This article originally appeared in Strangehaven issue #17, April 2005.
Inspired by what I had seen at the first UK Web & Mini Comix “Thing” last year, I decided that a good way to plug the gap between issues of Strangehaven was to put out a mini-comic at last year’s London Comic Festival in November, in lieu of a new issue.
I’m actually no stranger to mini-comics (or “strip zines” as we called them back in the good ol’ days) as I had done my fair share of D.I.Y. comics in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but I needed to do something that wouldn’t take too long to put together. Something that wouldn’t necessarily be of wide enough interest to be worth litho printing and distributing to comic shops, but would still have enough value that people would actually want to pay good money for. That something turned out to be Insomnia.
Insomnia was the name of a project that I had been working on (and eventually abandoned) over a period of a couple of years prior to my starting Strangehaven. The art had festered in a box and had been shunted from cupboard to cupboard until it was rediscovered during my recent studio move. I also uncovered related sketches, references and notes for the projected series. Only 7 pages were fully completed, with a further 7 inked but unlettered, with the remainder of the proposed first 24 page issue in thumbnail form.
I duly scanned all the assorted bits and pieces, added some relevant background information and designed a 32-page package to incorporate everything in a couple of days preceding the Festival. I had it professionally laser printed, with several pages in full colour, lovingly folded and stapled into a signed, numbered, limited edition of a mere 100 copies.
Some might say that the resultant booklet is an interesting insight into the creative process (although others might say it’s a load of old rubbish), but I should also bring to your attention that the concept of the series does share several themes with Strangehaven, as well as featuring a similar-looking main character.
Comics website Comic Book Galaxy quite charitably nominated Insomnia as the Best Mini-Comic of 2004 in their end-of-year rundown, with head writer Alan David Doane calling it “compact and fascinating.”
Thus far, it’s been available only via my two personal appearances at the aforementioned London Festival and the Web & Mini Comix Thing as well as via the official www.millidge.com website.
There have been no unsolicited review copies mailed out and no copies have been sold to retailers or multiple copies to eBay opportunists, and at the time of writing, there still remains some copies for sale, but for heaven’s sake be quick.