Greetings, everyone, and welcome to the new year! I know I originally said there’d be a new page today, but due to some unforeseen circumstances the comic will resume on Monday instead. However, we have a very important announcement to make. Seriously!

But first, I’d like to reflect on 2013 a bit. The plot didn’t make huge strides, and while we had a lot of fun, it feels like the comic slowed down a little bit. That only makes sense as me and Victor wrestled with our own lives: graduating, finding an apartment, transitioning to the working world, adopting a dog and much more. Of course, that’s not to say nothing happened at The Fourth this year – after all, we did reveal and clarify a lot of information about Idenau, we reunited with Cyril and Frozio, introduced a new species, had lots of pirate adventure, and most importantly – my art has gotten a lot better (largely due to a kick in the pants I got over the summer), and I’m looking forward to where it will be in yet another 12 months.

All that was nice, but we’re both very determined to make 2014 a truly fantastic year for this comic. You’ll see the story advance, and by the end of the year some of your questions will be answered and more will have arisen. But moreover, we’ve had a special surprise planned for a while now, and we think it’s best to tell you sooner rather than later.

We’re making a side story.

After the pirate arc gets tied up, we’re going to embark on a special arc which is temporally removed from the current happenings of the plot. It takes place before any events you have seen so far, and tells the tale of one of Skärva’s earlier schemes before the start of the comic.

Now, the downside is that we’re putting the main plot on hold to update this special story. But we think the benefits will outweigh that unfortunate consequence.  So… why are we doing this, anyway? Three main reasons, all of which we find very important at this point in the comic’s growth.

To give new readers a place to start. When someone first comes upon our comic, they can’t exactly jump in at the current page. They’d have no idea what’s going on! But at the same time, going back to the early pages and reading from the beginning doesn’t reflect the current quality of the comic’s art; and catching up with a 300-page comic is a lot to ask. We’d prefer if people had a succinct, self-contained introduction to our characters and the world of Idenau. From there, they can decide if it’s worth reading everything we have to offer. We plan to compile this arc, perhaps as a self-contained pdf, and invite you to share it with friends you think might enjoy it. We can also invite new visitors to our site to go straight there and give it a look.

To create something we could publish. When we first started the comic, creating a published book was far from my mind, and I didn’t know what I was doing. While seeing The Fourth in print would be a wonderful achievement, the first hundred pages or so are in a low resolution and thus would be a huge pain to render publishable; not to mention I wouldn’t be terribly thrilled about wasting ink and paper on the earliest pages! Still, if Victor and I ever start going to conventions, we’d like something we could sell or hand out. This story would allow us to print up a small booklet that would let us do just that.

To please our current readers. If you’re already reading this, we love you deeply, and we definitely don’t want to lose your interest as we take a detour from our villain’s quest to find and defeat the gods. However, said quest and its consequences constitute the bulk of our story – we always intended it to be so – and there’s no going back. That being said, we think that most of you would be appreciate seeing  another good old Skärva-versus-Blank story again; especially one that shows how he and Derk managed before Lorelei, and the group dynamic of Ecta, Floyd and Slice before their own Fourth joined them. You’ll still be learning about our characters, of course, and the story adds to the background from which the rest of our comic arises: the history of defeats that drives Skärva to attempt the absurd.

And after that, we have a lot of awesome stuff planned in the main story that I can’t wait to get to!

I hope you look forward to everything 2014 has to offer. I anticipate that the completion of our bonus story will serve as the ticket we’ve been waiting for, the license to start taking our comic even more seriously than we always have – with more persistent advertising and social media presence, and hopefully even conventions. We want you readers and commentors to have many new peers by the end of this year; not out of a desire for profit or fame, but merely because we think we’re telling a good story that’s only going to get better, and we think our characters deserve an audience. To everyone that has helped us and encouraged us this far, you are our treasures. And as we hope the new year will be bright for The Fourth, we hope just the same for each of you.

Thanks again!