Tomorrow is a huge day for Team Emily. After each of the 5 single issues being released over the course of last year, tomorrow – Wednesday, February 11th – sees the worldwide release of And Then Emily Was Gone, complete and collected as a graphic novel.
For this post, allow me to talk to you as John Lees, writer of And Then Emily Was Gone. See, having this series released in comic shops across the world was great, and having it do so well and people respond to it so warmly has been nothing short of incredible. But to have a comic of mine be finished, and bound up as a trade paperback… that is a career milestone for me, a life-goal I’ll be able to tick off and say I’ve accomplished. As a writer, your comic has a lot of “endings”: when you write “THE END” at the bottom of the last page of the script for the last issue… when the last page of artwork arrives in your email inbox… when all that art has been coloured and lettered… when the last issue has been released in comic shops. But for me, the moment that And Then Emily Was Gone will truly be done is when I hold a copy of this graphic novel in my hands, slide it into the place I have made for it in my bookshelf, and close over the door.
So, even if nobody buys this book when it’s released tomorrow… I’ll still be realising a dream. I’ll have a completed work of fiction published and out there in the world. And though single issues sell out and become increasingly scarce after a few months, this graphic novel is the form that And Then Emily Was Gone will reside in for some time to come, hopefully to remain in circulation to some degree for a good while into the future. It really makes me deeply happy to think that, even as the active life-cycle of And Then Emily Was Gone draws to a close, the series will be out there – in the form of this graphic novel – on comic shop shelves, or available from Amazon, waiting to be discovered by more readers.
Over on the ComixTribe website, publisher Tyler James wrote an excellent analysis of the journey And Then Emily Was Gone took from pitch to publication, the triumphs, the pitfalls, and the lessons learned. It’s fascinating reading, and should be informative for anyone looking to release an indie comic book. And one thing that hopefully emerges from that article is that And Then Emily Was Gone is a labour of love for us. Iain Laurie and I created this book together, with the idea being that we wanted to tell a comic that we would love to read, even if nobody else did. And hopefully that (sick, twisted, perverse) love oozes off every horrific page. I want to thank ComixTribe for having faith in us and putting their support behind us. I want to thank Colin Bell, the most dependable, gifted letterer in UK comics, whose value as a creative collaborator and sounding board for ideas should not be undervalued. I want to thank Megan Wilson, whose stunning colours transformed this comic and elevated it to a whole other level, taking it from Glasgow indie to a book ready for the world stage. I want to thank Iain Laurie, my comics soulmate, who I’ve had a more enjoyable, rewarding collaboration with than I can imagine ever having with anyone: the man is a genius, an inspiration, and a comics hero of mine: he’s still one of my favourite artists, and now I’m thankful to also count him as a friend. And if I’m very lucky I’ll be able to keep on working with him for a long time to come. A huge thanks to every retailer who took a chance on our weird little Scottish horror comic. And most of all, a massive thank you to every single one of you who bought the book, read the book, and talked about it. We’d be nowhere if it wasn’t for you.
And Then Emily Was Gone contains 100 pages of story – the full series – plus an afterword from me, a cover gallery, and some cool behind-the-scenes content going into the production of the comic. Plus there’s an awesome foreword by Joshua Hale Fialkov, a fantastic, acclaimed comic writer, and someone who I’ve been a huge fan of for years. I’ve loved his writing on Elk’s Run, Tumor, I, Vampire, The Life After and The Bunker, and in particular his masterpiece Echoes was a massive inspiration to me as a horror writer in showing what it was possible to do in the genre with the comics medium. For him to also be such a kind, gracious guy who would write such a generous introduction to our book is mind-blowing, I’m really excited for you all to read what he has to say. For any retailer who hasn’t ordered it yet but now wants to give it a try, the order code is:
And for any readers still on the fence, why not download the first issue for free RIGHT NOW to see if you’re interested? Then if you are, you can hope along to your comic shop tomorrow to buy the full story!
So, once again, thank you all. And remember, the mystery of Bonnie Shaw and Merksay is not yet over! And Then Emily Was Gone #0 is coming on Free Comic Book Day, with an amazing cover from Ryan Stegman. Find out more about that here.