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#1: "Boiler Room Bust-Up"

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 Pam and Henry 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 of healing.

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Isaac Priestley Stephen Greenwood-Hyde ||    External Homepage ·  Blog · 

Isaac is the creative powerhouse behind the artwork and design of PROGRESSIONS. Stephen is the writer, Minervan journalist, and stylish romancer of the team. ... full profile