Progressions originated a long time before this comic came out in November
2001 - ten years before, in fact - so it's hard to write concisely about our
first issue. It was a one-off in a lot of ways. Jeff didn't have his graphics
tablet yet, and my PC was unwell, so it was the only issue both written and
drawn on paper. It was our first work together for a long time, and pretty much
my first comics script.
The idea was to kick off with a straightforward action-adventure story, starring
and taking place at a Psychobabes gig. It'd be easy to write and simple to draw,
and we'd get to introduce a bunch of our main characters. We got to introduce
the characters, anyway.
The writing was accomplished largely via transatlantic phone calls, with Jeff
forced to write it down as we came up with it. The drawing was delayed several
times by the erratic nature of the scripting process (and the script!). Even
though it really is a straightforward story, we still managed to make it hard
work and stress?
The start of a learning process, for real. If you doubt that, check out how
much better our second issue is! But I still have love for this story - we got
to go to a Psychobabes gig and see Pam and Henry in action, we got to play out
some daft gags and some fun fights? and besides, we'd been waiting for
this since 1991!
I don't remember exactly what catalyzed us into finally starting work on
Progressions #1, but the main thing I do remember was what catalyzed me personally
to finish it. I had the artwork about halfway done during the Summer of 2001
and was procrastinating on the rest of it. I'd made valiant efforts over the
years to be inspired by Dave Sim's "draw a page a day" philosophy,
but at the time it was far too easy for me to look at a page and see only the
BAD parts, which pretty much made the whole process of drawing a painful experience.
To make things worse, I was working in pen, brush and ink, in the sweltering
heat of my tiny Manhattan apartment, and the slightest mistake was either PERMANENT
FOREVER, or a big pain in the neck to white out and clean up. So the pages sat
there for weeks and months as Summer ended and Autumn rolled around.
Then September 11 happened. The first week after was just complete chaos,
the streets blocked off and the breathing masks and the horrible stench in the
air and the crying and listening to the radio constantly. After a week or two
I could not focus on anything properly, and I KNEW that I had to CREATE SOMETHING
to get out of that rut and get back into the world. I started back to work drawing
Progressions #1 and finished it during October and early November, and we were
on a streak for a good while, driven by that initial need to create as a form