And so we’ve come, to the end of the road….yes, I am quoting Boyz 2 men. Sue me. The last pages of Frankie are here, and I feel I have just passed a massive creative stool out of my system.
I wasn’t sad to see the end of this book. It had, from the very start, been a pain in the backside what with creative misscommunication, money, contracts, deadlines, and limited technology. It gave me a great deal of insight into the process of making comics, something I’ve been doing since I was just a tiny wee lad and something I still engage with daily, and probably will until the day I transform into some beautiful cosmic butterfly as I shuffle off my mortal coil, but none of that was evident at the time and when I emailed the last pages to Byron I was glad to see the back of it.
After all, I had different fish to fry, Klarion The Witchboy for a start! Colour! Grant Morrison! Decent page rates! 22 page chapters…
I didn’t get the creative freedom I had with Frankie, but that was ok, I knew there was a trade-off. And I’m glad I had the experience, as the learning I took from those 144 pages-plus-cover I’ve added to everything I’ve done since. At the time my colleagues said I was a chump for doing all that work for such silly page rates, and I would always defend it saying that it would pay dividends later on in some other form. After Byron died I knew I’d never see another penny from it, and thus all I was left with was the experience of doing it.
I have to say that experience was worth far more than any money they could have paid me. It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny, the fluttering whispers of paper money, the promise of silver. Ultimately I want to make the best work I can, to become more than my heroes of my youth, to affect the world in a positive way, and to do that one needs to learn craft. Slaving over these pages helped me learn that craft in a very intensive manner, and i do suspect that had I not done it, that my work would have suffered a little. A touch less adventurous perhaps, maybe a little more timid.
To this day, despite my taking on many gigs for the dollar, I remember what the goal was, and how money serves that goal not the other way around. More money means more opportunity to make better Art, and maybe that leads to more money which leads to swimming pools which leads to swimming which leads to stories set in the arctic ocean which leads to…well, I could go on. Suffice to say that making this stuff is an all-inclusive process that affects and is affected by everything, regardless of content or subject matter. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
I hope someone out there has found some small treasure in these pages along the way, I know I did. I’ll leave it with you, and I’ll head off to bed to dream of men in Bat costumes. And to those who draw, keep at it. Some day I’ll stop, and you lot need to fill that massive gap. So get doodling!