It has been a while, hasn't it?  It's been kind of depressing to see how much productivity has slacked recently, so it feels really good to be back here writing at you all and catching you up.

I was just looking over Spooky Corps' Facebook page and the website's production blog, and that allowed me to be reminded just how much I got done. My New Year's resolution in 2015 was to write more, and boy did I! I spent more time writing and was generally more productive over the course of 2015 than I ever have been in my life. For interested parties, here's a summarized production timeline of the project:

  • March 2014 - After getting some professional quality character concept art, Jordan and I start working through our old memories of the story and try to rebuild it from beginning to end via e-mail.
     
  • August 2014 - The first rough outline of Part 1 is completed. We plan to create a detailed outline of the entire three-part story before we begin scripting the first issue.
     
  • September 2014 - First issue-by-issue breakdown of Part 1 is completed.
     
  • October 2014 - Jordan and I begin discussing the specifics of Part 2, re-imagining a decade of story development to fit with the newly-minted Part 1.
     
  • November 2014 - Jordan and I meet and outline the Part 2 story timelines on a whiteboard.
     
  • December 2014 - Facebook page launches, as does the production blog. We expect that within one year, we will begin pitching to publishers. This will require a logline, a well-outlined first arc, concept art, and eight completed sequential pages.
     
  • January 2015 - First issue-by-issue breakdown of Part 2 is completed.
     
  • February 2015 - First rough outline of Part 3 is completed. Time to start back at the beginning and make sure everything that needs to be in there is in there.
     
  • March 2015 - I start practicing drawing.
     
  • April 2015 - Sixty-issue breakdown of the entire narrative is completed.
     
  • May 2015 - We put out official open calls for artists and test readers for our revised outline of the first arc.
     
  • June 2015 - The new dot com is launched featuring professional concept art. The pitchable logline is written. Readers' feedback on the first arc is received and addressed. Character designs from multiple artists are in the bag.
     
  • July 2015 - Background artist hired for environment concepts. Legitimate scripting begins on issue one.
     
  • August 2015 - Environment art is in the bag. Issue one script is completed. I lose my job.
     
  • September 2015 - I begin to realize with no job, paying artists will be pretty hard. Having continued my drawing practice, I am now considering eventually drawing the comic myself. Scripting on issue two begins.
     
  • October 2015 - Still jobless. But it doesn't matter. A little math and research has revealed that the original plan was not a great one - if you can make your comic yourself, there are few benefits to going through a publisher. For what I hope to do, I realize self-publishing is a better option overall.
     
  • November 2015 - Issue 2 script is complete. I get a job, but holidays and a death in the family slow down our production at the end of the year. Still, scripting begins on issue 3.
     
  • December 2015 - Scripting continues, as does life's way of slowing things down.

And now it's January 2016.

2016 is the announced tentative release year for Spooky Corps, and it is no accident that this information is so unspecific. What does it mean? When in 2016 will it be released? And what constitutes a release?  Will the first issue be in your hands at some point this year? At the very least, will you be able to view page one of issue one some time before December 31st?

I think that's entirely possible. Will it happen? I don't know.

Plans changed quite a bit over the course of 2015. We set a pitch goal in December 2014 which we came very close to meeting, but we began to realize as the deadline approached that we might not want to do it that way after all. Incidentally, I lost my job and wouldn't be able to afford to pay for the last piece of the pitch package we would have needed (the eight completed sequential pages required by most publishing companies would cost vast amounts of either money or passion, and the only two guys with any passion for this project lack the skills necessary to put the vision on paper). But my point is this: I realize our plans may continue to change over the course of 2016 just as they did over 2015.

I have a hard time imagining there are any avenues left unconsidered at this point, but it is possible that December will come once again, and we'll have pivoted once again. Right now, the favored option is the one that gets you reading the story as soon as possible. Whether I get good enough to draw it myself or we hire someone else, I would like to post pages to the website on a regular schedule so you can follow along page by page, then release hard copies for sale once an issue is completed,.

But heck, for all I know we'll finish scripting the first arc and decide it needs to be read in a sitting or two, not serialized, and then who knows how long that will take to put together? I know I don't. But I'm not expecting to go that way either. I'm just saying I don't know what will happen over the next twelve months.

What I DO know is that I'm not stopping. Despite the rev-down at the end of 2015, it is still true that I have never worked on anything as consistently as I've worked on Spooky Corps over the past year and a half. Speed bumps have slowed us down here and there - the latest being my move to a new home which rendered me unavailable for scripting sessions and without Internet access even after the packing was done - but we are still at work on this thing.

Issue three is about halfway done, and I still have good reason to believe that issue four won't take as long to script as the others have. Once that's finished, we'll have our first arc scripted and it might be time to start making some serious decisions about how we want to proceed. Do we keep scripting? Do we start slowly paying to get the pages done so we can have an issue out by the end of the year? Do I hold onto this notion that it might be worth it to keep practicing my drawing in the hopes that I can do the book myself? Speaking of which, that's another thing - as much as my writing has suffered, my art has suffered that much more. Jordan and I actually have met several times in the past two months to write. My sketchbook, however, has seen very little action.

But I'm settled into my new place, I (clearly) am back online, holidays are over with, and I'm so, so, so ready to get moving again. And my wife is too. She is an artist herself, and her personal time has suffered just as much as mine. We're both ready to get back on our schedules and start producing again.

So hey, world. Nice to see you again. Nice to be able to let you know that despite the radio silence for over two months, we have still been working. Not as much as I would have liked, but as much as possible. We are moving forward. You will continue to hear about our progress. And Tommy Reppuhn - no matter what course this ride leads us down, once there are 24 pages of this thing completed, you will receive a hard copy of it, free of charge. You are not forgotten, Mister 100.

As always, I want to thank you all for being here. Thanks for reading. I won't tell you to stay tuned this time, but do keep your ears open. Because you'll be hearing from me again. I guarantee it.

- db

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