Cybersuit Arkadyne Part 2, 1992

When we last saw Glenn Taback and the Arkadyne support team, the first stage of Cybersuit training ended on the moon with the revelation of a mysterious alien artifact. Now, the story moves to Mars where flight training begins – and then into the asteroid belt where the enemy waits to strike!

As soon as issue 1 hit the stands in March 1992, I got that familiar queasy feeling of the ground cracking under my feet. Once again, I reached out to the comic book marketplace for just a tiny grain of hope, and once again my hand was slapped away. Just like every prior attempt at publishing an original title, the preorders were below where they needed to be. Conventional wisdom was that orders for a 2nd issue would drop to about half of the 1st issue, so that was the real number you had to pay attention to. If that number was too low to support you, The End.

To their credit, the gang at Ianus Publications still believed in the project, and all six issues of “Book 1” were nearly finished anyway. But I already knew in my gut that “Book 2” would be – at best – delayed until something righted itself. For example, six issues would make for a nice, thick graphic novel. If we got a sales boost from that, the door to “Book 2” could open.

Either way, the train was well down the tracks when issue 1 was released in March ’92. Ianus had solicited issue 4 by then, and I was already drawing issue 6. And regardless of the sales situation, I was having a BALL with the artwork. The primary reason for this was that Arkadyne was the first original comic of mine that I drew completely on my own. I’d inked my own pencil work for Captain Harlock, but now I was doing it on something I created from scratch. This meant that, unlike with Broid, Chaser Platoon, or Ground Zero, I could make it look exactly like I wanted. No signal loss.

What do I mean by signal loss? Simply put, any time you draw a page in pencil and turn it over to someone else to ink, they’re going to draw it the way they see it. They’re going to shift the style just a bit, using tools and techniques of their own, and interpret the art in a way you might not have intended. It can still look good to a reader (and some penciler/inker combos can harmonize with astonishing results), but for me something was always lost in translation.

Not this time. Arkadyne represented the purest fidelity between the art I saw in my head and the art that ended up on the page. And I loved every minute of it. After this, I would never again relinquish my inking to another artist on an original project.

But, back to the business side of the art business…

The time lag between soliciting a comic to retailers and getting that comic into their stores was three months. If you were a retailer, you’d have issue 1 on your shelf at the same time issue 4 was being offered. This meant you could adjust your orders to what you actually sold rather than what you guessed you could sell. So the preorders for issue 4 were the lowest yet. So low (like under 1,000 copies) that Ianus had no choice but to cancel it.

And there it was. Another swing and another miss. Thanks, comic market. You’re always a delight.

Issues 2 and 3 had already gone to press, so they would come out on schedule in April and May. Art production on issue 6 would finish in early April, so the next step was to activate the graphic novel contingency. All six issues in a single package. Ianus publications solicited it for release in November ’92 with the promise of a complete story, and they were still planning on a role-playing game to accompany it.

Did this actually come to pass? In a word, nope.

Issue 3 was the last anyone saw of Arkadyne. For a while, anyway. It re-emerged four years later when a friend offered to pick it up in his quarterly small press comic series Cyberwerx. Issue 4 was split in half over its first two issues, published by Mu Press in March and June 1996. Cyberwerx was a well-intentioned collection of comics and art by anime and manga fans. It didn’t perform any better in stores (ending with issue 3), but it was better than nothing.

Now, with ArtValt, we have something WAY better than nothing. Arkadyne is one of the reasons I set up this website; to step out of the comic market completely. Below are issues 3 and 4 in the highest quality they’ve ever been seen. In the end, that’s what matters most to me. Arkadyne contains some of the best comic art I’ve ever done, and now no comic book store on Earth can get in its way.

Issues 5 and 6 will be presented in Part 3 of this account, along with some other surprises.

Issue 3: The Dance

Production period: December 1991/January 1992
Published May 1992

Click here to read it

Issue 4: Prey Vibrations

Production period: January/February 1992
Published 1996 in Cyberwerx 1 & 2

Click here to read it

Character design gallery


Ship design gallery


The Keenan collection


This entry was posted in Pro Comics

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