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Monkeyblather!
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My soul goes /
From black-out to the light /
My soul goes with your logos /
There's no place left to dream tonight

Hello out there to folks living in the blurry doomsday era.
 
My name is Eric Trautmann.

I am a graphic designer. 

(The first step is admitting you have a problem.) ;)

I design logos and trade dress for business and entertainment publishing (notably comics). Ongoing projects include book design and various and sundry tasks for the Image Comics series LAZARUS,BLACK MAGICK, and THE OLD GUARD; I put together the crowdfunded hardcover and IDW-published softcover edition of Tesladyne, LLC's ATOMIC ROBO and Real Science Adventures collections. I am a "free-range" art and design guy for ADAMANT ENTERTAINMENT, making roleplaying game stuff. 

I can do stuff for you, too, for reasonable rates. 

I write comic books.

I have written comic books for DC Comics (including Action Comics and Checkmate) and Dynamite Entertainment (including long runs on Red Sonja, Vampirella and Flash Gordon). For a complete list of My Mighty Works™, you could visit my website.

This is me.

Who are you? What brings you by? 

Drop me a line at monkeyblather@fedoramonkeystudio.com and tell me what brought you here.

WHERE I'M AT TODAY

It's the end of August as I write this; the weather has been unseasonably warm for a few weeks, but yesterday—my first "mental health day at home instead of my tiny office" in a while—it was cool and breezy and sunny and perfect.

Spent a chunk of the day on my deck, reading Robert B. Parker's Thin Air -- an excellent Spenser novel -- and drinking Carlsberg and enjoying a cigar or two.

I recommend it.

This month rang in the one-year anniversary of my father-in-law passing away due to cancer; it's the Year of Firsts—first Father's Day without him, first anniversary of his death, his cremation, his funeral, and so on. Next up are the big holidays, which I anticipate will suck.

We're down to 68 days before the next election, and I'm terrified of the outcome. Things feel…apocalyptic, and not in the fun garishly-clad-gangs-of-nitro-car-marauders sort of way.

Hang on to the people around you.

That's what things look like from here. Hope they look better from where you're at.
PROJECT SABER!
PROGRESS REPORTS AND NEW STUFF UPDATES AND LIKE THAT

ADAMANT ENTERTAINMENT: I've referred to PROJECT: SABER here in the past—a long-delayed RPG project, but I'm pleased to announce: IT. IS. DONE.

Let me introduce you to Star System: Every Star A Destination, the first of what I hope will be many space opera/space fantasy RPG supplements. And it may look a little familiar to those who know my West End Games work.

Every Star A Destination is a collection of 8 short adventures for freighter/smuggler type starship crews, and each was written by a former freelancer or editor for West End Games, and presented in what I hope is a pleasingly retro style.

Writers include:

  • Bill Smith (former WEG Star Wars line editor)
  • Peter Schweighofer (former editor of The Star Wars Adventure Journal)
  • Timothy S. O'Brien (Star Wars: Pirates & Privateers)
  • Drew Campbell (Star Wars: Cynabar's Fantastic Technology—Droids)
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka (D6 Space Ships)
  • Michael Kogge (The Star Wars Adventure Journal)
  • Wayne Humfleet (Star Wars: Heroes & Rogues)
  • and me (Star Wars: Galaxy Guide 9—Fragments From The Rim)

Illustrations by Darren Calvert, and cover art by Colton Worley.

How did this all start? A few years ago, illustrator Darren Calvert had drawn some character portraits of the protagonists of Star Wars: Rogue One in the style of artist Mike Vilardi, a mainstay and personal favorite of mine of West End Games' Star Wars products. Just for fun and with Darren's urging, I wrote up roleplaying entries for them, and laid it out in the style of an old WEG "Galaxy Guide" book. People flipped out.

And it made me miss the kind of work we were doing back then, and it also occurred to me that the game system that "powered" the roleplaying game was released as open source several years ago…

So I got ahold of as many ex-WEG folks (staff and freelance) as I could, and sorta put the band back together. It all seemed to work out fairly well, except for my blowing the holy hell out of my planned budget (necessitating pauses as I took on additional paying work to fund additional art), a case of furious writers' block (I was the last one to finish my adventure), and a global pandemic.

But it's done. And it was fun. And I hope you guys like it. There are various sources of D6 system rulebooks available freely on the Internets™, and we've tuned "ours" in hopes of soft-launching a line of potential "epic space fantasy roleplaying supplements" that, while not exactly what we used to create back in the day, at least feels like that material.

The book is available via DriveThruRPG in print-on-demand and PDF, for $19.99. In addition to eight adventures (replete with maps and handouts), there's a foreword, a new PC character ship, some minimal rules material, and a bunch of character templates. Each adventure also includes tons of staging tips for expanding the scenario into longer campaigns.





(Star System logo and book cover design by Trautmann; art by Colton Worley.)


(Illustrations by Darren Calvert)

IMAGE COMICS: The second volume of The Old Guard is put to bed and off to the printers, and should hit stores shortly. New printings of Volume 1 are underway, as well—the recent Netflix movie adaptation of the series seems to have decimated available stocks of the book.



Black Magick is back and running as well. The first few issues of the current run are out and available and now that Nicola's eye is healed from an injury, we're back to regular service.


We're hard at work on the next issue of Lazarus: Risen, but nothing I can show right now, alas. But the "artifacts" Richard Howe and I put together for the next installment are…fun. Can't wait to show 'em off.

Other Monkeyblather:

 

WHAT I’M WATCHING:

I recently acquired the Criterion The War of the World, which has me burning to watch more old sci-fi movies.
The Arrow release of Flash Gordon is next up in the queue.

WHAT I’M READING: 

Just finished Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" novel, Thin Air, and it was predictably great. Also finished up some stuff I got via crowdfunding, from the late Harlan Ellison—The Last Man To Marry A Duck Lived 300 Years Ago.

Rinzler's The Making of Aliens is in the pile, as are John Birmingham's The Cruel Stars and Michael Underwood's Annihilation Aria.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Not a lot is grabbing me right now for some reason, so it's mostly been Stephen King audiobooks and Faded Paper Figures "Dynamo" album.

FILTHY COMMERCE:

Vector Art: Some crass self-promotion. I create the occasional vector art set for sale (generally about $5 per set). The sets are themed, and are royalty free for commercial and personal use. You can find that stuff here. Some of it has appeared on actual big-kid-grown-up packaging (the clockwork-looking glowy reticle things on the S1 Legends of Tomorrow key art, for one).

Hold on tight. Things are going to get weirder, and all we've got is each other. Be safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.

DIGITAL FOOTPRINT


Thanks for giving this a try. 

I can be found online at:
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