Howdy folks. How've you been? Me? I've been drilling thoughtmaggots into strange and rarely-visited parts of my grey-matter (which, in the face of all sensible nomenclature, is pink) in a painful attempt to finish a particularly tricksy screenplay. ARG ARG ARG.
Various announcements and progress updates loom above this blog like a bad day in Tunguska. I'm aware, for instance, that I owe you another NOVELWATCH splat soon, and I'm keen to get back into MY HATINGS because, y'know... a guy can never Hate too much. Plus there's some big and exciting COMICBOOK NEWS AAAAGH YES YES YES coming very soon. Oh, and I saw Watchmen. (Um. But don't feel compelled to post a review. IN THIS I AM UNIQUE.)
But for now: Something Completely Different. Y'see, a curious and frankly rather unpleasant anniversary is upon us, and I thought I'd stop-by the Spursphere to celebrate.
Wait, no, not celebrate. The other one. VENT.
It was ONE YEAR AGO TODAY that the last part of GUTSVILLE was released.
(That's "last" as in "most recent", not as in "final".)
See, I've been getting emails, facebookings, twitterings and assorted other communiques -- including a carrier pigeon artfully dipped in its own turdjuice -- asking me: "Hey, what happened?"
Past tense, like it's a foregone conclusion that the thing's been cancelled. And directed at me specifically, as if - obviously - it's my fault. Just another flakey writer, unable to summon the raw WYRD required to finish a freaky job.
This is damaging my reputation, so it's about time I set some stuff straight.
This is rumour control, here are the facts:
-- GUTSVILLE is not dead. Parts 4, 5 and 6 will - if the Dark Gods Of Despair And Hate wish it so - be with us soon.
-- The delays are precisely nowt to do with me. Parts 4 and 5 have been scripted and ready to go for a year and a half. Part 6 is plotted in minute detail, and can be worked-up into a script as soon as it's needed.
-- The artist has been struggling with a variety of personal problems - some greater, some lesser - for a long time now. In times of plenty he's capable of knocking out pages at a spectacular rate, but for Reasons Of His Own the gaps between episodes of Gutsville have been increasing each time. Way back at the start we agreed to collaborate on this project on the grounds that we were both excited enough by the concept to devote a chunk of time to it without any promise of cash. The deal with a publisher like Image revolves entirely around sales: creators don't get page rates or advances. If the book sells well the creators (as a unit) earn a bit of cash. Since the artist (generally) invests more time in a comic - per page - than a writer, I decided at the beginning that my artist should have his "minimum standard" pagerate paid-off from whatever cash we received, before I took any for myself.
Which is to say: to date, I haven't made a single penny from Gutsville. Someone fetch a violin.
During the past year we've had several approaches from high-end movie types, interested in securing the rights. If a deal like that came off there's a chance - a slim chance, but still - that the artist and I could earn a decent whack. But the deals can't and won't progress any further until the entire series is finished and in print.
On a more fundamental level, it's accepted wisdom in the world of Creator Owned "back end" publishing like this that the creators will do far better from a collected Trade Paperback than from the monthly floppies. Obviously, that can't happen either until the issues have been finished.
...Which is the long-winded way of me explaining to you that: hey, if you think YOU'RE frustrated at the delays in the arrival of Gutsville, I'm waaaaaaay ahead of you.
And it's not just the money, either. I don't mean to sound mercenary: that's just the trivial "it's nice to be able to pay the rent" side of it. More crushingly, Gutsville was - IS, dammit - such a compelling and wonderful concept (I say that without arrogance: the idea caught me by surprise too) that I'm just desperate to let the damn thing shine. To let it breath and bask, and all those other airy-fairy bullshit things that we so-called Creators want our so-called Creations to be able to do. These are our babies, and they deserve the chance to have a life.
Anyway. Maudlin wank aside, that's the situation. The artist has entered an exclusive fraternity known as the "One Year Between Issues Club". BUT, in mitigation, I've seen the artwork for Issue #4 as it's trickled-in, and can report that it is, true to form, Fucking Awesome.
So, folks, have a little more patience. And if you feel the need to bug someone in order to get things moving, I ain't your man.
And keep an eye out for the below cover in your local Comics Pit. If there's any justice in the world, it won't be long: