Episode 8: A Bout with Doubt

In both fiction and in real life, evil adds insult to injury. It gloats and humiliates. It tries to make you doubt who you are and what you believe in. Sometimes it may even tempt you to question who God is.

In “Milhamah: Fighting Words” Episode 8, Shem ‘Etzem is faced with that same sort of evil from the Bavel Empire’s agent, Deli. Deli puts Shem up against the wall and then questions Shem’s loyalty to his own cause, the Holy Tongue Society.

Deli slanders Shem as an ogre and demon, but only looks at distorted outward appearances. For the record, Shem is human and not only has to fight a powerful foe, but people’s expectations over what a virtuous person should look like. Note also how the Bavel Empire accuses its critics not only of hypocrisy, but blasphemy!

This episode is also the first time that the 22 Foundational Glyphs are shown. These are tied to a non-biblical story of how God created the world through the 22 Hebrew letters.

In the fictional world of “Milhamah,” the letters (seen here in Phoenician or Ketav ‘Ivri “Paleo-Hebrew” style) are not mystical but tangible. After all, they exist in a world where grammar and parts of speech take human form.

As we end Episode 8, our hero may be conflicted and broken, but he’s not destroyed yet. Likewise, let’s persevere in our own lives — even when we don’t have all the answers neatly figured out.

Almost ready for a big reveal

Deli boasts as his vessel positions him for a close-up reveal.

It’s time to reveal an update after several days of comic creation!

“Milhamah: Fighting Words” Episode 8 has all its panels complete and is in its final editing stages for a Tuesday release. All that’s left is a few sound effects and some reformatting for the webcomics platforms. (Above is a preview revealing the villain Deli in all his arrogant glory.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing new character concept sketches. We finally have profiles for the Holy Tongue Society’s pronoun and verb characters, and my next goal is to vectorize them over the next couple of weeks. I also plan to do some digital painting of a concept based on the main villain. A couple of minor villains that will appear within the next few episodes also have their concept work done.

And for more good news, I’ve been getting my online store ready to launch. I made two T-shirt designs and will have a sample or two printed by next week. That way I can wear it to a marketing event next month.

Soon you’ll be able to buy the shirts online too, along with art prints and maybe stickers. Right now I’m leaning toward selling merchandise on Redbubble and TeePublic, though Amazon and Printful appear tempting too. Exciting things are ahead!

The fight begins in ‘Aim for the Jugular’

After covering himself with ossified armor, Shem ‘Etzem tries to fight off the intruder Deli… to little success. Can Shem focus and pull himself together, or will he soon pass through Bavel’s gate as a captive?

Shem charges toward Deli to fight him.Shem's attack misses.Deli soars and lands in his humanoid vessel's hands.Deli fights back, using the urn as a baseball to score a home run on Shem.Shem flies backward toward Bavel's gate.

After a few episodes of buildup, the action scenes finally begin in “Milhamah: Fighting Words.” Part of the challenge of making this scene was illustrating motion and pacing the anticipation.

Manga-style speed lines and glowing brushstrokes help, but there is more room to push myself and improve. And because this comic now keeps the vertical scrolling webcomic format in mind, I’ve been adding more anticipation shots and facial expressions to tell the story through the images, and not just the dialogue.

It’ll be interesting to see where Shem’s impulsiveness takes him. He’s a bit of a contradiction, a volatile mix of focus and wild passion. The goal is to make him, for all his flaws, someone who’s memorable and easy to cheer on.

What do you like to see in a good fight scene? Which fight scenes in comics, TV shows or movies to you find most memorable, and why? Feel free to leave a comment. Questions and suggestions for “Milhamah” are welcome too!

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!