My name is Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and everything you see here is my fault. I’m a comic creator and lecturer based out of Welwyn Garden City, England. E-merl.com is where I catalogue my experiments in fiction and the comics form. If that all sounds a little dry, don’t worry – I’m sure something horribly violent and amusing will happen if you stick around long enough.
Solid Metal Override – 9/03/2021 onwards
So there’s this bar, right? Solid Metal Override. Tucked away down in Outer Ring Sector 23, where only the robots can go. The regulars there are a friendly enough bunch – just so long as your credit’s good and your flesh is non-existent. Why not stop in every Tuesday for a little look-see?
Brain Fist – 18/07/2019 onwards
Falling out of a forgotten internet comes a comic series originally created for the iPod Color in an almost alternate 2005. Long since lost to the web, Brain Fist originally ran at E-merl from 9th June 2005 to 7th August 2007. These collected musings of seven strange souls can now be found once more on a portable view screen near you every Thursday. Brain Fist: Comics you hold in your head.
This chapter on Game Comics is my contribution to the book Comics and Videogames: From Hybrid Medialities To Transmedia Expansions from Routledge. The chapter is based on the work I did during my doctorate to explore some of the theory behind Game Comics and the design challenges of their creation. While folk might find getting hold of a print edition of the book a touch on the pricey side, the whole thing is also available for download as a free PDF through the wonders of Open Access.
The slightly more illuminating subtitle of ‘Design Choices for Comic Creators in Print and Digital Media’ hopefully makes the subject matter of this one a little clearer. Essentially this is me collecting my thoughts on how the design decisions around a comic’s format can have massive implications for the way the comic is created and the eventual audience it might reach. Click here to check out the slides for the original talk I gave at Poetics of the Algorithm in 2016 or pick up a copy of Lessons Drawn: Essays on the Pedagogy of Comics and Graphic Novels from McFarland to read the full essay.
Unfrequently Asked Questions
Q. What was you name again?
A. Daniel Merlin Goodbrey
Q. Is that your real name?
Q. You’re not just making that ‘Merlin’ bit up are you?
A. Nope. It’s inherited from my great-grandfather or some such. And I was born on Halloween, so I guess my folks figured it would be a good fit.
Q. What’s this site all about then?
A. It’s a place for me to tell my stories and show off my work. That’s it really.
Q. Do you make a living from doing this sort of stuff?
A. Much to my surprise, yes – I’m employed by The University of Hertfordshire as a principle lecturer in narrative and interaction design. In 2016 I also became the Joint Programme Leader for Hertfordshire’s Digital Animation and Games programme. When not doing lecturey stuff, I split the rest of my week between creating comics and doing comic-related research.
Q. So you’re available for hire?
A. Most definitely. Anyone interested should check out the Consulting page and drop me an e-mail to merlin (at) e-merl.com.
Q. Where are you based anyway?
A. I live in Welwyn Garden City, just a little bit above London.
Q. Been there long?
A. For a several years now. I’m originally from Suffolk but I moved to Hertfordshire for my degree and then decided to stay on once I was done. I lived in St Albans for nine years before making the move to Welwyn.
Q. You’ve got a degree?
A. I’m the proud owner of a first class honours degree in Software Systems for the Arts and Media and a distinction level master’s degree in the Digital Practices of Hyperfiction. Then in 2017 I earned a Doctorate in Design by studying The Impact of Digital Mediation and Hybridisation on the Form of Comics.
Q. Wow, that was a modest answer.
A. Is that sarcasm I’m detecting?
Q. I shouldn’t think so.
A. You’re just a voice in my head, you know. You can easily be replaced.
Q. Ahem. So, anyway, how long has E-merl.com been going?
A. E-merl.com has been around since 2000. Before E-merl there was Triple Distilled and before that there was Merl-Net. The design and focus of the site has really changed a lot over the years – the current version of E-merl is the eighth major redesign since I purchased the domain.
Q. So maybe it’s passed time to write a new FAQ rather than just repeatedly re-editing this conversation?
A. Clearly if I thought that I wouldn’t be typing this response.
Q. Good point.
Q. Sorry. It’s just, um, I’ve kind of run out of things to ask.
A. Fair enough. Fancy going for a drink then?
A. You can get the first round in.
Q. But I’m just a voice in your head.
A. We’ll explain that to the barman.
Q. You think he’ll understand?
A. If he knows what’s good for him.
Before I started a proper blog I kept an irregularly updating news page. Interested parties (probably just me to be honest) can read an archive of that material here.