As announced yesterday on Brent Schoonover's blog and Robot 6, we have finally printed a complete ASTRONAUT DAD that will include both volumes 1 and 2, all six chapters. Brent will have copies available at NYCC, and then we should have it on Amazon and an ASTRONAUT DAD website. To give you an idea of how long this book has been "in the making," I mentioned it on my very first post on this website, back on August 17, 2003. Eight years ago.
This book would have never happened without Brent Schoonover. He believed in this story, even though it doesn't feature zombies, monsters, vampires, ninjas, robots, or pirates. (He did get to draw astronauts, but we both know the story is not really about NASA.) He put in considerable amounts of time to get the art just right. He was open to my feedback and truly willing to collaborate. He traveled to Texas to promote volume one. On a personal level, he's been a good friend. He was there at my wedding. When I had given up on writing comics and felt that ASTRONAUT DAD was a lost cause, he worked on my behalf to get a complete version printed and encouraged me to keep writing. I don't know if I'll ever be able to make a career from writing, but because of Brent and a few other close friends -- I'm not done yet.
Justin Stewart, my friend and master letterer, I can't thank him enough for his willingness to take on this project without hesitation. He worked quickly and skillfully, always putting in that extra hour when we were faced with a deadline or needed something changed. Letterers don't always get the respect they deserve, but he saved us on more than one occasion.
This book also never would have happened without Christian Beranek. He agreed to publish ASTRONAUT DAD through Silent Devil. He simply asked me what I wanted to do, and I mentioned this family drama during the 1960s. He approved it on the spot. I've never had an editor put that much confidence in me, and I will always respect and appreciate him for that. It was one of my favorite moments in what can sometimes be a very frustrating industry. Unfortunately, his company lost money on the first volume. It's not uncommon. It's a good book, and we promoted it as well as we could, but the sales/preorders just weren't there. Since then, his ventures have shifted to some great web comics (one illustrated by Tom Kurzanski).
A few months ago, I looked over our contract and realized it expired. Full rights returned to us when volume 2 wasn't printed by the end of 2008. We lost a year because of a literary agent who agreed to represent this project and find a mainstream book publisher, but then he quit his job for other opportunities. That's what freed us up to pursue a complete edition through a print-on-demand company.
I also must thank someone I've never met in person. Sean Akers championed our book, and did most, if not all, of the work to release it in this complete format. He met with Brent and offered a plan to bring this story back. Sean, thank you and I owe you.
And there we go. What started eight years ago, when I hid away in my Dallas apartment for a month long writing binge, back when I thought the best way to get a publisher was to fly to San Diego Comic Con and distribute burned discs with over 300 pages of script, has finally arrived. Available for mass consumption. In the end, it never would've happened without four people who also believed in this story.