Hi, y'all! I started prepping this update last week, but crazy stuff has been going on. We've had a proper perfect storm on the homefront and it has torpedoed my productivity and absolutely shot my stress levels through the roof. The short version is (and sorry for the grossness), it started with maggots coming out of the drains in our bathroom, a discovered rat infestation, and then coming home to absolute swarms of flies after a weekend away at a convention. Our landlords have been less than awesome through all of it, and it's been a nightmare. On top of it, my wife lost one of her uncles, and we've just been in a crazy spot all around. So, apologies for not getting the October update out last week, but hopefully you'll understand.
- I'm a bit behind, but still hopeful for a February release
- Patch designs have been finalized and will be ordered asap
- Togo is scripted, and it's gonna be a lot of fun (I think)
- One last bit of sad news. I lost someone who was instrumental in making Book One happen
BEHIND BUT HOPEFUL
I hate to admit it - especially to myself - but I'm definitely behind. The switch to taking care of Eva during the day was a planned slow-down, but there's just been lots of crazy stuff over the past several months that have added up on my mental state and on my ability to be as productive as I'd like. I want everyone to know that I am still cranking away on inking pages and am doing everything I can to keep a good work flow going while I balance the stuff we've been dealing with around here. I've also hired a color flatter to help me speed up the coloring process. We finalized some details, and I'm putting together color palettes and details for them to work from, and I'm really excited for what this will do to help me potentially catch back up with Beorn production.
With me feeling less certain about definitely hitting my deadline (still hopeful!) I will absolutely be communicating more about where I think I'm at. I don't want it to be a surprise to any of us. My wife, Ady, and I are taking some steps to tweak our home schedule so I can hopefully get a bit more tackled and see about some catchup, and I'm trying to get a solid idea of where I'll be. I will ABSOLUTELY keep you all posted. Just know that I'm not worried about delivering an amazing book to you. I'm super happy with what I'm finishing. I feel like I've leveled up from the first book to this one, and working traditionally with the inks has been amazing for me. I think you're going to really love it. I just also hate letting folks down, and I REALLY wanted to crush my deadline. Now, I'm less than confident, and it's honestly eating me up. So I wanted to be as transparent and genuine about sharing that as possible. Y'all have been amazing to me and my dream project here, so I wanted to make sure you knew exactly where I'm at. And all that said, I am quite proud of this fat stack of inked pages!
It's still pretty crazy to me to see all these inked Beorn pages!
PATCHES ARE DESIGNED & TOGO IS SCRIPTED
I got the patches all set up and am ready to place the order. I can't wait to have the patches in-hand. Such a cool and fun idea to have patches! I don't know where I'm gonna sew mine.
The Togo the Destroyer one shot comic is scripted! It was scripted almost entirely on my phone while I was getting my daughter, Eva Luna, down for her naps. I'm trying to squeeze every bit of work I can into the day. I can't really get much done with her some days. She naps like a bear trap and won't let your arm go, so I have to hug her and work on my phone in the bed with her. If I could figure out how to use my tablet in bed, I would! The Togo comic will be a lot of fun, and it's very much got the vibe I always wanted. Some sort of cross between Conan, Groo, and the Tick. I hope y'all dig it, because I'm really looking forward to doing more of them for later campaigns.
SOME SAD NEWS. ANOTHER LOSS
I'll try to keep this quick, but I feel it's important to share. I was contacting Joseph, my printer rep from API, to start working out details and make sure our timetable would be solid and deliverable. But I didn't hear anything. I figured Joseph was busy because I know printers have been dealing with all sorts of issues (hence me trying to square stuff away ahead of time). But after a couple weeks, I still hadn't heard anything so I reached back out. I got an email from Robert (Joseph's boss/partner) asking me to call him immediately.
Somehow, I knew. I knew it wasn't an issue with supplies or deadlines. I knew Joseph hadn't left the company. Joseph had passed away. Talking to Robert was surreal and I was really surprised how deep the loss cut. Joseph and I had only really been professionally associated, but we both loved to joke and laugh, so our conversations would often turn to just shooting the breeze and chatting about family and whatever was going on in the world. When I really started to talk about it with Ady, I realized that Joseph had held my hand through every step of making my first book. He was an irreplaceable part of an amazing and transformative time in my life. A truly integral part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I know Beorn would have been a book eventually regardless of kickstarter or working with this specific printer, but...but it had been this specific printer, and this specific person. Joseph was there to help me feel relaxed about what I was trying to do, and to help me make this book the best possible book it could be. He brought my vision to life. He formatted pages I couldn't get right. He told me the best way to set up my templates and format my colors/inks/pages. Repeatedly. He was there for me. Every. Single. Step. Repeatedly. I ask a lot of questions, and I want to know what's going on. And he was perfect. He was the exact person I needed to help me with all the unknowns and fears of making my first book. And he was excited and enthusiastic about it from beginning to end. He was excited about Book Two, but he won't get to see it happen. And for that, I have an emptiness inside.
It's funny how folks like that can come into your life. I can't imagine how my life, and Beorn, would have been different without Joseph. I gave him a little Special Thanks on the Dedication page of Book One, but I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge to all of y'all who Joseph was and how important he was in the making of my first book, and all the groundwork he laid and all the things he taught me that I'll carry with me into every other project I tackle in the future.
To Joseph Healey. Thank you for helping Beorn take the first steps on his path to adventure. Thank you for helping me bring my dream to life.
Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement, y'all. It's been a big deal since the beginning, and has definitely been a source of motivation and positive energy as things have hit a slog lately. I know I can turn to Beorn and focus on what I'm trying to bring to life and share in this world. And I know you all are there cheering me on. That means the absolute world right now!
Some resources to help support me and my family as we make the leap into our new chapter with me at home with Eva while Ady is back at work. This has been a huge blessing to our family right now since whatever I bring in from art goes to supplementing Ady's retail income for bills and expenses. Thank you. Thank you so incredibly much!
LINK to my Patreon for behind the scenes looks, exclusives, and first dibs on Original Art sales - www.patreon.com/benbender
PAYPAL my account (firstname.lastname@example.org) for one-time donations to our "New Life Fund"