All change in the Metaverse

by thatrogersguy

I haven’t quite gotten to the point of writing a “What I did in 2013” post just yet, nor I have put together a “What I’m aiming to achieve in 2014” post either. It’s possible I won’t do either, forgoing the public navel gazing to get more writing done. The name change and new look to the blog are both part of my push to get more written and more published this year, so I’m trying to start the year being true to my word.

Having said that, I did think that I’d take the opportunity to share a “one door closes and another one opens” story, something that’s all too typical of small press and indie comic creation.  I’ve probably mentioned the Metaverse anthology before, it’s the brainchild of Terry Cooper (Kangazang!) and Simon Wilson.  The book was originally planned for this year’s Cardiff International Comic and Animation Expo, but as that show is no longer going ahead, the book is slated for another convention in April.

The original script I submitted for Metaverse was “Versus”, a story with a somewhat convoluted history of its own. The first draft of that script was originally written for Lee Grice’s aborted Dinosaurs v Robots book, with Lee himself doing all the art. When that book didn’t proceed, I revisited the script as part of a challenge for Comics Experience workshop. The script was picked as the favourite submission that month, which gained me a very insightful critique and some excellent notes from Marvel editor Bill Rosemann.  The revised version, taking Bill’s notes into account, was then approved for Martin Conaghan’s Overload anthology, with artist Dave Stokes (Shepperton’s Waltz) attached on art duties.   Dave ended up being too busy,  Overload was postponed, so I submitted the script to Metaverse and brought in a new artist, Paul Ridgon (Transformers, Starship Troopers)who I was slated to work with previously some years ago. The story got the greenlight, and Paul was making good progress with the art, but unfortunately he ended up having to pull out, due to other commitments, meaning I was a little stuck.

Paul Ridgon's work from Versus

Paul Ridgon’s work from Versus


There wasn’t time for a new artist to get Versus ready for the deadline, so I needed to find a story which had already been pencilled and inked. I looked back through my old folders and found “The Eve“.  The Eve dates back as far as 2010, and has my words coupled with the exquisite art of Jason Copland (Kill all Monsters, Daredevil).   Jason originally posted the pages on his blog at the end of 2010, inviting writers to take his finished art and work it into a story, so the whole tale was effectively reverse engineered.  Jason liked my interpretation, and had previously given me permission to include The Eve in FTL, the anthology title from Orang Utan Comics.  That didn’t come to be, but now, a couple of years later, this story, which I was very happy with, is finally going to see the light of day. Along with that, Paul is going to return to Versus in the future, so we can either include it in a later edition of Metaverse or put it forward for another anthology (possibly through my own Dapper Chimp imprint), so it all worked out in the end. This is typical of self publishing and small press comics, you might end up going through a number of artist collaborators and also potential publishers, but if the work is good enough and you’re committed enough to keep going, you’ll eventually find an outlet and an audience.

Jason Copland’s work from The Eve