What Am I Working On?

Every once in a while–more really to organize my own thoughts than in response to any actual outside interest in the information–I do a “What am I Working on?” post where I run down the statuses of my current comics projects. I did that in an abbreviated form over at The Beat for their year-end survey, but here’s a more thorough summary:

Oyster War

I know it sounds kinda crazy, but publishers don’t seem to be beating down my door to publish this weird, not-all-ages mashup of 20s newspaper comic strips and obscure (at least in the U.S.) French graphic novels. I have though (as mentioned last post) gone ahead and set up a Tumblr ( http://oysterwar.tumblr.com ) where I’ve posted all the pages I’ve completed to-date. If you’re reading for the first time, start here.

I’ve just about wrapped up thumbnailing the next chapter which for me means doing “regular” thumbnails then also producing half-sized roughs of each page. Once I’ve had a chance to sit down, read through the chapter, and do any final edits that are needed, I’ll start executing pages one at a time and posting them to the Tumblr site as they’re completed. I’m hoping I’ll be able to post two a month starting in February. (I know two per month doesn’t sound like very much, but these giant, full-color, four tiered pages take forever to do!)


Super-Secret Mystery Project That Probably Won’t Come to Anything

I’ve been talking a bit with my agent and a possibly-interested publisher about adapting an existing (and quite popular) science fiction novel into graphic novel format. I have no idea what (if anything) will come of this, but at the very least I’ll probably do some sample art and/or a few sample pages and see what happens. I’ll likely post more about this later.


In the Weeds

I decided to write out an actual script for In the Weeds, something I’ve never done before, and that script is now complete. I’m reasonably happy with it and my agent reacted positively to it as well. With the GN publishing/buying environment in the relatively sorry state it’s in at the moment, it sounds like this isn’t a project that’s worth trying to sell without the complete (or nearly-complete) project in hand, though. So, I’m putting this on the back burner for the time being. If I’m going to draw an entire GN on my own time with zero advance money, it’s gonna be Oyster War.

That said, I’m hoping to find time to maybe execute the first chapter of this with the idea that either those pages will be strong enough to reconsider trying to sell the not-fully-complete book and/or that by the time I get around to actually doing that the publishing biz will have gotten back on its feet to the point where GNs will be an easier sell in general. Whatever the case, during the writing phase of this, I got to like this story enough that In the Weeds moved from “maybe I’ll do this if I can get a deal with an advance”-status to “I’m going to do this whether or not anyone’s initially on-board to publish it”-status.


The Count of Monte Cristo

Guess how tough it is to land a GN book deal these days? A: So tough that even an adaptation of a venerable and universally-acknowledged classic of Western literature isn’t a sure thing. This proposal wound up on the desks of something like twenty-seven editors/buyers at major publishers without a single “bite.” I’d love to say that I’m going to find time to execute a 300 page graphic novel version of The Count of Monte Cristo on my own time, but that just ain’t gonna happen. So this one’s officially shelved. But we’ve got a complete proposal for this in the bag–character designs, sample pages, plot breakdown–so who knows, maybe there’ll be some opportunity in the future dust this one off.


Amelia Earhart – This Broad Ocean

Well, obviously I’m not “working on” this one at all, since it’s been out for a while. The book though, does continue to receive a steady trickle of accolades, most recently inclusion in the 2011 Texas Library Association’s Maverick GN reading list, The Amelia Bloomer Project’s list of recommended feminist literature for young readers, and The American Library Association’s YASLA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. The awards cycle for books published in 2010 has pretty much run its course at this point, so barring the highly unlikely inclusion of the book in this year’s Eisner Awards (I mean, have you seen all the great kids/tweens books that came out this year!?) I think it’s safe to call this book officially “done.”

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  1. Talking Comics with Tim | Ben Towle | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment says:

    […] O’Shea: When you started on Oyster War, did you expect that “publishers [would not]… be beating down my door to publish this weird, not-all-ages mashup of …“? Or has that been an unexpected, disappointing […]

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