And through all my discussion of Aaron Diaz yesterday, I never mentioned the suit; it’s beautiful, it fits him perfectly, it classes up the immediate environment. His tablemates, Yuka Ota and Ananth Panagariya, were not to be outdone — they had their own black three-pieces, and resulting in a localized dapperness singularity and made my midweight fleece jacket seek a means of exit from the vicinity, so great was its shame. To distract from my suitless disgrace, I had to ask Panagariya about everything he and Ota are working on. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
As if the warmest, most generous¹ journal comic weren’t enough, the pair are a quarter of the way through production on Lucky Penny, their project from Oni, overseen by the ubiquitous George Rohac². That means that 200 page have to be done in time for all the production work to be completed to enable an 2013 release. A year, a book, lots of people work to that schedule.
Except that more is already in the works — Johnny Wander book 3 is due this fall (with a goal of a book a year), and a fuller version of Girl With The Skeleton Hand. Other projects, too; Panagariya wants to make sure that in addition to JW, there’s a book a year, and in his copious free time, he’s getting back into the narrative webcomics game. No name of either comic or artistic partner to share with you yet, but he’s got story planned to the extent that he knows it will take a “television season” approach: 25 to 50 pages per episode, six episodes to the season, keep those writing skills sharp.
It’ll be a stretch, naturally, to work with an artist other that Ota, especially when their skills are so complementary. Yuko noted that while Ananth tends to focus on character, she centers on story structure, making the combination stronger than what either could accomplish on their own. Turns out that Jeph Jacques was right — they really are like Voltron.
Naturally, while Panagariya is collaborating with others, Ota has plenty to keep her busy. Her trade-off sketching with Evan Dahm via the Exquisite Beast is just the most public of these. Dahm, by the way, indicated that the Beast has no planned endpoint — it will just keep evolving³ for as long as they have fun with it. Likely there will be a book at some point, which would make a nice shelf companion to the (as yet hypothetical) Diaz Dinosaur Compendium mentioned yesterday.
Dahm, meanwhile, continues with the largest, most sprawling story he’s ever tackled. At more than 270 pages long, Vattu is perhaps one fifth of the way through the story he wants to tell. And consider: even once he’s done — in five years, or maybe seven — he will have chronicled only a few discrete years distantly separated in the 5000+ year history of Overside. Every odd species, every writing system, every story he’s told so far fits into a few temporal niches on (mostly) one continent.
The scope and scale of this particular Overside story also means that the one-volume editions we’ve seen of Rice Boy and Order of Tales are probably not practical to attempt with Vattu. The complete story would be more than twice the size of the OoT one-volume. Instead, Dahm plans on releasing a series of impressively thick reprint volumes, 300 – 400 pages each, in both paperback and deluxe hardcover presentations.
In keeping with his prior releases, he’s experimenting with wordless cover designs, with an eye towards releasing the first volume of Vattu in early 2013. Rumors that MoCCA staff are arranging with Armory personnel to reinforce the floor in anticipation of Dahm’s expanded catalog at next year’s art festival could not be confirmed at press time.
¹ Not to mention true-to-life; for those wondering, the Punishment Shirt is real.
² For somebody not at the show, Rohac loomed large in numerous conversations; I must have words with him, long words about the direction of independent comics and the direction that he seems to be steering them in.
³ Which at this point has evolved through every ecological niche and environmental habitat and keeps on cranking. I have a feeling that eventually it will have evolved through more forms than an actual biological entity could manage in the entire lifespan of the universe.