Monday, January 18, 2016

Finally! The return of The Baron of Prospect Ave.

My webcomic is active again! Sorry that took a little longer than planned.

I started The Baron of Prospect Ave. webcomic in Fall 2014, got a dozen pages up, and then had to put it on sabbatical in early 2015 when I realized the deadline for Trashed was going to be a killer. I planned to pick it up again later that fall, once Trashed was in the can, but I was so whipped from 14-hour days, I just couldn't muster up much enthusiasm for a free webcomic. Then came the crazy Fall book tour which took me from San Francisco to Miami to Paris and many points in between. It never seemed to end.

But I'm ready to fire it up again and post more of the further adventures of the Baron. And I'm happy to report that this project is now being funded with a generous Cultural Workforce arts grant! Here in greater Cleveland we fund our arts with grants to 40 artists every year, thanks to our nicotine addicts. I applied, almost on a lark to be perfectly honest, and was one of those selected. Even better, THREE of the 40 are comics creators! That's a great acknowledgement of the storied comics history of Cleveland. It's great to be a part of it and I'm flattered and proud.

There are a few changes in the story you should be aware of. I've re-done the opener, added a few pages, so you'll want to start from the beginning. I'll be adding a couple big splash pages down the road, too, but I just don't have time to punch those out before I leave for Angoulême.

And that's another thing. I'll be touring in France and Belgium for five weeks. I've got a few new pages of the story ready to post, so I'll do that from abroad. If I can. My webhost might be a little pissy about uploading files from outside the US. Blogger here certainly is. Last time I tried to do some posts from abroad, it wasn't allowed. No way to know until I'm there, so fingers crossed. When I return, I can be a little more productive. A new page every two weeks is the plan. I'll post here and on Twitter and Facebook whenever a new page goes up.

I have the whole first chapter written. Beyond that, very little. I originally looked at this as a storytelling experiment, more freeform than the method I use to make a book, where everything is tightly written before I start drawing. I just wanted something I could have fun with and work on a little at a time on the side. Well, turns out I'm not really comfortable with that. Guess I'm just not a freeform kinda guy.   I'll use my downtime in France to write the rest of it, probably sitting in a corner cafe in Paris. That should be fun. Just like Hemingway! Life is good, man.

One other change. I waffled on how to finish these pages. Punk Rock & Trailer Parks was, of course, just b&w pen work. No washes, no spot color, like My Friend Dahmer and Trashed respectively. I originally added some grey tones, but I've changed my mind on that. I don't want to get bogged down in file prep at this stage, so I'm just going to leave them b&w for now, just like PR&TP. Down the road, this will eventually see print and I'll add some tone. Frankly, I'll probably add full color. I've been inching my way in that direction anyways. But for now, just b&w.

As for the ultimate plan here? Well, like I wrote, it'll be printed at some point. Trashed started as a webcomic, too, for those of you who remember. I only got two episodes posted before Abrams grabbed it and had me finish it for them. My French publisher is already nagging me about The Baron, since Punk Rock & Trailer Parks was a surprise (to me, anyways) hit over there. But this is very much a side project, a labor of love. I'm just planning to have fun with it and not worry about commercial considerations. And since I'm getting paid for it up front thanks to the arts grant, how cool is that?

So enjoy.