…then I took an arrow in the knee.”
Indulge me for a moment. It is with great pride that I announce that after nearly two years, I have finally defeated the dragon Alduin the World Eater and saved not just Tamriel but all of Nirn. Yes my friends, I have completed the videogame Skyrim. I believe that games like this are sometimes referred to as “sandbox games” or “open world games” meaning that, while there is an overarching plot, the player has near total freedom to wander throughout the world exploring, talking to other characters, buying houses, engaging in quests, becoming a criminal, and so on. Truthfully, I find it very difficult to play these games in any other way than to simply be myself, so I tend to be a pretty decent, honest, moral and hopefully heroic character. After completing Skyrim I was able to look at the exhaustive statistics that the game compiled, and that generally moral and ethical behavior I had hoped to perform was proven by the data. Here are some of the more relevant and interesting bits.
221 locations discovered
98 dungeons cleared
236 days passed (I believe this is in-game, since I played on and off for about two years)
330,713 gold found
1570 chests looted
682 skill increases
65 skill books read
3 houses owned
12 diseases contracted
12 diseases contracted? That sounds a lot more unsavory than it really is. Besides, look how often I bartered or used persuasion instead of bribery or intimidation.
86 quests completed
222 miscellaneous objectives completed
17 main quests completed
18 side quests completed
4 questlines completed
1019 people killed
527 animals killed
267 creatures killed
564 undead killed
32 daedra killed
68 automatons killed
favorite weapon: Volendrung (flawless)
173 critical strikes
21 sneak attacks
0 weapons disarmed
9 brawls won
0 bunnies slaughtered
Most of the “people killed” were soldiers and mercenaries I fought as part of some quest. You can see the difference between those 1019 and the 11 murders I committed in the column below. I can’t remember those, but I do remember occasionally getting jumped by someone when I was breaking into their house as part of some quest, so I imagine those are the murders. And again, no backstabs and no bunnies slaughtered! See! Moral!
245 locks picked
1 pocket picked
3 times jailed
2 days jailed
2762 fines paid
0 jail escapes
167 items stolen
2 horses stolen
Nearly all of those picked locks were treasure chests or gates in dungeons. I don’t remember picking anyone’s pocket, but two years is a long time to play a game. I stayed out of jail pretty well and always paid my fines when I got caught. Moral! I finished at level 48 and played as male Nord fighting on the side of the Stormcloaks in the civil war against the Imperials. Skyrim for the Nords! I learned very little magic and relied primarily on heavier armor, hand to hand combat, and two handed weapons. I wore dragonscale armor for most of the game, which looked like this…
And my favorite weapon was the Dwemer-crafted hammer Volendrung which looked like this…
I’ve been thinking A LOT about comics lately…what they’ve meant to me throughout my life, how they’ve influenced me as an artist, and what the hell they are in general. And Fiffe really hits the nail on the head here with this post.
Bonus tip: If you haven’t yet done so, BUY HIS COMIC “COPRA.” It is fucking phenomenal.
Weird sex in comics, awesome (see: Abby humping some grass in Swamp Thing). Then there’s true blue seediness like Faust. There’s no winking or nudging; it’s cranked up smut (oh, god, I guess even those Verotik comics rate). But it’s this “having your cake and eating it, too” scenario that’s so weird to me. Elementals Sex Special: let’s take something that already carries low-mid level titillation (superhero comics) and take it up a notch - but not too much! - and only for this one very special issue. Maybe two. Okay, seven.C’mon, take it all the way and be porn or keep it suggestive-like, Vampirella style, but this gray area fuckin’ stinks. All I’m saying is nipple shots and plot points don’t mix. It’s like a Skinemax movie but with bad drawings except not bad enough to make it a cool bootleg. Its thin layer of glossiness makes it like the box of a porn VHS tape but not as fun to look at. Did the world need this airbrushed wet dream? Was the copyright holder so desperate in the Comics Glut of ‘97 to allow this? Who’s the owner, anyway - that poker player who writes fairy tales? That guy? He hates Paul Scheer! No one hates Paul Scheer.It’s swimsuit editions, it’s cosplayers, it’s boob shots drawn by virgins, it’s Faust and Vampirella and Swamp Thing, too. It’s Birdland. It’s Bettie Page and Godzilla and Adam West. It’s the comics warehouse in Brooklyn that smells like cat piss and failure. It’s the old Flash TV show, it’s Gil Kane working in animation and Steve Rude posing for Nexus, it’s the golden oldies playing in the comic store going out of business for selling kiddie porn and Valiant comics, it’s copies of unopened Wizards in a longbox, it’s statue boxes on display, it’s sun bleached Zero Hour posters, it’s all of it. The whole shebang. It’s comics.What have I done with my life?
Nice review of The Desert Places by someone named Tieryas at this post. Of my illustrations, Tieryas writes "Matt Kish’s illustrations are the disturbingly visceral guts that bind the book together, a chaotic nightmare of floating organs, deathly spheres, and skinless personas haunted by the skeletal visage of cruelty. They’re not for the meek of heart, but serve as a stark reminder of the butchery people have been inflicting on each since, well, forever." It feels good when people really get it.
While there is a great deal I would like to write about in terms of this piece, I am going to restrain myself and instead point you toward this blog entry written by the artist Medusawolf about his painting. His words frame the piece more perfectly than mine ever could, and seeing even briefly into his process, how he conceptualizes his work, and the influences he works with in creating these images has been a powerful and transformative experience for me. I am very very pleased to be the owner of this and it will soon hang with honor on my wall. Medusawolf’s blog is here, you can “like” him on Facebook here, and his Etsy shop is here, where you can buy prints (including a print of this piece) and originals. I suspect I will be back for more very soon.
This will be cross-posted in three other places…on my blog’s dedicated The World’s Largest Personal Collection of Nazgul Art page, on my own personal blog (content identical to this Tumblr) and, in a few weeks, on my Nazgul art Tumblr.
My final appearance for Heart of Darkness will be tomorrow, Saturday, December 7 at the fine Joseph-Beth bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. You can see their list of events here, scroll down a bit for me. I will be talking about the genesis of the project, some of the ideas behind the illustrations, sharing original art, and of course drawing in and signing many books. I hope to see you there!
I am so very excited about this that it is difficult to type anything coherent here! Titan Books has announced that in March of 2014 they will be publishing a hardcover monograph of the work of artist Ian Miller. I’ve written at length about my admiration for Miller and his art, and his work has had a powerful influence on me. I’ve even scrimped and saved to purchase a few pieces of his original art. And while I am fortunate enough to have tracked down copies of the long out of print books Green Dog Trumpet and The Secret Art of Ian Miller, both of those are slim volumes and quite old. I can only imagine how better printing methods and newer publishing technology will show his work.
You can learn more about the book, and pre-order (yes, please pre-order since I’ve been told that pre-orders are a big part of a book’s success and I really badly want to see this published) at Amazon at this link. The cover shown there is different than the one Ian has posted on his web site (and that I’ve posted above) but I suspect this is because there will be different covers for the U.S. and U.K. versions. This is so exciting!