Friday, November 7, 2008

Some of you may be wondering why I’m not doing the art for Doctor Who #6 so I’ll clear that up right now. If you’ve read past entries from September you already know that issues 3 and 4 were given to a fill-in artist while we were dealing with a personal crisis. When things had settled somewhat I slowly got back into working with the full intention of completing my commitment to issues 5 and 6. I was told that issue 5 would be due by the end of October and I paced it a bit slow, mostly so as not to hermit up after what happened. I made myself as available to others as possible while still getting pages in here and there knowing that I’d pick it up as I went.

Ian went to Regina for the Comedy Awards at the beginning of the month, lots of errands and distractions but no problem, still okay for time. I produced a handful of pages (tricky ones at that) and then the Scream Awards came up rather unexpectedly and though I was worried about the schedule Ian and I talked it over and decided it was important to go, primarily to promote Y and Doctor Who: The Forgotten, but also to hang out with Brian, something we didn’t get to do at SDCC this year. It was a great weekend, blew off a lot of steam, met some very nice people. I brought/dragged pages to work on but as these things often go there wasn’t a spare moment.

(Did I mention that I promoted the heck out of the Forgotten on the red carpet? Brian got in on it too, his brother loves the book.)

We got home and I hit the drawing table hard. It was going to be a tough slog but I was sure I could do it, maybe I’d go a few days over but not by much. I got an e-mail from the editor on the 22nd demanding a firm date or they’d be giving issue 6 to someone else. I was a bit surprised by this seeing as how the deadline was over a week away but okay, they run things tight and after looking at it realistically I told him “November 4th”, that was four days over the deadline, four days lost due to the Scream Awards. I got an e-mail back saying “…thanks for letting me know in advance that you won’t be finished by the end of the month. That helps us a lot with planning.” And I get back to work, send a few more pages to their server.

A couple of days later I get an e-mail from Tony asking why I wasn’t working on issue 6. What the fuck?! I thought this was sorted out already, but apparently not. I e-mail the editor to find out what the hell happened. Here’s what I get back…

“Pia,

First, I want to apologize that you heard this from Tony and not me. This was just decided yesterday and I'm not sure who he heard this from, but that ultimately falls on me. I'm very sorry for that.

Second, I want you to know that we had no choice.

Even if you were able to finish twelve pages by Tuesday (after taking three weeks for the first 10), this book would be five days AND a month late. That's not including the time it would take to finish inking, coloring and lettering the pages, and getting approval from BBC. That would put us at about five-six weeks late.

As I understand it, we're only at issue 2 on the stands because of your lateness from the start. If we were on schedule, #4 would be out next week. Despite having two fill-in artists working on 3 and 4 at the same time, we were able to recapture only a month on the schedule.

If we continued on the present course, #6 would be so late that it would become returnable. And that would be an unacceptable loss of revenue and likely cause the book to be canceled outright.

So the decision was made to find another artist to finish the series.

It is very unfortunate, but we had no choice.

I hope this doesn't affect your intention to complete issue 5. But if that isn't the case, please let us know.

Best…”

First off, thanks for failing to mention the month late business when telling me the book was due by the end of October. I thought I was producing in a timely manner.

Second, “Even if you were able to finish twelve pages by Tuesday…”

Don’t demand for a firm date, accept the date and then assume I won’t deliver.

Was I pissed? Damn straight. And I promptly locked myself in the office for the next week and did indeed transfer 12 pages into their servers by the 4th. Scanned in the last set while bawling my eyes out with joy over the election results.

And what sweet looking pages they are.

I’m very sorry it ended up like this, even more so for Tony who doesn’t deserve it in the slightest. I hope we get to work on something in the future.

So my vacation/sabbatical starts early. I’ll be spending the next year doing what I should have been doing when Y ended, taking time to learn new skills, play with back burner projects and just think.

Ta.

5 comments:

James L. said...

Oh god.
'Three weeks to produce TEN pages' is a problem? I just took three weeks too produce five, and Bongo's still real happy with me.
Your professionalism has always been beyond reproach, and you were clearly hustling for these guys-- pencilling AND inking at what I understand was a reduced rate-- and this is definitely THEIR loss.
But it still sucks. My condolences for the shabby treatment. Hope you find some peace of mind in your time off.

Pia Guerra said...

To be fair James, it was only pencils. I gave up on inking when that dragged the schedule down over the summer. Inking is one of the skills I'd like to work on during the time off. I'm pretty excited about it actually. This is all leading to good things so chalk it up to yet another lesson learned.

Phil said...

Ugh. You know, bad enough you only ended up doing three of the issues. But seriously, when they were grabbing guest artists, couldn't they have, you know...

Let the one on issue #3 know that Martha is black? And probably shouldn't have identical skin tone to the Doctor?

No?

Pia Guerra said...

Oh dear.

Phil said...

Yep. Here's a panel, where you can compare Martha's skin tone to the spider behind her that ought to be a similar color, or to the baseball bat that she ought to be darker than:

Panel