This week, we’ve quite a post for you! Really, it’s quite something. It’s got it all! Behind-the-scenes thumbnails, some amazing guest art, and the first-ever glimpse of the actual physical Beyond the Western Deep: Volume 1 limited edition hardcover!

First up, the page!


Trivia! In the original draft of the script, this was actually when Chapter 2 ended. However, with the gift of foresight that comes from having a LOT of the future script in a done-to-sorta-done state, we decided fairly recently that Chapter 2 would greatly benefit from being longer. Actually, Chapter 2 will ultimately encompass about two chapters’-worth of script material, and all the wonderful twists and turns that come with such things. By our estimates, Chapter 2 will be about 1.5-2x longer than Chapter 1.

Kenosh and co. are finding themselves in an escalating precarious situation thanks to Clovis’ rough interpretation of the Treaty of Cenolau. With the 100-year anniversary of the inciting incident of World War I taking place today, it’s important to remember the implications that something as simple as a piece of paper can have. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in the aftermath of Franz Ferdinand’s murder, but Serbia was allied with Russia; so when Russia mobilized, that triggered Germany’s response to protect Austria-Hungary, which involved invading France to prevent the Western powers from becoming a threat. So then Germany declared war on France, then declared war on Belgium. Then Britain declared war on Germany.


We have some incredible guest art this week from a newcomer to the world of the Western Deep! Rito Sternbeck (DA account link) has drawn up a wonderful piece of Kenosh, Dakkan, and Quinlan en route to Deltrada, trekking northward with their packs and trying really hard not to get on each others’ nerves (which, as we saw early in Chapter 2, can be a difficult thing sometimes with this trio)!


Thank you so much for the awesome artwork, Rito! I always love seeing the main cast in ordinary situations, like this traveling scene. Some of the most fun dialog to write comes from the characters just bouncing off one another when they’ve got nothing better to do, so something as simple as showing all three characters walking across a massive valley gets me thinking about what the characters are talking about — like, why is Dakkan leaning forward there? He must be making a pretty big point to Kenosh, though Kenosh looks like he’s trying to ignore Dak. And Quin is being… well, Quin, I suppose — holding back a bit to see how it unfolds!

I have another fun announcement this week to share, which I already revealed at the top of this post actually — the books! Yes, the initial expedited shipment of 50 hardcovers arrived just a couple days ago and are primed and ready to be sold at Boston Comic Con in early August. I took pictures, so I could walk you through the unboxing process!


What’s this!? A bunch of boxes on my doorstep! What on earth could these be?


Aha! The box contained another box-type thing!


And there they are!


As I mentioned last week, these first 50 copies actually sport a glossy laminate cover, as opposed to the matte we’d planned on. I was worried they might have a kind of “high school textbook” feel to them, but the glossy cover is actually pretty cool! I can’t really begin to describe how awesome it is to hold this thing my hands after working on it for so many years, but it was actually one of those rare instances where real-life actually surpassed what I’d imagined.


Also, bonus gratuitous cat pic. The tagline writes itself: “Beyond the Western Deep: Volume 1… so good, your cats will rub their faces all over it.” A ringing endorsement if ever there was one!