It's been a few weeks since the last Short Fuses entry, but it's great to be back with some news of the next Time Bomb Comics release: The Furies, an original graphic novel written by Steve Tanner with artwork by Andy Dodd. The Furies is a dark, apocalyptic tale of prophecy and belief. Set in the year 2012 Britain has become more dirty, more sordid and more violent. But 2012 is also a year of prophecy, and something is going to happen. Something bad.
Those awfully nice folk who bought a copy of our first two one-shots will recognise the above image, as both Ragamuffins:Stitches in Time and Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead featured a teaser ad for The Furies on their back pages. Now, Ragamuffins was released in 2007 and Turpin 2008, so I confess we've taken a rather Hollywood stance on the phrase "coming soon", but from our point of view two years is just a drop in the ocean.
You see, The Furies is quite different from any of our existing or forthcoming releases, in that the whole story was conceived, written and drawn more than twenty years ago when both Andy and myself were callow, spotty youths with far too much time on our hands. It was the first major comics work we embarked upon after producing a slew of shorter stories for the 80's small-press scene, and was to turn out to be the last thing we seriously worked on together until we produced Ragamuffins so many years later.
Originally, this dark apocalyptic tale was accepted for publication in the late 80's anthology Ground Zero. Ground Zero was one of those semi-pro-amateur-zines that always seemed to be launching at the annual UKCAC conventions and was never heard of again, but unlike many of it's brethren Ground Zero lasted a mighty three issues before biting the dust. It even advertised its final issue in 2000AD! Debuting in Ground Zero #1, with Andy providing a Furies-themed cover, only three chapters of The Furies ten episodes ever saw publication. The whole story was complete, done and dusted, but it now didn't have anywhere to go and so we both moved on to other things.
Jump cut to 2007, and I decide to form Time Bomb Comics with Andy after getting in touch with him after a good fifteen years or so. We're discussing what comic we should launch with when Andy reminds me he still has all the art for The Furies tucked away somewhere safe. We toyed with having The Furies as our first release, a four-issue mini-series, but then we decided on our one-shots-only policy and The Furies would be better kept for later. Two more years later as it turns out.
However, it's finally time. The Furies will finally be released complete and collected, and of all the comics we've released so far this is one I'm most nervous about. You see, 99% of The Furies is my writing and Andy's art as teenagers. It's raw. Reading it through again after so many years there were some sequences that I still thought worked great - I mean, I'd challenge anyone to read chapter one and not want to know what happens next - but there were some bits that read the opposite. The urge to re-write was almost overwhelming. As it is, we gave everything a slight edit just to paper over some of the cracks and make it more contemporary (for example, originally it was set in the year 2000, now it's in 2012). Every creator wants their work to be the best it can be, after all. And back in 1985, when I wrote The Furies, it was.
So I've been looking at the forthcoming release as kind of a director's cut of a movie that was never originally released in the first place. It's been tweaked and tidied and cleaned where it could be, but not re-cast or re-shot. It's an original, not a re-make. But that original has it's flaws - and that's why I'm nervous.