Tales of the Uncanny Flies Forward!
Stephen R. Bissette and I finally have a page count for our upcoming fake history book Tales of the Uncanny: N-Man & Friends, Volume 1! We started this joke project thinking that we could possibly get a few mini-comics out of it. Now, it’s at 340 pages!
The image to the left is an example of some of the amazing artwork we’ve gotten for this project (artwork by Jay Piscopo and Stephen R. Bissette, copyright Stephen R. Bissette 2009).
340 pages is a lot of work to design and since Steve and I need to get Volume 2 rolling before the CCS seniors begin their thesis year, we brought in some help.
CCS student Andy Christensen is our new Production Assistant. He has already done an amazing job jumping into the project and making sense of our notes, which Steve and I understand but not necessarily anyone else. I already feel at ease knowing Andy’s got his responsibilities under control.
Katherine Roy will also be helping the project as lead designer and thank God, ’cause if Steve and I were left to produce the final product, it wouldn’t look nearly as good.
Steve recently did a two-part interview for Comicbook Resources. It’s extremely thorough. If you ever wanted to know anything about this project, visit:
In the interview, Steve said some great things about me as a co-editor and why he wanted to work with me on this project. Thank you, Steve. It’s been a pleasure.
Rather than tackle this project alone, you’re editing the book with Tim Stout. Why did you bring Tim onboard and what does he bring to the project?
Tim Stout just graduated from the Center for Cartoon Studies this May, along with his wife Katherine Roy and an incredible group of classmates. Tim’s background is in filmmaking, both narrative and documentary, and his primary interest is in storytelling in all its forms, in all media.
Tim’s class was the first-ever at CCS to wrestle with a second-semester icebreaker we dubbed the “Golden Age Project.” In short, the students are divided into four groups, and each group is assigned a particular genre, each with a faculty member serving as editor. They are assigned creating, completing and publishing, from scratch, a 24-page full-color comic book in their assigned genre in two weeks flat – just two weeks! – as if it were being created and published in the late-’40s or early 1950s. Tim was part of the science-fiction group, under editor James Sturm.
By the second day of production work, I noticed Tim was working up an editorial coordination of duties chart: a spreadsheet designating who was doing what on their comic, what stage they were at, and so on. I’d only seen one editor in my professional life using such a system, and that was the late Julie Schwartz at DC – I had worked, briefly, with Julie in the 1980s penciling a sequence for Robert Loren Fleming and Keith Giffen’s “Ambush Bug” (it’s in the “Showcase” trade collection of “Ambush Bug,” pp. 370-373, if anyone’s interested). I asked Tim where he’d seen Julie’s charting system, and Tim looked a bit gob smacked and said, “Uh, Julie who?” Tim had worked up the system on his own and was coordinating the flow of collective work on the science-fiction comic group.
I shut up and observed, off and on over the two weeks, and was quite impressed with Tim’s efficiency and abilities working essentially in the role of line producer or line editor, if you will, seeing to the completion and coordination of every task to the smallest detail. The entire group did a tremendous job – hell, all four groups did amazing work – but it was Tim’s systematic approach that stuck with me. The thought occurred to me that he’d be a hell of a co-editor if I ever did anything requiring that kind of tight coordination of multiple creators.
Part of Tim’s skill set, in which he’s wise beyond his years, is story analysis. Part of his CCS thesis was the writing and publication of a terrific little booklet, “Short Notes on Long Comics” (2010, go here to order a copy immediately), which emerged from his ongoing blog writing about comics, graphic novels and storytelling (see Tim’s website). Tim knows his shit, but he’s also open and receptive to brainstorming new ideas and shaping them at a level I haven’t enjoyed since the old days with Rick Veitch, Steve Perry, John Totleben or Alan Moore.
Tim has been tremendous to work with. He’s sharp, creative, organized, quick on his feet, a close listener, articulate and has ended up scripting a fair amount of material as well. Like all creative collaborations, it could have been touch-and-go, but we work well together and Tim has been a real boon across the board – at this point, I can honestly say this is one of the best creative working relationships I’ve enjoyed in years.
Some smart publisher is going to snap Tim up at some point, but until then, we’ll get all we can done on these characters and proposed volumes, and I’ll count my lucky stars Tim was up for it.