This morning I found an unassuming cardboard box on my front steps. Within that innocuous parcel were 50 copies of the "Cover B" version (the Brian Bolland cover!) of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries #1. Real, honest-to-goodness, full-color, 32-page glossy paper physical copies.
Geez, it's pretty.
The first Femme Noir strips went online in 2001. I came up with the character and concept almost exactly one year before that. So, it's been seven or eight years – depending on where you want to start counting – that I've been working toward this moment... and it's been a rough seven or eight years, too. There have many times over those years when either Joe Staton or I were tempted to cut our losses and move on, but we somehow persevered... I'm not sure if it's through stupidity, stubbornness, or sheer inertia.
But now the book exists, and is already on sale in Chicago at the Wizard World convention. Wednesday it should be on the shelves of the nation's comic shops – those that ordered it, anyway.
Yet, while one journey has reached its end, there's still much further to go. There are three more issues of this initial miniseries to get out in a timely manner, then a 48-page Annual to write, draw and get into print before the end of the year, a trade paperback collection of this first miniseries, and – hopefully – a second miniseries for next year. Now that the property's out there, we have to try to build it up by sticking with it and continuing to produce more adventures for our nameless heroine and hope that the right audience has a chance to discover the book.
Hopefully, the material is as strong as I believe it is, and people will "get it," and start talking about it. 'Cause in today's cutthroat comics market, word of mouth is the only hope a small, independent, creator-owned book has of surviving and (maybe) prospering.
I am deeply indebted to my accomplices: Horacio Ottolini, Mark Stegbauer, Melissa Kaercher, Matt Webb, Brian Bolland, Matt Haley, Phil Hester, Mike Wieringo – and especially, my partner in crime, Joe Staton – for having confidence in the project and sticking with it through countless personal and professional crises, and bearing with me as I struggled with a plethora of crises of my own. Hopefully, our hard work and faith in the property will pay off sooner than later.
Man, this book is pretty.....