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10 July 2006 @ 11:20 am
Makeshift Miracle Book  
Sorry I haven’t posted much since I got back. The post-vacation/pre-San Diego Comic Con time here has been a tornado of things to do, but not necessarily in a bad way.

The print proofs for this summer’s convention-exclusive Udon Sketchbook look amazing. The 48 page full color booklet is jammed with the best personal works or rough material we gathered from the crew. You will not be disappointed. Last year I had 2 pages inside with a mix of old and current work. This year it contains 4 pages of my artwork, all current stuff culled from the sketch paintings and work I’ve been posting here since mid-May. The sketchbook is a great cross section of our gang and a bit of a time capsule as far as who was involved with the company and what kind of work they’re capable of producing.

And then there’s the book.

I debated about whether or not to post this announcement so soon. I’ve been working my butt off on it since I got back, but haven’t posted anything, so I was worried that people would think my personal artwork kick had died down or that I’d gotten post-Cuba lazy; Quite the opposite actually.

Ever since Makeshift Miracle wrapped up in mid 2003 I’ve had people ask me about when I was going to get it published. I’ve talked with a couple small publishers about releasing it, gotten some print quotes here and there, but never been able to move forward with it. Life got in the way - work commitments, moving back to Toronto, relationship stuff... the further away I got from it the more I wondered if it was worth putting in print at all. People would bring it up every so often after that, but I’d mentally back burnered the whole thing indefinitely.

Some of my friends in Toronto, most notably Chris, Mike and Eric, really hammered me about it.

“Stop wallowing in whether you should do it and just do it.”
“You’ve got a complete graphic novel that had a solid readership. Are you an idiot?”
“You’re part owner of a fucking publisher! Why isn’t Udon publishing your book?”
“If you don’t get Makeshift Miracle out by SPX, I will kill you.”

You have to understand that my boss Erik doesn’t read indy books. His mainstream access and contacts are unbelievable, but he’s not a web comic guy or involved with small press. Me asking the company to print my surreal coming-of-age story just felt wrong for the longest time. Publishing with another company would mean less control, less royalties and more headaches, but I didn't even consider Udon an option. It didn't matter how many readers I had or how much praise I'd gotten for it, I never asked because I didn't want it to feel like vanity publishing.

The conversation ended up going something like this:

Jim: “Um, Erik. I was wondering... You know my web comic thingee, right?”
Erik: ”Makeshift Man or something... yeah. What about it?”
Jim: “Do you think it would be possible for Udon to publish it? I’ll take care of all the pre-press stuff on it and make sure it doesn't lose a dime for the company, I just need to know if you’re interested at all.”
Erik: “You mean it’s done?”
Jim:"Uh, yeah. It was done before I even met you.”
Erik: “Oh yeah? All I saw were those preview pages on your site. How big is it?”
Jim: “172 pages.”
Erik: “Holy shit, dude. Why didn’t you tell me?”

The conversation rolled from there. Last week I wrote the solicitation text for the 2007 book market catalogues and Diamond Previews solicitation that will come out in a couple months. I've gotten printer templates and started laying the book out, as well as remastering and relettering the pages. I’ll go over the joys and nightmares of that in my next post.

The important thing is that it’s actually going to come out.

There’s a lot to do before it’s ready and you may get sick of my posts about it, but right now I’m pretty damn happy.

Thanks, as always, for your love and support.
michael_b_lee on July 10th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
Holy shit! That's awesome! Congratulations!
GrinningSkullgrinningskull on July 10th, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)
Jim! That's fricken awesome.
make sure you keep things updated. I want to know when it comes out!
Brandon Sondereggerscrubbo on July 10th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Yay! That is a book I will definately pick up. And then maybe after reading it a few dozen times I will understand that whole tree in the living room thing.
Matt: Would you please just let me ROCK?mattbayne on July 10th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
Good, good.
(Deleted comment)
zubkavichzubkavich on July 10th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
I will definitely be at the Udon booth throughout the show. I'll post our booth # and info later this week.

I think I'm a San Diego lifer now. :P
Ddextra on July 10th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
oh yeah- will udon be a part of the white wolf phenomenon at gen con indy this year?
overeager on July 10th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
You better not go "big time" on me when i send mine to you to sign it :D
Ddextra on July 10th, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
congrats- i can't wait!
Catalyticcatalytic on July 10th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely be picking up a copy when it comes out. I really loved that comic.

Here's hoping I'll see you at San Diego, maybe have a chance to chat.
Ruinedruinednet on July 10th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
That is awesome. I'll definitely grab a book.
Scott "Scix" Maddixscixual on July 10th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
Awesome -- I'd lov a MM book.
T-Duck: Buckygrafxman256 on July 10th, 2006 07:58 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! That's awesome! :D
Virtue and wineocarina on July 10th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
I was JUST thinking about MM today, Jim. This is awesome!
command_dcommand_d on July 10th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
Dude, I'm so happy you're doing this. I look forward to selling the hell out of it!

I'm trying to make it up for the beginning of September, hopefully we can get together while I'm in town.
jenngojenngo on July 10th, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)

that erik is a smart, smart man!

i can't wait to buy it...and hopefully get it autographed...
(Anonymous) on July 10th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
About Freakin' time
Finally, Jim!

-Clint H.
bryanywbryanyw on July 11th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC)
gwalla: lon chaneygwalla on July 13th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC)
Hot damn!