probably isn’t very well known but after the shit hit the fan,
as they say, with Richardson, I shut down the production of STORYTELLER after issue
nine. Ten was completed; we’d already sent it into them, but Alex
and I had realized that the nightmare just couldn’t continue. I
don’t know how to describe it in any other way. We’d worked
on all of those issues non-stop for a year and the frustrations with
Dark Horse’s [lack of] promotion of STORYTELLER were growing greater
all of the time. The situation went from suspicious to outright obvious,
you know? I would continuously fax . . . who was that jerk?!” Windsor-Smith
waves his hand, trying to remember. He looks over at Alex Bialy.
What was that marketing--?” “ Lou Bank.” Alex
answers with disdain.
Yeah, Lou no-can-do Bank! I’d write ‘Lou, why haven’t
you done this?’ ‘Lou, why haven’t you done that?’ It
even came down in the end that we had to write our own fucking ad copy
because nobody at Dark Horse was capable of doing the job right. Bank would
send us these faxes of his solicitations for Previews and every word was
appallingly thick-headed and stupid. Dark Horse treated STORYTELLER like
it was just their regular bollocks stuff, like their garbage movie adaptations
and that sort of utterly fucking dead-from-the-soul-up shit.
So we were doing everything other than paying the bills for the printing,
and Richardson had the gall to refer to my book as his ‘special project’.
I’m rattling on . . . what was the point? What was the question?
Oh, we were talking about self publishing.”
problems like those Windsor-Smith claims he had with Dark Horse (see
a response from publisher Mike Richardson in this issue), why not do
I cancelled STORYTELLER] I went into a deep depression. I was seeing
a shrink, taking antidepressants. There were times when I didn’t
even leave my house [for weeks on end]. But, all that time I kept the
studio running [by phone], I continued to pay Alex, although I dropped
his salary by a little bit. I continued to pay the letterer even though
she had nothing whatsoever to do. I couldn’t have them suffer
[financially] just because I became incapable [of working]. They’ve
got lives too."
“So a lot of money was lost over eleven months with me just keeping
the studio running. Paying all the bills, the taxes; [what was left of
the] money went in maintenance of the studio and its staff. You see, it
would have been fiscally sensible to dissolve the [studio] after STORYTELLER got shot [because that’s why I created the place], but dissolving
my studio would be dissolving my reality. And I couldn’t do that.”
We stop briefly to
try the excellent sourdough bread, and take a breather. Another sip of
wine and Windsor-Smith catches up with my question.
“ Yeah, so it is hard to not be bitter.”
I wonder what keeps
him going. If comics sucks as an industry, and Windsor-Smith has surely
been through most of the existent and
past companies with
dour results, why do it? Does he even like comics?