*Update: The book is now available on Amazon. Go get it!
I owe Scott Irwin. I mean, technically we’re square, but I feel like I got the sweeter end of our arrangement.
I met Scott many moons ago. We worked on a book called RUE (buy it on Comixology!) together when I was with Quad Shot. After that booked wrapped up we worked together again on IN SANITY, AZ (buy it on Amazon!), another Quad Shot collaboration.
Fast forward a bit and both Scott and I found ourselves with stories to tell and no money to tell them. I had a script for a short one-off called SAMSARA, while Scott was musing the plot points of something he had tentatively titled TRUCK FIGHTERS OF THE UNIVERSE.
I needed an artist for my little book, and he needed a writer for his much bigger book.
We made a deal.
I agreed to write his 100+ page space trucker tale, and to host it on my website as a weekly webcomic, while Scott agreed to draw SAMSARA. It was a trade, words for art. At the end of the deal, we each got two books with our names on ‘em.
SAMSARA (you know what to do) is, to date, the best-selling independent comic I have worked on (that’s not saying too much in the independent comic game and I credit its success to Scott’s gritty, noir-ish stylings). It is one of the only $5 book I continue to bring to cons because it moves off of the table every show.
This Irwin fella has chops.
Scott’s original pitch for TRUCK FIGHTERS OF THE UNIVERSE was much more…adult than it’s current form. You can see trace elements of those concepts littered throughout, but it’s far more muted than it was at conception. I believe, at first, the “visitors” had enormous penises that they would chase people with, but, sadly, the penis-embracing-alien-chasers didn’t make the cut.
I know. In hindsight, we should’ve left them in. My bad.
Scott’s only request when I took on writing duties was to “make it weird.” I’ve tried to do that. The phallic visitors got an absurd, Fringe-worthy origin story. We included Carl, a talking panda. Without much explanation, alien creatures started popping up in the script, and though we hint at their absurd origins, we left most of it pretty vague on purpose (can you spot all the references?).
TRUCK FIGHTERS OF THE UNIVERSE became HAMMER DOWN. We enlisted the help of the incomparable Ben Glibert for colors and letters, cached away half of the book’s finished art, and launched the webcomic almost two years ago.
We’ve managed to post a new page every single week without missing a single one. I can’t tell you how proud I am of Scott and Ben. Even with a surplus of pages to start with, this is a feat. Life happens and there were some pretty stressful moments wherein we though we’d miss a week– But no. Scott and Ben rallied through everything to ensure we hit every single one of our 104 weekly deadlines.
The end is in sight. We’re almost done with HAMMER DOWN as a webcomic. I know Scott has plans to take the IP further, and he’s been kind enough to include me thus far, but for the foreseeable future, HAMMER DOWN is over soon.
This was always the plan. I wrote it to be 104 pages and we’ve stayed true to that.
And did I mention that it is free? Scott hasn’t charged a dime for two years of weekly content. Nothing. We’ve had a [not often used] donation link on the first page since we started, but that’s it. Scott’s been creating because it’s a story he wants to tell. Full stop.
Now Scott is collecting the webcomic as a trade paperback. This will, hopefully, be where Scott starts to see some fruit from his labor. I get nothing more — remember, I’ve already been paid through SAMSARA. Scott and I are square. I’m writing this blog because I want y’all to go help Scott out and buy this book when it’s out in a month or so.
Have you been enjoying the webcomic? Awesome! Go buy the book.
Never heard of HAMMER DOWN before? Awesome. Go buy the book.
Looking for a gift for your kids? Awesome. Go buy a different book. This one is for adults — unless you’re a terrible parent. If you’re a terrible parent you should totally buy this book for your kids. They’ll hate you for it. It’s perfect.
I’m pretty proud of the work I was fortunate enough to do on HAMMER DOWN. It was a fun book, something I don’t often write. Scott gave me a chance to go outside myself a bit and I’m forever grateful.
I’m hoping to grab a few myself and I’ll take them to cons when possible. I’m sure they’re going to sell even better than SAMSARA.
*Hey! I’ve got two pretty neat updates for y’all.*
First of all, Daniel Touchet, the designer Scott is working with (and my frequent collaborator) has finished designing the cover for the Hammer Down TPB. Behold:
Second, Scott has launched a Patreon. He’s got a whole lot of things happening at the moment, not the least of which is a video game he’s developing called Ace Falcon. Dude has a wiener dog where his wiener should be. I don’t know what’s going on but I like it.
Go check it out and support Scott if you can (read “support” as giving or sharing — both help).