Note: this is republished from my mailing list.
We've passed a whole slew of milestones since I last wrote. A SLEW, I tells ya.
By the way, do you know where the word "slew"-- as in a large number of things, not "I slew the dragon"-- comes from? "Slew" comes from the Irish Gaelic sluagh, pronounced "sloo-ah" (or sˠl̪ˠuə for you IPA-heads). The sluagh are the restless dead, unwelcome in the good Underworld, or the shitty Underworld, or the bizarro Otherworld. They tromp around between the planes, popping in and out of this one to grab the soul of a dying person or generally harass the living. In later centuries they were called 'the fairy host,' originally sluagh sídhe (pronounced sloo-ah shee-ah). Fairy has taken on a different, cuter meaning since then, but the sídhe of medieval times were still complex characters, acting more like a pantheon of pissy gods and bored ghosts. I'm assuming the same of the sídhe of the first century AD.
Liminal spaces and 'thin' places that lead to them play a big role in Celtic mythology. Perhaps the most important kind of thin place was water. As I mentioned in January's letter, people of yore filled many a bog in the British Isles with weird votive offerings, bodies, and bridges to nowhere. They believed tossing something into a body of water was a way to send their offerings directly to the gods, or to ensure that a gateway to the other planes was protected. Nimuë, the Lady of the Lake in the Arthurian Cycle, is a medieval incarnation of this idea. She was a fairy in the original sídhe-sense, and she played a deity-like role of Convenient Plot Device in many of the Arthurian myths, whether it was slinging swords, teaching Merlin magic, or dragging Arthur's whupped butt back to Avalon.)
We have a cover! And a title! And all the colors are done!
I started working on this book about three years ago. There were stops and starts, a sabbatical from work where I finished big hunk of the script and sketched the rest, and a partnership that fell through. I found Unai and DC last winter, and then Luis and Abel and Micah this spring, and the book started coming together at a speed I'd been crossing my little fingers and hoping for.
And here we are, just about finished with Issue 1. Of all months it's happening in August, the month renamed for Caesar in 8 BC, in no small part as thanks for all of his bloody rampaging in Gaul and Britain a century earlier.
I used to feel more removed from ancient history. I still do, but the gap has closed a little bit. In researching and writing and making wild guesses about all of these people I've come to believe that while it's an old, old world, human beings have collectively changed very little while they're riding around on it.
The next steps in this century are to pack up the book, send it out to publishers, and continue the crossing of little fingers. There are a few publishing houses that accept creator-owned properties, so we're going to see if they'll take a chance on the book and go from there.
Anyway, here's the cover (inks by Abel Cicero; colors by DC Alonso):
And here are two of my favorite panels from the second half of the book, presented without comment. (Again, line art by Abel Cicero and colors by DC Alonso.):
Mind the sluagh, Honor