I am thrilled and deliciously terrified to announce the launch of the Patreon for Britain a Prophecy, an ongoing comic series that I’m creating with my husband Penn Wiggins. This is easily the biggest and most exciting thing I’ve launched since Neoreaction a Basilisk. It might well be the maddest and most ambitious thing I’ve ever done as a writer, tying together themes and ideas I’ve been working with from the start into something fundamentally new. If you’ve enjoyed anything I’ve done, whether it be my comics criticism, TARDIS Eruditorum, or Neoreaction a Basilisk, this project has something for you.
I’ll start with the pitch, just to get it above the fold. Britain a Prophecy is our take on late 80s/early 90s Vertigo books. Think Sandman meets V for Vendetta. Think two queers who grew up on Moore, Morrison, Gaiman, and their successors deciding it’s our turn. Think dark urban fantasy full of big ideas and sharp teeth. Here’s our opening text crawl:
Long ago, a King of Britain made a bargain with the fae: one in ten thousand of his subjects would be switched at birth with faeries, who would enter the mortal realm and guide the Story of Britain to greatness.
It is the 11th of June, 1987. Margaret Thatcher is about to sweep to a third term as Prime Minister.
The deal stands to this day.
The story begins when Terrence Fitzwilliams, a fae social worker in Manchester, is tasked with tracking down a wayward teenager named Taz, and the two of them find themselves confronting a staggering plot that will change the story of Britain forever.
It’s a comic about the story of Britain, who tells it, and what it’s for. It’s a comic about magic, trauma, queerness, goths, and insurrection. It’s about dragons, kings, and bears of multiple sorts. It’s a distillation and amalgamation of almost everything I’ve ever written about on this site. It’s the best and scariest thing I’ve ever written, and I am desperate to have it come into the world.
Here’s a preview of the first five pages.
You can see why I’m excited about it, I trust. Here’s the Patreon link again in case you have a sudden need to run off and help ensure more of this exists. I’d understand. The next bit where I natter a bit about how this came about and why I’m fundraising for it can wait.
It’s not a shock to point out, I imagine, that my writing career has not involved a lot of fiction. My usual answer for this is that I prefer writing criticism. Which is true enough, at least in terms of prose. But that’s never meant that I don’t have a head full of ideas for things I’d love to do if I could. But then I married an artist. An artist, specifically, who loved comics, and kept talking about how he’d love to do them, but how he’s not a writer. And so we tried it. And suddenly, it all unlocked and I was writing fiction I was happy with.
And so I opened up the vault of ideas I’d been keeping and idly imagining on long walks or while I was nodding off. And I picked one I’d been sitting on for almost a decade, from when I was reading early 2000 AD and thinking about what people like Pat Mills and Alan Moore were doing in the 1980s. And I thought of an image that had all the brash and furious energy of those comics but that they simply could not have ever done at the time. For a decade it’s been one of my favorite images to imagine. And at the end of issue one, you’ll see what it is. I promise you, you’ll like it.
So why a second Patreon? After all, I have one and it does quite well. The answer is twofold. First of all, Penn. I can fit Britain a Prophecy in amongst my other work. Penn, however, is absolutely undertaking a full time job bringing this thing to life. And he deserves to be paid for that. Second of all, and more immediate, in order to get the comic out on a halfway decent schedule, we need to hire a colorist. We have an absolutely great one, as you can see on those preview pages. Her name is Nechama Frier, and you can see her own absolutely fantastic comic Red Rabbit here. But she needs to be paid for her labor too. Which means that each issue costs a pretty substantial amount of money to make before either Penn or I make a cent off of it. The easiest way to solve that is to know that the comic has support up front. And so, crowdfunding.
So this is a lot. It’s a big project, and I’m desperate to see it happen. We’ve had the Patreon in an early access mode for a bit and have a decent start, but there’s a lot to go. The basic minimum to be able to do the comic how we want to is about $800 a month, which will let us pay Nechama. Obviously we’d like to, you know, actually make something ourselves off of it, but that’s the threshold we need to even do it in the frist place. So we need support. Equally, we’ve got some great perks. Behind the scenes previews, exclusive short fiction, early access to issues, and physical comics are all available exclusively through the Patreon.
I haven’t been this excited about something in a long time. I think you’re going to really, really enjoy what we’re doing here. And I hope you’ll check it out and support us in making it happen.