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Category: Head First

The Book, the Book, the Book
I just uploaded another clipping from Head First, the Subconscious Comics-based graphic novel that is moving relentlessly toward completion. It’s on the Subcon page this week instead of one of the old strips. I don’t dare declare a date for publication yet, but I will say that I am, oh, 80% of the way there.

The end of the actual inking and coloring portion of the project is even closer, but I still have to conceptualize the cover, the dust jacket, and some big interior graphics. And then there’s the Kickstarter campaign, which is a whole different ball of strange wax. I will be giving you plenty of notice for the big send-off.

To the interest of somebody, I am sure, I have officially opened up a new category of Eaganblog: “Head First." That’s the title of the book. In case you’ve never noticed, the Categories section of the blog is there on the left of this page. This blog is in the new section, and there will be more to come as I near the finish line.

Meanwhile, the republication of vintage Subcons will continue. I have been posting them in reverse order on timeagan.com, and we are nearing the very first episode, which appeared in 1981. That’s number 1 of 1000 (give or take) comic strips. I have been seeing the de-evolution of my drawing style and characters as we go backward in time.

And speaking of characters, it has been an unexpected pleasure catching up with The Boss, Nemo, and Ava over the last year or two. They had been a big part of my internal world when I was cranking out a new Subconscious Comics strip every week for twenty years.
Head First
As I mentioned last May in this space, I am working on a novel. To be more precise, it is a graphic novel. To be even more precise, it is a comic novel.

I’m not sure that a comic novel is even a thing, not up until now, anyway. It may be a bit of a conceit to invent a category of art and then make your brainchild the only entry in it. I’m sorry; I just can’t help myself.

Head First is based on my comic strip, Subconscious Comics. It has been the most challenging and satisfying work I have ever done. I’m now about two-thirds of the way through the art portion of the project. The script was done long ago, but it will undergo fine-tuning right up until the last brushstroke has dried. I will still have the cover and dust jacket designs to make after that, and then the Kickstarter campaign, the printing, and the distribution out into the world.

But right now, I am in the most enjoyable portion of this journey — blue lining, lettering, inking, coloring, and watching my story unfold. I decided to post a chunk of the first page this week on the Subconscious Comics page of timeagan.com. The internet renders it a little fuzzier than an actual page from from the book will be, but I just wanted to give you an idea what it’s like. For me, the word has been “fun".

The old black and white Subcons will return next week, continuing the march backward in time from 2000 to 1981. I’ve just finished with 1983, so next week there will be an episode from 1982 on that page. There will be more previews from the book, but with any luck, by the time I post that very first episode of the strip, the book, 100 pages of full-color, hard-cover comic novel, will be out in the world. Stay tuned.
Going Public
I’ve been keeping a secret for a while now, but I’m about to go public with it. In fact, I’m doing it right here and now with this blog. I’ve talked about it to friends and family, but no one else. Maybe I was just being superstitious…as if just the act of blabbing about it might keep it from happening.

But that’s over. My big secret is… I’m making a book. It will be about 100 pages, hardbound, with a full color bleed on good quality paper. For awhile, I was calling it a graphic novel, but that never sounded right to me. “Book” is what I’m going with, even though it’s really a comic novel. If you wonder what that is, exactly, think of the Scrooge McDuck adventures created by the great Carl Barks. The art and storytelling of those comic books set formidable standards of cartoon excellence … ones that I will be reaching for with my book.

Head First has been sitting on the desktop of my computer for over twenty years, waiting for its moment. The file contained bits of plot summary, dialogue, and a list of conundrums needing to be solved. I would go in every once in awhile and tinker with it, but never really got serious until I stopped producing Deep Cover on a weekly basis. That opened up a hole in my work schedule. I’ve been working on the book ever since, hammering out the script, sketching characters, streamlining the plot.

The original idea for the book dates back to the mid-90s when my partner and I were trying to get Subconscious Comics made into a movie. We actually made some decent progress toward that goal. By the time we finally threw in the towel, we had churned out a treatment and then a script, found an enthusiastic agent, and collected a passel of near misses from studios both big and small. In the end, though, nothing came of it, and the dream went into hibernation.

At the end of my scintillating brush with Hollywood, however, I did come up with an idea for a second script, also with Subconscious Comics at its core. I worked on it for a short while, but since my agent had moved on and I had no place to go with my brainchild, I ran out of gas. My work on it all went into the file on my desktop, and that’s where it stayed until last summer when I opened it up again and got started wrestling with it in earnest.

At this point, I’ve worked through several sets of roughs, and finally, last week, I started inking. There is still a long way to go, but now it’s just a matter of executing. Even my superstition cannot stop me. What’s more, I find that I am truly excited by the prospect of completing the book…excited in a way that is new to me, and that is exciting in itself. But enough said about that. My superstition is starting to tingle again.

If you are a Subcon fan or if you’d just like to peek over my shoulder while I work, I invite you to search for “timeagancartoons” on Instagram and watch as the work unfolds. The inking has been a little slow here at the beginning (and that’s fine), but I’m guessing that the pace will pick up a bit as I go on. It will take at least a year, maybe even two, to finish. At this point, I foresee posting a detail every other day or so until I’m done.

As I envision the project here at the beginning, most of the posts from the book will be in black and white. That is because I intend to do all the inking first, then come back and do the color. As I post details from individual pages, though, I will likely include a few color experiments using old Subcon strips as the source of my line art. With the exception of the cover art for The Collected Subconscious in the 80s, my drawings for Subconscious Comics have never been touched by color.

So now my secret’s out. Hope I didn’t jinx it. When the book is finally in my hand, fresh from the printer and ready to send out into the world, you will be the first to know.
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