Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ripples, Part Three, or Where Did SHADRACH STONE Come From?

Part Three: Old Publishers, New, and the Tricky Business of Comics


After we decided we definitely wanted to work together, Jon Proctor and I worked out an arrangement, and he started drawing the book. We exchanged a lot of notes about how best to publish SHADRACH, which we thought of, at the time, as a four-issue miniseries. Self-publishing was an option, or we could complete the first issue and then approach Image.

I put out feelers to a few other publishers in the meantime, but it’s tricky to place an original, creator-owned series in this market. There’s a tradeoff between rights and money that makes it tough to satisfy the needs of both the creators and the publisher.


At the same time, I entered into an agreement with the now-defunct Virgin Comics to freelance-edit a few titles for them in partnership with the SciFi (now SyFy) TV network. We showed them SHADRACH, and SciFi was interested; but in the end, our visions for the series didn’t mesh. I’ve enjoyed working with both Virgin and their successor, Liquid Comics; but on balance, it’s probably a good thing that deal didn’t come together.

Jon drew issue #1. Then he drew issue #2. I got very busy with various projects for Marvel, Teshkeel, DC licensing, and the Virgin/SciFi editorial work. And all the while, a steady stream of SHADRACH pages poured in from Jon, crying for my attention.

Then, at the 2008 New York Comicon, I met with the owners of Penny-Farthing Press. I’d done some of my earliest professional writing for them -- a book called ZENDRA -- and they published my original series PARA, which is still in print. They’re ambitious but realistic, extremely professional to work with, and their production values are absolutely impeccable. And when I described SHADRACH to them, they got it immediately.


Penny-Farthing made a deal with me and with Jon, who decided to go back and reimagine his style all over again. I’ve always loved his work, but he’s completely stepped up his game -- his work on SHADRACH STONE is the best of his career. It’s taken a while to get to this point -- drawing and coloring 102 pages doesn’t happen overnight! -- but we’re extremely proud of the result.

In September, you’ll see the fruits of our labors. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this blog for more exclusive art, behind-the-scenes stories, and How A Bill Becomes A Law. Or, at least, how a crazy, ambitious idea about lies becomes a graphic novel.

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