What can I say about the year to come? Over the past few months the projects which have developed and come together for next year have unwittingly and almost completely developed into a theme for 2019. Because of the pattern and potential I saw, and the number of projects that have come together all at once, I laid out a plan—a fairly specific one—for next year. Included in that plan are Chadhiyana, Gentleman Cthulhu, Dark Fire Press and some very valuable and exciting changes to my Patreon.
Dark Fire Press
I’m going to tackle this one first, as it’s the central, unifying entity in 2019 (as it were; though it’snot the theme).
Dark Fire Press is my self-publishing label. It was the “publisher”of my first Inktober sketchbook and Gentleman Cthulhu: Twice the Fears and Cheers. I created it because, I don’t feel publishing as oneself is quite as professional and is somewhat limiting compared to having a publisher (even if it’s your own). Plus, I’m not the sort to go about things half-way (which admittedly can be a blessing and a curse, because it does slow me down when I painstakingly research ventures before taking them).
One big change this last quarter of 2018 is that I registered Dark Fire Press as an LLC. This was for a number of reasons (legal and financial,which is not worth going into). Going forward DFP will handle all of my self-publishingventures.
And I need to be specific about this, in writing, for any potential publishers and clients who may want to work with me:
I am NOT stepping away from freelance and traditionally published work.
In fact, late this year, I did some freelancing, and have projects both completed and (potentially) coming in that are to be published by other publishers. I still love and respect traditional publishing, and I find benefits to both avenues of publication. Though for a long time now I’ve envisioned my career being a combination of the two. The reason I self-publish(which will probably also be mentioned in the Creative Collection) is experimentation and development.
To go on a short detour for a moment, I thrive creatively when I’m free to explore a work freely. Though I’ve had training in school as an artist and (limitedly) as a writer, the single greatest factor in my growth and development as a creator is what I’ve taught myself. I’m passionately auto-didactic.
What self-publishing offers me is an outlet to experiment and learn, while I still work on other projects. Chadhiyana began as a self-published work in order to gain publisher interest. Gentleman Cthulhu has always been a fun side-project that I never had big ambitions for other than it being read and enjoyed.
The truth is, even if I was offered a huge project like penciling Spider-Man or designing characters for Disney (or, as I might prefer, Hellboy or From Software), I’d still need an outlet for experimentation, or else I’d get stuck, bored, and I’d stagnate. And more,because of my personality, I rarely experiment with something and just leave it in a folder or a drawer with no plans for it. If it’s good, I want people to see it (which is part of my overall belief about what art is).
Dark Fire Press will give me that opportunity to still explore and have some control over certain projects, while I still go the traditional route with others. Plus as an official business, it opens distribution doors(such as comiXology and Amazon).
A good portion of work I have planned for publication in 2019 is going to be done through Dark Fire Press, and you can see what’s already available and coming in the near future on darkfirepress.com.
Even though myself (J. M.DeSantis) and Dark Fire Press are separate entities (legally, though I own DFP), all of my DFP books will include a list of my Patreon supporters. So Patreon is going to be a great way to support and even get copies of my work in 2019. I’ve also made adjustments to my Patreon many of which, I feel, add value to the entire tier set.
I’ve combined tiers and added rewards. There are now tiers at $1, $5, $15, and $30 (gone are the $3 and $60 tiers).
The $1 tier saw the biggest change of all. Not only was the former $3 reward of early access to Gentleman Cthulhu comics added (see Gentleman Cthulhu & Chadhiyana below), but I’m going to start adding previews of my work (unless I legally can’t share it) at the $1 level, often earlier than the work publishes.
$5 and up patrons now get early digital releases of my work(when I can), especially through Dark Fire Press. As I stated in the previous post this week, my $5 and up patrons already have a two-month-early access to the And They Call it Mummy Love collection. The Creative Collection is soon to follow, as are other projects and artworks (for prints).
Gentleman Cthulhu & Chadhiyana
Both properties saw little to no activity this year, but 2019 is going to “bring them back” (as it were).
I’m going to retroactively catch up on the “third year” (comics 105 – 156) of Gentleman Cthulhu, as well as continue on with the fourth, as I still have enough content (script-wise) to get me through a fifth year, and I vaguely have ambitions for six or seven years of the Lovecraftian Gentleman.Beyond that, I’m highly doubtful (but who knows, really?).
As for Chadhiyana, I’m presently working on numerous scripts of varying lengths (one-shot issues and shorts), and working with other artists to bring them to life (dominantly female artists). I’m going to do the art for at least two scripts (a one-shot and a short), but I’ve always wanted to have other artists draw some of the shorter Chadhiyana stories while I focused on the graphic novels or larger arcs.
I’ve been working for the past few years to improve Chadhiyana: In the Company of Shadows(as I’ve written about in the past and that work continues—it’s not an abandoned story, I promise that; it’s too important to the overall series) and that work continues. With these collaborations, I’ll have the ability to continue with that work, while I also focus on some other projects (which explore themes and ideas for Chadhiyana and my comic-storytelling methods in general), and still put out Chadhiyana stories. Then I can get back to producing In the Company of Shadowsas I feel it should be done (like my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel, I simply did not plan well enough, and that story needs a solid structure to work).
The Theme of 2019
That all said, the theme of 2019 is going to be:
Between Gentleman Cthulhu, the fact that the votes this year dictated my 2019 Inktober would be Lovecraftian, The Kirklyn Horror and my one-shot comic, The Tainted Ones having Lovecraftian elements (as well as other works and art I’m hoping to produce), the entire year developed toward this theme (which again, I didn’t notice at first). Even one of the Chadhiyana scripts has a Lovecraftian feel to it (not out of keeping with plans I had for Chadhiyana, either).
So while I’m not entirely shifting my career to follow directly in HPL’s footsteps, the opportunity to focus on such work for a year is something I think I (and my fans) would enjoy.
Events in 2019
Last (as I’ve written about before) I’m stepping away from shows and conventions until the Fall of 2019 (except in the case of the No Such Con at Vassar College in February).
With the number and scope of the projects I’m concentrating on,plus a slight need for a break from them for a while (just to re-energize,because I love doing them, and I don’t want to be that creator that shows up in a bad mood and give a fan a bad experience), I’m holding myself pretty firmly this, with one exception:
If I’m invited to a show as a guest in 2019 (as I am at No Such Con) or a show’s promoter really wants me at their show, I will certainly consider it. But very likely, I won’t be on the road again until Baltimore, (hopefully) New York, and Rhode Island in the Fall.
In the meanwhile and through the New Year, keep checking back or sign up for my mailing list (in the sidebar) for e-mailed updates so you don’t have to.
Or become a Patron (patreon.com/jmdesantis) for updates,behind-the-scenes information and even some previews or (depending on your level of contribution) digital or physical copies of books. Try out the $1.00 tier to start. You’ll get enough of a preview to decide if you want to contribute at a higher level.
That said, I’ll keep posting news at least every month, or write on some other topic, when I have the desire. But, this is likely my last in-depth, lengthy, behind the scenes blog of this type on this site, at least for the foreseeable future.
Patreon members will always have access to more information and sooner (as they’re paying for it), but whether you contribute or not, expect areal change in my format, approach, and (to some extent) my content in the coming year.
Things are going to be different. They already are. And I have quite a bit of work planned to publish. Just you wait and see.
Until next year…