Marc Alan Fishman: The Light At the End of the Tunnel
For those of you who follow my li’l studio Unshaven Comics on Facebook, you’ll note a recent ramping up of delightful sharing. As pages get completed in The Samurnauts: Curse of the Dreadnuts #4, I’ve been too excited not to immediately share them with our fans. As such, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on a book that has taken more than a year beyond what I’d intended to see it be ready for release.
We’re not there yet, but the end is truly nigh.
For those sticklers who like details: three of us presently are mashing on the necessary color work – with about 20 more pages that need final effects. Everything is lettered. The book file is built. Literally, 20 pages need some over-the-top TLC, and they will be pushed into their final form. To ensure we round third base and dive for home, I’m even taking this coming week off my normal day job to only work on the book. By the time you read my article next week, I should be sending the book off to the printer – and likely attempting to gain back a weeks’ worth of lost sleep.
Not that I’m counting our chickens before they are hatched. Within these last pages is the crux of the issue – if not the entire four book series. Fight scenes dissolve into bigger fight scenes and culminate in a space fight that will push me to my limit with meticulously placed texture maps and Photoshop glow effects. Every single page matters. Every panel needs polish. If this is to be the culmination of five years’ worth of nights, weekends, holidays, and everything in between, there will be no half-measures.
If I am to speculate that my work is successful, I will look forward to those final steps to see the book become a physical, sellable object. The book is pressed into a high-res PDF and is carefully transferred to our printer. A proof is produced, and we spot check every page to ensure the trim doesn’t cut into any major details or words. Then, issues will be printed, cut, bound, and boxed. We’ll pick up issue #4 along with a hefty helping of issues 1, 2, 3, and the not so secret origin and make the 12-hour drive to Dragon Con in Atlanta. And there lies the grail of emotion I truly seek at the end of this process.
For five years, we have minted a minor (very, very, very minor) fortune by uttering a pitch that takes less than 20 seconds to complete. I’d say, “you already know it by now,” but if you know me then you know I’m not missing my window to boldly brand:
And for the last five years, one burning question had remained deftly unanswered by our growing amassment of wonderful fans…
“Is this everything?”
Now, we can now look them dead in the eye, and place the entire series in their lovely mitts. A complete thought (plus a wonderful upsell if they want that origin tale) that took over a thousand hours to piece together across the birth of four kids, the marriage and subsequent moving of one Unshaven lad to Wisconsin and over 102 individual mortgage payments posted. Now for a single Andrew Jackson, the fruit of all of that labor is handed over with glee.
The light at the end of the tunnel represents more than just the culmination of a comic book. It’s the lighting of the torch that announces the next phase to Unshaven Comics. The only place to go from here is up. And now… it’s starting to feel like it’s actually true.