The Project: Addendum – Nikesh Shukla

Last year, when I was churning out delightful blog entries for Booktrust, I also had a project. It was referred to as The Project.

The plan was to turn huge swathes of non-comic-reading readers into evangelical comic-converts, using the Booktrust mantle. I was going to enlist –did enlist- exciting and well-known novelists of the non-graphic variety, and they were going to write -some of them did write- a short comic script, which I was going to illustrate in varying and appropriate styles to suit the tones of the pieces. It was going to be magical.

The Project was a wave to the so-far-unconvinced to say “come on in, the water’s lovely. There’s no reason not to be involved with comics. Look, these guys are doing it!”. Any reader, with an understanding of the basic rules, can read comics. Any writer, with an understanding of the basic rules, can write comics.

It was also, secretly, a two-finger salute at the in-house snobbery that sometimes crops up when outsiders appear on the comics scene, like aristocracy deriding the nouveau riche. If they’re producing good comics, what’s the problem? It’s not like they can turn a fast and cynical buck by doing it. It’s not as though they’re prospectors at the comic-face, mining out their share of a finite amount. The more people are involved, the more resources there are to go around: to be territorial is baffling, counter-productive, and pretty fucking stupid.

And as I repeated throughout my time at Booktrust, COMICS ARE FOR EVERYONE.

So The Project was poised and ready to go, when something bad happened. Promoting Adamtine while working on my new book was taking up most of my days, and Time, that ever creeping bastard, managed to catch up with me.

I only ever produced Connection Lost, written by James Smythe. Which was an absolute joy to do, but only a fraction of The Project.

However, like the Ark humming away in a packing crate in a warehouse at the end of Raiders, there is a secret addition.

The excellent, award-winning novelist Nikesh Shukla also wrote a comic about his sudden descent into middle-class rage, and I also illustrated it using a style very unlike my usual one. We didn’t publish it because at the time Nikesh was working for Booktrust, and we were worried it’d seem too incestuous.

But he’s just left Booktrust so you can read it now.

That’s not right…he’s just left Booktrust *comma* so you can read it now. I don’t think he left solely to that you can read this comic. Although, he is a nice chap, so it is possible…

(Maybe buy him a drink next time you see him just in case.)

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