As you all know I recently finished art for the second issue of The Golden Apple, and that I was not at all happy with it. It was great while I was doing it, but stepping back to look at it I saw nothing but grey on all the pages and it made me so sad. I've also been thinking of my future career and what I really want to accomplish with my work, the statements that I really want to make, and what my stories are about.
If you've been following along with last week's blogs, you'll know that I'm (still) trying to create a comic in seven days. This was the project that brought me back to what my work means to me, and what I want to say in my pages. If you look at IOF's social media profiles, one consistent message is that my work is meant to tell stories of queer, black people discovering magic and mysticism. There's a through-line in all my stories, but the theme in each piece I create is "queer, black, mysticism," the lane I'm trying to stay in.
When The Night Is Our Victory was released, it was a great moment of triumph for me, since I had produced a really great book, documented the whole process, and made some great art. But it wasn't necessarily a "queer" story. Then came The Nightmare Tree, which also was not a queer story and had some "okay" art. It was a fun story to work on, but I think I was more interested in just finishing a book every month to really consider my theme. When I started working on The Golden Apple, I was finally making a queer story and was super excited about what I was going to say with it. Then I finished all the art, looked at it and thought, "what is this trash?" Mostly I was thinking, "How can I go from The Night Is Our Victory to The Golden Apple and have the art look like it's going backwards?"
As I worked on the script for Oracle, an upcoming project that I just HAD to make, I realized that not only had I not made a comic script in a LONG time, I've been flying by the seat of my pants in comics making for so long because I've been trying to be prolific instead of proficient. No wonder the art was so bad for my last two books, I hadn't put in the time to make great art! The conceit of the seven-day comic, for me, was how fast can I make a book and it only addressed some of my comic-making shortcomings, such as the need for a script and my efficient use of my limited time. I literally hadn't done anything right in my work since TNIOV and it showed and here I was challenging myself to do it again as though that were going to make me better.
So here's where IOF is now:
The "seven-day comic" challenge is on hold until further notice.
Oracle, the seven-day comic project will now get the time and attention it deserves with a longer production time until it's done right
One Act is under re-development to match the IOF through-line of "queer, black mysticism" and will retain its natural edge of being short, 15-page one-shots published in a four-story, annual collection coming Spring 2022
Night's Name, the follow-up to The Night Is Our Victory, will get scripted this year in preparation of an early 2022 release for the first book
The first issue of a continuous series that I've been wanting to do since IOF day 1 is in development, and the first issue will be out in the Fall.
This is IOF refocusing into what it's supposed to be. The "Fantasy" is about black, queer folks finding their lives touched and changed because of magic and reconnecting with their ancestral origins, and how they bring that power to the rest of their people, ultimately leading to a rich future of queer, black visibility and identity. And as a one-person show, I have to give myself time to tell these stories right, and to give myself the time needed to get through them. Sure, one book per month, and with the right planning I can meet that schedule.
IOF has enough projects to carry through for the next six years. There's no rush, the stories will get told and all will be good.