While there are a few (like maybe one or two) editors who’ve not definitively responded to the Count of Monte Cristo graphic novel proposal I’d been working on a month or two ago, it looks like it’s time to consider it officially dead in the water–or at least, “shelved” for the time being. I’m continuing to work on Oyster War as time allows, but I’m also starting work on another GN proposal based on an idea (albeit a pretty vague one) that I’ve been kicking around for a while: a GN about a line cook who’s a touring musician on the weekends. Things culinary are hot, hot, hot in the prose publishing world, but the domestic comics world hasn’t really touched much on food and cooking as a subject. There are, though, several excellent cooking Manga that have been pretty influential in pushing me this direction: mainly Oishinbo, but also things like Antique Bakery and Iron Wok. I’m not going to divulge too much until I’ve got things more sorted out story-wise, but I decided to move ahead with this as a proposal–instead of any number of other things that I’ve got gestating at the moment–mainly because I finally figured out a way to interconnect the culinary and musical portions of the story.
Now, if you know anything about me personally, you know that I worked in kitchens throughout the 90s and was in fact a touring musician on the weekends. This is not a coincidence. Rest assured, those of you who knew me then, this is a work of fiction. I can’t help, though, but to draw on some of my own experiences from that period as I start putting this together. I am, though, designing the characters in the band as deliberate visual homages to the guys that I played music with back in those halcyon days. I imagine that by the time ink hits paper to do some test pages they’ll look a lot less similar to anyone “real life,” but I’m using them as a starting point. In the preliminary character designs above you can see the main character (nameless at the moment, designated in my notes only as “H.P.” for “hero/protagonist”) on the left in chef gear and then in his street clothes, and his bandmates to the right. I can see now that I’ve got them all together that I really need to rework the two guys with dark hair so that they’re not so similar in basic shape.
Tentatively, the book’s called “In The Weeds,” a phrase that you will know if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant.