Well, it’s all been building to this.
Mixtape #5 will arrive in February/March 2014. It is the concluding story in the “Left of the Dial” arc that contains issues 1-5. It also brings the story full circle, to a degree, returning us to events in issue #1, which made its debut in April 2012. In a way it functions as the end of the Mixtape story, and represents a new beginning at the same time.
I first conceived Mixtape in October 2008 (though the roots of the story go much deeper than that). So you get the idea how long a journey to this point it has been. There were delays even before the first issue was published, and delays that followed that first issue. But in the last 12 months we’ve managed to get issues 2, 3, and 4 out the door, which is something of an accomplishment given how many indie books don’t make it past their first issue. At times I was tempted to throw in the towel, but it was through the encouragement of the book’s many fans that convinced me and everyone else involved in Mixtape that ours was a story worth telling, and continuing.
Mixtape #5 (the title of which you’ll just have to wait to find out) revolves around endings, of moving on from the past, of the inevitability of change. It’s a story about death, but also one about life and memory, about those moments that didn’t seem significant at the time but took on a greater importance when you look back on them from years down the road. It closes the first chapter in the Mixtape story, and to some it may feel like the end of the series (don’t worry; it isn’t)
So reaching this point, the conclusion of the first arc, has been bittersweet. I’m glad I’ve been able to see the first story arc to completion; though what form the series will take from this point is still a bit of a mystery. Do we stick with single issues, or do we focus on a series of trade editions that tell one overarching storyline? How much of the story do we tell? Market forces will decide some of that, but the next arc, “Daydream Nation” has already been plotted (with two of its five stories already scripted), and the third arc (tentatively titled “Come As You Are”) is just appearing on the radar.
So rest assured the series will continue in some form, though currently the focus is on finding a publisher to help us get the trade edition of Mixtape Vol. 1 into stores. I’m already talking to a few, and the hope is that we’ll see this TPB in time for NYCC 2014, which as of this writing is still just under a year away. I’m also hoping to include some bonus tracks in the trade edition; additional pages, playlists, character sketches, some behind-the-scenes stuff, and maybe a few surprises.
I’m also looking into locking in a couple of foreign language editions of Mixtape Vol. 1. I know many of artist Jok’s fan community has been anxious for a Spanish language edition of Mixtape, so finding the right publisher for that will occupy a good part of the new year also.
That means that Mixtape #6 likely won’t appear for some time still. I’d like to get going on it in 2014, but getting the trade edition out will be my priority for the immediate future. What’s been great about the book is that 2013 saw it gain a wider reach; new fans discovering it; old fans discovering it still exists. There’s a slate of 2014 Con appearances in the works and we hope to take the series to an even wider audience. But getting a trade edition will be essential for the future of Mixtape
Comics take a long time to produce. And producing Mixtape has been worth every penny, every hour, minute, and second. It has been the most satisfying creative endeavor of my career.
And it’s just getting started.