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Collection of short comics by Red Eye, Black Eye creator K. Thor Jensen about clouds and cloud phenomena.
Collection of short comics by Red Eye, Black Eye creator K. Thor Jensen about clouds and cloud phenomena.
183 backers pledged $5,149 to help bring this project to life.

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The Final Countdown

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The hardest part of any project for me is the last 10%. I haven't put out a book in eight years (!) and I want this to be worth the money and time put into it, so I've been (among other things, like having my car explode) going through all the stories in the book and making sure they're where they need to be.

First came the cover. I knocked around the last one for a while and realized that it just wasn't working. It was too calm, not dynamic enough, didn't communicate the fact that I wanted the book to be sort of unsettling and threatening. So here's the new one.

One of the book's longest stories, The Cloud Eater, is a curious homage to 70s Marvel comics with a little twist of the creeping horror that characterizes the book. I finished the story but every time I looked at it I didn't think it felt right. Here's what a page looked like:

Eh. It just didn't sing. So I turned the existing pages into bluelines, re-inked them, and then started messing around with them until I found something I liked. Here's what that same page looks like now:

Just a lot better. I've been doing little tweaks to some other pieces too, but nothing this major (and that story was 18 pages long, so it was a big chunk of the book).

There's only one story to finish, the longest one. Here's what it looks like now:

I'm running about a page a day on it, so next few weeks should see it finished. Then I package up the PDF for original art backers, re-connect with printers for updated quotes, get the best one and send it off. The book's ISBN number and barcode have been purchased, as well.

As in previous updates: if you believe it has been too long for this project to be fulfilled, or for any other reason, you may request a refund no questions asked. So far only one backer has done so, but I won't feel bad if you do.

Giving The Finger

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*posts update eager to complete book*

*immediately cuts off the tip of my thumb with a mandoline*

Well that sucked. Here's where we're at.

After a lot of laboring and frustration, I've decided to cut one of the book's stories, THE SURVEY. I just couldn't get it to come together like I wanted and at this point it's dragging the whole book down with it.

With it gone, there are only two chunks left to do: eight pages of THE SMOKE RUNNER and four of A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLOUDS, plus endpapers, copyright page, etc. I'm working on those now and hope to have them mostly finished and a PDF copy out to backers at the $100 level by the end of June. I'm also getting new quotes from printers.

As I said in the last update: if you feel like this book has taken too long (it has) and you don't feel like waiting any more, I will refund your pledge no questions asked up until the moment I send the book to the printer. I owe you that much at least.

Deplorable

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Progress Update 9/10/2014

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This is inhumanely late but here we go.

115 pages are ready to print. I just finished and scanned a 17 page story. I have approximately 30-35 pages left to complete before I send the book off to a handful of advance readers for feedback and potential changes.

I have three stories left to complete: THE SMOKE RUNNER, THE OIL and A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLOUDS. I expect at least one of those to be 100% done by the end of September, with the other two to follow soon after.

I will be painting the final cover this month as well, after a lot of feedback and experimentation.

Here are a few more pages to look at.

February Update: Covers! News!

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It's still February! Technically!

Progress goes well. This month saw the completion of one of the longer stories in the book, the 18-page "The Cloud Eater." I don't want to spoil anything about it because it's a favorite, but here's a page for you to puzzle over:

 Got some pretty amazing news this month, also. Faultine, the Pushcart Prize-winning literary journal of the University of California Irvine (which has published authors like Richard Ford and Geoffrey Wolff), will be publishing comics for the first time in their 2014 issue. The comics? An excerpt from Cloud Stories. So that's really, really gratifying and flattering to me. The issue comes out in early June.

The rest of the book is going well. Moving on from "The Cloud Eater," I'm still knocking pages out for "Smoke Runner" and filling gaps for some other short stories.

Finally, I've been grinding away on some cover designs, and here are five comps (ie NOT FINAL ART, just quick sketches for layout). I'd love to hear feedback on them, either in the comments or on Twitter.

COVER A
COVER A
COVER B
COVER B
COVER C
COVER C
COVER D
COVER D
COVER E
COVER E

 Thanks for your patience! More updates soon.