It took me nine months to draw eight pages. So for the record, and to any writers looking to collab, I'm no speedster. I'm not exactly proud of it, but there were...factors. You know, stuff. Like the fact that I was still in art school, I was working on my grad exhibition, I had conferences to prep for...all the excuses. What really happened is that I got scared. Not only was this my first time working with a script from someone else, but I was working with a script by a recognized comics scholar who had won the Howard E. Day Prize for a self-published graphic novel in 2005 and been nominated for three Harvey Awards in 2007. I was freaking intimidated. I doubted every mark I put down on the page, often second-guessing myself to a complete standstill. In my mind this project had grown to mythic proportions, had become this monumental thing that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to tackle, in case I failed. Guess I learned a lot about myself as an artist in the course of it all.
I finished the comic just before Christmas. I felt like I'd climbed a mountain, and I was standing on this peak I'd conquered looking at the vast, inky landscape spread out before me. It was a damn great moment. Then I promptly stuffed those pages in a big envelope and placed their fate in the hands of the Royal Mail, praying the package would make it safely back to Kelowna. It did, and just last Saturday our comic appeared in all its beauty on the walls of the Kelowna Art Gallery, along with work by many of my friends and colleagues in the Okanagan, as part of a local Superheroes & Supervillains exhibition.
This week the saga of this comic came to its true close. Dave and I had been talking from the outset with Gary Laderman and Michael J. Altman, the editors of Emory University's religion and culture blog Sacred Matters, about publishing the comic through them. They've been incredibly supportive of Sacred & Sequential's startup, helping us get our name and some of our seminal material out there. On Thursday The Superhero Afterlife - Abridged went live on their site, and I have closure for this project. I'm beyond happy with the way the comic turned out, with what I learned through making, and with the ideas that it's planted in my head for future projects. Stay tuned; I promise more academic comics down the road.