MIDNIGHT’S WAR on Amazon

First, the gold-logo backer’s editions arrive at the warehouse today and the tracking numbers should start going out to the backers later this week. This was delayed from when we first finished them because we did a second round of revisions in order to correct some color profiles that had printed a little darker than we preferred. Second, both the hardcover and paperback retail editions are now available direct from the Arkhaven store at NDM Express and on Amazon. All of the editions are printed in the larger 8 x 10.88-inch size we introduced with MY SISTER SUPREMA and GHOST OF THE BADLANDS.

Third, regardless of where you happen to buy the book, or even if you’ve read the comic on Arktoons, it would be good to see some reviews for it up on Amazon.

Nothing beats a good book.

WELCOME TO THE MIDNIGHT WORLD

In the year 8466 of the cainite calendar, in the aftermath of a catastrophic global economic crisis, the vampire tribes came out of the shadows for the first time in more than 2,600 years and revealed themselves to an unsuspecting humanity. With near-complete control of the media, the national governments, the global financial system, and most of the major international institutions, humanity was helpless to resist the vampiric bid for power. A dark world order was established. The global monetary system was replaced with a new currency backed by human blood, and a global tax was introduced to ensure humanity’s new rulers that their endless thirst would never again go unslaked.

The Great Concord of Gomorrah was established to secure the rights and duties of Man and Vampire alike. Under the protection of the Concord, an astonishing array of famous, infamous, and downright notorious figures emerged from the annals of history and were revealed to have survived their apparent deaths through the Rites of Cain. But as an ocean of blood flowed freely through the new global economy, long-dormant vampire rivalries were reborn in new forms.

But not all humans submitted to the Great Concord, and more significantly, not all human blood proved to be palatable to Mankind’s cruel overlords. For some of the ancient legends turned out to be true. Drawing inspiration from the crusading orders of the Middle Ages, twelve young men joined together in a new military order, The Knights of Saint Michael and of the Catacombs of Rome. Armed with little more than their faith and blood that is poison to their enemies, The Knights of Saint Michael wage a desperate war against the vampire lords of the Midnight World.

UPDATE FROM ARKHAVEN SHIPPING:

You know the drill. It’s time to send out the paperback and hardcover omnibus Vol 1-6 to the backers and while we do have an email and the backer number, we have neither names nor mailing addresses. So what I need is for you to respond to the email that will be sent to you later today. The good news here is that we are upping our crowdfund game and it looks like we can integrate our shipping software directly into the crowdfund platform. So while we are still cleaning up the previous crowdfunds, going forward the delivery system should be top notch. That being said, for the time being we will need you to respond to the email sent to you in order to be sent your copy of Midnight’s War.

DISCUSS ON SG


A New and Better Bookstore

Castalia House and Arkhaven Comics are extremely pleased to announce that a) the Arkhaven store will no longer sell Castalia House or Arkhaven print editions and b) the NDM Express store will be selling Castalia House and Arkhaven print editions, as well as merchandise related to everything from Arkhaven to Sigma Game.

NDM Express was already handling all of the shipping and customer relations for the print editions, so we decided that in the interests of efficiency, customer satisfaction, and allowing Castalia House to focus on what it does best as opposed to that which it barely manages to do at all, it would be to everyone’s benefit to move the sales operations to NDM. We also anticipate fewer of the problems with credit cards being rejected that have plagued the Arkhaven store.

Castalia will still be selling all leatherbound books through the Arkhaven store, so if you’re a Library, Libraria, or History subscriber, nothing changes at all. Individual editions of Library, Libraria, and History books can still be purchased there.

However, speaking of Castalia History, we’re pleased to also announce that the first LEGO ERGO SCIO t-shirts and hoodies are now available in black and navy blue at NDM, for those who aren’t ashamed to display their intellectual superiority in public.

Everything from Razorfist’s GHOST OF THE BADLANDS to THE JUNIOR CLASSICS VOLS 1-8 are already available at NDM Express, so please be sure to visit when you’re in the market for a book or comic.

DISCUSS ON SG





The Arkhaven Substack

The Castalia Library substack has been so popular, and so useful in providing Library and History subscribers with updated information about the production process and necessary shipping news that it is obvious that we need the same thing for Arkhaven Comics, especially in light of the delays in shipping Ghost of the Badlands to the recent retail purchasers.

More about that soon, hopefully later today, but the TL;DR version is that the first printing of the retail editions had a problem, so we fixed it, sent out copies to Razorfist for approval, and we’re waiting for him to receive them and approve the revised editions for shipping out to everyone.

One can theorize as to the whys and wherefores all one likes, but the simple fact of the matter is that provably Substack works to keep a community informed in a timely manner much better than a blog, a mass-mailing service, a social media site, the post, or carrier pigeons.

So, if you are a) an Arkhaven buyer, b) an Arkhaven backer, c) an Arktoons reader, or d) an Arktoons creator, I would very strongly encourage you to subscribe to the Arkhaven substack in order to keep up on all the latest news related to our print and digital comics.

REBEL DEAD REVENGE Episode 112: I’ll Deal With You Later

CROSS+WORD Episode 8: Party Time

A MIND PROGRAMMED Episode 49: Expendable Tools

上嫁小鼠 Episode 37: 是好是坏

STONETOSS Episode 289: Lost Civilization

DISCUSS ON SG


A Tale of Two Comics

Alt★Hero: Q Volume 1

When federal agent Roland Dane is sent to Peru to escort a U.S. Cabinet member, he has no reason to believe his assignment is connected in any way to his Treasury team’s recent bust of a ring of amateur counterfeiters. But when the Secretary of State and his entourage is unexpectedly attacked and the subsequent news reports of the attack bear no resemblance to the events he witnessed, Dane is forced to confront the shocking discovery that absolutely nothing in his world is quite what it appears to be, including the U.S. government for which he works.

Created by Vox Day and written by the Legend Chuck Dixon, Alt★Hero: Q is an incendiary action comic series that explores the mysterious phenomenon of QAnon and makes James Bond look like a tea party.

The Gold Logo editions will be shipping out to the backers soon. But Arkhaven supporters who didn’t back the project can now preorder the hardcover and paperback editions from the Arkhaven store for shipping next month in company with MIDNIGHT’S WAR, the retail editions of which are also now available.

Midnight’s War Volume 1

In the year 8466 of the Cainite calendar, in the aftermath of a catastrophic global economic crisis, the vampire tribes came out of the shadows for the first time in more than 2,600 years and revealed themselves to an unsuspecting humanity. With near-complete control of the media, the national governments, the global financial system, and most of the major international institutions, humanity was helpless to resist the vampiric bid for power. A dark world order was established. The Great Concord of Gomorrah was created to secure the rights and duties of Man and Vampire alike. The global monetary system was replaced with a new currency backed by human blood, and a global tax was introduced to ensure humanity’s new rulers that their endless thirst would never again go unslaked.

But not all humans submitted to the Great Concord, and more significantly, not all human blood proved to be palatable to Mankind’s cruel overlords. For some of the ancient legends turned out to be true…

Same deal, so if you want to order both, you can do so and they will ship together from the Castalia warehouse early next month, as the hardcover and paperback editions are now available for preorder.

DISCUSS ON SG


The Death Spiral of the Big Two

And the concomitant rise of Arkhaven Comics. The 2023 numbers are in and they look absolutely disastrous for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics alike, as Fandom Pulse reports:

A new report shows DC Comics is in massive trouble, with a 25% annual sales drop as the comic industry continues its death spiral.

Sales figures have been confirmed to be in a state of decline, again in a ComicsBeat expose on the industry. Brian Hibbs released an annual report from Bookscan, highlighting sales in the industry to regular bookstores. While we still don’t have the accurate numbers for comic shops, this gives a bellwether as to where the industry is going. In this expose, Hibbs writes that Marvel and DC Comics represent less than 10% of comic book sales, a shockingly low number for what many call the Big 2.

However, it gets worse for DC Comics, as he writes, “DC had a pretty bad year, with their lowest sales since 2004 – down 25% from 2022 in the bookstore market – even with their highest ever number of titles in the total list. In 2023 they had only 14 titles in the Top 750; in 2013, ten years ago, they had 130. That is a huge and troubling drop – but maybe laying off nearly your entire sales and marketing team is not a great strategy for growth? If someone had been been making a concerted effort to dismantle DC Comics, they couldn’t have been more surgical – luckily, DC still has talented execs like Marie Javins, Jim Lee, Annie de Pies and the rest of the staff who have thwarted those plans. And from what we’re hearing, 2024 will see some more moves to reverse this concerning trend.”

Amazingly, ComicsBeat writers can still spin this as “and that’s a good thing” as many mainstream articles try to mitigate the destruction of entertainment industries like comics at the hands of the woke. These are the same executives who initially led DC Comics into this mess. A new relaunch of a universe—as he’s alluding to with the Absolute DC line—might give a short-term boost but isn’t going to fix the comic industry problems.

DC Comics is on a death spiral, and unless they make wholesale changes to prioritize story and less identity politics virtue signaling at the hands of creators like Tom King or Tom Taylor, we can expect this sales decline will continue.

The sales declines at Marvel and DC going to continue because the very same individuals who have taken what was already a converged situation and gave it turbo cancer are still in control at both companies. This situation is, as Fandom Pulse correctly noted, a death spiral, because as with all fully converged companies, the Big Two have completely lost the ability to serve their traditional market, which is to say they can no longer entertain young men with illustrated picture books.

IDW is almost certainly going to auger in as well. It lost $5 million last year thanks to a 26 percent collapse in revenues. Meanwhile, independents such as Arkhaven, Razorfist, Ethan van Sciver, and Eric July have repeatedly proven their ability to raise more than $250k to develop a single title, and have reliably provided better storylines, characters, and art than the mainstream publishers. The demand is there, it simply isn’t being met by the traditional publishers.

Yesterday, Razorfist released the trailer for GHOST OF THE BADLANDS, his new Western comic that is now being published by Arkhaven Comics. The Monochrome Hardcover and the Monochrome Paperback editions are now available on the Arkhaven store in oversized European bandes dessines-style formats, and the two color editions will be available there from May 17th. Later in the year, there will be a deluxe leather edition as well.

In other Arkhaven-related news, both ALT-HERO: Q volume 1 and MIDNIGHT’S WAR volume 1 are now complete and published in the system. We’re making some final touches before sending out the Gold Logo editions to the backers, and the retail versions will be available on the Arkhaven store before the end of the month. AH:Q backers should note that due to the format’s lack of popularity, we will NOT be producing six separate small Gold Logo issues; the 37 Gold Logo Edition backers will instead receive their choice of a standard Gold Logo paperback omnibus or the variant cover Gold Logo paperback omnibus.

Both AH:Q and MW will be released as large-format 10.88 x 8″ omnibuses, as we find this format to be preferable to the 10 x 7″ format previously utilized for the Alt-Hero and Chuck Dixon’s Avalon omnibuses.

The standard Gold Logo omnibus cover.

The process may be taking much longer than any of us may like, but slow and steady is how Arkhaven will gradually, inevitably, and inexorably outlast and outcompete our much larger predecessors in the comics industry. Project Asteroid has landed, but its ramifications and reverberations are only beginning to be felt.

DISCUSS ON SG


Arktoons 15 Million

In the midst of the chaos surrounding the publishing industry, Castalia and Arkhaven soldier on. And while Arktoons hasn’t been publishing as many episodes as we’d like – mostly for technical reasons rather than lack of creator interest – and Arkhaven hasn’t been publishing much on the print side, that’s not an indication of either infrastructural weakness or a lack of commitment to the cause.

So, first of all, congratulations to the Arkhaven devs, creators, backers, and subscribers, as Arktoons hit 15 million views today. That’s a significant accomplishment and one that merits pointing out.

Second, our lead dev at Arktoons is going to be stepping back for a while for personal reasons, but we have a very capable replacement stepping forward to shoulder the load until his predecessor is able to return. The primary focus is going to shift, however, from the user to the creator, since that is the primary bottleneck at the present.

And third, due to our focus on building our own platforms, rest assured that the panic in the independent publishing industry will have zero effect on our activities, since we have built our own distribution platform and are in no way dependent whatsoever upon the now-defunct SPD Press Distribution or any of its competitors.

An email sent by Ingram Publisher Services to former clients of the shuttered SPD Press Distribution is causing more panic in the independent publishing community. The email directs publishers to fill out a form by April 17, providing Ingram with instructions about where to send their titles—at the presses’ own cost. But what has publishers most anxious is Ingram’s plan to “recycle” any inventory remaining at the Ingram warehouse after 60 days.

Given the current state of confusion and uncertainty about future distribution arrangements, some publishers worry that two months isn’t nearly enough time to complete the process of finding a new home for their titles. Others on social media pointed out that some of the 300,000 books that were at the SPD warehouse likely belong to publishers that are no longer operating, and, without anyone around to claim them, will simply be destroyed.

We’re very fortunate to have so many star performers in the greater community who are willing to contribute their time and their expertise, from programming to shipping, which is why we are not only going to survive, but thrive, as the current chaos continues to expand throughout the economies of the West.

DISCUSS ON SG


Leaving the Cloud

A large tech organization explains why they left the Cloud, and how much they have benefited from doing so:

Just over a year ago, we announced our intention to leave the cloud. We then shared our complete $3.2 million cloud budget for 2022, and the fact that we were going to build our own tooling rather than pay for overpriced enterprise service contracts. The mission was set!

A month later, we placed an order for $600,000 worth of Dell servers to carry our exit, and did the math to conservatively estimate $7 million in savings over the next five years. We also detailed the larger values, beyond just cost, that was driving our cloud exit. Things like independence and loyalty to the original ethos of the internet.

Still in February, we announced the new tool I had bootstrapped in a few weeks to take us out of the cloud – without giving up on all the innovation in containers and operating principles from the cloud. This was the introduction of Kamal.

Shortly thereafter, all the hardware we needed for our cloud exit arrived on pallets in our two geographically-dispersed data centers. All 4,000 vCPUs, 7,680GB of RAM, and 384TB of NVMe storage of it!

And then, in June, it was done. We had left the cloud.

To say this journey was controversial is putting it mildly. Millions of people read the updates on LinkedIn, X, and by following this very mailing list. I got thousands of comments asking for clarification, providing feedback, and expressing incredulity over our nerve to zig when others were still busy catching up to the zag.

But the proof was in the pudding. Not only did we complete our cloud exit quickly, customers scarcely noticed anything, and soon the savings started to mount. Already in September, we’d secured a million dollars in savings on the cloud bill. And as the reserved instances (where you prepay for a whole year in advance to get better pricing) started to expire, the bill just kept collapsing:

I’ve never trusted the Cloud. And I’m very pleased to be able to say that as of last week, we no longer have a single project that is on the Cloud. While it may be useful in the initial stages of a project that isn’t capable of sustaining itself, the sooner one can move off the Cloud and onto one’s own servers, the better off one is likely to be.

And that doesn’t even begin to get into the peril of relying upon a corporation filled with SJWs who enjoy nothing more than playing thought police and denying corporate services to anyone they don’t like or of whom they don’t approve.

On a not-unrelated note, the Arktoons devs have successfully defeated a DDOS attack on the site. It’s good to be able to handle these things on our own, and not be dependent upon the security of the Cloud services company. If you were having problems accessing the site last night, it should be fine today.

DISCUSS ON SG