Committing to a series is a risk. Sometimes the creator dies before it’s finished, or loses interest and gives up. Sometimes the creator isn’t capable of handling the setup in a satisfying way, or turns out to be awful in some unexpected fashion. Sometimes the whole thing gets cancelled and there’s no proper conclusion. Sometimes the thing is so successful that people keep making new instalments long after they’ve run out of ideas and it all gets a bit sad and repetitive. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
However, if people don’t take a risk on a series, you can be sure it won’t work out. Publishers ditch authors with low sales. Netflix cancels shows that merely do ok. It’s incredibly frustrating for audiences and creators alike.
Which leads me round to the Hopeless, Maine graphic novel series I’ve been working on for the past ten years or so. It was written with a plot arc from the start. While I’ve tinkered with that, it’s basically the story I intended to tell all along. We had a false start with a crappy American publisher who messed us about a lot. However, we’ve got a secure home with Sloth Comics, and a strong relationship with Outland Entertainment who are doing hardcover editions. The penultimate book came out with Sloth this year, and we’re talking about 2023 for the final instalment.
That final instalment is most of the way to done and handed in. Over-penciling, scanning and doing the lettering remains. These are the smaller jobs. And then it’s done, the series is finished and the story is complete. If you were wondering about having a look but don’t enjoy the uncertainty attendant on reading a series, I think it’s safe to say that this is no longer an issue for Hopeless, Maine graphic novels.
This is the last graphic novel we’re going to do. It’s a labour intensive form, and doesn’t give us much time for anything else. We want to explore other kinds of storytelling more – in film, on stage and on paper. It’s not the end of the Hopeless, Maine project, but my intention from here is that everything we do should stand alone so that you don’t have to have read the whole thing to have a shot at it.