Here's something fun.

If you sign up for my free mailing list, not only will you get updates when I post new comics (Issue #2 of Incredible Doom - Eternal September is about to drop!) but I'll send you a copy of a strange experiment I did a while back and didn't show anyone: A revised edition of my first graphic novel The Charis' Hiatus.

This new edition, although mostly the same as the original, contains multiple bits of revised artwork, and even a few completely new pages and panels.

Why make a revised edition? I'll let the new introduction explain.

"The Chairs' Hiatus" was my first graphic novel. I'm proud of it. With a few hundred more comic pages under my belt, more than a few panels look rough to my eyes, but I've got a soft spot for this book.

Since I completed it in 2011 it's had a good life. It had a webcomic version, a paperback black and white version, a two-color hardback version, and even a Google Plus version. I sold it at comic conventions, web stores, and ebook stores. People still tell me it's a favorite of theirs.

But after ten years I had moved on.

Then, in 2022, I mentioned "The Chairs' Hiatus" to my literary agent while trying to figure out my next project. I said I was fine with letting it be but if he thought any publishers might want to take a stab at bringing it to a wider audience I'd be happy to try.

He read the book and thought it was worth a shot. He said it was just slightly under the common length for a graphic novel and asked if there was anything I wanted to do to revise and expand it.

There were a few scenes that I thought could use more breathing room and he suggested I do some samples of what I had in mind to show publishers. This is what I put together for that pitch. It's not the completely revised edition I would have done if we'd done another print run. That didn't turn out to be in the cards. We never even took it out to pitch. But there's lots of fun stuff in here. There are revised panels, new panels, and even a new page or two. It ended up about five pages longer.

I found it weird and wonderful to spend more time with Mary and Nell after all these years, with their flip phones and audio cassettes, their story has become a period piece. Going back there felt cozy and good, like visiting old friends.

I liked it. I hope you do too.

Matthew Bogart
February, 2024

For those interested, here are a couple of examples of changes I made.

The first thing I did was add a new first page to open the book. I like starting stories on either a splash page or a double-page spread these days, so I drew this new shot of Mary in the hardware store to open the story.
A lot of the other revisions might go unnoticed if you haven't read the story in a while. For example, I replaced the font of my handwriting with a professionally designed font that I use on Incredible Doom. Then I tightened up several panels and added a gray dot pattern to match pages that came later in the book.
I focused my attention on the first chapter to give an idea of what I might do to the whole book if it came to it, revising my least favorite drawings of Mary and making the whole book line up slightly closer with how I make comics now. For example, I switched this pseudo flashback to a boardless blue treatment similar to the technique I used in Incredible Doom.
I remember when I asked my friend Barry Deutsch for notes on the original version of the story years ago he pointed to this panel. "It looks like you don't know how to draw her laughing in this panel," he said. "That's because I honestly don't," I said. So this was fun to revisit.
After tweaking artwork in Chapter 1 I mostly focused on tweaking page layouts in Chapters 2 and three except for a handful of drawings I couldn't help myself from revising.

A few of the changes were made to give certain beats a bit more breathing room, like this final moment in chapter 2. It's the end of a chapter. It's a funny beat, I wanted to land on a page turn and feel a bit more like the end of a chapter. So I expanded the first panel into half a page and gave the last panel a whole page all it's own.
Other times I'd rearrange things so that panels I always wanted to be next to each other could finally get there. For example, I remembered the last three panels of this page on the left having been intended to sit on the same page with the three panels that came after it, but, after I drew them, I decided I needed to add a small beat to an earlier page, which shifted everything around, splitting this slow push in on Nel onto two pages. Having a second crack at it allowed me to shift things around again and get these panels to line up how I always envisioned them.

In the end, is this edition a drasticly differnt book? Nope. But it was a fun experiment that I thought folks might like to see.

The origional webcomic version of the story and the hardback edition will remain un-revised. I'm not trying to replace anything. Also, I don't want anyone to who buys the hardback edition (which I still love) to be confused about which they are getting. Hopefully making this an ebook with a built in introduction, instead of a web page will help avoide confusion.

But if you wanted an excuse to revisit this story, or even a reason to read it for the first time, consider this a nudge.

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