This is the first of what I hope will be many comics that will be self-published under the imprint of Mindreader Comics, which is (so far) comprised of author Ben Kubczak and myself. Like us on facebook and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, comments and whatnots.
This project has been a real labor of love and the story through which it came about sheds some light on the fact that Ben and I are doing this whilst nurturing our families and pursuing other careers. (Although for me, lately, comics and my teaching and artmaking practice are colliding in more and more ways.)
Way back in the Spring of 2010 I was prepping to return to comics with a project I was planning with another author. She eventually had to bail on the project which left me full of comics energy but with nowhere to put it. Sure I had ideas of my own, but what I really wanted to do was work as part of a creative team with an author. After telling my old friend Ben Kubczak about it, he offered to write a story right then and there. Ben is an architect by trade, but also happens to be one of the most well-read people I know. He has also read just about every comic ever made, so he is good at writing for the medium. Within days he had a 7-page intro all scripted and a cast of characters ready to design. Soon after, he had a finished script for a 50-page comic.
I leaped into action and busted out a record-setting 20 pages of artwork in just under a month. Then my family and I moved from our apartment in Washington and hit the road- traveling all over the American West and living without an address for 6 weeks, during which time I landed another job teaching at a college in West Michigan. During the first semester of classes at my new job I did no work on Salvaged Horizon, in effect taking 6 months off of the project. During that time, Ben got engaged to Rachel and I experimented with an upcoming illustrated-prose project that I wrote and SH sat on the shelf.
Then one frozen morning in February of 2011 I awoke from dreaming that comics pages were flying out of my fingertips, billowing everywhere. In the dream it was SO easy to just create page after page of comics that I took it as a sign and got back to work. I had a completed script in hand, and the story had had time to marinate in my brain, so the homestretch of the last 29 pages of SH Book 1 was quick and dirty. Some of the pages and panels in the last part of the book, I admit, are pretty rugged, but it was no time to hem and haw over minute details. I had a comic to finish.
Once school was out in May of 2011 I kicked into even higher gear and tore through the inking of the final 29 pages. My self-imposed deadline was June 30th- the day we’d be heading to Iowa for a couple weeks to see family and celebrate Ben and Rachel’s wedding on July 9th- my birthday. As planned, when Ben and Rachel arrived in Iowa, I handed them a portfolio containing all 49 pages of the original comic artwork plus the front cover illustration.
By this time I had been experimenting with color and Ben and I agreed it was worth the extra time needed to color it. Immediately after returning to Michigan, however, my family and I again turned around and moved back down to Florida, where we had lived before moving out to Washington. I started teaching at another school and again spent little time on the project. Things opened up in December when school was out for break and during this time I colored like a madman. Coloring was finished by February of 2012.
Next, it came time to choose a publish-on-demand service through which we would turn SH into a real book. There was no question about whether we would try to pitch it to publishers or do it ourselves. From the start, the project was conceived as a DIY project. I finally settled on createspace by Amazon because it offered the best price on the kind of printing we wanted plus with expanded distribution, the book will be available through Amazon.com.
We are super stoked to finally be presenting our project to the public. Even if the book does not rake in millions (HA!) it is already a success in our opinion because all we ever set out to do was make a comic we could be proud of and could put on our shelf. This mission has been accomplished, even though it has been a long time coming.
-James Greene May, 2012