I know I've been terrible about keeping up worklogs in the past, but this I'm doing for myself to keep track of things and to maybe get some feedback when I get stuck. I tend to work in a vacuum, especially on this particular series, so I'm going to try and change that somewhat. Be gentle.
<br><br>Here's the basic deal: I finished the Utopian webcomic after 18 months and 109 pages last fall. While I was pretty "over it" by the end of the run, I also left a wide open window to continue the story if I so desired, minus one hurdle: (if you didn't read it, SPOILER ALERT!!) The main character, the TITLE character, died at the end. Apparently.<br><br>After the trade paperback release, a lot of people asked if I was doing a sequel. And I guess if it made sense to them that there would be more, it made sense to me. Plus, I went through all the trouble of asking Image to change the title of it's "Utopian" series, so I didn't want that to fall by the wayside either. It didn't take much thought to realize I'd created a world with all these supporting characters, but they never really got a chance to be fully developed, because James/The Utopian told almost the entire story from his POV.<br><br>The approach for the "sequel" is to tell a series of interconnected story lines building around the central conceit: that, following James' death, a nonprofit social justice organization is founded in his honor, called (shockingly) The Utopian Foundation. The new story picks up about nine months after the end of the TPB, and we see the impact of James' life/death on his supporting cast: gang member T-Rex has left behind crime and become a volunteer at the Foundation. Football star Nate has gone off to college to play ball, but his little brother is now restrained to a wheelchair due to unspecified damage done as a result of his drug overdose. Michelle and Sean are finding their own ways at Valley University, while bonding over their shared experience with different aspects of James' personality. And then new characters are introduced to make their lives interesting/difficult, including Danielle, a high school senior who blames James for the death of her little brother, Danny. This all builds to a conflict centered around the opening gala for the Foundation's center on campus.<br><br>I'm concurrently writing the script (something, honestly, I rarely did in advance during the original run of the Utopian, instead scripting on the fly) and doing large thumbnails, and though I'm not setting any deadlines, I'm trying to stay on relative course to finish it this year. This will be the only comic I am both writing and drawing (as I've mentioned before in P&P, I'm only going to do one or the other for new projects), and I want to spend the time to make it a leap above the first series, while still maintaining the same feel.<br><br>Now, here's where the first bit of trusted feedback comes in: I'm not sure whether I want to serialize this for free online like I did with the first volume, or just wait and release it as a graphic novel entire. But if I DO go the webcomic route (I'm about 60/40 on this right now), I sort-of feel like I want to take down the archive of the first series and start fresh posting the new one. A few reasons why:<br><br>1. The first few chapters of the Utopian (vol. 1) are ROUGH. I was just getting back into comics and art when it started two years ago, and while in collected form, the progress shows, I fear that when people go to "the beginning" to read it, they might be turned off by the change in style/pacing/quality.<br>2. Perhaps more importantly, I could use the telling of the NEW volume FREE as a webcomic as incentive for new readers to BUY the collected print edition of the first volume. The way I'm writing the sequel, you don't need to have read the first volume -- not at all, actually -- but if you're into it, and you want to, I figure that's a good way to generate sales. And adds some mystery.<br><br>Any thoughts, SWers?<br>