february 05, 2019 04:58pm

Bye bye Flash

Just another little technology update for the site.

So for a long time the site has supported a sort of basic e-reader that I wrote years ago, long before e-readers were any kind of real thing. It allowed me to convert .doc files into a .swf format and display the text in a secure, ungrab-able manner.

Well, now flash is all but gone and support is getting harder and harder to find on modern browsers. So I finally have done the work of converting our reader to a simple PNG-based model. This does make the content "grab-able" fairly easily, but we also don't distribute the novels themselves via the reader anymore, just our short stories, so security really isn't the concern it might have once been.

Hopefully this means anyone anywhere can easily read our short stories, even on your phone.

Posted By: abaddononion

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january 03, 2019 04:01pm

Kargaroth: The official release of our first novel

After all these years, tomorrow is the big day. Nearly 17 years of work and rewrites by our estimation, but our first novel is finally being released in physical form, although not the way we dreamed it. A lot has changed over the past decade or so, and I wound up functioning as our book designer, publisher, and providing the funding for the endeavour. We started a new imprint for this, called Icerabbit Publishing, a pun that we're pretty tickled by.

On top of the publishing work, Onionknight and I together made a *huge* push to get not one but *two* final proofread/edits runs through the novel in the final stages. Additionally additionally, I'm still working on our marketing campaign, which is pretty nontraditional and viral. To say the least, the last quarter of the year has been exhausting. It's kind of funny working on a book for 17 years, then at the end feeling like you needed more time.

Aside from that, we've also put a lot of time into getting the old website back up and shipshape. Our forum regulars will know that for a long time there, we had removed all references to the site entirely and standardized on just the forum. This was partly because we felt like the old site didn't have enough content anymore. Turns out we were pretty mistaken, really... once we started digging around and finding some of our old content, even though a lot of it's unfinished, it adds up to a pretty impressive collection of works. There's definitely more we'd like to see, particular further work on the OK Comic and D&D SRD. We've also contacted our new artist and are working through getting new works of art for all of the Grand Councilors. Very excited for that.

I think that's about all of the site-specific updates for now. As always, more to come.

Posted By: abaddononion

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december 13, 2018 07:34pm

And we're back!

So it would seem...

I'll be honest, at some point around 2011 or so I lost track of this journal and it just wasn't getting included in the site work. At the moment I'm just working on wiring it back up and this is more of a test post, but if I get it to where I'm happy with it again I'll try to put some real updates on it.

Posted By: abaddononion

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may 26, 2011 06:39pm

User Account Merged!

I have merged the user management of the forum into the user management of the old site. Since a majority of the old site users appeared to be bots I had poorly defended against, I didn't bother migrating them over. This may mean than many of you have to re-register in order to read the content.

This also means, however, that you'll get automatic access to our forums. I hope you'll stop by and visit!

Also, I should at least mention that the third novel is finished. I have a majority of the chapter names already planned, I just need to go through and add them all. I'll try to get to that this weekend.

Posted By: abaddononion

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may 10, 2011 02:53pm

Forum creation

The Great Onion Knighthood official forum has, at long last, been created.

We used to host our forum externally, but we were finally given proper impetus to create one here.

Hopefully soon I'll be doing the work necessary to merge the forum users with the regular Knighthood users. If something goes wrong and you find your username stops working, please to email webmaster at onionknight dot com. It's most likely because of a password compatibility issue, and I can make sure your account gets transferred.

Other than that, welcome to the forum!

Posted By: abaddononion

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november 05, 2010 03:41pm

Back into the swing of things

Chapter 28 of the third novel has been released. This is a significant milestone, because it signals the beginning of another action-packed sequence of chapters.

Up until now, this novel has been more like our first one. Character and story focused. From this point on, we're going to be more like the second novel, which is action focused. Which do the readers prefer? Well, hopefully they like it all.

In other news, I'd like to use this to nerd-out for a second.

I'm a fairly avid Batman fanboy. I recently sat down and reread all of the 80s, 90s, and 2000's Batman comics. There have been ups and downs, and obviously each reader's mileage will vary.

For example, I've always found the Black Mask to be a dreadfully dull villain. He's really not much more than a glorified mob boss. And Two-Face has spent a lot of his time relegated to lowly mob-boss status (for example, during the No Man's Land saga), but he usually has some good old-fashioned insanity keeping him more interesting.

Black Mask, however, has never really been all that insane. He's just straight-up mob lord. And like all of the great Batman mob lords, dating back to Sal Maroni... he's just uninteresting. Amongst a pantheon of colorful villains with remarkable, unforgettable personalities, only Black Mask's face stands out. And a face does not a Batman villain make.

This is a long, round-about way of me saying that I did not enjoy the "War Games/War Crimes" series of comics. It also brings me to a more interesting point, though.

Since they killed the original Black Mask and reinvented him, I was all for it. *spoilers ahead*.

I even loved the direction they took. Transforming Jeremiah Arkham into a villain is something that's been coming for a long time, but his transformation into the new Black Mask during the "Arkham Reborn" series was, in my opinion, poignant, gripping, and a great jumping-off point into a new, wonderful addition to the Batman rogue's gallery.

And then I read Batman: Life After Death.

This is where my complaints begin, and the list is a long. First of all, the end of Arkham Reborn left me believing that Jeremiah had evolved, and become a new master criminal genius, a transformation I was all too willing to embrace. In his appearance in Life After Death, however, he's reduced to a split-personality case. This is a theme that, let's face it, has pretty much been beaten to death at this point. What's worse is that, other than his interesting selection of associates from Arkham itself, he's reduced to almost a poor caricature of the Ventriloquist, without a puppet (or rather, playing the part of the ventriloquist and the puppet).

This bothered me quite a bit. Especially the element that he's only Black Mask as long as he has the mask. This goes very strongly against the theme left lingering at the end of Arkham Reborn, where Jeremiah himself, sans mask, effortlessly overpowers and scars Zsasz.

So, what looked to be a promising new villain for Batman was very quickly torn down for me. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the Arkham Reborn series, Jeremiah has already lost his place in my heart, and Black Mask has been relegated to a second-stringer Batman villain in my book. Such a shame.

But enough about villains. Let's get on to my real complaint.

I truly hate this series' handling of Dick Grayson. I'm not the first to make this complaint, I know, but I'm going to proceed anyway.

Dick Grayson is not Batman.

I don't mean this in the typical fanboy, "There's only one Batman and it's Bruce Wayne!" fashion. Though believe me, I've made that rant before.

No, what I mean is that Dick Grayson--Nightwing--is a different person than Batman. He operates in a different fashion. He has his share of gadgets, he's a great fighter, he plans ahead, he quips... but it's all different. I've been following Dick Grayson for years (decades in comic time), and I truly love his character.

However, Dick Grayson does not make an appearance in Batman: Life After Death.

The cover of the Trade Paperback has a peculiar tagline on it. It says, "...a spot-on expression of the character's mythos."

This immediately struck me as odd, because... Dick doesn't have Batman's mythos. I mean, sure, his parents were murdered when he was young. But he didn't pledge his life to fighting crime because of it. He didn't travel around the world training to be the best. He didn't spend his family's fortune becoming the best at what he does. He didn't form a major player in nearly every incarnation of the Justice League.

No, Dick was orphaned by a mob boss, then taken under the wing of Batman at an impressionable age. Depending on which version you stick too, he either left Bruce amicably to become Nightwing, or he broke off on harsh terms in order to "escape his shadow". He led the original Teen Titans. He loved Batgirl. He loved Starfire. He loved Oracle. He loved Huntress. He loved Oracle again. He has a mythos, but it is not the same mythos as Batman.

So then, how can this story be such a spot-on expression of the character's mythos?

Well, I'm sad to say, that cover blurb is spot-on. This story is NOT about Dick Grayson. It's about Batman. The same Batman that DC has been writing for years. The brilliant detective, the amazing mastermind, the brooding, angry figure. The loner. It's all here.

And Dick Grayson is nowhere to be seen.

I'll get into a more detailed explanation in a second, but first I'd like to mention something. Before this I had read Batman: The Long Shadows, and while I didn't think it was a particularly amazing story, I at least felt it was a good handling of Dick as a person. He suffers a bit from "trying too hard" syndrome, but it could also be argued that that's natural for the situation he's been thrown into. At least he's still good-natured. At least he's vocal, he's (god forgive me) flamboyant. Alfred even goes so far as to call him a "neurotic Batman" at one point. It's all Dick Grayson. And it's good.

I didn't see any of this in Life After Death.

Dick spends his time analyzing crime scenes. He goes through evidence meticulously. He's always trying to figure out the next step, think one step ahead of his villain. He's never particularly pleasant company. Even when he's out of uniform at one point, at a party with Helena, his first frame is drawn slumped over a banister brooding quite heinously. He blows a building up at one point and walks away dramatically, letting his ominous cape sway in the heat of the explosion, while his thought-bubble echoes his bitter attitude. "Wrong answer," he says. Seriously, how is this not Bruce Wayne?

Oh that's right. Because they keep saying his name is Dick.

But let's get past all of that for a moment. Let's say that this is all just the job "wearing" on Dick.

Come with me, for a moment, into the final arc. Spoilers coming very hard.

Dick goes in to investigate a hideout he magically traced a phone call to. He goes in to see what's up, and somehow winds up brainwashed by a combination of Black Mask toxins (something Arkham has had Dr. Strange whipping up to let him control his new False Faces) and Mad Hatter technology. Penguin uses him to wage war against Black Mask. He does some terrible things, takes out Catwoman, and nearly kills Blask Mask.

At the last minute, however, he regains his senses and injects himself with an antidote. We're reliving these events as Dick is regaining his memories, so at this time it all becomes clear: he planned this. He intended to get taken in so he could get close to the Black Mask, to figure out who he was. It works. Voila. Deus ex machina, proceed to final fisticuffs, Batman wins.

It's a standard formula. One that I personally have loved and adored for years. When Bruce pulls this stuff off, the fanboy inside of me screams for joy. "Batman rules!"

But this is NOT Bruce Wayne! This is Dick Grayson! And since WHEN does Dick operate in this manner? I admit he's pulled a few crafty tricks in his time, like tricking Two-Face into thinking one of his old friends (now turned target) was dead when in fact Dick has saved her. But something insane like this? Make the villain use you so you can use them? That's so very Batman of him. And I don't really mean Batman, I mean Bruce Wayne.

Which brings me full circle to my original point:

Where's Dick Grayson?

The only real difference I saw here is the different reactions when Batman makes a mistake. Because if you've been reading Batman comics long enough, you know that one recurring theme is that yes, Batman ALWAYS makes mistakes. Like, every other issue, he's berating himself for "not being good enough", or "getting cocky". Happens all the time.

However when Dick does it, his thought is always, "Bruce would have known better", "Bruce would've seen the trap coming".

But he wouldn't have! That's the thing! Once again, Dick is behaving like Bruce in EVERY respect.

After reading Batman: Life After Death, I actually found myself missing Bruce Wayne a little less, and mourning instead Dick Grayson. For apparently DC has decided that, yes, anyone can be Batman.

Were it not for Bruce's impending resurrect, I would suspect that by this time next year Dick would have counter-measures for all of his allies, maybe counter-measures for what to do if the White Martians come back.

And my exasperation is only enhanced by DC's insistence to have Dick REMAIN as Batman once Bruce comes back. Are they going to, at that time, manage to focus on the differences in the characters? Or are they going to be the same person, with Bruce being a little older and a little (though not much) crankier?

To me, this is all just disrespectful. It's not disrespectful to Batman, who has actually retained his identity quite well. Rather, it's disrespectful for the characters, the men beneath the masks that we try, against all odds, to love and sympathize with throughout their outrageous exploits. It's disrespectful to what Bruce was and what he accomplished. It's disrespectful to Dick as a person. They went from, "He's trying to escape Bruce's shadow" to "nevermind, he is Bruce's shadow. Perfectly." Which is even more ridiculous because I think by now we all know if anyone is going to be the next Bruce Wayne, it's Tim Drake.

And allow me to say, on a closing, positive note: in an era when the Batman universe has lost most of its luster for me, when Batwoman--who is in my opinion a sad, weak, and irrational spin of "let's make Batman into a woman! That'll be better than trying to come up with a real female superhero!"--rules Detective Comics, and Robin is an annoying little prick who I want to die even MORE than Jason Todd (seriously, what happened here? Damien seemed to be maturing toward the end of the Grant Morrison run of RIP, then during and after Battle for the Cowl he made a COMPLETE regression. Being a snot-nosed punk is only endearing when it's temporary, and someone's growing out of it), in this era, I have found even more love for Tim Drake, a character I already hold dear.

I have long said that Tim Drake is, without a doubt, the best Robin. Dick was great, but only through the magic of nostalgia. Going back, the Batman comics of that era just don't hold the same magic, and reading Batman's exploits during Dick Grayson's heyday is, frankly, a bit painful. Jason Todd was poorly used, and suffered from the same syndrome Damien's suffering from right now, which is that writers refused to mature him. He remained trapped as the same aggravating pest. And ultimately, more fans wanted him dead than alive. Stephanie Brown was a *horrible* mistake. I like her current run as Batgirl, but Robin? Awful decision, during a period when Stephanie herself was an AWFUL character, still nowhere near mature enough to really fit into the Bat-Family. And Bruce allowing her to be Robin, even when he constantly said he knew she wasn't ready, was just horrible writing.

But Tim Drake has been superb from the very beginning. His origin story as Robin is the best, without doubt. He wasn't originally marred by tragedy. He didn't become Robin because his family was killed. He became Robin because he had the talent for it. Because he was already a detective at heart. And because, most of all... he wanted to be Robin. He wanted to fight alongside Batman. God bless him, don't we all.

And as time passed his character was increasingly marred by tragedy. Events in the DC universe conspired around him, robbing him of all of his best friends and, eventually, all three people who have ever been a parent to him. He became dark, broken, but most of all determined. Uncompromising.

Bruce Wayne is Batman. But if there's anyone else who's worthy of the mantle, it has to be Tim Drake.

Which is another thing that bugs me. For nearly 10 years now, Bruce has said on several occasions that Tim is destined to be the next Batman. Dick's his "own man". Bruce told Dick to NOT become Batman. Why is it that, in spite of all evidence, DC decided to boost Dick up and toss Tim aside?

Still, while I don't appreciate his disenfranchisement, I don't particularly mind. The Red Robin series has been stellar, even beyond the normal great material I've always gotten from Tim Drake stories. His character is portrayed perfectly, without compromise, without missing a beat. He thinks like Batman. He fights like Batman. He broods like Batman. So while he might not be wearing the cowl, or sporting the name, or even appearing in the titular series, Tim Drake's my Batman.

And when Ra's Al Ghul called him "Detective" (right before throwing him out a window), I could not have been a happier fanboy.

Posted By: abaddononion

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may 15, 2010 05:34pm

Our Status

Now that we've established the purpose of the journal, let's get started with a status update.

First of all, for anyone who doesn't know, our works are now all readable through the website. I developed a custom web-interface to the novels so that anyone can read them without me having to distribute it individually to people who have interest. So far this is working out well for us.

We recently changed the naming scheme of the first series of novels. The entire trilogy has been dubbed "Daemon's Song", and each of the novels represents a different arc of the story. Since each novel is, itself, actually comprised of 3 story arcs, this really means that Daemon's Song is a nine-arc story.

Each arc has an individual name, but for now I'll stick to the novel-level. The first novel is "Felthespar", the home city of the Onionknights. The second novel is "Arkalen", the new continent that was introduced in DS: Felthespar. The final novel is "Magus", so-named for... well, the pivotal figure of the plot.

Chapter 23 of Daemon's Song: Magus is hot off the proverbial presses. It's a slow chapter, some cooldown from the major events that happened in Chapter 22. Chapter 24 will feature a reunion of some of our scattered-to-the-winds characters, and Chapter 25 will wrap up the second arc of Magus.

Other events: We've released our first canon Short Story. This short story is canon for 2 reasons. 1. It's the first one we've ever written to completion and 2. It doesn't yet violate other canon. Keep in mind, until we build an official "Short Story Collection" novel, all short stories are subject to have their canon status revoked.

Ive been working mainly on improving the backend technologies to the site, so all of the front-ends are still a bit of a mess. I'd say we're looking better than we ever have before, but anyone who goes diving through our HTML sources will find it atrocious and unmanned. Im hoping over time I'll find the patience to trim these up and shift all of the inline styles out to our CSS, but I make no promises.

Atheme, for his part, is working on a couple of things. First, he's working on a full line of short stories featured around two of the pillars of the previous generation of the Knighthood: Calvin Darmani and Leprue Messe. More importantly, however, he's working on the newest revision of our beloved Field Guide. This document contains the basic tenants of our universe, and the one currently featured on the website is woefully behind. We've probably increased the amount of information available by at least tenfold, and Atheme's sorting through it in order to produce a single, accurate document.

We also have further plans for the website. I have aspirations to add more advanced user profiles, as well as rewriting our old "Generate your own Knight" utility into a more interesting modern equivalent. We'd also like to make our own forum eventually, but I'll probably wait to see membership increases first.

Ultimately, the primary purpose of the site is currently to get the word out about our novels. If you like fantasy, anime, videogames, comic books, or general nerdery, give them a read and see what you think. If you like them, spread the word around. For now, this shall be our mission. Long live The Great Onion Knighthood.

Posted By: abaddononion

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may 15, 2010 04:50pm

Step 1, accomplished.

Alright, I'm fairly happy with the initial layout of the journal. Some color tweaking may be in order in the near future, but for now, I'll let it be.

So, let's get into what this is to be used for.

We currently keep the front page up to date with an assortment of random pieces of information, but we try to keep it fairly formal and to-the-point, for any newcomers who stumble across our site.

The Journal, on the other hand, is to be completely informal. In addition to Onionknight related news, it's going to be a place for various anecdotes about the history of the Onionknights, currently running projects, and also random technology nuggets I stumble across here and there. So it's truly a writer/developer "blog" (that may be the last time you ever see me use that word).

In the future, we may make certain to equip all of the Onionknight camarilla with the ability to post tidbits here, but certainly for the near future, it will only be Atheme and myself.

And with that, voila! I announce The Great Onion Knighthood Journal!

Posted By: abaddononion

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may 15, 2010 03:35pm

The Great Onion Knighthood Journal

Greetings. I am your Champion, Grand Councillor Abaddon Daemon.

I decided to look into setting up an official Knighthood web journal. This feature is currently in beta, so I'll be spending the majority of the day tweaking it. When it's done, then maybe I'll talk some about the actual purpose here. Maybe.

Posted By: abaddononion

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