The prodigal comic returns…

zhi9-2&3

Zombies Hi rises again!!!

To say it has been too long since we done an issue of Zombies Hi would be an absolute understatement, for reasons too long and boring to go into depth about – we had to stop work on “Zombies Hi” over a year ago. It was tough call and one that ate at us for a long time, but even back then we knew it would return!

One of the problems we faced early in making this series was setting release dates, small press don’t really stick to really strict deadlines but we wanted to be “middle press” as we dubbed it. Issues 1 & 2 were released within 5 weeks of each other, with issue 3 following 7 weeks later – we were on a roll! When the opportunity to do Issue 4 came along, we wanted to take the time and make it special. The issue was carefully crafted and the production time increased dramatically, yet seeing the final product for the first time was worth the many extra hours spent! It didn’t come out perfect, but I believe it was our first big leap forward in visual storytelling, and it definitely set the bar for later issues in the series.

issue 4 page 2 blog

Between increasing production times per issue and at the same time managing the day-to-day running’s of Uproar Comics, taking on services contracts, delivering workshops, increasing our digital production team – we could tell that the next issue of “Zombies Hi” was in trouble. Overheads, turnaround times and finances began to take precedence over creativity. The decision was final – issue 5 would be my last as artist, I had to retire the pencil for the business card, cover the sketch pad to unveil the PowerPoint, it was time to become the Managing Director of Uproar Comics.

In the haze following most comic conventions, in this case the 2012 2d festival – I waited for the evening comics panels to begin after a crazy day of selling “Zombies Hi” at the same convention it premiered at a year previously. Danny McLaughlin (Uproar’s Creative Director) was raving repeatedly about “this guy’s thumbnails”. Who was that guy? None other than Ruairi Coleman.

Once I seen the sketches, I called Ruairi to find out when he could start. For the next three issues Ruairi would handle line art duties and free me up to move into my official role which was another learning curve entirely that I might blog about another day. But in short, at a time when we needed someone to keep ZH alive we found Ruairi and my goodness that man raised the standard! We also moved the production into colour, increasing the time taken to produce an issue yet again.

As time passed the gap between issues increased and began costing too much or getting in the way of paying client work and the decision was made a few months after the release of issue 8. It’s strange looking back like this because as I write this I think there was another reason that maybe we didn’t acknowledge before – we weren’t ready to tell issue 9. As storytellers I don’t think we had our craft honed the way we do now, issue 9 is a massive issue and in some ways I think we may have been a little scared of not doing it justice – it’s the knot in the story thread and we’re ready to tighten it now!

So what am I getting at with this article that could be straight from my memoirs? When we made that decision to stop production on “Zombies HI”, we always knew it would come back, but we gave ourselves a condition. “Zombies HI” returns now for its 9th issue because we are finally in a position to continue it regularly. We feel bad that it took so long but at the same time – even the pro’s can’t meet deadlines! So stay tuned folks, thanks for reading and remember 1st July 2014 the undead will rise again!

zhi9-2&3

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