How did Lovecraft is Missing come about?
I first developed Lovecraft is Missing as a cd-rom game back in 1994, when cd-rom was still the next big thing. When cd-rom turned out to be last week’s thing, I put the idea in my files. I brought it out again in 1998, completely rethought it as an animated series, and got a development deal with the company that was then known as Film Roman, now Starz. Ralph Sanchez was the creative exec, Guy Vasilovich was the art director (forgive me, Guy, if I got some letters out of order) and the negotiations were handled by John Goldsmith, who was at that time with the Gotham Group. A couple of years passed, nothing really happened, though some really cool presentation art was produced. The rights reverted back to me.
Did you plan for it to be a comic book?
It was a thought. My animation agent said he showed it to Dark Horse but never heard back. A few years ago I got a copy to Howard Chaykin, who loved it and called some people at DC (how nice is THAT! He didn’t know me from Adam) but they had not long before done a Lovecraft book. I dug up a copy of the comic, thought it was different enough from mine, and plodded on. I wrote it up as a web series, but I also moved back to Oklahoma, and I never could pull the resources together to animate it myself.
What made you decide to do it as a webcomic?
My friend, Eric Lee, made me.:-D Eric is 27, or half my age, and of course, has been working with computers since he came into the world. He’s head of animation at a local company, Steelehouse, and it was startling to find someone of such talent and experience back here in the sticks. He draws, he paints, he animates (2D & 3D), and has more working knowledge of Flash, Photoshop, After Effects and a million other little plug-ins and programs than any one person should be allowed to have. I can honestly say that I have learned more from Eric than from any other single person in my 30 years in the business. You can check out his reel at Steelehouse.com, and take a look at his own weekly strip at www.boodachitaville.com.
It took me awhile to warm up to the idea, but freelance work was sparse…and I had no idea how much work it would be. Ignorance is bliss. I wrote, drew and inked the first issue. Eric and Tony Johnson, another local monster talent helped me color it. The first page went up October 1, 2008.
How long do you plan to continue the comic?
There will be six issues in all, and it will take as long as it takes. I have the outline of a sequel, but that will depend on the state of things when the first series wraps up. I was originally planning each issue to be 24 pages, or 144 pages total. As I worked, it occurred to me that since it is on the web, I really don’t need to have that restriction. Book 1 was 22 pages, Book 2 was 26, Book 3 is 27. Later issues will be longer or shorter as needs dictate. Since it’s never going to come out as a newsstand comic, in single issues, the page count can be accomodated in a graphic novel format.
Where did you get all the photos of Lovecraft’s house, etc.?
I took them myself when I went to Providence in the early 1990s. I made two trips. The second time, it rained all day and I didn’t have a coat or umbrella. I made all the rounds and got soaked to the gills and caught a very bad cold. But I got the pictures.
How do you work?
I drew the first two books on comic book pages and scanned them in for coloring in Photoshop. Now I draw right into Photoshop. Occasionally I will work something out on paper and scan it in, but the time it takes to scan the original pages in is time I would rather spend on the comic. I color in Photoshop exclusively. I tried Painter, didn’t care for it. I am planning to put some tutorials up in late 2009.
Who else works with you on the comic?
Mostly, I do it all, from the comic to the blogs to the press releases and aadvertising. Eirc Lee and Tony Johnson have colored pages for me when I’ve gotten swamped. I bounce ideas off my wife; if she laughs, I know it’s a good one. I actually advertised for an assistant at local tech schools to help with Facebook and that sort of thing, but even in this economy, got no responses.