The Return of Wide Awake in America: July/August 2000
July 1, 2000
Hello, David Yurkovich here. After a considerable time away, I’ve managed to squeak out a newsletter. This time, however, it’s being sent via e-mail and is being posted to the Website. It contains information on present and upcoming projects and a few rants and raves...
For a brief period of time I published newsletters and distributed them at cons and via US mail. However, it took considerable time to create the newsletters, and when all was said and done, I’d find myself several weeks off of my drawing schedule. Because I’m rather slow and (I think) meticulous, this caused a good amount of stress on yours truly. So the newsletter more or less vanished and I began to work more and more on larger projects. I believe the e-mail newsletter will serve as a nice way to keep everyone updated on what’s going on at Sleeping Giant Comics, while not taking much time away from my drawing schedule.
The Broccoli Agenda: Over and Done With
It began as a 32-page comic, but grew into a 96-page graphic novella. I look at this project as a mild success. To me it was a success in that I wanted to experiment with larger panels and produce a book that had the look of an old B&W movie. I think on that level it succeeded. Artistically, I believe TBA taught me a lot. I had a lot of fun doing some experimental stuff on many of the panels. During the creation of TBA, I also began to expand my own knowledge of contemporary independent comics, and I believe some of the influences appear therein. Likewise, my interest in children’s book illustration began to grow during this time, and I feel those influences also appear in the art from time to time. I don’t believe I’ll do another story of this length using the 3-panel grid. It was fun and challenging, but I think to do this format again would prove tiresome.
This has been referred to as the “movie of the week” when compared with the cinematic-esque TBA. I like the analogy, actually. Having spent approximately 1 year working in mixed-media (colored pencil, pastel, pen & ink) it was a nice break to return to B&W line art. The s.h.o.p. was written on a train ride from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and back. Although I wrote the story rather quickly, I didn’t begin drawing it for another 9 months (since I was completing TBA and a short Death by Chocolate story, “The Eternity Pasta,” [for the Murder by Crowquill anthology] at the time).
Drawing the s.h.o.p. was a lot of fun. It was also a nice ending point for the cast of Threshold (a name that I have come to loathe in part thanks to Avatar’s “anthology” series of the same name). One of the last items I completed on the s.h.o.p. was the inside front cover. I never would have imagined that such an insignificant item would have such an impact on my future work (details follow below).
Haunted: On sale this October
I wanted to switch gears for a bit. For the last few years, with very little exception, I’d been doing alternative super-hero and detective-esque pieces. I wanted to do something that was for kids AND adults. With the assistance of Dianne Pearce, a Philadelphia poet and short story scribe, I did just that. Haunted contains several short stories penned by Dianne, one story written by me, and adaptations of some classic tales including “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs. Working on Haunted was a new experience for me in many ways. “The Monkey’s Paw” is told using full-text pages with opposing illustrations versus sequential drawings. Initially, I attempted to draw the story sequentially and use minimal text. However, Jacobs’ text is so compelling, so rich with detail, that it felt wrong to alter it. Hence, I decided to spotlight some of the scenes with larger illustrations and run the full script as it originally was published in 1902. If you have a chance, check out Haunted. It’s 48 pages for $3.95 and should be in stores the first week of October.
Altercations: The Next Big Thing
Altercations, a 120-page original graphic novel, begins production this week. The script is finished, having been written from July 17 through August 13. Ironically, this story grew out of the tiny half-page “news story” that appears on the inside lower front cover of the s.h.o.p. Initially, I was going to produce Altercations as an all-encompassing history of super-hero activity in the US during the 20th century. However, upon researching the countless events of the last 100 years, it soon became clear that I needed to add a tighter focus to the project. The final outcome is 10 stories of varying length, featuring new characters and a few familiar faces. I believe the total cast consists of 45 or so characters. The stories are set during different times in history; some overlap actual historical events, others don’t. I plan on having a blast with this project, though I don’t expect it will be completed until mid-to-late 2001.
I am considering collecting the Death by Chocolate stories into a single volume for release in Spring 2001. This will be the 5-year anniversary of the first DBC story. I’ll probably include a short, new DBC story and a sketchbook section. This is all kind of speculative, but I think it’s a sensible plan. Details to follow.
The aforementioned Dianne Pearce and myself are presently collaborating on a series of children’s books. Actually, Dianne has already written several great stories, the first of which I’m only beginning to illustrate (slow poke that I am). We will be actively submitting to a variety of publishers in the weeks and months ahead. Updates to follow.
The Waiting Place
I worked with Sean McKeever and Mike Norton for the last several months providing layouts for Vol 2 of TWP. The experience of working with these guys was very pleasant. However, I realized a couple of months back that I needed to really focus on self-publishing. Thus, I reluctantly withdrew from TWP. If time permits, I would like to return; however, a lot depends on the progress I make in the months ahead on both Altercations and the children’s books. Sean, meanwhile,was instrumental in developing my Website. Sean’s own site is very cool and can be found at:
Sean McKeever: http://www.seanmckeever.com
Reviews, Interviews, Graphics, etc.
More details on Haunted and other Sleeping Giant books can be found at:
http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/july00/yurkovich.shtml (an in-depth interview by Marcia Allass)
Thanks to the many reviewers, especially Marcia Allass, Cliff Biggers, Marc Bryant, and Greg McElhatton who took the time to write about the books and pluck my brain for information. You guys are the best!
Questions and comments are always welcome. Please send commentary to: e-mail