END CHAPTER ONE OF THE YOUNG PROTECTORS: “LEGENDARY.”
Uncensored (and extra-sexy!) version of this page available for $5+ Patrons here. 🙂
Let’s everyone please thank Julie Wright for her amazing work on this chapter! She’s done a truly amazing job with this.
Thank you so much, Julie! You rock! 🙂
So this has been a heck of a month. There was that Patreon thing. It now looks like it’s going to be resolved in a good way, but as you know, I was putting in some serious energy and time working to make sure my concerns and the concerns of our Patrons were heard. I’m glad for the result, and it’s reaffirmed my faith in Patreon, but it was definitely… a thing.
And, at the same time, there was actually something else going on that has required my full attention. The current Young Protectors’ storyline ,”Legendary,” is a standalone, three-chapter comics arc. As you know, my plan with the “Legendary” arc was that Julie Wright, our guest artist, would complete the first chapter while Adam DeKraker took some much-needed time off. And then Adam would resume his linework duties with Chapter Two and finish off the arc with Chapter Three.
But something has come up—something unexpected—and so Adam is now no longer available to start on Chapter Two. He’s going to need to extend his break by a good chunk longer. We were both very much looking forward to working together after Julie finished, and I was really hoping we could figure out a way to make this work so Adam could still do Chapter Two, but after putting our heads together, it’s clear that there’s just no way he could get started on Chapter Two in the foreseeable future. Adam is a true professional and he’s only going to commit to something he knows he’s going to be able to give his full attention to and see through to the end. He loves you guys, and he loves The Young Protectors (and he’s personally OK, so you don’t need to worry), but he let me know that while he feels confident he’ll be available for Chapter Three, with the way things are right now, Chapter Two would just not be possible.
Obviously, I’m disappointed. I love working with Adam, and I wrote Chapters Two and Three specifically with him in mind. But I’ve been making comics for almost ten years now, and I’ve learned that sometimes life just happens and that even the best of plans fall through. While I can’t get into the details, I understand and support Adam’s decision, and I’m looking forward to being able to work together with him on Chapter Three.
A Big Deal
But this did put me in a bit of a pickle. You see, Julie was not available for another chapter of “Legendary”—she was just available for this one “guest comic” chapter—and I don’t have another backup linework artist. I have very high standards for the art I commission (especially “canon” art) and, as art projects go, the pace of webcomics is especially demanding. (That’s why so many of them never finish.) It takes a truly exceptional artist to create the kind of work we do here. Typically, when I’m looking to hire someone new, I’d go through the long process of an open call, sift through hundreds of applications, and then audition several artists with fully-paid test pages.
But that process can take months, and at the end of it, there’s still no guarantee I’d find an artist who would work out. I was now faced with the very real possibility of a several month-long hiatus for The Young Protectors. And depending on how that impacted the support here on Patreon, that could very well mean the end of my comics. This was, officially, a very big deal. And one that was pretty scary for me, to be honest.
Justin Hall Saves The Day With A Recommendation
But one of the really nice things about the LGBT comics community is that it’s full of really awesome people. One of those awesome people is Justin Hall. Justin teaches comics at the graduate level, is a cartoonist in his own right, and he was also the editor of the Eisner-nominated and Lambda-winning No Straight Lines: 4 Decades of Queer Comics. We’ve known each other for some time now through Prism Comics, and I’ve also helped out on occasion with classes in his graduate program. I figured if anyone would be able to help, it would be him.
I reached out to Justin and told him my situation: I needed somebody extraordinary to work with, knowing full well that this was very short notice. I told him I needed a true professional artist who could not only deliver on our relentless schedule but also deliver exceptional work. I told him I was in a real bind. Justin didn’t skip a beat—he immediately gave me a list of possibilities off the top of his head.
And at the top of that list was
Tana Ford is an award winning artist who is probably best known for her run on Marvel’s Silk. She has done work for IDW, Marvel, Vertigo and WIRED magazine, including titles like Star Trek, Jem and the Holograms, Spider-Man, Venom and Black Panther. Tana’s creator-owned lesbian comic book series “Duck!” won a Queer Press Grant in 2010 while the sequel “Duck! Second Chances” was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award (the same year I was a finalist with Artifice, actually!)
Justin immediately put the two of us in touch, and it was clear right away that not only was Tana a true professional at the top of her game, but that she also totally got The Young Protectors. She loved the characters, she loved the world, and even though it meant she’d need to work around a commitment for a new Black Panther comic for Marvel, she let me know that she “would love to be part of this… Let’s make some beautiful art together.”
And that was some very good news.
So, what’s next?
This is the last page of Chapter One of “Legendary.” Tana and I have already begun work on the thumbnail sketches for the first pages of Chapter Two, and I’m really pleased with how things are coming along. Because of Tana’s Black Panther commitment, The Young Protectors will need to take the weeks of Christmas and New Years off, but on January 10th, we’ll be able to start Chapter Two and pick up with “Legendary” right where we left off, updating twice a week as always.
Even though I am disappointed that I won’t be able to work with Adam as soon as I wanted to (and I’m sure you are too), I feel very grateful to have an artist of Tana’s caliber working on this project as the linework artist (and, of course, I’m also very grateful that I won’t have to shut The Young Protectors down, which was a real possibility.)
I hope you’ll please join me in making Tana feel welcome to our community here. She’s let me know she’s really excited to create art for y’all, and is looking forward to getting to know such thoughtful and engaged readers.
I remember when I first started in webcomics, somebody explained to me that, more than anything else, success in comics was about resilience, rolling with the punches. This was definitely a big punch, but I feel lucky to have landed on my feet with Tana now at my side. And, as always, I appreciate your support and all-around awesomeness. Your enthusiasm and insightful responses to this story makes all the hard work worthwhile. I couldn’t do this without you.
You’re all superheroes to me. 🙂
So! Kyle thinks Spooky is invulnerable! But Spooky begs to differ. Who’s right? And where do we go from here?
Tune in Wednesday, January 10th to find out! Hope to see you there! 😀
(And HAPPY HOLIDAYS, everyone!)