The thing about Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt¹ is that they are living proof that all you need to be super-successful in any creative field is reasonably talented, a little lucky, and a completely insane, work longer and harder than anybody else and eat their friggin’ lunch machine. Like Becky does. She paints nonstop, moving from project to project, dropping beauty via gouache and watercolor the way other people accidentally drop a gum wrapper out of their jacket pocked while fumbling for their keys.
Much of this you will never get to see. Some of it, shortly, nobody will ever get to see again, and that is a goddamn shame². And if a few things come together in the offices where such things are decided, Dreistadt will be doing more of it than she ever has before, with a higher profile than ever before. And even if none of that comes to anything, she and Gibson have enough projects confirmed and in-progress to make anybody this side of a meth freak on a coke bender wonder where the requisite energy to do all the work might come from.
And the infuriating thing about them is, they are so damned cheerful about the whole thing.
They’ve got their new hardcover collection of Tiny Kitten Teeth to finish up, naturally (since it will undoubtedly see the influence of the rapidly-approaching mythical status George Rohac, it will no doubt look as gorgeous as the Benign Kingdom hardcover, and — Gibson tells me — three or so times thicker). There’s the Capture Creatures gallery show and book to do this year, as well as finishing up Ryan Sohmer’s The Bear, and whatever else people may pay them to do. At this point, the only limit on them is time.
Speaking of B9, three of the four creator teams were at MoCCA (all except KC Green), and I got to express to Becky/Frank, Yuko/Ananth, and Evan Dahm how beautiful their work is. They spoke seemingly with one voice about what happens next with B9 (or at least I didn’t write down which of them told me): the Kingdom was not a one-shot, there will be future releases in sets of four, perhaps new hardcovers even. Then there was this from the original solicitation:
If this goes well, it could be the foundation of a much bigger project in the future: Benign Kingdom could print more books, and maybe involve other artists! Thank you very much for your support!
At this point, I say that the runaway success of B9.1 pretty much ensures that other artists will be brought into the fold. I sense that Mr Rohac has plans where all of this might go, plans that he and I must needs discuss, because I have often commented on the need for webcomics to have a shadowy genius providing specialty genius-type services in a financially self-sustaining fashion, and I have a suspicion we might be looking at the seed of such now.
¹ The hive mind that is the artist/writer combo is nearly always referred to as “Becky and Frank”, so I decided that just this once I’m puttin’ Frank first. Also, the majority of the time I have news from the Tiny Kitten Teeth duo, it comes from Frank, since he is like me an inveterate talker.
² You may have heard about the Adventure Time gallery show which is going on in Austin, Texas about now. Follow that link, and check out the photos . See the murals, with the squarish Finn and Jake and the all-swoops-and-curves Fionna and Cake, and the Rainicorn that meanders along the walls? Better get your ass down to Austin and see ‘em in person, because when the show’s over, they’re getting painted over.
Every art conservator that puts an Old Masters painting through X-rays and MRIs trying to look under the layers of paint and see what’s underneath ought to be descending on the world’s art galleries and carefully disassembling every piece of drywall they can find, because there are friggin’ masterpieces under all that Behr matte white hi-cover and the thought of it makes me want to drink until I can’t cry anymore.