|“Cannon Busters” #1, Wrap Around Cover|
We first told you about LeSean Thomas‘ “Cannon Busters” in November of 2003. At the time the book was going to be published by Com.X, only after the book’s original publisher Dreamwave decided to pass because they decided to take their business in a new direction. Since then, both publishers have gone under (Dreamwave more recently) and the long planned book was without a home. Then, back in July, news came that “Cannon Busters” had found a new home with Udon & Devil’s Due and things were looking up again. Seven months later, though, the book still hasn’t been seen
That’s all about to change as after two years in production the book is finally set to debut. CBR News caught up with “Cannon Busters” creator LeSean Thomas and asked him to reintroduce the book to readers as well as discuss the variety of problems faced by the book and how they contributed to these lengthy delays.
“‘Cannon Busters’ is the fantasy story of Samberry, a royal Companion droid who’s trying to get back home,” Thomas told CBR News. “Having never experienced interaction outside her kingdom’s walls, it all goes askew when she’s violently separated from her owner and kingdom, due to an attack from a mysterious and powerful sorcerer, during a time where magic is extinct. Along her journey, she comes across the paths of three other individuals who also wish to get to where she’s headed, but for their own reasons. It’s like a smoked-out version of the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ The spine of the story is very high concept, but of course it’s the journey and the characters that will make it unique.”
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“Cannon Busters” has come together through the efforts of creator LeSean Thomas, writer J. Torres is handling the scripts and Stuart Ng from the late Dreamwave Productions is handling the colors. The first book is finally set to hit store shelves on March 2nd and will be bi-monthly, with issue #2 following at the end of May and #3 the end of July. A total of eight issues is planned and should it prove popular with readers, the series will continue.
The delays began when colorist Stuart Ng, who’s been a part of the book since day one, had to drop out for personal reasons. So, Thomas began looking for a new colorist as he continued to pencil. He found one, but discovered that he wasn’t fast enough to get the book done, so his duties were cut down to setting up the flat colors only, handing over the finishes to a new colorist. Thomas had very specific ideas of what he wanted in a colorist for “Cannon Busters.”
“I didn’t want to just hire anybody because I had a specific look I wanted,” said Thomas. “A specific quality I demanded. This was my first book. It had to be right. I didn’t have control over the fact that it was late, but I did have control over how good it looked. No use having a book that’s late and looks like rushed shit. After numerous colorists coming on board to help bring us up to speed to help avoid being delayed too much only to suddenly drop from the project (death in family, sooner paying work, personal issues, etc.) we started losing time.”
Finally, after moving through a wide variety of colorists, Thomas decided it was best to let Stuart Ng handle the colors at whatever pace his schedule would allow for while alleviating some of the burden by having another colorist handle the flats. This way Thomas knew the finished product would look exactly as he hoped it would. “The reality is this is independent comics,” said Thomas. “When you involve more people, shit happens, no matter how much you plan. You can only try to do what’s right for the circumstances you’re in.
“With that, I’d like to thank all the colorists who helped us get on track and my team who stayed positive and focused!”
A couple of weeks back our own Rich Johnston ran with a rumor stating Devil’s Due Chief Josh Blaylock had grown so frustrated with the delays faced by “Cannon Busters” that he had threatened to cancel the series altogether. Thomas says Blaylock never said any such thing. “[Josh] was very concerned about the status of the book and made a flurry of suggestions on battle plans to get this book back on track. Myself, Erik [Ko from Udon], J.Torres, Marshall [Dillion from Devil’s Due] and Josh all buckled down to figure out what’s the best plan of action to get the book out there.”
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Thomas says that even with hindsight being 20/20, he wouldn’t have done anything differently. Things just happened and spiraled out of his control. “Like I said, when you deal with more than one person it becomes sophisticated. You can’t be sure about anything. You can just hope it works out. A lot of people who’ve never done their own book have tons of theories on ‘what to do,’ but I think every situation is unique and has its own set of issues when things go awry. I don’t regret anything.
“In terms of overall quality, I think the extra time helped. J. Torres keeps telling me this book is cursed (laughs): not only did this book get turned down by two indy publishers that’ve gone belly up (Dreamwave Productions & ComX), not to mention Jim Valentino, who, stepped down from Image after he turned ‘Cannon Busters’ down. Every person who’s been involved in putting this book together has gone through some personal strife. I’m almost feeling like it will have Ito do well mainly because of Karma. We’ve had so much bad luck prior to its release, something good has to come from it!
“In terms of art quality, there’s nothing I can say that will make the work better than it is. That’s just hype. I personally think my creative team is sick and J.Torres…jeez, I love that guy, so that’s an unspoken. but it’s the viewers who’ll decide. What you see is what you get. If you like fantasy with a twist, then I think ‘Cannon Busters’ is up your alley.”