Doing an origin story about a group of characters no one has ever seen before is a daunting task. What do you include to get the characters over to the readers. And what is too much? You know the parts no one would be interested in. It's a tightrope I've been on for a long time.
I envisioned this story as one whole piece. Then I broke it apart and found I needed to add parts to help fill in the cracks after I broke it. It made me elongate the story to fill in the pieces. That's why I was hyping book two as a continuation of the origin. But since August, I just didn't think the origin needed to go further than my intended collection known as book one. I had quite a bit of issue #3 finished. At least my original layout of it. It was then I decided that I wanted to make it the end of the origin. That meant incorporating the front part of the story intended for book two. Once I broke free of the constraints of doing a normal length comic, making issue #3 as long as it needed to be, everything fit into place. So now issue # 3 is almost 40 pages. I feel like it finishes what I started and leads my characters into further stories.
It's not a perfect story. But if I thought that, it would scare me. I've said it before, it's close. If you liked what you've read so far (assuming you do since you're on this site) you should enjoy the issue. If you were on the fence, this issue has more character moments and story, not just one big adventure like #2. Motivations and reasons are more obvious and a few surprises.
I really can't wait to hold it in my hands.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.