T he Fate of the Artist was a book I was working on sporadically in my spare time before Mark Siegel of First Second called and asked if I had any ideas I wanted to pitch. I'd been interrupting it to do various paying jobs including Batman, Captain America and Escapist stories. Indeed I was starting to despair of ever getting the thing done. There were thirty pages in grey tones completed, which I scanned through their tracing paper overlays and emailed to New York. I originally envisioned it as a 48 page book in black and white which I would publish myself or through Top Shelf. First Second wanted a bigger book, and in color. I had no trouble whatsoever expanding it, and getting a proper advance of cash enabled me to get the thing wrapped up. It's interesting in retrospect to compare the monochrome versions with the way it was eventually published, though I think Mark was going far out on a limb in trusting me to know how the finished thing was going to make sense. There were bits from the beginning, the middle, and the last seven pages, the adaptation from O. Henry was complete, so at least it must have looked like there was a plan. He trusted me to do the entire Monsieur Leotard based on a one-page typed synopsis. My agent tells me this is extremely unusual.
So here are the title page and the first chapter page. the indicia came between these, with the recumbent figure of the poet Chatterton thrown on there at the very last minute. He was supposed to be exactly level with the recumbent Campbell below, in yet aanother of those multifarious cross-references that inhabit the work, but the addition of First Second's isignia upon the indicia page, unknown to me, threw things out of alignment. Apart from that and the covers, the whole package was assembled by Mick Evans and I submitted it on a disc.
Colour goache was touched in lightly over the grey gouache, the plan of having chapter headings was abandoned, and more was done in photoshop than I originally envisioned. The metal nut was scanned at 800%. The human nut is happy with the result.