how did we get here?

I know there are at least a handful of you that are offhandedly interested in what in the hell is going on with Birdwatching from Mars. I feel like I have been talking about it so much for nearly two years that it now has a sort of Chinese Democracy reputation.  Also, I fear that all of this talking about it and providing glimpses basically forces the BFM team to put out something absolutely stellar.

Well, for those interested (and even if you’re not, read on for an example of how not to promote an incomplete work) here is a road map of what has happened to Birdwatching from Mars and its future.

Near the beginning of the 2010, Issue #1 was basically wrapped up.  After color tweaks and the like, we were ready to make it available to the public in May.  Several weeks before wrap up, we then found that the people who planned on putting it out, Evoluzione Comics, had received a blow to their funding.  All projects that had not yet been 100% completed were cut.  Birdwatching nearly still made it through this but better sense prevailed.

Had we stuck with Evoluzione under this budget cut, we would have lost a lot of the benefits initially promised to us.  This included a much wider distribution and funding for marketing.  Basically, Birdwatching from Mars would have become a POD title put out through a small comic press.  So rather than do that and have to pay percentages to the company while also retaining the talent, Luis (pencils) and I decided to sever ties with Evoluzione completely and take the project back as 100% our own.

That brings us up to September.  Our original inker dealt us something of a blow when he stepped down.  I don’t blame him; he has a family and needed to go where there was guaranteed money.  And, after all, BFM had been lagging at a ridiculous fashion.  He’s amazingly talented (he provided the interior artwork for A Mouth for Picket Fences) and I highly suggest him for any future artwork you might need.

So that left us without an inker or a primary source of funding.  Now venture with me to November.  Luis is a damned talented artist and volunteered to cover the inks.  But, just as soon as this was ironed out, our colorist also stepped down.  Again, see above scenario with the inker. I took this pretty hard and basically prepared to just trash the project entirely.  We looked around for an affordable colorist that was as talented as our original guy and discovered there is no such thing.

I basically gave Luis an easy out and told him that given recent events, I would not be at all rejected or hurt if he wanted to bail.  He was almost offended at the idea, I think.  See, I didn’t think about it from his point of view.  As the writer, the story is very important to me and I have spent a hell of a lot of time writing it.  Similarly though, Luis created the looks of these characters and their world.  The project is just as close to him and important to him as it is to me.

So we talked about how to keep it alive.  Luis suggested doing a black and white comic.  I initially rejected the idea but Luis did some arm twisting to convince me.  Not so much arm-twisting really, but talking me off the ledge.  I then realized that there are a lot of comics that have been able to not only pull off the black and white approach, but were stronger because of it.  Sin City is one.  And I believe the title The Walking Dead might ring some bells…

So now join me in current day.  The last two weeks have seen Luis and I in countless phone conversations, fleshing this thing out.  He has reclaimed the initial pages to Issue #1 and, since they need to be touched up for black and white, is touching those up.  He’s doing this while also continuing to knock out panels for Issue #2.

So here’s the plan.  As far as I know, this will not change as it has done in the past.

Birdwatching from Mars Issue #1 will be released in 2011 as an independent title.  We have an early 2011 date in mind which I don’t want to share just yet, but rest assured it will be out sooner rather than later.  The book will average 20-26 pages per issue, all black and white with full color covers.  Being a black and white title, it will be available not only through traditional online means, but also, if I am savvy enough to figure it out, for Kindle and all other e-reader thingamabobs as well.

New issues will be released every 5-6 weeks until either a) it is apparent no one cares or b) the story is told in its full capacity (and my early maps indicate this could take as many as 50 issues).

Of course, in the meantime, we also have the book out to a few houses (one rather large, well-known and respected one).

A big thanks to those of you that have shown interest in Birdwatching from Mars up to this point.  I truly feel that it might just be worth the wait and will continue to post updates here as they come in.

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6 comments

  1. Very exciting…and those pix are gorgeous.

    Admittedly, I’m not a regular comic reader anymore, but I will add this:

    There have been a handful of standalone comics I’ve really gotten into as an adult, mostly Roman Dirge and Jhonen Vasquez—both black and white, mostly.

    Also, I was an avid reader of Heavy Metal magazine in the 80s, and quite a few of the ones that I really liked (TexArcana, and a lot of the one-off stories) were in black and white. I don’t think that takes from the story telling at all.

  2. I LOVE black and white comics. ALL my favorite indies that come to mind started that way, and I still prefer them oftentimes to their color reprints.

    Too cool!

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