Some pics of my custom-bound ‘Casanova’ comic collection - this has basically been my White Whale for a long time, as a design geek, so actually getting it to a point where it’s a real object that I can hold in my hand, and where I can take it to a comic signing where Casanova writer Matt Fraction can be really impressed and say some really cool things about it… my brain still isn’t used to it.
(And yes - I know the cover ain’t quite right. I didn’t design it to be slightly stretched image-wise. Amazingly, I’ve been back in touch with the bookbinders, and they say they can redo the cover and leave the rest intact. Which is massively useful…)
This took me a long, long time. The minute I saw that custom-bound comic collections (people collecting comics, sending them to bookbinders and getting them bound in hardbacks) was a thing, I knew I was in trouble. And the idea of doing extras, doing a book that was utterly unique… that appealed an awful, awful lot.
With Casanova, I loved the backmatter that came with the Icon Comics run. I wanted to be able to put all that together in a durable format. I started having ideas about doing more than just a single-sheet intro page at the front. And then I got hold of a copy of Adobe InDesign, and suddenly full-on book design was a possibility for me, and then things got COMPLICATED.
This took a lot of effort. If I hadn’t found out that virtually the entire creative team of Casanova were going to be at Thought Bubble 2013 in Leeds (sans Cris Peters and Dustin Harbin - I shall have to claim them some day, somehow…), it’s possible I may have just kept on fiddling with my loose design ideas and never actually gotten to a finished product. But suddenly, I had a deadline. The idea of getting it finished, and signed by the creative team (and hopefully getting sketches from the artists as well - I even sorted out using nice-grade art paper for the book’s endpapers) was just too alluring.
Want to know when I received it? This Wednesday. Just over 24 hours before the signing. That was cutting it finer than I’d like. And yes, there are imperfections - there’s the cover, which will hopefully be sorted out soon (the bookbinders have, so far, been really helpful), and a couple of flaws with the binding of issue 1 and 2, which I’m going to have to live with. But when you spend so long on something like this, it’s easy to just focus on the flaws when it gets done. Because there’s an awful lot that I’m really proud of.
Final total? 12 comics, bound together. 8 pages of introductory graphics at the front. A 4-page intro to the second miniseries, and the same for the third miniseries. And then, at the back of the book, 160 pages of extras - the full backmatter from the original Image comics run of Casanova, four interviews with Matt Fraction, a complete script for chapter 1 of the ‘Gula’ miniseries, and 32 pages of art by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon.
That’s a lot of stuff.
Getting it signed yesterday was awesome. And getting it sketched in at Thought Bubble will hopefully be even more awesome. I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything this complicated design-wise again, but I do like that there’s a nutty, lavish and unique version of a comic like Casanova out there. It deserves it.