Thieves & Kings 2018 – New T&K

New Thieves & Kings 2018


March 10th, 2018

New Thieves & Kings 2018

And here we go!

It has been a long (LONG!) wait, and I want to roundly thank everybody who has exercised such enormous patience over the years while I have rested and recharged the T&K batteries which ran dry a decade ago.

I found myself, after many years of singular focus, sitting at my drafting board at the end of a long night blinking at the realization that I was no longer in a Thieves & Kings mood. -An awkward and terrifying position for any creator to find himself in, but it was true! I no longer cared deeply about the characters. I no longer heard their voices or felt their emotions running through me.

Several upheavals arrived including the loss of some critical film storage leading to the inability to keep books in print. (I fixed that years later but.., dang!) And most pressing of all, new stories, new characters demanding to be paid their due attention.

I remember running into, on the streets of Toronto, a weird and edgy author, one Crad Kilodney, self professed Street Writer, and one of the undisputed kings of self-publishing. Crad had been among my early inspirations. He wrote, pressed and then stood on street corners selling his own books and stories. -He had no agent, no distributor or book store representation. It was just him and a box of books and his street corner, making a hard living as a self published author. His autobiographical work was amazing, in which he wrote about his experiences as a Street Writer. No insulation! -He waded directly into the middle of the stream of life and drank from it. If you were on the sidewalk as well, why, you could wade up to him and engage! That was his power and inspiration.

I might have been still in my teens at the time, and he gave me a piece of advice: “When it is time to stop, you must stop. When a writer continues to write after the inspiration has gone, the work turns into a disgusting parody of itself.”

That struck hard, and I carried it with me, promising myself to not create a disgusting parody. Thieves & Kings, right from the beginning had served as a distillation of my feelings for the world, a dense love for Reality and its inhabitants. It kept me awake in a daze through many nights.

The loss of the print film for the first two volumes was, I strongly believe, the Fourth Billboard.

The parable goes like this:

“As you are driving along the highway of life, the Universe will sometimes send you Important Messages about what you are supposed to do, where you are supposed to go. The first message will be a sign at the side of the road. If you ignore that, then there will be a second sign. The Universe will be heard. That second sign will be bigger, more insistent, directing you to change course from all your hectic focus. It is time to take an important turnoff into the unknown.

“If you ignore that sign and continue driving, the message will come again. This time a huge billboard!”

“If you ignore that, The Fourth Billboard will appear, and you will not be able to ignore it, because it will crash down on top of you.

“The Universe will not be ignored.”

There may be a Fifth Billboard for the truly focused, the stubborn and the terrified of failure, and it is probably on fire and has spikes. Fortunately, I didn’t need to run into that one. I can’t imagine what form it would have taken in my life. Lost film and the timely devastation of all my relationships and structures of stability was enough. I didn’t need an early heart attack or something!

Anyway, I took that turnoff, and while there have been regrets, there have also been many, many adventures, and some stories I am very proud to have been able to write and draw. And now, more than ten years later, after much living and learning, I found myself one day not too many months ago, realizing something quite startling and unexpected. I woke one morning dreaming and smiling and wondering about certain old friends I’d not properly thought about in ages.

I found myself once again in a Thieves & Kings mood.

These pages begin immediately after the closing panels of the Sixth Thieves & Kings volume, “Apprentices Part I”.

Jenny Mysterious and Stardrop will continue to move forward, (I am still in a Jenny and Ashelle mood), but they are going to be shuffled around in the schedule as I pull this multi-thousand page epic tale back to the front burner. At long last!

Thank-you all for waiting.

We open the first new pages of Thieves & Kings presented in over a decade with a Troll waking up (you see?) somewhere deep in the Sleeping Wood…

-Mark Oakley

Wolfville, Nova Scotia,
October 11th, 2018