Summary: Curveball, my Latest Official Project, is a “prose comic”—a written serial that attempts to emulate the style and conventions of a comic book as much as possible despite the fact that it has no pictures whatsoever in it. To that end, each issue will update in complete form on the third Wednesday of every month. Along with with the web issue (which is available right now, at curveballchronicles.com) there will be a corresponding eBook release for the Kindle, Nook, iBook, and other e-Readers in all the usual locations.1 The eBook will be cheap—99 cents an issue—and the web version will be available, in all its glory, absolutely free. You can expect podcasts of each issue as well.2
Summary complete. Now on to the main event.
If you’re looking at the above graphic, eyes wide, jaw slack, wondering where I managed to discover this latent mutant ability to draw—don’t panic, I didn’t. I am still the same, lovable, hopelessly inept, clipart-using, perspective destroying artist that Bill Watterson would most certainly never think of talking to at a party, if we went to the same parties (which we don’t).
I didn’t learn to draw. I learned to hire a very talented artist to draw for me.
In my defense, I didn’t actually intend to add another project to my already pretty full plate. When International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretch Day rolled around and I didn’t have any new material to post for free, I looked for something laying around… and stumbled across this thing I did for NaNoWriMo last year, based on an old comic script I never finished because I could never figure out how to convince an artist to draw it. I slapped it up on my site and went about my business, relieved I’d managed to post something (because that day is fun) but not really paying any attention to it. A few days later people (as in, more than one!) started emailing me, asking me to continue the story. It even got comments in the pages themselves.
Encouragement is a heady thing, and I thought “you know, I could keep updating this. Maybe just once a month—something to do to give me a break from The Points Between, something to keep the pulpish parts of my brain entertained. But even then it hadn’t become a Project. It didn’t become a Project until I thought “hey, I could present it like a comic book, then I’d have a thematic ‘excuse’ for only updating once a month.”
This innocent thought is what led to the Project. Taken from Curveball’s “About” Page:
And then I wondered how close to a comic I could actually make it–how many comic book conventions could I adopt and incorporate into a work of prose? How closely could I duplicate the “feel” of a comic book when it didn’t have access to pictures? Suddenly this side project took on a life of its own as I tried to figure out How To Make It Work.
I was consumed by this idea. I started trying to figure out how it might work. I spent a few months coming up with the format, I hired Garth Graham to create the logo and do that cover for me—and he did it in a way that allowed me to re-use it from issue to issue, because I couldn’t afford to hire an artist on an ongoing basis3—and I took a big stylistic gamble and rewrote the entire first issue in a style I’m not entirely comfortable with because I thought the style felt more like comic book narration.
The end result is Curveball Issue One: Death Of A Hero, the first in a continuing serial “prose comic” that I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as you enjoy looking at that amazing cover.
- Though of course, for the grand release, the electronic version is not available now, because its ISBN is still being metaphorically welded to the electronic cover. Or something like that.
- Though, once again, I am experiencing some technical difficulties. Huzzah!
- If everything works out right, there will actually be two covers—a second provided by a second, as yet to be revealed artist—that I’ll be able to switch between. Fingers crossed.