At the end of the small press run of Dressed for Success, Alex and Walter were adrift in space in an escape pod and that’s the last the world saw of them. In a few short days, they will return with all new adventures.
But there were other stories which never saw the light of day.
We never meant to be gone so long. After issue 25, the plan had been to take DFS to the next stage as a full sized comic, distributed by all the big distributors, in stores across the continent, every small pressers dream. And we started down that path. We knew about printers, costs, etc. We’d dealt with the distributors when we did the Dirty Baker’s Dozen trade paperback.
So we started talking about what the story was going to be. Would we pick up where 25 left off, or jump ahead as we’d done previously to ‘one point in time’. The story we ultimately decided upon was risky, in fact it could be said it was crazy for a ‘new’ series, but we felt sure of ourselves and plunged ahead.
We wrote, Jeff drew, Chris started exploring the technical possibilities for computerized black and white ‘tones’ and plowed ahead on the first few issues, meaning to build up a couple issue safety net to avoid falling behind once we began publishing.
All of this was occurring in the late nineties. If you know anything about the comics industry, you’ll be saying uh-oh. We had just come through a very strong and positive time for black and white comics from small, independent publishers. Dave Sim’s series of Independent comic shows and the birth of Alternative comic shows made for a great swell in interest and support for the little comic guy.
So of course the corporations peed in the pool.
Marvel and DC began signing exclusivity deals with Distributors and some of the other middle sized publishers followed suit. Creators similarly signed exclusive deals. Suddenly there was a battle between distributors, retailers were forced to sign contracts and meet minimums, companies folded, Marvel bought their distributor Heroes World, only to file for Bankruptcy a few years later and then to sign with the only Distributor left standing.
The net result was an industry which had lost a massive number of stores and readers. And that meant creators as well. Sales on major superhero comics plummeted, and the little guy didn’t stand much of a chance.
And there’s us, with a couple issues in the works and the future we’d been hoping for pulled out from under us through no fault of our own. And we needed to live and eat and all that stuff. So we decided to step back, shelve the work we’d done, and see what the future held.