At the recent Small Press Expo, I was talking future comics projects with Greg Lockard and Monica Gallagher. While admitting I had nothing big on the horizon, I noted 2011 will be the 20th anniversary of my Arché-Lady comic. Monica said, “your what comic?” Greg was dumbfounded she didn’t know about the campy character that dominated my output for a full decade…100 episodes worth (plus specials and more) totaling over 1000 pages.
My dear friend Miriam received a pair of shoes for her birthday, which looked like super-hero booties. She asked me to draw a thank you card, and that’s how the character was born (this card later became the first “special”). Initially in 1991, I launched Arché-Lady as a story arc in my mini-comics anthology Ten Minute Cartoons. But in January 1993, she busted into her own series, The New Adventures of Arché-Lady and Astro-Boy. The stories were brief, and light on plot, mostly designed as a series of inside jokes for my friends. But still, I launched story lines with a specific end in mind, thinking, if I stick with this, I’ll wrap it up like so in #100. Queue laugh-tracks. As the stories grew in scale and scope, I changed direction and retitled the series The Adventures of Arché-Lady with episode 51 in 1995. The series was never my “portfolio” work until the late ‘90s when I started to place real effort on both story and art. From episode 76-99, the caliber of each page leaped forward. After a hiatus—and crafting my “I want to take comics really seriously” plan in 2000—my first step was to finish my beloved series. The 100th and final episode brought to conclusion all the story lines exactly as I’d planned to in 1993. In 2001, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the series, I wrote and drew the 10th “special” which finally revealed Arché-Lady’s secret origin.
2011Hard to believe—gulp!—20 years have passed since Miriam asked me to draw that thank you card. But it cannot go unobserved. So, investigating digital press options, it’s looking within reason to put together a high-quality two-volume perfect bound collection. Limited run, of course, for the true Fish-philes. It’ll be a huge pre-press project, but perfect way to keep me away from TV. Fortunately, even for the devoted Arché-Lady reader, there will be plenty of exclusive material since I’ll include some rarely-seen stuff like the “Teen Auxiliary” splash pages sans stories I did in 1999, the “Astro-Boy” solo stories from 2001, and the “recap” I did in 2006. Plus who knows what else I will be inspired to do. Maybe I’ll post a few gems from the past on the blog for your amusement, too. Keep your eye out for the pre-order stage…I’m not gonna make many of these babies!