Well, it took a little longer than we expected, but the new issue of OLIVIA DARK, MONSTER RESEARCH ASSISTANT has been posted. Not only is it the first official installment of our series (following the introductory vignette of #00), it’s the initial segment of a what should turn out to be a six-episode story arc that will total 30-35 pages or so. While much of my writing has become a real struggle in 2015 for any number of reasons, working on this project has been nothing but pure pleasure.
As I hit “publish” yesterday and sent the webcomic into the world, I had a minor revelation: whenever I turn in the draft of a feature script or my manager sends out a new spec to prospective buyers, I feel a profound anxiety that just isn’t present with making my comics work public. I suspect it has a lot to do with two factors:
- My scripts are essentially sales tools. I’m trying to convince someone to buy my story and see it through to its finished state as a film or a TV show, which leads to…
- Unlike those scripts, the comics that I’m writing are complete works in and of themselves. They’re not sales tools, they’re not blueprints. I’m not asking anyone to take a leap of faith and pay me money to try to interpret them. They are what they are, and Jen the artist and I have the final say in what that exactly entails.
It’s a subtle distinction, but a significant one — obviously I want OLIVIA DARK to succeed just as much as I want my latest spec to succeed. But the definitions of those respective successes are completely different. OD is its own thing, and we’re dictating the terms in which we let others read it; it’s free, you can download it or click through on our website. We want our readership to grow, of course, and ultimately making money from it would be amazing, but most of the satisfaction is in the doing. Whereas no matter how satisfied I feel finishing a script, it’s still an incomplete thing, and I’m at the mercy of whoever reads it to turn it into a piece of media — or to make me change it, or to fire me and pay someone else to change it, etc. Unless I want to produce the script myself, and believe me, no-budget guerrilla filmmaking is about the last thing I want to think about these days. (It’s one thing to run around and beg/borrow/steal to get a film done when you’re 21. Trying that at 41 presents a whole new set of obstacles I’d just as soon avoid.)
In any case, sharing OD with you has none of the angst and hand-wringing I normally associate with writing. I hope you like it. And if you don’t, I’m okay with that.