The Downward Spiral
Yes, like the NIN album...
First of all, thanks for subbing to this newsletter. I promise I made it before the whole comic writer exodus, mostly because I needed something stats-friendly. There are some other services, but people couldn’t sub to them easily and some of them do it the wrong way entirely, and somehow manage to get the mails in html, so I went with Substack. Hopefully I didn’t make a mistake.
Gonna promise upfront that I won’t be spamming the crap out of this, firstly because I hate when someone missuses my good faith when I subscribe to someone, and secondly - I honestly don’t have the time to write these things. I don’t have the time to write my things, yet I juggle a lot of projects. Recently I did a personality test for creative people and it turned out my main drive to create is longing, so that explains a lot. Also, I have a separate monthly newsletter in Serbian, my native language, which I use to distribute STRAVA, my digital fanzine, so that takes some time too.
The fanzine originally started as a collected work from my workshop for comics and animation, which I have been teaching in my home town since 2014, but it slowly became like a comic book showcase/magazine, inspired by stuff like Heavy Metal and Shonen Jump. It features works both in Serbian and English, so if you want to participate and have your work published there, just hit me up with an e-mail and we’re work something out.
The fanzine features a lot of previously published work, most notably Ibrahim Coyle, which is on indefinite hiatus, but I would lie to you if I said that I don’t have something planned for its 10 year anniversary in 2025. Having said that, that’s way down the road, especially since Book II: The Golden Road is yet to be published in it, and speaking about roads…
I’ve been working on a concept for the next ongoing title for quite some time now. The pilot was published during the early years of the fanzine and I wanted to expand on it through a serialized format, but I had to back out a few times. The first time I’ve backed off was due to time constraints - the workshop was going through a rough patch due to the people I had to answer to, I was low on equipment and drew everything on a then 10 year old PC so I couldn’t draw fast enough and render stuff properly, and I still hadn’t finished college, or was even close to finishing it (even though at that point I was supposed to). The second time I’ve backed off was when I was wrapping up The Golden Road, but I wasn’t satisfied with the concept at the time, even though it was serviceable . Long story short - it was too much like Ibrahim Coyle. It didn’t feel right for me doing the same thing twice, so I gave it some more time in order to think about something proper, so my workload could be more versatile. Funny thing is, by the time I finished The Golden Road, I changed the ending and by that the status quo of the book, yet didn’t realize that the new title wasn’t that redundant anymore, so I’ve might as well went with the original pitch. The third time was the toughest one… Someone read the pilot, they liked it and they offered to write an episode or two, as a guest writer. I agreed, because I always wanted a collaborator on a project. Not dissing on Nikola with Coyle, but he himself said on multiple occasions that it simply wasn’t his thing, but due to us being friends he would always respond to my e-mails, and I guess that’s enough to co-credit you. Either way, that guest-writer starring episode, slowly but surely, turned into a whole storyline, then a run, and by the end the author was so much into it they were the de facto writer of the title. I didn’t want to be apprehensive about it, mainly because, even tough it wasn’t at all what I envisioned, I was so tired at that point that I was willing to take any help I could get. I drew about 60-some pages in two years, which was a new record for my snowlines, but some personal issues arose between the writer and I, and I had to drop everything. I can honestly say it wasn’t anything related to the writing or the project itself. What’s more, the thing just started heating up and expanding, but by the end it was dead in the water, and I was left to my own devices.
A few months have passed since then, a few more unpleasant thing happened, but I had to power through and go back to the well… and I dug up the ol’ reliable.
It was the elephant in the room, stored inside of my head. The project initially started in 2014 as a remake for my, the recently finished book - Countdown, but it soon took a life of its own and and became something else entirely. I talked about it with other people and creators and, even though they didn’t say anything bad about it, no one was excited about it either. Last month I sat down, took all of my concepts and started working on their respective pilots, but this one took off from the get go.
SPIRAL HIGHWAY is going to be a action / sci-fi ongoing series, starting this December. It’s a cartoon I would eat up as a kid on old programming blocks, like Jetix MAX or early Toonami. It will follow Jean Hurlant, who has always dreamt about becoming a mech-pilot, but soon finds out he can finally pursue his dream... on the streets of Metal City!
It will primarily be published (most likely) through Webtoons. I wanted to post it on multiple platforms, like I did with Coyle, but it’s a hassle to promote one series with four different links. This way I can keep everything streamlined and neat. I’m also posting the pages on Patreon (as of this writing I’ve posted the first seven pages), and you can read them at a latter date in the fanzine for free. I’m still polishing chapter one, so it could have a proper start this time.
That’s about it from me. I’ll be dropping the next mail as soon as I publish the first chapter or so. If everything goes right, this one will start somewhere mid-December, the next title, which will be a mini-series, will drop in April of 2022 and the next one, which will also be an ongoing, around October/November 2022.
Thanks for reading, and again, reach out to me if you want to join this, previous and future titles in STRAVA.
The idea of a mecha comic in that bold kinetic style of yours makes me happy just thinking about it. And congrats on the fanzine. That looks like a lot of work, but worth it.