1841 Republic of Texas recreated map, focused onThe Disputed Territory.
The Disputed Territory started with a map. A few years ago, I decided to hand draw a map of the Republic of Texas. After months of research it was obvious there wasn't a clear precise version. However, one thing was consistent... an area named the disputed territory.
This led down a path of history, and a decision that one day I would do something more with this little documented name on the map. It wasn't until the map was completed that the first idea for this story came to be.
The collaboration that followed. is where the story took off. A long list of collaborators have helped take this from a map to an ongoing series.
It began as a story of Jack, his gang and their journey to acquire and distribute whiskey in 1841. The challenges of publishing a short run series soon revealed themselves.
While the outline was created for the complete story, the real estate to get there was clearly going to take more than a few books. This story is written and illustrated in a screenplay cinematic style. The intent is a dark comedy and never-ending uphill battle for Jack and everyone else in the storyline. It developed into a lot more than simply a story from Jack's perspective.
Jack. Whiskey gives him powers.
The first six books were developed as Volume One: The Exposition. Basically, an introduction to Jack, Faleena, Butch, Rhett, Doc, Carmen, Jamison, and many others. Primary illustration for the main storyline is credited to the pseudonym, Mede. For this story, let's call him, Frank. The Jack card to the right is a sample of Frank's style in this series. A harsh lighting feel to set the mood.
Michael Hinson's "Seduction"
David Sanchez's "Jack"
Alan Quah's "Jack & the saloon girl"
By March of 2020, we were all immersed in a new world thanks to a virus. So, getting the opportunity to work with Alan Quah and David Sanchez to round out a trio of covers for the launch was incredibly lucky.
Thanks to those two amazing artists and Mede, we produced a fantastic piece of work that really set the tone for where this story could go. The story moved fast, but it delivered the desired punch.
It set the bar right where I had hoped, and provided a baseline from which to build.
There's a moral forming here. You can accomplish a lot on your own, but you have to find yourself amongst many talents to push yourself to greater places. I'm proud of the work I've put into this, but it's nothing without these other folks. This goes beyond the artwork. I have a multi-part editing team including Buffy, 'Ness, and McLain, who have helped keep me in line. And I cannot leave out the many uncredited folks who have advised and helped with all the little details to improve.
I would advise anyone getting into anything creative, to not allow yourself to remain on an island. Own your work, but always stay in tuned to the people around you. Absorb it all. Go out and spend some money on really talented contributors. Be smart about it financially, but don't limit yourself by thinking you can do it all.
Furthermore, adapt. One key component to my approach is to do everything possible to allow these artists and creators to work with as little constraint as possible. My goal is to empower, meaning I have to be ready to adapt to where their creativity takes them.
Carla Cohen's "Carmen"
Michael Hinson's embellished episode three covers.
You also cannot be afraid to take chances and step into other areas. By the time episode three rolled around, we were producing incredible embellished covers and custom shipping containers, something never intended when the first words were typed on a flight to Denver.
You also have to stem the certain challenges that arise. Building anything means you're going to face unforeseen hurdles. Sales are easy. Growth is difficult. At times it has been tough.
Throughout this process, I keep coming back to a few key elements. Am I enjoying the journey? Do I believe in myself and the others making this a reality? You dig deep, keep pushing, and find the joy in the process.
This story is a reflection of that reality. As Jack uncovers there's something more going on within himself, the challenges begin to mount.
As we started to reveal the history of multiple characters, a second internal artist was brought into the fold. Harsho Mohan Chattoraj is a fantastic line artist from India.
He is delivering the flashback timeline. As we start to learn about Jamison, and the other key cast of characters, Harsho is helping bring these stories to life. It's a fantastic compliment to Mede's dark primary storyline.
The Disputed Territory continues to pivot, grow and improve. While the original outline remains stable, and the ending is already written, everything in between is subject to improvement. In every way possible, we will continue to grow and push ourselves further. That is what our journey is about.
Jack and the gang's journey? Well, it gets harder and harder. As we move into Volume Two: That Which is Inevitable, the title speaks for itself. More strands emerge.
Artwork on the left is by Harsho, and on the right is by Mede. Colored by Michael Hinson.
So, come join us on this ride. There are many more characters and story arcs developing, and the path meanders well beyond Texas or this world. We're going to keep growing this story, and this team. This journey... is just beginning.
More to come...