What Sandeep was talking about in the comments sections is "the work thus far" -- the 180-or-so-pages that are done in sequence from A to B.
THEORETICALLY, these are two volumes that IDW intends to publish. But, then, we're in Year Four of "Waiting for the Covers Book" so THEORETICALLY sums it up.
There is bridging material that's required from when SDOAR was going to be individual comic books and there were individual covers and inside front covers. The story was designed to start on the Inside Front Cover with credits and the IDW indicia incorporated. Ted Adams decided late in the day that it should be a trade paperback instead. Well, you can't take four individual comic books and print them AS a trade paperback without raising questions. Did these comic books ever come out? No. Why are they drawn this way if it's a graphic novel?
So, to cover for that, I came up with two- and three-page bridging sequences between the "issues". Basically the idea was that I would go down to Toronto with mock-ups of SDOAR #1 and take pictures of Pete Dixon at PARADISE COMICS working late at night. And he looks down and sees SDOAR #1 next to his computer and picks it up and looks at it and then that segues into the SDOAR #1 cover.
Only, my hand went south, so when Karl Stevens sent me some of his books, I thought, "Okay, this could be the guy who will be able to draw the rest of the book when I'm done writing it (if I am ever able to draw again there's about a 5% chance that it would be at the photorealism level required -- as opposed to CEREBUS, let's say -- I would probably just noodle away at it and leave the heavy lifting to Karl). At the very least, he can draw the bridging material for the in-between 'issues' stuff." So, I sent him a print-out of the 180 pages with mock-ups of the bridging material in between (photos of me standing in for Pete Dixon, downtown Kitchener for downtown Toronto and the defunct Now & Then Books for Paradise Comics) and asked him to give it a try. Basically: Karl, can you do Al Williamson?
And, of course, changing the comic store and comic store owner from Pete Dixon at Paradise Comics in Toronto to Tony at Million-Year-Picnic in Boston -- since Karl is in Boston -- and using Dave Sim at Now & Then Books in Kitchener as a template.
I just got Karl's first page-and-a-half in today and the initial, short answer is: No, he can't do Al Williamson. Not yet, anyway, although he is studying downloaded Williamson artwork from Heritage Auctions (peak SECRET AGENT X-9) and I did send him four Winsor-Newton Series Seven Number 2 brushes and he's pretty good with them.
But, no, we're going to have to Let Karl Be Karl while trying to incorporate elements of Williamson.
We talked for about half and hour and basically I'm going to do the "Joe Orlando trip" (which is part of the Bernie Wrightson legend) where Joe would put tracing paper over a page and indicate where things could be improved. I'm going to pay Karl for the page the rate I agreed to pay him and then I'm going to pay him the same page rate again after he incorporates my suggestions. And, very likely, pay him again when he does a third version. When we're both happy with the first page, we'll move on from there. There are about a dozen "bridging" pages in raw, mocked-up form so it could take a while but when those pages are done...
...THEORETICALLY we have two volumes of about 90 pages each.
But that only takes the story as far as the initial creation of THE HEART OF JULIET JONES.
It's quite possible because of copyright considerations that STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND is legally unpublishable. IDW will have to figure out if they want to fight uphill for the material because it is going to be an uphill fight.
My best guess is that it's legally unpublishable but still worth doing (which is why I'm working 12 hours a day six days a week on the research and probably will continue to do so for a number of years before I can start mocking up pages for Karl to finish). Given the Deafening Radio Silence that greeted Judenhass and glamourpuss, I long ago gave up any idea of Needing to Publish. I'd have been far better off, I think, just doing the Judenhass and glamourpuss pages for my own gratification and putting them on the shelf in my office and forgetting about them. And that's really the way that I've thought of SDOAR from the beginning. "I probably won't live to finish this, but so what? I'M enjoying working on it and that's all that matters."
I'm working on fundraising ideas so that I can reimburse IDW for their $30K -- and counting -- investment and then make it a strictly creative, non-commercial thing to noodle away at for the rest of my life. "Hope someone enjoys this in the 22nd century" kind of thing! :)
Seems another good reason for the CEREBUS ARCHIVE to exist as a place to house this legally unpublishable graphic novel, in the hopes that sometime after I'm dead, interest in the material will supersede the legal considerations.
I'm guessing centuries rather than decades...
[Continued in Dave Sim's Weekly Update #132...]
Help finance Dave Sim to complete 'The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond'
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by donating at Patreon.com.
Originally serialised within the pages of the self-published Glamourpuss #1-26 (2008 to 2012), The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond is an as yet uncompleted work-in-progress in which Dave Sim investigates the history of photorealism in comics and specifically focuses on the work of comic-strip artist Alex Raymond and the circumstances of his death on 6 September 1956 at the wheel of fellow artist Stan Drake's Corvette at the age of 46.