It is DONE!
When you spend as long as I have working on a project like OINK, your never really imagine it being 'done'. A project like this it feels like there's always just more work to do and the finish line is never really in sight...in fact if you even think about the finish line during development you tend to demoralize yourself because the amount of work to completion is often simply...overwhelming, but one day you go to the post office and there it is...the package.
Last week my wife Heather, who supports the heck out of me, went to our PO Box to get the mail. She walked in the door and came up to my studio showing me this standard looking package with the Dark Horse logo on it, asking me if I knew what it was. I wasn't sure, so I held it in my hand it was definitely a book, and suddenly It hit me that everything I had worked so hard for over the past 5 years was contained in that unassuming yellow package.
I'd like to share this experience for posterity...mostly so when my future self is mired in tasks, worried, stressed, and feeling overwhelmed with all the work yet to be done I can look back at this and remember that the the finish line will be there at some point. This will help me remember that when you are doing a project like this don't think about it, don't dream about it, just know it's coming and focus on making the best image you can make today, right now, lets go!
My first feeling was sort of deer in the headlights....which you can see above.
I cut the package down the side and slid the book out facing away from me so I could not see it. I really was absolutely terrified and I didn't want my face to show disappointment that I would surely feel when I turned it over and saw the calamity of errors that I had left unchecked.
My Second feeling was absolute total dread...I dreaded opening it only to be greeted my production errors...the mountain of things that I might have overlooked. I suddenly thought about how busy I was when my editor Daniel was sending me proofs...had I signed off on them? Did I reply to his questions? I remember submitting a drop where I had mistakenly flipped two pages which made them read out of order. I thought about the CMYK conversions, had that washed out the color from the RGB versions? I wondered about the binding, the paper samples, the cover stock and I chastised myself for not asking to see samples or be more involved in that part...had I trusted Dark Horse too much? The terror of thinking 'what if its absolute shit?' I just wasted the past five years of my life on something nobody will care about...and more importantly the poor people who have to buy this terrible thing...all this and more is pumping through my brain at the speed of thought. I'm going to turn this book over and fall on the ground sobbing...that's literally about half the flood of negative thoughts that I felt between the moment of this picture and turning it over to open it for the first time.
Then in the briefest moment as I turned it over and I felt its weight, the grip of the heavy matte cover cover stock, my eyes still closed I was filled with a sense of elation and triumph reserved for Olympic athletes...I thought to myself. ' You fucking did it you jerk enjoy this! You KNOW you put everything you had into this book, you KNOW you left nothing in the tank. You KNOW you just about dang near killed yourself making it...You KNOW it's going to be great because you spent the time to make it great, just open your eyes and look at it!'
So I did, and so it was...everything was perfect, beyond my wildest expectations. All the fears and doubts melted away and were replaced a warm sense of pride and accomplishment.
I have to commend Dark Horse for being completely amazing through the whole process. My editor Daniel Chabon is a visionary young man with an incredibly bright career in front of him. A lucky few editors have a genuine 'touch' in comics, where they not only know how to pick great projects, but they know how to keep everyone smiling all the way through, Daniel is that kind of editor. I also want to thank the production staff at Dark Horse, and also the amazing artists who contributed pinups to the book
I hope to see you at a convention where I can sign your book and thank you personally for supporting this title.