A note from Courtney (At least check out the TL;DR)

My dreams are mundane, usually, and it’s always been that way. I know people who plan out whole fantastic worlds while they sleep, but I dream about my daily life or, when my brain is feeling extra spicy, about school-related stresses that have long ceased to be relevant to it. But ten years and a couple months ago, my subconscious brought me the vision of a snarly villain, his muscular and kind-hearted henchman, and a little girl who could fix just about any wound. At the time, they weren’t quite the characters you’d recognize, but I grew attached to the concept almost immediately. After sharing it with my boyfriend of then only half a year, it grew into something more: the vague shape of a mysterious wizard became a skinny sharkman bursting with endless schemes and an eternal, if megalomaniacal, hope. The henchman became someone as emotionally intelligent as he was strong. And the little girl became a sweetly clever amnesiac who would change their lives forever, at the center of a story of which we have still only begun to scratch the surface.

I thought only of them, constantly. They were the only things that had come entirely out of my brain that I had ever truly loved, and I had the person I loved most helping me to make them into something even better. It became an obsession. Victor and I were in college, but I was hardly paying attention in class at that semester’s end; we played through A Link to the Past together for inspiration- and when the summer break came and we couldn’t stay together in the same city, I messaged or called him at all hours of the day and night as we laughed ourselves to sleep about our terrible early gags. It was less than a month from my first drawing of Skärva, in which he barely looked like himself at all, until we launched the site with a buffer of only a few pages. Such was the immensity of our excitement and love that it could not be constrained by such wisdom as “hey, shouldn’t you wait a little longer, and think about this a little more, so you don’t do stuff like make early jokes that are slightly out of character or don’t fit in with the world you’ll eventually build?” (Luckily, there’s only a few instances of that!)

So, ten years later, Victor and I are still together. In some ways our lives have changed immensely, and in others we’re still the same dorks underneath. So what changed with the comic, then? Partly, becoming stressed-out adults worn down by having to support ourselves, and partly coming to take this story and world so seriously that we want the absolute best for it and no longer have the inhibition-free, anything-goes attitude we started out with. We only get one chance at this narrative, and as we’ve gotten older and have a sharper and more critical sense of our own storytelling and art, it can become harder to wrangle the plot threads we’ve been considering for almost a decade into the quality that we think the story deserves, while still keeping it consistently funny along the way. There have been times in recent years where I was burnt-out artistically, or times like now where I’m bursting with creative drive to continue the comic and Victor struggles with writing due to circumstances in his own life. I am a far better artist than I started out, and he’s only become smarter and funnier, but it’s just… hard to put it all together.

Abandoning a webcomic isn’t exactly uncommon, and I’m sure everyone would understand if we just admitted we’re never going to finish The Fourth and maybe we can tell you all the great stuff we had planned. I learned a lot from making it, after all, and am happy it exists even to the extent that it does. BUT! We really really don’t want to leave it behind. We love this world, we love the characters, and I feel like I’m only just now becoming the artist they deserve to tell their story. I appreciate immensely that there are still people who check in on us, and still people who have re-read or maybe just discovered the comic in recent years while it’s been quiet. My brain still lives in Idenau; I still think about it almost every day of my life. So if you can bear with our hiatus for a bit longer, just know that Idenau is still waiting for us all, some day.

But wait….!

No, forget that, no more waiting. What if I told you that the stories that make up Idenau don’t all have to center around the Skärva family? Almost like there’s a whole world of demons and Lurkins and flish and salamandrians and zombies and ghosts and elemental spirits and magic and curses and stuff, that one could do a lot with even if we’re not ready to continue the main comic. The gods shine down on many people besides Skärva and Blank.

And what if Victor gave me his blessing (and a bit of help) to tell a story I want to tell, centering on someone you’ve met before? Something I hope will be approachable to newcomers as well as enjoyed by old readers? Something that combines a lot of my own passions and inspirations with the fictional world we’ve already created and which I hold so dear?
What if this website starts updating again, and I can talk to you all on a regular basis, with this side-story… and then we’ll see where it goes from there, huh?

But I’m not gonna tell you what it is today, or when its official launch is, or what its update schedule will be, because this is already too long and this announcement deserves its own time to breathe. So! June 11th, I want to see you back here! One week from now. Watch this space! And if you follow me on Twitter, I might just drop some hints, maybe! Maybe!!! Maybe I already HAVE!!

And for now, enjoy the reference images that I made for the comic’s tenth birthday. You might even learn something new about Derk that most people probably already guessed!

TL;DR – we love you, come back in a week. DO IT

Click these to enlarge. Please don’t ruin your eyeballs.