After years of waiting, teasing, opaque answers to the question What’s it about?¹, we have a date for the release of Scott McCloud’s next book, his first since the comprehensive ZOT! omnibus in 2008, his first new work Making Comics in 2006, his first original fiction since The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln² in 1998. Okay, there have been some Superman Adventures titles in there, but they aren’t his, right?
So we had a title some time back — The Sculptor — and now we have a date: 3 February 2015³. The breaking of the news (in the New York Times ArtsBeat blog, no less) is kind of brief, and it’s got an unfortunate title, but man — what a place to launch the news. Publishers Weekly and Heidi Mac followed up with more details and two pages, and everybody with sense and a calendar has marked Saint Groundhog’s Day 2015 as The Sculptor Eve.
And lest anybody wonder if it’s really coming out, given that it’s been five years and McCloud may have mentioned a target release date of 2014 way back in 20104, consider the following:
- :01 Books does not blow deadlines, ever
- He just doesn’t have time to put any more work in — as Ivy McCloud has shared, every spare second before the very busy month of May is doing the last minute tweaks before he sends off his labor of love to become a book:
I keep saying the Scott is done with the book. Again. It’s a running joke. And it’s true. The book is done. And it’s almost finished. Right now, Scott is going though the book and correcting things. Finding continuity problems (oh look, she’s wearing a coat in this panel, but it’s mysteriously gone in the next), making sure characters look the same in the beginning of the book as they do in the end, that sort of thing. He is also working on the cover (I got to help with that!). I’m really liking the cover so far, it’s not done, but it’s really cool.
There’s going to be some busy times for McCloud in the next couple of weeks, then more busy times as he tries to put out of mind the million little things — invisible to anybody else — that he thinks could have been better. Then The Sculptor will release and we can all tell him exactly how much it was worth the wait. And if I know Scott, he’s already cooking ideas for the next book, and the one after that.
¹ When I asked, the answer was About 400 pages, but that was two or three years ago and apparently it’s grown in the telling.
² Which a lot of people never liked, but I always did. In fact, when I first met McCloud back in Aught-Six or so, that came up in conversation pretty quickly: I’m the guy that liked The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln I said. He laughed; Oh, you’re the one?
³ Talking with :01 Books consigliere Gina Gagliano at MoCCA Fest a couple weekends ago, I begged for any info about The Sculptor’s release date that was more specific than “next year”. She was not letting anything slip other than to say that decisions would be made shortly, which apparently they were.
Similarly cagey was :01 Books designer Collen AF Venable, who allowed that it was a thrill to be doing the book design for The Sculptor, but likewise let nothing of substance slip. This is because Venable, Gagliano, and everybody at :01 are disciplined professionals that know when to keep quiet and I respect the hell out of them for it.
I will, however, continue to badger them for details I know I’ll never get because I am an optimist out of all rational scale. One may recall Santayana’s definition of a fanatic, if one wishes.
4 Apparently, as recently as last year, some people thought The Sculptor had already been out for two years.