Dear alter egos. . .
I thought, what with a push on Patreon (details below), updated website content (Coming Soon, Resources, Submissions, Français, and more), and new newsletter (I finally found a system that I like… yay!), and all that, that maybe I could officially share my vision for 2020, given that certain dates may change, but that cornerstone elements will remain. So... Thanks. For sticking by me, and remembering your appreciation for my work, because this is it...
I'm calling on you, the powerful-individual-you, [yes : YOU!!!] as part of my family, and my community. What I want to share with you today is profoundly exciting to me, it bookends a ten year evolution, and I think you'll dig it so much. This is for you if you were ever-ever a fan or admirer of my work, ever.
So!!? Onwards and upwards! Check it...
[continued below image...]
We've got the mental health coming out [from before the holidays] out of the way, and my continued monthly schedule on Patreon marks an indicative return to the scene (I just released all of the original ink drawings for my new 24 hour book there). After many a year cultivating my hermit mystique, I am returning from my mountain - that's academic, now.
Remain more Codename : Again behind-the-scenes things, exclusive to Patreon, as we look forward to the book itself, a surprising project that I spawned during the last 24hour comic book day. And, yes, it will indeed be printed too. I love the colors and the story so much!! Gah!!! I did the colors after the event and it was so worth it. You’ll love it so much too (see above and below!!).
I’d like to ask you something important. Something about the way I can best share my art with you. I know I'm still at the beginnings of the year 2020, but I know that this year is different from the entire genesis decade that I was on the scene in Canadian comics from 2010 to present. One ask...
One. Big! Ask!!!
[please see below...]
Here's my one ask [please open your mind, it's my best, I promise...] :
I want you to join my Patreon. Please. This is so the best. Everybody / you : I want you to consider the minimal sacrifice of your hard earned coffee money, and I'll bless you with an insider's look at my artistic process and drawings and designs, plus some nonfiction and songs too. I want you to think about this intrinsic value, which is to bring you into my studio, almost literally, and to share each victory in the process. For peanuts, man!
Pencils. Inks. Colors. All of it! And the final books. More even! It's the easiest AND best way for us to connect through the art. It's a secure monthly subscription like Netflix for all of your magical realism comic book needs, from the fantastical to the intuitive. By me.
I want to be your ambassador of the guts and soul stuff in the comic book sphere... Stand by me! Stand with me!!! Here's why...
I've learned a lot during my days as a hermit [#HermitMystique!!]. But as I walk out of my cave, and I start walking down the mountain, I see you, getting closer, waiting to see the new art. All the new art. It’s here man. It’s all here. Well… it's on Patreon first and all the BTS stuff is exclusive there also. Please look. It won’t hurt. It might help. :)
This is for real. This is the ultimate interchange between artist-patron, like in ancient times. It reminds me of the classic models between benefactors and inventors and painters of the old days, of the Renaissance. Of always. As innovation wanted, it's now available to you and me, to us.
So I give you my best, and all of it, sometimes raw and right from the drafting table, and you get all of it for a dollar or two, man. A coffee-drinking-dollar!!! It's a bit edgy, and I'm very passionate about the work, it's conceptually intense, but it's also beautiful and fun and you can share with your older kids too, and teenagers. This is me, who would have loved to read these books when I was that age. And I even show you how I did it. Ah! So awesome!
Please trust me. Press this link : www.patreon.com/mirrorcomics... Takes 2 minutes to join.
There's a lot to discover. See the latest, see the greatest. I'm back. I'm serious. And with your patronage, I could keep doing this forever!!! Ah! Life!!! Amazing!!!
My biggest takeaway, from the silence of the last few years, is that I do this art thing for readers. Not for me, even though it's completely fulfilling and is a reward in and of itself. The formative years have passed. Now let's walk, onward, and upward, together, into the sunset. I'm here. And I'm not going anywhere. Art is my home. Comics is my farm. And you are welcome here, anytime.
[More news below...]
Okay! Here's the news... :
The new newsletter sign up is easier, and you can find it at www.tinyletter.com/mirrorcomics. I hope you'll share It with your family and friends, in case someone you care about might like to explore my magic and mayhem laced comics.
It has been extremely difficult for me to write you emails in the past, mostly because the whole concept of sales funnels and turning a newsletter into several segments that target certain users, and not others, really upset me. I never did that. I always figured that I would share everything with each of you, everywhere that I could...
The new system - tiny letter - makes it as easy as sending an email, and does not confuse me at all, where the previous system was like a maze!! Ah! All is well now... Haha!!! It's not like I couldn't figure it out. That's not it. But the idea of becoming a professional email sender was never my goal (though I love writing emails... go figure). Ha!!
The publishing ambitions of the year have been talked about in the coming soon page at www.mirrorcomics.com/coming-soon.html, which went up recently. Make no mistake : I'm back on the scene and I'm eager to make, share, and talk comics... Let’s do this! But I can't do it alone!!!
The platforms I'll be using include both digital and print distribution cornerstones, including Patreon, Gumroad, ComiXology [soon!], Amazon, SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others.
For now, until we can all retire in a commune on the Moon, the internet allows for all of this...
Sigh. It's not perfect, but...
Here, I can connect with family and friends, colleagues, fans, readers, critics, the press, and with you, through the dizzying choice of systems that permit for this, perfect or not!
But let's focus on one thing at a time!
The most exciting place, right now, as I've said, has got to be www.patreon.com/mirrorcomics, for me, with a slew of behind-the-scenes and main releases coming out more frequently than ever! It's a subscription service for creations by artists, like me... It's quite like your standard Netflix or Disney+. Except! The subscription model is much more affordable, and you get all my best indie comics - and other things that I'm making, in real time - starting at a dollar or two, and the premium bonus tiers offer really interesting - and collectable - physical art for your walls and polymer bags!! The feedback on bonus tiers is amazing! It's fantastic to be able to share such intimate details about the works with patrons first, and, often, exclusively...!!
I hope you'll join me! (Just last week, I was shipping out these really cool poster sets!)... Note that my Patreon includes all main books in the Mirror Comics Studios library, some new, some old, and exclusive content available only to patrons, like early access, behind-the-scenes, and it's basically like you're in the studio with me as the books evolve!!! So please check it out!!!
Okay. By now you should want to check it out, at least. You can also search for Dominic Bercier and / or Mirror Comics Studios on the main www.patreon.com page. Should show up! Go for it! It's exciting!!! Remember me as you discover the thousands of other artists on the site!! Patreon is powerful, intelligent and cool. If you want to see my new work. If you want to see how I assemble my projects... holy moly...
Click here to discover my page right right now!!!
But... maybe you're a little more... traditional, let's say, and you simply want to buy single products, finished and ready to read, one at a time!?!? Then www.gumroad.com/mirrorcomics is something you should definitely check out! I offer PDF editions of books, and songs. Note that all the main releases are available here also (just not the exclusive content available only to patrons)! Pricing is set at 1$ per chapter (NEW!), a recent price adjustment making access to digital content more affordable than ever. Enjoy!
Maybe you're even more traditional, asking... when can I buy physical books, already!?
Well... you can!!! You can already buy Hold My Hand on Amazon, right now.
[But, you know, that's like, one book, right!? Heh. Fair enough]... I give you!!! 2020!!!
Mark 2020 in your calendar!!! It's all coming at you, like in 3D!!!! I promise you it's coming!! It's coming in droves o wonder!!! It. Is. Coming!!!! Joining Patreon is the best way to be there alongside me as I create. You can even go back into the archives, and it will be like you never missed a thing!!!
As outlined in a recent blog post, you now know the hardships I've endured to get to this new place of comfort and Zen, and have thus returned to a positive and productive lifestyle that has me going ahead with all of this. So! In the end... I've made a huge decision, and have also chosen to… self-publish. Again. Ah!!!
Choosing this route was long, tedious and painful, but I always wanted to have control over my own creations (I've written about this quite a bit). I’ve had a lot of offers and have heard a lot of restrictions alongside them - I have often said NO. So… until I get the blank check to do whatever I want, I just... do whatever I want, until someone writes me a blank check. Haha!!
Where!? Somewhere that allows access to as many people as possible, a bridge between me and you... in person, in print, and mobile. Stay tuned!!! Ah! Awesome!
When!? On Patreon first, then on other channels.
Who!? It's just me (and my collaborators). As for the company proper... It's just me.
Why!? Why go down this road again!?
Systems have evolved. I have evolved. Tech has evolved. Etc. But one thing remains... I love books as I've intended them to be appreciated, both digital and in print, and so do others! And to do this all alone!? This means you get my vision, and the books in the shape that they want to contain! This way allows me to be the most authentic and allow the work to remain pure... and in this wild and crazy world, I would imagine that this is precious, and rare, indeed!
It doesn't look like much, now (The PopTerra Collection, a few months of recent releases of things I'd put out of circulation, plus the title and ink drawing reveals of the new 24 hour thing), but I know that with everything that I have planned and that I'm currently releasing, you'll see something evolve, including tons of behind-the-scenes things, frequently, monthly, and you'll love a more ambitious schedule for main releases than you've ever seen, ever, and I actually think it will be super exciting... for all of us.
For me, at least, it will finally look like the publishing projects I'd always dreamed of... SIGNAL Saga, a new 24 hour book, maybe some new nonfiction books and some songs. Whatever! Bring it!
For more details, please do me a solid, and check out, thoroughly and for one more time, all of the details at www.MirrorComics.com, just in case you missed something. Things have really grown. It’s pretty cool. I will be doing roundup type emails as frequently as I can, here :
If nothing else, please subscribe here, and you’ll know the big picture at all times. :) It's free!!!
Thanks everyone! Thank you so much. :)
Dominic, Mirror, Ottawa. :)
P.S. : while you're there, be sure to check out my updated Resources page, Submissions (ooh la la!), the Fr tab where I propose a français initiative and dimension to Mirror, and a revamped navigation system and footer, at top and bottom, with easy to follow "who what when where why and how" classifications of several sections of the site to keep things organized [as the site grows].
P.P.S. : the full color illustrations on this post are from Codename : Again [not actual title]. These unlettered and full color images will be available very very soon on Patreon, exclusively, and to check out the art before I colored them even, again, check out Patreon. it's already there!!! Want to know the title!? It's there too!!!
Haha!!! This could be a lot of fun. Join me!!!
As always, thanks for your time. Merci beaucoup! :) -db. :)
[okay one final image...]
Bye! Thanks again! -d. :)
A year ago I was drawing up a storm. Then it stopped. Then I sobbed. Then I opened up to new opportunities. Then I smiled…
As if by magic, a series of clients and collaborators appeared out of nowhere, and suddenly I was busy up until the New Year just passed.
Among these projects was Dominion Jack, a Canadian Superhero capable of channelling people powers, created by my dear friend Jack Briglio and first visualised by Ron Salas who created a solid foundation. Jack only needed three short vignettes, but I would pencil, ink, colour, letter, design as well as create a whole new villain in the process, thereby illustrating a comics story with hundreds of figures. I drew so many people into this thing. I think one could turn this into a drinking game [that you would lose].
As time passed I jumped from drawing to inking to colouring to lettering to designing and all over again and again, but finally, this week, on Wednesday January 18, 2017, Chapterhouse Comics will release True Patriot Presents #2, the second issue in an anthology of Canadian superheroes by top Canadian talent. Jack Briglio and I have produced Dominion Jack : Mob Mentality Part One as part of it. I am honoured to be a part of this project. It’s available on ComiXology as part of a digital-first release schedule every other month. In March we’ll see TPP #3 where you’ll continue the Dominion Jack story by Jack Briglio and Dominic Bercier, and in May TPP #4 will showcase the conclusion of the three part story. It’s going to be awesome!!!! Really looking forward to this.
I am back I am back. Recently enough, I had released my Treadwell graphic novel , which became a critical hit and double award-nominee. But I published that through my own imprint. Now it’s comics work through another publisher, also Canadian as it were. Chapterhouse has been around for a couple of years, but in Canada at least they have become ‘incontournables’ or “un-miss-able.” With a strong set of Canadian superheroes in its mainstream and classic superheroes lines, and a series of amazing creator-owned books, they are setting the stage for something truly spectacular. I’m so glad they approved my contribution to True Patriot Presents.
True Patriot has been around for a few years also. A crowd-funding gem, a Canadian Superhero anthology not once but twice, True Patriot is now in partnership with Chapterhouse under the regular series banner True Patriot PRESENTS. So check out the book on ComiXology and tell me what you think!! Actually, let’s play a drinking game – how many characters do you count in Dominion Jack : Mob Mentality Part One?
See you Wednesday,
On October 7, 2006, my brother and I settled down for an epic all-nighter to end all all-nighters.
It was 24 Hour Comics Day, and I thought it would be a good way to kick start my return to the comics sphere…
10 Years Ago Last Month… Like Never Before & Like Never Again by Dominic Bercier and Soundtrack by Nicholas Bercier...
Only 5 years prior, I was assistant penciler on projects for Dark Horse, Top Cow, Image, CHAOS! and more. It was demanding but it was great and I loved it. I would show up at 10 am and work for 8 to 10 hours straight, draw fleshed out buildings in perspective, bullet casings flying everywhere, vehicles of all makes and models, and clouds, for example. I drew everything on the page that wasn’t a central character, and got little or no credit. I was invisible.
I was still a student at OCAD, studying illustration and design. But on days where I did not have class I was in the studio drawing. The lead [lead har har] penciler would scratch a few unintelligible lines on the 11x17 Bristol board, tell me what he wanted, and I went to work. The days were long but I was happy.
I was also hopeful that it would all lead to my own penciling gigs. But it was not meant to be. In 2001 I started Ghost King and abandoned it. In 2002-2003 I drew all of The Bird Caller. My home studio was riddled with drawings all over its walls. Think John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. I was consumed by it. But I never could find a publisher.
In late 2003 I left Toronto and came back to Ottawa. I found a series of designer positions, and comics then took to the backburner. In my free time in 2004-2005, I drew Treadwell. Work kept me busy. Comics, my first love, I very much had the strongest passion for still, but try as I might, the shows in Canada and in the USA, the contacts… nothing gelled.
Finally, in 2006, I found the ultimate comic book challenge… Scott McCloud’s 24 Hour Comic Book Day Challenge! I figured that if I could draw 24 pages in 24 hours that I could do absolutely anything in comics. Anything!!!
So on 7 October 2006, the first Saturday of the month of October each year, I sat down at about 5pm and started drawing my shamanic version of La Chasse Galerie, a French Canadian legend about lonely lumberjacks longing for home, and the flying canoe that got them there. I modified the story significantly, made it my own, and I was off to the races!
In my version there is no deal with the Devil, just the magic of the forest, and I think it worked out alright.
As I drew at a feverish pace and planned the pages ahead, my brother Nico pressed me for plot points. He was in his studio producing a soundtrack for the thing! Long story short, after coffee, cigarettes and beer [thanks Mom!], he and I made our 5pm Sunday deadline, and then I sent it off to 24Hour HQ in California a few days later.
They liked it so much they wrote a blurb about our effort and cited one page in the 2006 HIGHLIGHTS Anthology!
Back in Ottawa, Industry Images Creative Studios printed an edition of 240 copies, we threw a party at Mercury Lounge and the Lafayette, and it was a big hoopla! Then I hit the convention circuit again… I had a few panels of Ghost King, some complete The Bird Caller pages and now Like Never Before & Like Never Again, oh and Treadwell too! It led to my doing the production art for the DEFENDOR film [Sony Pictures 2010] and eventually led to Ghost King getting edited by Chris Staros [thanks Chris!].
But again fate conspired against me as the economic crash of '08-'09 cancelled any chances of a USA publisher picking it up.
In 2011, I redesigned LNBLNA and finally released it proper through my imprint Mirror Comics [publisher]. And the rest is history.
My intention had been this : …Until 26 January 2017, when I turn 40 [ah!], both the original integral 10th Anniversary Edition [2006-2016] at Mirror Comics Studios and the 5th Anniversary REDUX Edition , plus Nicholas Bercier’s unofficial soundtrack, would be available entirely for FREE on mirrorcomics.com.
However, it might just be possible that a prospective publisher might just be watching, and so I will NOT be posting the books. The silver lining!?!? You can still hear what I heard for that all-nighter with my brother Nico’s LNBLNA unofficial soundtrack. You will find it here.
How do you like them apples!?
We dearly hope you enjoy it! If you like what you hear, please show your appreciation by following @mirrorcomics and @DominicBercier on Twitter, and / or liking the Facebook Page for #MCS.
Note that this will be my last FREE offering for some time, and the next time you see my work published it will be by another publisher entirely, as I have begun work for various publishers across North America. For the same reason, I am removing TREADWELL as well. A fine comics store will have it sooner or later I'm sure!!
Tell your friends, tell your family, tell perfect strangers!
As the title suggests, it has been Like Never Before & Like Never Again…
Please celebrate with my brother and I, as we remember 7 October 2006, ten years ago last month. It was the first time I drew a comic in 24 hours, and it is likely to have been my last. Onward and upward!
Thanks for reading!!
Dominic Bercier, Ottawa, Canada, November 2016.
When I wrote the final script for TREADWELL, I learned one thing : Readers like a confident narrator.
TREADWELL garnered two award nominations, so I believe this is true.
Last night I wrote a proposed blog post. It was good but it wasn’t great. Too much trepidation. Too many questions. Not enough umph. Not enough confidence. Just a meandering of what ifs, doubts and… questions.
So let me whittle it down. I asked why you willingly grant me support, encouragement and favour. The answer was not easy.
At first I thought that it was the human need for community, or a quantum interconnectedness. But it wasn’t complete.
Finally I landed on it. Alchemy. That together as creator and reader, we are making pages and exchanging energies through the pages I draw for you. We are in this together. My past affecting your future. Your future affecting my past. Like magic.
This magic connects us. I do not create [write, draw, design] in a void. We are part of a continuum.
I thought for a long time that I would create no matter what, even if I was the last man on Earth. But I have come to realise that there would be no point. That I create because there are readers. Either now or in the future.
A personal creation, something outside of state or church, is a very recent thing. Say the last 500 years or so. Nowadays, art is co-opted by big business, say the last 300 years or so. And yet personal creation thrives. For the last 100 to 200 years, artists have been set completely free. Free of the rich. Free of academia. Free to live like an animal in the wild. Free to move us, from heart to heart, without the interim of a gatekeeper.
Thanks to the web, we are now banding together, free, strong, able to affect the world with only our souls to guide us. And we don’t do it for approval. We do it for revolution. To change the way we see things. To change the world.
This makes us dangerous to the bigots of this world, those who would control everything.
I predict that within a hundred years, we free artists will be corralled and taken advantage of if we are not vigilant. Our minds are already pretty much at the whim of a spectacle put on by the super rich. They control our food, our entertainment, our governments and assail our religions. But they do not control our souls, and this drives them crazy, looking for, year by year, a way to colonise our spirit. We must not let them. Ever.
The artist is free after millennia of sculpting tyrants, painting fantasies for emperors and kings. Some artists still do. But it is a dying tradition. We love freedom too much. We just could not handle being in a cage anymore. I sure could not.
For twenty years, I drew what people asked me to. Designed logos and business cards. It was my job, I get it. But when I started publishing my own works, I realised I could create free of all of that. I don’t think I could ever go back. The constraints made me a better artist, technically, but now the freedom makes me a true artist, whether we like that term or not.
But this new tradition must persist despite opposition. Despite an evil that wants to control it.
You read because your mind and heart move you to do so. It’s the same with making a book. It is a continuum based on the hope that we can affect and be affected.
We must not lose this. Ever. Our favourite storybook heroes are brave. We must be brave also. In our choices. In our desires, in our wish for a better world. And we can make a better world. Books, education, storytelling and art help in this regard.
And it may not be us on the front lines of an eventual battle for our souls. Therefore we must lay the land for it, and tip the scales in our favour.
We must win. Our soul is in the balance.
Which reminds me… my dear friend J.F. Martel recently wrote a book that speaks to some of the themes above. You should read it. It is called Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice. It is an amazing account of the battleground that is art. It is an amazing read, highly recommended for the practitioner, the appreciator and the academic. It is beautifully written and speaks to a truth we often take for granted.
Ottawa, Canada. :)
It’s weird, you know. Writing and / or drawing, day in and day out, and still not having created my best work yet.
Ghost King is a great adventure. Like Never Before & Like Never Again is a great legend. Mission Arizona is a great cautionary tale about selling your soul. The Bird Caller is a great – if bleak – story about man and machine. And Treadwell is a great allegory about the many planes of existence.
At each new book, I created a distinct style appropriate to the story. Each one is different, and sets the tone for the progress of the characters.
It’s almost 400 pages of stories, each one unique, and yet I feel that I have failed to impress based on my potential. Sure, they sold, but that’s not what I mean. I mean a story with art and words that reflect me through and through. I feel that these stories point to it, like a finger towards the moon, but it isn’t the moon. I want to give you the moon. Once and for all.
I sincerely think that my current project is – so to speak – the moon I intend to offer you.
The art is fresh, angular, robust, simple yet detailed. I have grown so much since my first comics over 25 years ago.
The story is insanely complex, and yet I’ve managed to break it down into simple chapters.
I speak to humanity, elaborate on our universal essence, our history and our future as one. I broach the line between mysticism and quantum physics. I speak of Gods and ghosts, love, loss, power and responsibility.
Part of me wants to delegate the art to others, but I know I’ve reached a point in my path that makes me unique, and both simple and intense all at once.
I would love to delegate the dialogue, but I’ve lived with these characters for over a quarter of a century and no one know them as well as I do.
So I’m stuck in the unique quandary of creating something only I could come up with.
Even if I managed to gather my favourite writers and artists in one room, I could not properly convey my instructions, tone, hope and care. They would just do their own thing and it wouldn’t be the same.
I’ve hit a sweet spot, the moon, and I will finish this even if it kills me. Not that it will… I’m just saying.
What does that unique responsibility feel like?
... Frikking amazing.
It’s like I’ve distilled the approach of a thousand amazing creators and made them my own. I’ve been studying comics my whole life. And hopefully it will show in the final product. So far, so good.
I sometimes find it hard to sit down, ass-to-chair, and just work, but when I get over that, I’m... fast, I’m efficient. I create enough detail but not so much that it bogs you down. I’m happy with my layouts. My line work improves with each new page. My characters are like real people to me. They care. They love. They lose. They win. It’s very real to me.
Instead of extrapolating a style that is outside of me, I’m bringing all possible approaches into my mind and heart and focusing all my energies into my own best personal style. And it is so refreshing. I love it.
Finally, I’m creating something not to please this-or-that segment of comics, but something that I myself could not live without. Artistic success.
Because of my versatility, some of my peers have ventured that I am an “artist’s artist.” And that is incredible. But I wonder what they will say when they see this.
I’m not aiming for flashy or erudite or classically trained or deep and profound or heavy or even ‘artistic.’
I want friends and fans to use simple modern expressions…
Awesome. Cool. Amazing. Sick.
That would please me most. Cool. Slick. Sick ass. Dope. I want to thrill my readers with what they see. I want to touch people’s hearts.
At long last I think I am achieving this.
I worry about the art sometimes, as this is what I’m working on these days. I wonder if it really is my best, and I hope to arrive. As my entourage of mentors tells me, it’s not a concern.
As my mother told me when I asked her about the art, she said the irony of comics is that people will READ it, not write an essay on the qualities of the art, not critique the art if it is decent. It all comes down to the story. [Funny enough, I feel the story IS good enough]. The visuals are a vehicle for the story, not an end in and of themselves.
Recently I arrived at a place I call ‘no-style,’ with my art, where it became impossible for me to discern any clear influence from this or that artist. It wasn’t Jim Lee or Moebius or Dave McKean or Sean Murphy or Kenneth Rocafort, all of whom are huge in my pantheon of favourites [among others]. It existed free of all styles – hence ‘no-style.’ When I reported this to my mentor, he simply said : “Welcome, you have made it.” The following drawings were all ‘me.’
When I tell my friends about my progress, they simply marvel at the fact that on a good day I can draw three or four or six pages. And they tell me to continue as is. There is no guillotine deadline. Just love and support.
The art has to be good enough. I’m there. The story has to be original. It is. And I have an infinite amount of time to create this… actually that last part is not true.
As the years passed by, I noticed more and more similarities between my concept and other stories appearing in pop culture.
I gather in 5 years someone will create something with a similar flavour. An exact duplicate is highly UN-likely but the flavour, well… it is almost upon us.
That is why I’m giving myself one to two years to finish this beast, this monstrous 700-800 page behemoth. And so I will.
By this time next year I hope to be done 95% of the pencilling. I’ll finish up, find an inker [I hope!] to do a few sample pages, create a lettered pitch and take my chances.
Some of my friends think I’m crazy NOT to pitch right away now that I’m 150 pages into it. And that is indeed traditional wisdom, so I don’t blame them for thinking this. But the truth is that I want to do my own thing, without editorial interference DURING the creation of it all. I want to communicate MY vision, this is not a potluck party. This is MY party, and I’ll adjust when I’m ready to have someone pick at my spelling and sentence structures.
Plus, an editor who meddles is someone I want to categorically avoid.
I want to find a true champion. Someone who loves what I’ve done and will help make it BETTER, NOT different.
As for the art, minor tweaks here and there to clarify the action is okay with me, but I don’t want to write and draw based on someone else’s tastes.
I’ve been around long enough that I’ve developed my own tastes, and I know they are rooted in a lifetime of learning, mistakes and successes. I am now a fine tuned machine.
I have faith that this publisher exists. I believe they are out there and will want nothing more than to give me ‘carte blanche.’ So I’m taking it now.
It’s not a freedom I take for granted. I will honour this blank slate with my best superhuman effort. And when we meet it will be as equals, nothing more, nothing less.
The point is that by all accounts… this is by far the best comic book story I’ve ever created. I love it, I hope you love it, and I trust that a publisher will see that creator and reader will connect for real on this one, and so will champion both the creative product and the final reading experience. It’s going to be awesome.
I’ve had to put aside many projects in order to focus on this one. In a way I feel bad, but not as bad as if I’d not done it at all. I know my priorities, and if friends and readers can be patient enough, we’ll meet on the page again soon enough.
In the meantime, I’ll keep updating you with cryptic messages, hinting at the story and art. It won’t be Alan Moore and it won’t be Dave McKean, it will be little old me and my little saga. But I think you’ll find it sufficiently complex and intricate, and hopefully, even if it’s just for a little while, it can become one of your favourite efforts by a comics creator.
Comics are my life. With this… I will prove it.
I will return to my pages and continue improving the no-style.
I will review my dialogues and make them even better than the last draft. I will finish the dialogues of the second half, even if it’s after I’ve drawn the pages, Marvel style.
It will be grand. It will be great. And I hope you’ll feel that you are a part of it as I share my journey with you from time to time.
I would also like to ask you for a favour during this time as I push through. Please send me good vibes, pray for me, and think good thoughts when you imagine me hunched over a page, drawing for you.
This is the biggest task I’ve ever tackled, and though I am creating it alone, technically speaking, I can feel the encouragement of those around me, both near and far.
Let’s do this.
All the best,
I can’t. I can’t tell you my story. Not until it’s all drawn and lettered. I know asking you to wait a few years is not fair. I know. That’s why I’m trying to go faster. But sometimes you can’t rush these things. It’s like drawing or writing, sometimes you just have to wait for it. But when the time is right, boy, you better watch out!
So let’s go for a truce or middle ground here.
I’ll try to draw more and faster. And you practice patience. Nothing I’ve published so far will prepare you for the story I’m constructing now. It’s been though 25+ years of false starts, rewrites, edits, endless sketching and drawings, and mashing up with other stories I had thought were abandoned but were really just another side of the coin so to speak.
Those of you who follow my progress on Twitter and Facebook know I’ve been writing for 50 days. What a gift. I wrote out every scene of the next 14 issues, including a proper ending, which will make your brain explode. Truly. Just wait for it. It’s going to be great. Drawing is weird though. Sometimes it flows. Sometimes it makes you wait.
But while you wait, don’t wait idly. Please, send me good vibes so it’s just what you need to read and soak in with your eyes. Pray for it to be as awesome as we all know it can be. Not the spiritual type? Why not vote for TREADWELL in the Aurora Awards? You still have about a month [I haven’t voted yet either, I get it]. Haha!! That would be encouraging.
I so want to show you the whole thing in its entirety but we’re not there yet. I know it’s weird to go from something new each year for the past 5 years to suddenly having to wait. Sure I could have created something shorter, say a hundred new pages a year, but that era is behind me, and in the future I’ll return to that model I’m sure, but right right now I just have to do this. To prove that I can. To break your brain.
So what can I tell you while you wait is this… okay I’ll tell you as much as I can… I swear.
I don’t know the exact number of pages because each issue has a slightly different page count. On top of that sometimes while I draw I combine pages. If my math is correct it will be between 750 and 800 pages [technically between 650 and 850 pages, so guessing about 750 to 800 is a good guess].
It should be 26 issues, with the final issue being a jumbo double sized issue. Page count of each issue ranges between 24 and 32 pages.
If it were to be made into a movie, it would be 2 or 3 films, depending on the director. I hope 3. Hey don’t laugh. I know a guy who knows a guy who knows people. You never know!
I already have two spin-off books planned if you can believe it. Each being 12 issues. If I draw everything I’ve planned that’s a whopping 50 issues! Ah!!! That’s roughly 1500 pages. But hey this is what I do. You never know!!
I have about 100 characters. All of them are powerful in their own way. I want to unite them again one day as a 100 card deck used as an oracle, like the Tarot or the I Ching. I have experience in such things. I’ve already imagined a video game adaptation. I know, I’m dreaming big with this one. But hey, I believe. You never know!!!
In fact I believe in this so much, and have figured out so many angles, and it’s been with me so long and is so complicated that I think it will be a pretty big deal. And it’s time has almost come…
For years I dreamed up the story, every year adding to the lore. And it’s become something that only a kid could dream up and only a grown-up could assemble.
It has elements of my favourite movies and comics, but it’s wholly its own thing. As time advances I have observed hints that similar ideas are emerging more and more frequently.
But not quite this. Not yet.
However if I don’t do it something like this will surely emerge in the future. I’m a fairly unique creator but I’m smart enough to know that these ideas I’ve assembled are out there for anyone to pick up on.
This particular combination, however, I have not seen yet. So I am still the teller of this tale. It remains original. I still have time.
But how much time? A year? 7 years? 50?? 100??? I’m aiming for 2 or 3.
Now if I told you what it was about, it would not do it justice and you’d connect the dots too easily. In the end it will be a complex tale told in as simple a manner as I can explain, but it will remain complex.
Lately, at night, when I sleep, I have the most elaborate dreams. When I wake up I’m overwhelmed and scared. It’s too much. Well so is this story, and that’s probably why I’m having these dreams.
But it all works out. It all makes sense. After working on a few dozen comics and creating some graphic novels, I have part of my brain rigged to figuring this stuff out. Don’t ask me to explain it, it’s just a faculty I’ve developed by trying to be both profound and direct while making funny books.
I don’t expect everyone to love it, but if you liked my past works there is something in here for you, and some of you will love it – a lot. Haha!
But as much as I took years to dream and to train, it’s time may come and I’m on it – like a wolf! So I’m drawing every chance I get, and writing when I need it.
I’ve never attempted anything this grand or insane, but tell yourself this, if it took 25+ years to get around to drawing it, it must be worth the wait.
What else can I tell you about it? Life. Life happened. When I was a kid I had meaningful characters but I did not know how important they were until I lived my own life. Until I really had something to say. Until they created a life full of surprises.
One such surprise was meeting Kevin Eastman at New York Comic Con a few years ago. He is, of course, co-creator of the Ninja Turtles, and he asked me to submit to his legendary magazine, Heavy Metal. It took me months to come up with a great story and the art was the best thing I’d ever done. He rejected it [with the note that the colours were beautiful], and it was a good thing that he did. When I mixed the concepts into my story it just started to sing, and I was off. This mixing of various stories must have happened a dozen times with half a dozen so-called ‘abandoned’ projects which were key to making this one work. At one point some characters melded one into another and it was like magic to discover that they’d been the same characters all along. Friends and lovers come in and out of your life, but your characters stay with you forever.
Your characters grow up. They go to school. They fall in love. They fall from great heights. They make mistakes along with you. Then they make good on their promise to turn things around and do good. They come to life and are there for you when the world seems hopeless.
And every stage in my life helped to create them.
I had, long ago, drawn one of my characters in a unique situation. I did not know what it was, I just knew what it looked like. So I drew it, right!? But it took 20 years before I figured out how this could come to pass. Now don’t get on my back that I should shut up and finish it. I set this story aside many times to give you other comics and graphic novels.
I gave you Ghost King and Treadwell and a 24 hour book, and I collaborated on a slew of others. I did things. They even looked like comics and graphic novels in every way. But this will be different, and, I hope, much much better. And I don’t especially care if it gets made into video games and movies, as long as I’ve done my work, I’ll be satisfied. Others can riff on it later if it’s as good as I hope it will be.
Let’s not forget the basic premise, here. I’m writing, drawing and designing this book so that one day you can read the whole thing. This, and the spin-offs, and hopefully many more after that. Graphic novels is my thing, and if there were no readers there would be no point. Sure I’d still make them regardless, but that’s only half the fun.
The other half is knowing that people read it, enjoyed it, cared enough to give me honest feedback, laugh at my stupid jokes, tell me their interpretation of the weird stuff I’ll put in there, recommend it to their friends, and the cycle starts all over again. And you will get that chance.
I will pitch it to a hundred companies if I have to, and I’ll self-publish it if I must. It will get to you one day. I promise.
But before I get back to drawing, here, I want you to know everything I can tell you about it, so let me press on, here…
You may ask... why 800 pages? How will you achieve this? Is it worth the wait?
Because I have that much story to tell and I would be cheating if I condensed it. Because I’ve wanted to do this since I was 11 years old. And yes it will be worth the wait. I swear, if it’s the last thing I do.
What will it look like when it’s done? It will fit snugly between Saga and Superman. It will feel like most any comic book out there, it will look like any full colour glossy series and then trade paperback, only at the end you’ll have read 800 pages and want more. But it’s not exactly your run of the mill superhero book though certainly there will be a touch of magic to it. It will be self contained, despite my ideas for a sequel. At this point I have no idea who will publish it. It could well be at the Big 3? Big 4!? Or another fine publisher. That’s future history and though I’m psychic sometimes I really have no idea. That too will be a surprise.
It is set in a fictitious city that is based on a real city. The people of this city inhabit an alternate country. This will all make sense in the end, and I’ve already told you too much. There are also lost cities. Way too much!
What else too much could I finally tell you?
How will you wait, knowing it might be great? So great that they will want to make cards and films and video games? So great you’ll want every issue and still buy the trade? So great you’ll lose sleep over it as I do!?
I don’t know, but you could follow my adventure in creating it. I regularly post my daily progress as much as I can via @DominicBercier on Twitter, follow me and I’ll try to follow back.
Still too long? Why not read some of the free books on http://www.mirrorcomics.com/library.html? Vote for me in the Aurora Awards and get tons of amazing reading material? Pray for me. Send me good vibes. Just. Wait. For it.
I’ll work as fast as I can and we’ll meet in the middle. This may be my life’s work but it doesn’t mean it literally has to take a lifetime. Heck I have at least 20 other projects I want to get to before I die.
But while I’m still alive I’ll work as well and as efficiently as I can. I’ll make the best graphic novels possible.
And perhaps you’ll read them, and perhaps you won’t, but I’ll make them regardless, perhaps for future generations to enjoy if this one passes on it.
I know that in time it will find its audience, and I’m writing for each and every reader, I’m drawing for people to see it in their heads. I’m busting my ass to create a virtual storyboard to a movie that would surely cost millions to make.
Its memory will stay with you forever. Amazing powers. Beautiful drawings. And a story that makes you go ‘huh?’ more than once and then blows your mind in the end. Twill be grand.
But I’ve told you all I can for now. Time to either sleep or draw, now, they are two sides of a coin these days. Wish me luck!!
Here we go…
Ottawa, Canada... :)
A few weeks ago, I sat down one day and wrote for 10 hours straight. I know it’s only one day but what a day a difference can make. I wrote in notebooks, 36 pages of outline for my saga – yes, the one I keep hinting at, that great big monstrous graphic novel I’m working on these days. It was a great day. I figured out the second half of my story and I’m thrilled with what came out [And yes, I did have an idea as to where it was going].
This was all according to the original plan… to have a few pages of notes that would be fleshed out later, when the time was right. Boy was it ever the right thing at the right time. It was just an outline, a scene by scene breakdown of my story, but it was a huge victory and a huge relief. I got it out of me and it felt just right.
In the future, I’ll return to my script outline and flesh out the dialogue, adjusting details as I go, but essentially just filling in the blanks.
If you’re writing anything these days I highly recommend this technique…
Start with your best idea. Then write out the numbers of bullet points that you want to hit on based on this idea. Then write the bullet points text based on those numbers. Congrats you have your notes. Then take these notes, put them in an obvious place [not a good place, it will get lost that way – emphasis on obvious, i.e. a cork board or something] and sit on them for a while.
When you’re ready, take out the bullet points and use those as a guide and write out a list of scenes or paragraphs based on these notes. You’ll notice things change a little – that’s normal. At this point you’re still writing just to get the idea down, this is hardly the time to flaunt your skills, you want to flaunt the quality of the idea and move along as quickly as possible to stay fresh and excited.
This, I do, in notebooks. The handwriting forces me to commit to what I am writing down. I am not showing off at this point. I’m being very clear so as to help in the next step. I admit that I took this notebook approach to heart when I learned that this is how George Lucas writes [wrote?!?] all of his movies.
Next, take your scenes list and allot a number of pages per scene. This corresponds to the number of pages in your book – or, as in my case – the number of pages in my graphic novel.
There. You have a solid structure to work from. Type it out. Next comes the stage I’m at myself : the dialogue.
You basically take each scene, numbers of pages related, and just fill in the blanks!
Things, again, maybe change along the way. Be sure to adjust your notes accordingly.
Note : Because I break down my comics pages from this dialogue I don’t need panel breakdowns to work. It’s my preferred method, however you may want to add the panel breakdown and description now. Being the writer-artist can cut out this stage, is all I am saying.
After that you reread what you wrote, all excited that you’ve done your writing. Again, sit on it for a while, an hour, a day, a week, maybe print it out and put it away.
When you can, return to it with fresh eyes.
Make notes on a printout of your manuscript. Return to your typewritten manuscript and adjust according to the chicken scratch notes in the margins.
If this will remain text, it’s time to edit, either conscientiously by yourself or with your editor. This is where you show off your mad skills. Write the best prose that you can muster with all of your talent.
If you, like me, are making comics, you can show your editor now, or, if you are confident enough [and trying to finish even before you show anyone], start making thumbnail sketches of each page according to your script, then rough it out on 11x17 comics art board, using the thumbs as guides, and, when you’re set, you start drawing, always leaving enough room for the word balloons.
You have one or two more opportunities to revise your text. You can go back into your script – or – tweak it while you’re lettering. Then… it’s done.
Congratulations, it was a piece of cake, wasn’t it!? Well, sort of…
The idea is always to be filling in the blanks. Scrivener, I believe, is built this way, though I have never used it myself. Many writers swear by it because it documents your progress and organises things logically for you to keep writing and writing.
Working direct on the final product, from start to finish, remains an option, but it’s fool’s gold, if you ask me, and I do not recommend it. At all!!! However, know yourself, this may be just the ticket for YOU!
But I believe you have to work like a classical painter, using layer upon layer to build the effect of life.
Another similar way to work in comics, but with a twist, is called ‘The Marvel Way.’
In The Marvel Way, you have a rough outline or even scene breakdowns, and then you begin to draw right away, leaving room for word balloons to be filled in later on. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby often worked this way, and it’s been used in thousands of comics.
Once that drawing is done you look at the pictures and flesh out the dialogue and finally add the lettering with word balloons and captions and all of that.
Use the method that is most comfortable to you. The idea that you’re filling in the blanks holds true for both methods. Does that make sense to you? Hope this helps.
As I write this, I’m at the dialogue phase of the second part of my saga, which is hundreds of pages long. Don’t attempt anything like this unless you’ve produced and released a number of comics and/or graphic novels already. I can’t tell you why, you just have to experience that for yourself.
Your first few comics will feel a little unreal, and you won’t remember how you succeeded. But eventually you’ll hit upon a book you can look back at and remember – and analyse – what you did. You’ll be able to lord over your book like a map, and see the paths and trails and roads you took to finish the darned thing. This will arm you with the pieces you need to replicate its success in a new book. A more ambitious book. But really, any comics project is ambitious by nature.
As for attempting to create a 500 page plus behemoth, I strongly urge you to reconsider, to make 6 to 12 part series graphic novels instead – that’s plenty of story – and to forget something larger unless it’s episodic. My advice is that you really should NOT try it at all until you’ve done a number of books that lay the groundwork for such a monstrous project [yes, you’ll thank me for that later].
I’m making a super saga because I have 25 plus years of experience making comics. I know it will take me years before I’m done, but I don’t care. The story is inside my mind and soul like a child ready to come out into the world and I know I can do this.
I guess I’m experienced and maybe a little bit crazy too.
Know yourself. Know your strengths and your limits. Know where the confidence ends and the crazy begins, and use that to your advantage. “The good ones hide their weaknesses. The great ones use their weaknesses.” I heard that in a movie recently.
If you’re starting your first comic and you want to create the next Watchmen, you will surely fail. There’s absolutely everything to gain by being humble and starting small.
Let me give you the same advice a comics superstar once gave me :
"Start with one issue. One character. One story. Grow. In time you can attempt more ambitious things." [Note : I never listened to this advice at first, until much later. I failed many times and finally succeeded when I did end up taking the advice to heart].
A few single issues and then a few graphic novels completed is a million times better than a sprawling saga that makes no sense, is uneven, and looks like crap. Or worse… abandoned. Yes!?
And before you do any heavy lifting in the comics sphere, make sure you know your basics.
Thankfully, school is a pretty good place to learn WRITING, especially if you have a talent for it, a predisposition for it, if you will. You can further this training in college or in university, and by reading more than you should. All of this will help.
ART you’ll need to learn, formally, at some point, along the way. I trained in high school and then art school for ten years straight and I still don’t know it all, but I can crush 90%of the comics artists out there [yes, sure, I’m including stick men artists who make comics – sorry… haha!]. I am in the top 5 million because I know what I’m doing now. And yes, nowadays, there are that many cartoonists. This is a golden age whether you recognise it or not… this condensed comics field is a unique time in history. It is a boon for creativity and a kick in the ass to every talented kid who really really wants to make comics that bad. That said, it remains special, and you and I can say : I was there, man.
Both writing and art come naturally to me, but I still train to this day, getting better at both so as to create better comics.
Do you have the talent? Skill? Patience? Endurance? Strength? You’ll need all of these if your books are to make it in this Wild West of an industry we now work in.
You will reap what was sown.
Well. That was good. I hope I galvanised a few careers and scared off a few pretenders. Comics is insanely hard work. If you love it and have what it takes, Godspeed to you. If you love comics but don’t have the skill, believing is seeing, use your weaknesses, win! If you have the skill but don’t much care for the medium, move along… just move along.
’til next time.
Ottawa, Canada. :)
PS : A Seven Nation Army could not hold me back...
There’s tons I can tell you about writing and drawing or the comics industry as a whole. But I’ll refrain from that, as much as I would love to write about that right now.
Today I’m going to talk about something important to all of us. Dragons. Dragons are majestic mythological creatures that hearken back to ancient times. They are found in scripture, myths, legends, and even modern day fairy tales. They are intelligent, powerful, graceful. They have a predilection for young maidens, gold, and mountains. They are the namesake of constellations, and are also found in ancient astrology. Basically, dragons are awesome!! They’re strong. They are nearly indestructible and immortal, and they’re lucky too!
I was born in the Chinese Zodiac year of the Dragon. This makes me attuned to all of the above, and definitely makes me lucky. I love being a dragon. I know it’s not for everyone but since the fantasy art of the 1970s, dragons have regained importance in the world, and have only grown in popularity in recent times. Dragons are found in every culture, even in our internet dominated modern techno culture.
This, of course, is because dragons are awesome. Once in a while, we all wish we were dragons. And you can be…
You just have to go for what you love, destroy what you hate, be bold and daring. Be confident!!! There are all sorts of dragons, too. You can be any type of dragon that you want.
Grace, speed, strength, intelligence… who would not want to be a dragon!?
But dragons, for all of their virtues, are “highly misunderstood creatures,” as Hagrid would say.
Their boldness appears to be cockiness. Their intelligence a sort of egotism. And yet, dragons know more than the average person. They know things we could not even imagine! They’re old and wise. And hunted.
The hero always wants to kill the dragon and save the day. But while the bad dragons of this world are found in stories, the run of the mill dragon just minds their own business and helps the world quietly, unseen, acting through lesser creatures thanks to thought and prayer. They stay in their mountains and don’t disturb a hair.
You don’t hear much about those dragons. Why would you? They’re boring, but… they make life beautiful. They help. They’re lucky for all of us.
Each dragon is unique, like each human being. Each has a soul, dreams and fears, just like you and me. And only humans are a threat to them, which explains their interest in us. They love us for our genius, and fear us for the same reason. Humans and dragons are like brothers and sisters… is it any wonder we don’t get along?
Fate always has heroes and dragons at odds with each other, fighting for dominion over the land. But so is it with humans and humans. We’re not great at sharing the gold. Each wants it all for themselves. We go to war and famine soon follows.
But the ‘other’ is not the enemy. Pride is the enemy. And this is the weakness of both man and dragon.
Because we are strong, we think we should rule.
Because we are wise, we think we know it all.
Because we love gold and things that shine, we lust after it.
Because we are special, we think bards should sing our praises.
Because we have a soul, we think we are gods.
But life creates it all, and gives us our place in the world. Some creatures are ignorant, and have a simple life. Some creatures are evil, and boldly take what they want. Some creatures are good, and fight hard for the downtrodden. Such is life.
Do you know your own power? Can you fly? Spit fire? Are you capable of great good and great evil?
Both man and dragon are faced with choice. Good or evil. Or ignorance… This choice is what makes us who we are. For every evil dragon, there are fifty thousand evil men.
For every good dragon, there are ten good men.
There are no ignorant dragons. There are many ignorant men.
Which brings us to love. The love of a beautiful person can melt the hearts of both humans and dragons. Many use this as a ruse to get what they want.
There is nothing a sentient creature would not do for love.
True, genuine, love, can both create and destroy. Love, after all, can make you do crazy things.
And the only kind of love that doesn’t make you do crazy things is a lofty goal indeed : selflessness. Love for all. Some people are capable of this. The dragons capable of this are what my brother calls ‘love dragons.’ Like Buddha or Jesus, they are capable of removing themselves from the equation and loving all fellow creatures.
The point is that a human being, like a dragon, can do amazing things, truly wondrous and awesome things.
So!? Are you good or evil or ignorant? Will love cripple you and make you do insane things, or will you be cool and love all fellow creatures? At the end of the day, the choices are made in the soul.
So whether you be man or woman or dragon, I hope you will help more than hurt, be mindful and present, and avoid destruction at all costs. But hey, it’s up to you. And if you do do ill, we will try to stop you, even if it seems impossible. Such is the way of stories, after all.
Each dragon and each human is unique… just be yourself.
Ottawa, Canada. :)
It was weird finally seeing Jodorowsky’s Dune [documentary, 2014]. It was like meeting a beautiful woman and falling in love only to discover that she has fallen in love with you also.
To create the pre-production drawings and assemble the actors, Jodo said to himself: “I need my spiritual warriors!” And assemble them he did. Moebius, Giger, Foss. O’Bannon on SFX. For actors he had his own son train in martial arts for two years straight to become Paul. He had Mick Jagger. David Carradine. Orson Welles. Even Salvador Dali was going to play the Emperor at $100,000USD per usable minute.
But when the French production finally pitched Hollywood… it hit a wall. This would change everything and Hollywood did not want to change. Everywhere they went was the same : “This is brilliant, but… no.”
And so the perfect relationship between America and Europe was vetoed every time. Like the father of the perfect woman saying “no, you cannot marry my daughter.”
This was a passion project at every turn. Jodorowsky’s spiritual warriors created countless drawings, illustrations, designs and paintings around his script adaptation. Heck they even had Pink Floyd slated for some of the music right after they’d recorded Dark Side of the Moon. It would have been the epic to end all epics. But it was killed before it could be born.
What’s worse is that countless films afterward would use Jodo’s ideas in their own production, which I think is simply criminal.
Without even being made, Jodorowsky’s Dune still spawned modern sci-fi and fantasy. Had it become what it was meant to be, it would have stood as the pinnacle of modern cinema.
And so, the artist and the beautiful woman would go their separate ways, like ships in the night.
I was incredibly inspired by this documentary on the non-making of an epic.
I myself am working on a space opera that, to me, seems original and perhaps ahead of its time. I, like Jodo, consider myself a spiritual warrior. I relate to this in every degree.
Once it is done, will I find an ally at a reputable publisher? Will it see the light of day??
Of course, this is the future. I can always self publish on the internet, and reach my audience thus, I can use KickStarter or Patreon, but it sure would be nice to have a champion help me along the way.
So is there a publisher out there able to help me? Does it exist? Will they be in my corner every step of the way? Are they ready for this?
Only time will tell. I’m not done drawing by a long shot. I’m at 80 pages of 600. At this rate it will take me three years to draw. If I speed up maybe two. And I’m okay with that. I’m doing everything myself. I’m in complete control of the vision.
So forgive me if I can relate to Jodo’s spiritual warriors. Had I been born 40 years earlier, perhaps I would have worked on this film too. Okay perhaps not. But I would have been jealous of everyone that did!!
Like DUNE for Jodorowsky, this saga is my life’s work. It is the river into which all previous projects flow and from which all future projects stem.
The difference is that in comics, I don’t need 15 million dollars to produce the thing. A few machines and maybe a thousand dollars in supplies and I’m good. And I’m done.
In a way the parallels are striking. In 1989 I came up with my core characters, and spent the next few years, my early teenage years, fleshing it out. But the project was too big for me.
Now I’m almost 40. I’m an old man. And I have thousands of comics pages notched into my belt. I’ve worked in all sorts of styles and genres and now I’m making a return to sci-fi, fantasy and superheroes. It’s how I used to think. How I used to draw. How I used to be. Rediscovering my youth along the way. It is an amazing feeling. It is an amazing time for me.
At this rate, when I finally do publish my epic, I will probably be able to say ’30 years in the making.’ In a way it’s embarrassing that it would have taken so long. But something happened along the way that made it worth it…
I grew up. I fell in love. More than once. And got my heart broken countless times. I experimented with my art and grew as an illustrator to the point where I covered most all regions in Scott McCloud’s art pyramid [Understanding Comics, 1993]. I tried new things. I succeeded. I failed. I fell and got back up. Heck I even ran a successful publisher for five years. And all of this leads us to this time. My time…
Some of you know what it is like to lose yourself and find yourself again. Some of you will never know. It is a unique experience that has spiritual dimensions, mystical, metaphysical, philosophical parameters. It is a feeling for which I have no words. It exists inside and outside of me. Like how rain makes us sad and how a beautiful sunset makes us feel nostalgic. It is a collapsing of past and future dimensions. It is sublime.
Will I ever be an Elvis? A Beatle? A Michael Jackson? A Lucas, Spielberg, Scott? A Moebius, Jim Lee, Dave McKean?? A Stan Lee, Gaiman, a Jodorowsky??? I don’t know. I don’t think I have much influence in the plays of history except to do my best. And whether history says yes or no is hardly important at this point, because I feel that I am all of those things, well… in potential at least.
So far the public has seen me create some good artwork, collaborate on some great comics, even create a few graphic novels of my own.
But as I did this in myriad styles and using multiple approaches, something weird happened. People started asking me for a space opera. Imagine how surprised they were when I acquiesced.
Without ever overtly suggesting it, it was always implicit in my every pencil stroke, ink splatter, colour combination. Like a dream it permeated my work until I finally returned to my roots and said… “YES!”
With a thanks to the spiritual warriors that came before, I shall return to my own battles, to my pages, and hope to see you… on the dark side of the moon.
This is the blog of writer-artist-designer-author Dominic Bercier, MCS principal and founder.