When Jonathan Green first approached me with the concept of Clemency Slaughter I was, to be frank, dubious. I mean, NewCon Press doesn’t do graphic novels.
Then I took a closer look at the proposal and all that changed. The story is a delight: cloaked in the innocence of childhood but inherently dark and sinister, like corruption working away insidiously at the heart of a bright and beautiful red apple, withering it from within. Also, of course, there is Tom Brown’s artwork. This, as much as anything, swung it for me. The images are so perfect, matching Jon’s text in every regard. To put it bluntly, I was bowled over, and knew immediately that if we could ever get the project off the ground we would be looking at something very special.
So, it seemed that NewCon Press might see their way clear to doing a graphic novel after all. Yet this remains some way distant from what we normally do, and I’m very keen to maintain a clear definition of what NewCon Press is all about… The solution? Launch a new imprint: one that still falls beneath the NewCon Press banner but remains a step removed. Steel Quill Books was born. I’d already been thinking about doing this with regard to a very different project (still on-going), so it would merely pre-empt existing plans.
That just left one problem: the up-front cost; both of the production and to cover the advances that Mr Green and Mr Brown would inevitably expect for their efforts. I organised a meeting with Jonathan in London, fully expecting to say, “I’d love to, but…” Which is when Jon sprang his surprise. “Kickstarter,” he said. “We’ll fund it via a Kickstarter.” What a brilliant idea!
All credit to Jon, he’s carried the greatest load on this, setting up the website, producing the fabulous video (and if you haven’t watched that, you really should — it’s only two-and-a-half minutes), and promoting the project like mad. I’ve no idea whether we’ll hit target for the book, that’s up to the people who have read this blog and visited the site, but I sincerely hope we do. Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D’Eath will be a thing of great dark beauty, of that I’m certain. So… fingers crossed.