It’s here! As you might have noticed thanks to the big obnoxious advertisements, I released a small collection of one to two page Tourist stories in a big honkin’ newspaper format. I’m taking a stab at a new direction with Tourist Unknown by looking backwards. Meet Tourist Unknown: En Route. If things go to plan it’s gunna be a quarterly print release on 11×17 newsprint. It’s a format I’ve always adored and played with a bit in the Eve of the Ozarks days as well. Frankly, I miss how comics felt on newsprint and how printing artifacts and ghosted lines could make every single comic unique. No matter how many times it had been printed. I guess I’m also not immune to nostalgia.

But it’s not the only nostalgia I’m stricken with. Starting the first Thursday in October the webcomic is gunna return proper, but not in the format it had been posting in previously. Tourist Unknown’s weekly webcomic will also be En Route. Just a little later and slower. And not on that big crinkly paper. Like the old Sunday comics in the newspaper I also miss somewhat less serialized storytelling in my webcomic endeavors. I’ll level with you, I’ve never felt super great about just slapping up a page of a graphic novel week by week. I’m a bit of a pacing nerd and I can’t really think of a better way to murder a story’s natural rhythm than to release it page by page. Not to say I didn’t try to structure each page to have a complete beat and button at the end, but even then it still felt like some kind of compromise more born of my station as a hyper obscure comic artist than artistic choice. So, I’m looking backwards again. Weird you can do that with webcomics now too through fun and entropy!

Each update shall be one page stories with the occasional two parter (aka the centerfolds of the print edition!) I won’t say it won’t build its own running background plots or other internally referential stuff, but it will be largely new reader friendly and a sort of soft reboot in a purely structural sense. This isn’t to hint at a change in the comic becoming a gag strip either. Some of these comics are funny, some are sad, some are just little fun stories. Largely, it’s where I’ve started putting a lot of Tourist ideas that couldn’t hold up a full plot, but still hung around in the back of my brain anyways.

Of course there are also mercenary reasons for the shift. Now that there are the big collected editions of the full Tourist Unknown stories (available now in the gift shop) I wanted to have something less expensive available as well. Especially when you consider comic conventions. It’s always been to my benefit to have something at every price point on the table. In my experience people often want to support your work, but money can be a real breaking factor. Doubly so in expensive arenas such as self published books. And with the collected volumes of Tourist existing there likely won’t be single issues of the stories contained within those editions anymore. So the $5 issues of En Route are in part a way to make sure there is something more affordable and immediately accessible if you want to support my work.

Which planning these things around con tables in 2021 is… in hindsight… not my smartest maneuver. I’m sure I can just say I’m Arkansan and you can put together why. Anyways I have plenty in stock (again I stress that they are available in the gift shop) and who knows if I’ll get to sell them in person any time soon. I’ve largely dropped out of everything but the most immediately local shows, and my attendance is still very much hinging on where Arkansas is with covid in a few months. Which doesn’t look great! If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, please do so!

All that said, Tourist Unknown as it was isn’t over. Especially with how lovely y’all were with the releases of Volume 1 and 2 (seriously best first day sales I’ve had) Volume 3 is coming along at a fair pace. And I’ll probably be done with its first issue, Backside Air, either at the end of this year or early into next. I’m not sure how that will release will look just yet, but it’s a coming. It continues on the storylines from As Far As Far Away Goes and Goats Go to Hell as well! Rather more directly than previous stories even. So I’m certainly not abandoning the old ways around here, but I will be segmenting them. Once the new webcomic starts updating everything from the previous version of the webcomic will be partitioned into an archive on the site. Still available and without all the fancy updates in the print edition, just as it was initially released.

I’m getting long winded again, but anyways thanks to everyone who has been following. Thanks to any new readers who are reading old posts from the future. And I hope this all works out, and y’all enjoy where the Tourist goes next!