How did RLP end up with Tor? Was there a print deal that was retrofitted into an online serialization, did they approach you, were you looking for a home for RLP and they seemed like a good fit?
Not at all. I wrote the first draft of RLP (and some of the series’ subsequent volumes) nearly nine years ago; this was always a point I was working towards, being able to tell the story of this little office on Miami Beach, both in terms of my abilities and my career. After doing 3 politically-slanted graphic novels since 2004, I felt ready to finally take this one on for real.
Early last year, I’d done a very well-received short comic called Yes We Will about the end of Obama’s first term coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. I had a good experience working with them, and since they were one of the few places I was able to get a page rate on a webcomic, I kept asking their editor about when they’d be interested in doing some long-form original comics. One day, he asked me what I had and he flipped out over what I came back to him with, since it had been this fully-formed world I’d been tinkering with for years already.
Carrying on from that a bit – Or maybe contradicting it entirely – how much of RLP‘s supernatural aspect came from trying to fit into the idea of “a Tor book”? It seems an ideal fit for the publisher, but was that a happy accident?
The story’s evolved as our own American real estate meltdown dovetailed nicely into the scenery of this story that had been my pet project since 2001… but I certainly didn’t tailor it for Tor or anyone else. What you’re reading on Tor has seen practically zero edits from them (typos notwithstanding); I wrote the script exactly how I wanted to draw it, ghosts and drugs and vibrators and fart jokes and all… and that’s how they bought it. The prospect of it being the first of a series seemed to pique their interest as well, though I’ve not yet determined where “Mala Fama”, the series’ second volume, will be published online yet.
The rewriting process on this book has been unique for me; I’ve written the entire book about seven times, and after the third rewrite, I’d completely stopped reediting previous versions. Instead, I’ve started at page one and written down through page 200… and whatever I’d forgotten wasn’t important anyways; the story tightened with each draft. The version I’ve drawn is draft seven, and now I’m doing minute dialogue tweaks as I letter word balloons on the finished pages.
Has there been any pushback or fallout about the drug use in the story?
Nope; I’m getting a lot of high-fives though.