BROID: Shatterpoint #4, March 1991
Though his capabilities have been elevated, Aaron Broid still can’t make a decisive move even with his enemy finally in sight. But in a moment of weakness, he gives in to his impulses. This decision puts him on a collision course with his own lost past. That collision is the shatterpoint that the entire story has been building toward. Nothing will be the same afterward.
Well, here it is. The article I dreaded, yet set myself up for, when I decided to create this website. This is the story of the last published issue of my BROID series.
If you’ve read up to this point, you know how devoted I was to this project. You can’t simply dismiss something after you’ve spent years of your life on it, even if the vast majority of the comic book world decides to do just that. It didn’t seem that hard at the beginning. I just wanted to do a 12-issue series. Those things were everywhere in the late 80s. To me, that made a story more attractive; rather than yet another open-ended eterno-drama, it would have a conclusion. Stories like that tend not to waste your time.
Right from the first catalog solicitation, this was a fight. Everything seemed stacked against it. I had plenty of misgivings with my publisher. Certainly they could have done better. But they couldn’t grab anyone by the head and force them to look at it. Then there was the increasingly-glutted marketplace. Editors at every company I talked to had some comment on how hard it was to stand out in the growing crowd. Then, naturally, there were my own deficits. I was both (A) not at the top of my game yet and (B) essentially unknown. BROID was the first thing ever professionally published that I created myself. It was such a personal project that it was hard not to take all that rejection personally. It was my first real taste of wide-scale ambivalence.
Long before this issue went to stores, its fate was decided. I penciled it during the time that BROID issues 3 and 4 came out, and sales were moribund. Shatterpoint #1 came out while Steve Krueger was inking this one, and it turned out that restarting the series with a #1 gave us no appreciable bump. It could have been called BROID #5 (as per my original plan) and the result would have been the same. Of course, by that time the art for all four issues of Shatterpoint was basically done, so it’s not like the rug could be pulled out from under us. But it was the death-knell for the last four issues ever seeing print. I’m not gonna lie, that filled me with bitterness.
There are few things I hate more than leaving a project unfinished. it goes against my very nature as a creative human being. The moderating factor was that I’d finished writing and roughing out every issue before I ever approached Eternity Comics, so I had at least gotten to see it through on that level. But everyone else was going to be stuck with an eternal cliffhanger. Their support and loyalty was rewarded with a dead end.
And really, media of all types are littered with dead ends, aren’t they? How many other comic books vanished before they wrapped up? How many TV shows got canceled with their plot objectives left unmet? So it’s not like I was alone in this, but – DAMN IT – it was the direct opposite of what I set out to do in 1987.
It shouldn’t have been that hard.
The one saving grace was that I had reached out into the universe, captured the rest of the story, and wrestled it onto paper. It could still be shared, it just didn’t have any financial backing. Shatterpoint #4 was the one opportunity I would have to let anyone know about this. The final page of the comic (shown at the bottom of this page) explained it all.
This leads me back to the main reason I created ArtValt: to give unseen work a permanent platform. So come on back next month and we’ll put this thing where it belongs at last.
Production period: July/August 1990 (penciling), December 1990 (inking)
Publication: March 1991
Cover painted by Sandy Schreiber
Yes, I consented to publish my actual home address in a publically-available comic book. My home address where I lived with my wife and our very young daughter. Unthinkable now, but…nothing bad came of it, ever. Maybe we were just extraordinarily lucky. Or maybe that wide-scale ambivalence I mentioned above had an upside after all.