Saturday, April 23, 2011

Desperate plea to Barry Windsor-Smith: Please finish your Thing graphic novel. I'M BEGGING.

A few years ago I read an article on Newsarama that described Barry Windsor-Smith's progress on an original graphic novel starring the Thing.  Windsor-Smith, who might be best known for his work on the Conan the Barbarian title, had started working on the Thing project once again after a period of stagnation.  As I read the article (which has since been lost to time, apparently), it explained that BWS had been working on this particular project since 1985, and it cautioned that there wasn't any great anticipation that the graphic novel would be out on the shelves any time soon.

This portent appears to have been true, as there isn't any further news on this Thing story in the five years since I read that Newsarama article.  Other than some very enticing preview art and a synopsis from Windsor-Smith himself, this book seems to once again be in limbo.

Now, it's important to understand that BWS will certainly work on this at his own pace, and I don't by any means feel that he owes us this book.  If he finishes it, then he will.  If he doesn't, then either someone else will or the book will never see print.



On the off chance that Mr. Windsor-Smith comes across this post and takes the time to read my thoughts, let me say just this: this is a project that I very much want to pay large amounts of money to own a copy of, and I'm certain that there are others who feel the same way.  I'm sure that BWS has his own personal reasons for completing or not completing this story, and those reasons will win out over all others, but I continue to hold out hope, 26 years since its inception, that eventually this will see the light of day.

Here's Windsor-Smith's description of the story:
There is hardly any comic-book type action in my story. Ben Grimm is showing signs of what the psychiatric field terms dissociation (opposite of association: in the hip meaning of having things -- one's self -- together. Dissociation is the opposite: of losing one's sense of self). While Ben Grimm has come to terms with his man/monster public image, his inner self is deeply disturbed. Due to this, and over time, Ben has become susceptible to intense neurosis. Ben's shattered self-regard is depicted in the two-page nightmare montages that open each story. In these scenes we see Ben literally falling apart as he pleads with the members of the FF (and his lady friend Alicia Masters) to show compassion for him. 
In the first story, as Reed and Sue and Johnny are about to take summer vacations, Ben receives a letter from a Madison Avenue talent agency offering to represent him in the lucrative field of celebrity commercial endorsement. This otherwise anomalous solicitation is the springboard for the entire story. After his fellow Fantastics depart on their vacations, Ben is left alone in the city, dealing with his discontent and his loneliness. After a calamitous water-borne emergency and much misguided rumination, he decides to quit the superhero game and the FF in particular to turn his "inimitable charisma" to show business. Despite the gravity of a plot describing Ben Grimm's psychological unravelling, this story is told as a comedy.
My concept for publication is to present the work in a single volume (HC and TPB) with editorial material explaining the history of the story and including the many visual out-takes culled from over the years. This will not only be rewarding in an historical way but will allow a smoother transition from the look and sound of my 1980s work to my somewhat-different style of 2005.

Ooh, I so much want this to become a reality.  Maybe one day.

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