Along with planting willows, garden repairs (what a stormy Winter!) and maintenance, not to mention shopping, I have managed to complete 16 pages of (un-edited) art since Saturday. Action in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America, Arctic and Antarctic and now Finland is taken care of...oops. Forgot to mention Taiwan...Japan.
See, Return of the Gods: Twilight of the Super Heroes was originally published in six parts in Black Tower Adventure (vol.2) 1-6. Then it expanded from the 196 pages "Trade" after I found what I thought were lost pages and that let me add a few more extras in. So, 330+ pages and it was a full blown graphic novel.
For three decades I pestered UK publishers such as IPC/Fleetway and "the Scottish company whose name must not be spoken" about including more (grit teeth) "ethnic characters" since the UK is a multicultural society. Various weak excuses but as a rule the top boys in companies seemed to think it had a 99.9% white readership.
So, in my own comics, I try to reflect that. But more importantly, I have had an international mix of characters in Black Tower since the start. Sadly, with Return, a lot of characters were left out. Had I included every character in every country then the final book would have been over 400 pages and I just did not have the time.
With The Green Skies the threat and story takes in damn well near all the Black Tower 664 Universe (that means none of the heroes from other parallel Earths are involved). So incidental characters that may have been seen in the background (such as the old man with cloth cap and little dog) are now seen in cameo as the threat builds and explodes everywhere.
Do not expect pages of big battles from EVERY country. I would really LOVE to but time and book size dictate against it. But the heroes and others are there. Yes, there is, of course, violence. I mean -COME ON!! My favourite Archie Comics Mighty Crusaders story was "Too Many Super Heroes" and that might well be a sub-title for The Green Skies. But at the end there will be a good few less heroes left.
I have said and written it so many times in the past but, if you die you die. The one rule you have carved in stone with Black Tower is that no on returns from the dead and Black Tower will never ever 'reboot'. For that very reason I get depressed when characters I have had for 40+ years suddenly die. In all seriousness I have no idea who is next as I just write and draw and "it happens" and though I might try to change a scene it never works until I go back to what I drew originally. A few times I've had "goose bumps" when something has happened.
At least the reason behind the always present alien vampire race -the Vampirons- is revealed as well as why parasitic races like the Krale have focussed on Earth.
And the Many-Eyed One.
But that's all on Earth.
In space heroes die while trying to warn Earth of "something" approaching.
There is "the Martian genocide"
And more. All the while help from outside this parallel is prevented as the Universal Council quarantines 664.
How does it end? I have no idea. This has grown and grown and as this is my last big work I really had considered everything ending. Once the Earth action is sorted out I have to done a space suit and get up to the International Space Station to do some panoramic sketching. There ARE surprises on that front that I get an inkling about but that could all change.
I love working without a script.
I love working without a definite deadline. 2015...will Mankind survive?