- July 6th, 2016, 12:10 pm
Okay, so, here's why you basically won't get the Tobin's Guide you want... or the one I wanted to make.
Back when I first got asked to work on the comics, I was asked to do Tobin's Guide pages. We quickly learnt that wasn't allowed, as another publisher had the rights to do it, but it was never made clear who was until I chased up Sony about it years down the track. That's where the PCOC stuff came in. We were looking for an avenue into how we could logically do these profiles in the back and I suggested PCOC from the game that was still pretty fresh, but without context it was useless, because I'm pretty certain PCOC didn't figure into the comics properly until later. That's why the first thing I did was that 4 page short.
So PCOC files went on for a bit, but I got asked to do other things here and there, and honestly, was getting restless, because the idea of doing bigger things was flirted with constantly -- such as the annual with the Tobin story in it -- which was why I did the story in #8 -- to sow the seeds. That disintegrated, but I'd done pages and was doing stuff for image, and had already started scripting Laura Parr, and submitted a pitch for a story about witches, so going back to the PCOC stuff felt like a step back, and the pages themselves were being phased out. Tom and I had talked about doing a digital first Real Ghostbusters thing, or even a side mini series, which never got traction, and Tom suggested doing two page shorts in the back -- which was cool, but two pages never really allowed for anything interesting beyond gag comics, and staggering out a story over however many issues two pages at a time isn't easy and doesn't read well collected. So, we dialed back, I left to do other things, and then came back for Mass Hysteria with the RGB covers to try again. The whole time we were doing this, I'd put together maybe two or three different pitch packages to do Tobin's at IDW as a coffee table, even met with Ted Adams and talked about it briefly with him, but it became super apparent it was a no-go. And at this point I had everything listed -- literally everything -- toys, video games, creatures referenced but never seen, novels, comics, cartoons, movies -- the works -- and even then, I had to cull. I was projecting a 250 page book. One full page of art, one of text and diagrams (size charts, PKE readings, etc.). Anyway we got knocked back, even trying through IDW's collector line. And the reasons were obvious -- the buyer base is too small to warrant production costs; even if I was willing to cut my rate to do it (something I won't do anymore, but that's a whole other thing). The book, as it stood, would only genuinely appeal to hardcore readers. It could be marketed beyond that, certainly, but the only guarantees on something that unwieldy and costly were with the hardcores, and it's just not enough given how the comic sales were at the time.
So, I left it. After a couple of years of gestation, I did the Silent Hill book I originally left Ghostbusters after Laura Parr to do, and then I found out who had the rights to the Spirit Guide, so I hit them up. Chris Prince, the editor, took a little bit of convincing, and the conversation was staggered out over a few months, and there was a bit of back and forth over how it should be formatted. I put forwarded a culled down idea of my original -- Movies and Cartoons and important ones from the comics and games. Nowhere near as thorough. So that went up the flagpole, but didn't happen because of the uncertainty of Ghostbuster 3 at the time. Then I got work on Ghostbusters 3, then we started talking again about making it happen, and I think at this point I'd just signed on to Fury Road. So we tried again, and it was okayed, but again, it had to be brought in to a budget based on my rates and so forth. There was also hesitation about me writing it as well as drawing it, so Chris wanted to bring a writer in. Of course there was hesitation from me about NOT doing both, because I'd been pushing it for literally years now, but I relented.
Time goes on, maybe a few more months, and by now I've finished Fury Road, and asked to do Aliens, which there was no way I was going to say no to, but at the same time, Chris gets back to me and tells me Erik's on board. Rad... but... my schedule is all Aliens now, and the timeline for Tobin's still wasn't clear, so I basically had to say no on that basis. Aliens was an ongoing gig and is incredibly time intensive, and I couldn't commit to Tobin's anymore because of that. That was about a year ago now I guess, so (and Erik might be able to clear it up) I guess it's been about a year in greenlight (writing and drawing) production? Maybe just under?
Anyway, bottom line is, what I was originally chasing, and what I'm sure every fan wants, won't get published. It's too big an undertaking, and the cover price would stop it from selling the numbers it needs to to make a return at the sort of production costs the original format projected.
All that said, I'm actually picking mine up tomorrow, so I look forward to seeing what Erik and Kyle have done and how it's all finally come together!
Very curious to see what part you're talking about, too Erik...!