough materials!

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!

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

I quickly made this for Rosh Hashanah while experimenting with Clip Studio Paint over the weekend. That program which has great features for comics such as screentones, speed lines and more. You’ll be seeing the results soon in Episode 6.

A happy new year to all my Jewish and Hebrew-speaking friends!

Tiqwah stands on apples while holding up honey to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
The Hebrew text is “Shanah tovah,” which means “a good year.” Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year.

A door is ajar in ‘The Gatecrasher’ (#5)

Shem’s treasure hunt meets a jarring interruption as an underground vault opens a portal to one of the Bavel Empire’s fabled gates. A surprise guest lurks in the distance — could the gatecrasher truly be a vase with a face?

This is the full four-panel comic of "The Gatecrasher."
You didn’t think it would be that easy. Right, Shem? (Click on the image to magnify.)
This week’s comic was fun to make, and it’ll likely set the stage for the next 10-20 episodes. I focused on punching up the visuals by adding more color and dynamic poses. I also changed the dialogue font to something snappier and more familiar to comic readers.
Plus we spot a teaser of Deli, our first villain from Bavel. (Hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler. But he looks pretty evil, right?)
This week I plan to add the past episodes to a new comics widget on this site, which will make it easier to reference them. I’ll also offer more commentary on the past episodes. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, if you like my work, please subscribe to my comic and social media via the menu toolbar’s links. Share and spread the word!