Wednesday, December 31, 2014
That Was The Year That Was
And here we are... the end of another one. I initially wrote a longer piece about some of the difficulties and frustrations of 2014, but it was a bit of a downer... so instead I'm going to talk about some of the things that will be happening next year, and what I hope to achieve. Looking forward seems the healthier thing to do, frankly.
The first thing – out this very day as I write – is Abigail and the Snowman from Boom! Studios, a four-issue serialisation of a graphic novel, which will be collected into one volume when it's completed. I've drawn the first three issues so far and am currently pencilling the double-sized fourth issue. So that's going to be occupying most of the space in my head for the next six weeks or so. Incidentally, there's a slightly unusual but (I hope) interesting piece about Abigail here: it's sort of a "directors' commentary" I was asked to write, about a short sequence in the first issue.
Then there's Mandrake the Magician, another four-issue series coming out in January, this one from Dynamite, with art by Jeremy Treece. I'm just strangling the words for this one. I've talked elsewhere about how my mum used to collect Mandrake in scrapbooks for my brother and me when we were nippers. I think she would have liked that I ended up writing his adventures.
In February, Garfield #34 will be out – and I've drawn a ten-pager in there. I never thought I'd draw Garfield in a million years, but my son loves the strip – so I'm doing it for him, really. It's a "Garfield's Nine Lives" thing which extrapolates a possible past life as a pirate. Good fun!
After I wrap up Abigail sometime in February, I'll be jumping in to a long-promised Fred the Clown graphic novel – and when I say long-promised, I mean long-promised to myself. When I stopped doing Fred as a regular web comic in 2004, I said I'd come back to it one day to do a graphic novel which would be a sort of love letter to Buster Keaton. Now, ten years later, I've got a window of opportunity, so I'm going to jump on it while I can. At this stage there's no publishing deal, and to be honest I'm actively avoiding trying to find one until I have a fair chunk of it completed. It's the sort of thing where having those pressures while I'm working on it will likely do more harm than good. What will most likely happen is that I'll serialise it on the web and then collect it as a book when it's done. So look out for that in a bit... once I've given the script another run-through.
After that... well, boys and girls, there have been rumblings about a follow-up to that critical darling, Snarked!, which is something I've been gagging to do for a while. More on that in due course, I hope... for now, let's just say that it'll give the Walrus and the Carpenter a whole new set of characters to bamboozle, run away from and generally get on the wrong side of.
There are a couple of other small bits and bobs around the edges of that lot – a short story or two I've promised here and there, or have already done and am waiting to see published; a desire to get another Fez minicomic done – but those are the high points, I think, and will likely keep me busy for the rest of the year. Generally speaking, I'm hoping to avoid doing too much work-for-hire in 2015 (unless it promises to be ridiculously good fun!) and to concentrate on my own projects... and to see if that's sustainable going forward. That's always been my ideal, and I feel as if the past five years or so have had too many detours in the direction of licensed properties and corporate superheroes (as if there's a difference!), to the point where I'm afraid there's a big part of the comic-reading audience that only associates me with that stuff... and that's not the cartoonist I want to be. So the next year will be a bit of an experiment. We shall see.