Cthulhu in the House! Ia! Ia! Art Notes! Fhtagn!



Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.06.33 AMEvery now and then, I find a little time to do something that’s not Munchkin. When I do, it’s usually Dork Tower*. But very so often, I get to play in another sandbox entirely.

Last year, I was flown to Brazil for Comic Con, and got to hang out with some of the folks behind Cool Mini or Not. (As well as signing a ton of Munchkin stuff and Kobolds Ate My Baby stuff in Potruguese, and drinking as many room-service Caiperhina’s as I deemed appropriate**).

Anyway, we started talking, and a couple of super-neat ideas bubbled up. One of them was CTHULHU IN THE HOUSE.

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Cthulhu in the House is a nifty, small, fun game that’s based on Rumble in the House and Rumble in the Dungeon, it adds Portals to the game system: you can either Move or Fight, trying to keep your identity secret and be the last one standing (or flying, or hovering, or leaving a slime-trail. You get the idea).

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It also allowed me to revisit the Cthulhu Mythos. Ia! Ia!

In the past, whenever I’d work on a new Cthulhu game (Creatures and Cultists, Munchkin Cthulhu, Unspeakable Words Deluxe Edition, and Pairs, to name a few), I’d try and reinvent the wheel, coming up with different takes on the horrors of HP Lovecraft’s pantheon.

With Cthulu in the House, though, I tired of all that. I mean, it’s not like I try and redo Spyke and Flower every time I draw Munchkin. Nor do Matt, Gilly and Igor get rebooted any time I pick up the pen for Dork Tower.

So why try and come up with an all-new Cthulhu every time I tackle the Mythos? I was kind oif pleased with where my work was, after finishing Unspeakable Words and Pairs. I liked how these guys looked. I didn’t want to redesign ‘em, any more.

And here are just a few of them!

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Really, the guy never seems to sleep AT ALL…

Deep One? Shallow One more like AMIRITE hur hur!

Deep One? Shallow One more like AMIRITE hur hur!

Some days I"d forget my brain, if it wasn"t attached. Oh. Wait...

Some days I’d forget my brain, if it wasn’t attached. Oh. Wait…

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Quachil CUTE-aus, more like…

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Shoggoth. No, YOU Shoggoth!


In the end, it was hugely fun redrawing, but not reinventing, creatures I’ve tackled in the past. I like the direction they’re going, and I like the overall look of the beasts, elder gods and monsters. It felt like visiting old friends (evil, EVIL old friends), and I can’t wait to draw them again, next time I’m tasked with bringing Cthulhu to comic gaming glory. Or something.

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Az goes Azathoth, so goes…well, something, I guess.


I’m really happy with the art, and the Cool Minis or Not folks have done a splendid job with the art direction and colors. They were hugely fun to work with, and now I see why so many of their releases are top-notch. When you stuff a company full of creative, professional, fun folks, Gaming Goodness is sure to follow.

Cthulhu in the House will be premiering at Gen Con, where I’ll just happen to be, next week. And, of course, we’ll be playing it at Drokstock, a teeny little division of Gamehole Con.

Anyway, that’s one of the Cool Minis or Not collaborations that came out of my Brazil jaunt.

What’s the other, you ask?

Can’t talk about it, yet…but it’ll be even cooler!

– John

* I’m actively working on ways of increasing my DORK TOWER time, by the way. More on that later.
** A lot.



Reasons to be Cheerful, Part Three



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Sorry nothing went up on the site last week. The family (the Lovely and Talented Judith, Daughter, Age 7, and I) flew back from Spain Wednesday, after having visited my folks in Malaga. I assumed I’d be able to get a couple of comic strips up once we got home, but I assumed incorrectly.

I had a post all typed up and ready to go for Friday, about the saga of our lost luggage (if you follow me on Twitter, you’d have kept abreast of the increasingly bizarre situation). But it was mostly an angry, jetlag-y post, and anyway, our luggage finally turned up on Saturday. True, almost a fortnight after checking in to our flight. But isn’t the world angry enough anyway, these days?

So let’s try some good news, instead.


PART ONE: The trip to Spain. Look, it wasn’t as relaxing and stress-relieving as I’d hoped, but it was still a flippin’ trip to Spain. I realize I’m supremely fortunate to live this kind of life. I got to see my parents, while Daughter, Age 7, got to see the sea for the first time. In fact, the words “Catching a wave” have now entered her lingo. (Even though she caught several waves, I’m not sure how she picked up on that particular phrase, what with being in Spain and all.)

Also, hey! This was the first time I’ve been to Spain in the Summer since I started taking an active interest in Gazpacho, three or four years ago. I’m very glad to report that I finally tried the Real Thing in Andalucia, and that the Cook’s Illustrated recipe I’ve been relying on all results ion something pretty authentic. There’s not much I crave more than enablement, and this was Gazpacho Affirmation in the extreme.

PART TWO: I spent a good part of the weekend signing almost a thousand things – postcards, mini-prints and bookmarks, all of which will be going out to Bike the Barns 2015 Backers Very Soon, along with assorted badges and pins and Original Munchkin Art. I mail everything to David Michael, the King of Fulfillment, tomorrow, so if you backed my 2015 Insane Charity Bike Ride, you should be receiving goodies soon. You have both the patience and generosity of a saint, and I promise you that plans are underway to make sure the 2016 Insane Charity Bike Ride swag goes out a lot sooner.

Hey, look! 750 things to sign for wonderful, generous Charity Bike Ride backers!

Hey, look! 1,000 things to sign for wonderful, generous Charity Bike Ride backers!

This year"s Charity Munchkin Postcard! Collect them all - there are now three.

This year’s Charity Munchkin Postcard! Collect them all – there are now three.

Thanks to the great Scott Johnson for adding these to the mix!

Thanks to the great Scott Johnson for adding these to the mix!

And holy goodness NEIL GAIMAN, people! The one and only Neil Flipping" Gaiman did this for the ride!

And holy goodness NEIL GAIMAN, people! The one and only Neil Flipping’ Gaiman did this for the ride!

PART THREE: Today’s been a thoroughly productive day, as I switched on the FREEDOM app first thing in the morning, and it’s been running ever since. The app essentially blocks you from going online. And I love it. I’ll be using it every day this week, and reporting back, but right now, it’s been great. I miss my Twitter pals, but honestly, I think everyone’s going to be a lot happier if I spend my time drawing Dork Towers rather than cruising Facebook or trying to figure out Snapchat.\

I believe this says it all.

I believe this says it all.

Another benefit of going offline during the daytime, is that the news is pretty awful, these days, and I’d rather miss it, for a bit. The world seems plenty angry and divided, and I’m not sure me going down the various rabbit holes of my own personal Internet Echo Chamber is going to do me (or you) much good.

So anyway, I’m back from a bit of a break, and those are three of my Reasons to be Cheerful today.

What are yours?