TALES FROM THE FARM
News, new comics, work in progress, and behind the scenes for all things Jeff Lemire.
Welcome to the first installment of this strange new adventure…
I don't even know what to call it really, “newsletter” seems much too limiting for what I hope to do on this platform. My intention here is to create something akin to an online studio; a new platform to publish new comics and a meeting place to share all my work in progress with you and also offer lots of exclusive new material. I want to create a direct link between me and my readers. So, this will be a place that I can share each step of my creative process with you and a platform to actually create and publish new comics too.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IF YOU SUBSCRIBE?
Each week I will post a variety of material including behind-the-scenes material, work in progress and also a weekly work journal so you can track my various books.
There will also be access to limited-edition prints, exclusive variant covers and and other artwork and merch that will be for sale only to paid subscribers. Our first exclusive drop happens later this week!
The most exciting part of this platform may be the new comics that will be published here. The general news and sneak peeks section of the newsletter will be free to anyone, but the new material will be exclusive to subscribers. By moving to Substack and the subscription format, I’ll be able to subsidize my work and pay my collaborators as well.
With that, I’m excited to announce FISHFLIES, the first project that I will publish here which is my next major graphic novel.
FISHFLIES is a project I am both writing and illustrating, and I’ve been working on it since I finished Mazebook and Sweet Tooth: The Return at the end of 2020. At the time of writing this I have about 120 pages fully drawn, and the entire story is plotted out. It’s going to be a BIG book. Probably my longest book since I finished the original Sweet Tooth series. I’m projecting it to be at least 500+ pages long, and it will likely take me a couple more years to draw.
In many ways FISHFLIES is a culmination of everything I’ve done in comics. I think it combines the best of all by books. It sits right beside Essex County in terms of tone and setting, but also brings in some of the weirder genre aspects of books like Sweet Tooth and Gideon Falls.
Starting next week I will begin serializing FISHFLIES next week, posting approximately 5 pages a week (depending on natural stop points in the story) and then to also post extensive process material as I work on new pages. And, when I finish serializing a complete chapter of the book, I will then provide a digital copy for you to download. Essentially you will be able to read the new book and watch me create it in real time as well.
NEW BLACK HAMMER
There will also be a number of new Black Hammer stories available exclusively to subscribers as well! I’m collaborating with a number of exciting creators to create some new Black Hammer short stories that I’ll publish here over the next year.
There will also be one larger Black Hammer story as well, a full-length Colonel Weird comic co-written by Barbalien: Red Planet and House of Slaughter writer Tate Brombal and fully painted by my good friend Ray Fawkes.
FROM THE VAULT
In addition to the new comics, subscribers will have exclusive access to the other major undertaking in this newsletter which will be to open up my studio and my sketchbooks to you.
In terms of process and behind the scenes stuff, I already mentioned a weekly work journal, but I’ll also be posting all kinds of process pics and videos of me drawing my new book as well as process material from Andrea Sorrentino, Dustin Nguyen, Dean Ormston, Caitlin Yarsky and other partners in crime.
In addition to process artwork, I will also be sharing samples of my scripts, series bibles, and outlines from books I’ve written over the years and I’ll be opening up my sketchbooks to show all sorts of developmental work from my various books.
I don’t want to just focus on current projects though. The plan is to go back through my entire career, in chronological order, and show as much process material and sketchbook stuff I can for each book I’ve done. And along with this I’ll be writing extensively about the creation of each book, and where I was in my career and life when I did each book.
I’ll be starting on this later this week when I open up the vaults and get into my earliest, still unpublished comics work as well as revealing all sorts of developmental material from my new series, Mazebook.
I want to try and be as transparent here as I can about what the paid subscription option will get you as well as be explicit on my long term plans for FISHFLIES and other new comics that I launch on my Substack.
The biggest question is, will FISHFLIES and other new books also be available in print? The short answer is yes. I will be publishing FISHFLIES in print, but I am still not sure when or in what format. What the subscription gives you is the chance to read my new material now and each week, but also to have exclusive behind-the-scenes access as I publish. I want this Substack experience to pull back the curtain on the creative process and to showcase to you all on how I craft my stories from start to finish.
The second perk of subscribing is exclusive access to my secret store. I am partnering with my art dealer at Cadence Comic Art and cooking up some amazing merch from all my properties as well as working with Dark Horse to print variant covers that will only be available through my Substack. In addition, I will regularly offer a variety of very-limited exclusive items in my secret store to all paid subscribers (with price points that are respective to all types of budgets).
High-end Giclee Prints that are JSA Certified
Lastly, for our early first week annual subscribers I want to create a special incentive for you….
So to summarize my subscription tiers are as follows...
FREE: You get access to my weekly free post that has a snapshot of my current projects and content. Only a small taste of all the awesome going on in my Substack.
$7/MONTH: You get access to everything. Every new comic. Every post. Access to my Secret Store, which will have monthly exclusive drops featuring; limited edition prints, exclusive variant covers, art, and much more.
$75/ANNUAL: You STILL get access to everything, but pay $9 bucks less over the course of the year, BUT there are some incentives to sign up early...
First 500 Annual Subscribers: Free download of a digital copy of one of my early out-of-print comics.
First 200 Annual Subscribers: Name entered into a lottery to be one of 15 subscribers to get an hour long Zoom with me in my studio to ask me anything.
First 100 Annual Subscribers: Exclusive FISHFLIES Signed Mini-Comic/Ashcan (not available anywhere else outside my Substack)
First 50 Annual Subscribers: Name entered into a lottery to win one of 5 pieces of original art from FISHFLIES.
First 25 Annual Subscribers: A quick headsketch of one of my creator owned characters of my choosing.
ONE FINAL NOTE
I want to take this opportunity to address the elephant in the room. As some of you may know, Substack has a history of criticism regarding extreme transphobic opinions, opinions that have deterred and alienated both creators and fans alike.
Following the lead of my colleague, the super talented Chip Zdarsky, and Substack Professional Molly Ostertag, I too will pledge my subscriber money to a charity that promotes a safe space for all. As my launch with Substack is funded by a generous grant, my portion of this year's subscription money will be donated to Rainbow Railroad, a non-profit that works to help LGBTQI+ people find the safety they need. You can read more about Rainbow Railroad and the excellent work they do HERE.
I’ll be back later this week with a look at the earliest sketchbook material from Mazebook as well as a deep dive into the very beginnings of my comics career. – Jeff