For a few months, I’ve been teasing a project. On Twitter I’ve been calling it my “SECRET PROJECT.” There have been a few guesses to what it has been — including a friend thinking I was hired as the editor-in-chief of The Mary Sue, actually — but no one quite had it right (at least on Twitter they didn’t — when I told someone this weekend, their response was “Well, of course we knew that’s what it was!”). So I thought it was finally time to let you guys know.
I’m making a comic.
It’s The Cardboard Kingdom, a comic anthology of sorts that’s the brainchild of artist Chad Sell. He made the original short comic story with Jay Fuller called The Sorceress Next Door (about a kid who expresses himself by making a costume out of cardboard boxes) and decided he wanted to expand it into a full book about all the kids in that neighborhood making their own costumes and dealing with their issues through their alter egos.
I submitted a pitch when he had open call for ideas and out of over a hundred applicants, I was one of the dozen or so he picked to write a chapter. As someone who loves comics and has never written a comic, I was both ecstatic and terrified. I mostly got over that second part.
I can’t show you any of the official art yet (although I’ve seen the pages sketched out and I’m just blown away), but I can show you the original concept picture for my main character.
Isn’t she great?
As I said, this was the original concept art (even before I came on board, in fact — I think Chad was taken with my pitch because he connected it quickly to this potential kid character he had drawn). The majority of what you see above will be there, but there will be some adjustments in the finished character design, particularly her costume.
While avoiding spoiling the story, what I can tell you is that her name is Sophie and her story is very special to me.
You might be asking, “Why wait so long? Why the secrecy?” That was all on me. Chad encouraged all of the collaborators to tell family, friends and even social media that they were part of the project, but I wanted to wait until I had at least turned in my script. Writing the comic script (aka a medium I had never written before) was hard enough without people expecting this project from me. Even now I get nervous the rug will be pulled from under me, but after seeing the rough pages it feels more tangible.
All in all, I’m so excited. The concept of the project is so cool, I’m immensely proud of Sophie’s story, the other stories I’ve seen so far are lovely and Chad is such, such a talented artist. I feel like I totally lucked out on having him as my co-creator on my first comic.
As far as when or how you’ll see it, the group is still working on that part. It could be Kickstarter, it could be taking it to publishers. I’ll let you know when I know that answer for sure. We’re still in the middle of making it (including figuring out how the characters will interact in both each others’ stories and what extra chapters will be written as group stories towards the end of the book), so that needs to be done before anything else. I hope you stay with me for the ride.