Sorry for the radio silence, folks. Very shortly after that last update I got sick, and then got sicker, and then got medicated and that made me REALLY sick. Sparing you the details, I'll just say that I'm finally off the drugs, back on my feet, and eating people-food.
During these last four weeks it's been a struggle just to keep up with the comic, and I also needed to finish the marginalia for Book 9, Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic, which went off to the printer today. Fortunately, the only thing that needed to be done on the challenge coin front recently was being done by the manufacturer. It's nice to know that the people you've hired to do a job are doing it right even though you're not watching.
I spoke with our manufacturing rep yesterday, and he said that the minting is well under way, and coming in on schedule. Thirty thousand coins will be shipping from the plant on May 20th, and should arrive here at Chez Tayler on the 22nd or the 23rd of May.
This means there's a small chance of me having coins with me at Phoenix Comic-Con (I fly late on the 22nd or early on the 23rd) but as soon as I get back on the 27th they'll be waiting for me me to dive in and help Sandra with the shipping.
And by "help" I mean "feed my kids." My job is to keep the household in order while Sandra turns a portion of our home into a facility for shipping 3500 packages. Now that I'm healthy (and have lab results to prove it) I'm allowed to cook for the family again.
The Unofficial Anecdotal History of Challenge Coins project is on hold until we ship your merchandise. We've collected lots of great first-hand accounts of the tradition in action, but the compilation, the editing, and the back-and-forth with contributors won't begin until June. Meanwhile, I've allowed some of those accounts to inform a couple of upcoming strips (May 26th and 27th.) My goal, as stated before, is to increase awareness and understanding of the tradition, and I think you'll be pleased to see how neatly that goal meshes with the machinations and mysteries going on in the comic. I've run the story past a few active-duty friends, and they love how it works.
Realistically, I think May 29th is the earliest that we'll be sending full sets out in the mail. If your shipping address is going to change between now and early June, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's straighten things out BEFORE we start handing packages to nice people with trucks, uniforms, and global infrastructure.