The whole deal

June 7, 2004 by Tim

This past weekend has made two things abundantly clear.

1.This book is going to be absolutely gorgeous.

2.This book is going to kill me.

I’ve got so much to cover, I don’t even know where to begin.

Alright, well, the comic is up. But it was late. I’m going to explain why, for thise of you that missed the earlier update, and to further detail the reasoning for those that read it. Please bear with me. My brain is fried.

First let me explain in basics how a book is made, to help you understand if you’re not familiar with the process. In my case, my book is a whole bunch of pictures and words, right? I’ve got the comics, the commentary, etc. These are not a book yet.

You have to arrange all of the pictures and words into a lay-out program, such as Quark. Basically you have a bunch of digital ‘pages’ and you decide where you want everything. In the end you have a big file with a however many pages your book is (we’ll call this the book file from now on). You give this file, along with all of your images, to a printer, and they print your book. Pretty simple, right?

Hold on, it gets a bit more complicated. You have to have all of your text layed out in the book file, and also give the printer any fonts you’re using. This makes sure the text comes out nice and sharp when printed. In a normal book, this is fairly simple. It’s just text on every page.

With my book, it’s a bit different. The text has to be in word balloons in the comics. I can’t just flatten the text into the image, because when it prints the quality will be poor. The text will be a little bit fuzzy. So what this means is, that I have to save every comic without the text, so they are just blank word balloons. I then have to arrange the text, in Quark, OVER the word balloons. Now imagine not only resizing and loading over 150 comics into a program, but you now have to go through and individually re-enter every single bit of text for each comic. And below each of these 150 comics, you have a block of commentary. Alright, you’ve got that image in your mind now?

Here’s where it really gets fun. The computer where we were keeping our “book file”, with weeks worth of all of this laying out and retyping and such already finished, and mere days away from sending it to the printer, gets a virus. A nasty one too. We this in Friday.

All of Friday night and Saturday night and Sunday morning was spent trying to save information, save the computer clear the virus, etc. It just couldn’t be done. Early yesterday morning we had to accept that the file was lost, and that we needed to start over.

Now, let me clarify. We still had all of the comics, the commentaries, etc, those were all safe on my computer. What we lost was the file which said what was supposed to go where, and how the book was supposed to look.

So Sunday morning I dropped what I was doing (Monday’s comic), packed up my main computer with all of the stuff for the book on it, and drove to Maryland, where we began working on on laying out the book. Again.

Ok… now I’m blanking out on what to type next. I’ve been awake for twenty-six hours now. My body is being fueled purely by caffeine pills and sheer determination at this point.

I drove back home and finished Monday’s comic (thankfully I had already drawn the artwork Saturday night), I think I already mentioned that though. So that’s out of the way. Now I have to get back to the book. I think I’m about 80% back to where we were. If that makes any sense. Uhh…

Right. Oh, the book is fine, by the way. This is a major setback work-wise, but not a major setback… time-wise? Oh boy, my thinking processes are hurting… umm. The book will still be submitted to the printer ahead of schedule, and we will most likely receive it much earlier than we had originally anticipated. It’s important that you read that last part. This sucks, and it’s a whole mess of work we didn’t want to have to do twice, but it’s under control and is not going to affect book production at all. I don’t want to have to deal with a lot of emails asking me if you should cancel your pre-order because of this. I just can’t handle that right now.

Umm… there are a lot of you waiting for a reply to emails concerning problems you had ordering, with paypal and such. I have those in a special folder and will be answering them sometime later today. Please be patient with me.

Let’s see, what else… ahh, I decided to spend a little bit extra money and go with 80lb paper instead of 70lb. It’s not going to cost you anything more, I’ll just be making a bit less of a profit, but it will make an astounding difference in the quality of the book. The pages will be thicker and sturdier. It’s a coated paper… let me try to explain that. It’s not glossy, like you see in a magazine, but it’s not flat, like most comic strip collections or manga. It’s got a coating on it so it’s smooth matte. It will really make the colors bright and crisp, with nicer lines. And the book is a nice size as well. As I said, it’s going to be gorgeous.

Ahh… I want to thank everyone who wrote in telling me to go to sleep, or not worry about the comic, or to take a break, or to say sorry for what happened with the virus. Thanks, I appreciate it. But quite simply, I can’t do that.

I can justify being late with the comic if it’s an emergency, but if I miss a comic entirely, I better be dead or dying in a ditch somewhere. This is my job. I do this for a living, and that’s possible because of all of you and your support. If you think that I’m going work any less hard for you than you would expect from any other profession, you are mistaken. I don’t know if that last sentence made sense. I can’t even read it to find out.

Anyway, I’ll rest when the work is done. You can stop telling me to take a break, because I did. You just read it. This newspost was my break from work.

I still haven’t even found time to send out the Exclusives… god I’m sorry about that. I’ll get to it asap, I promise.

Again, I’m sorry about the late comic today. It wouldn’t have happened if I could have helped it.

It’s a shame you guys can’t all just come over and hang out with me right now. I bet I’d be a riot to be around.

I’ll keep you updated if possible. Gotta get back to work. Thanks everyone.

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