Tomorrow, at around 10.00am (WordPress willing) strip number 360 of my webcomic, Tales of the Sly Ditt Inn will be posted here. It will be the end of Book Two – The Book of Wands and the last Sly strip for the foreseeable future.
The story, set in a surreal, supernatural pub on the south coast of Britain, with very weird customers and residents. There have been two books. The first book, The Book of Cups explored the Sly’s mysterious landlord and his position of the Holy Grail. It featured aliens, the Devil, and a telekinetic regular (oh and Kurt Cobain). The second book, The Book of Wands, (which finishes tomorrow) has witches, witchcraft, ill treatment to aliens, and a pan-dimensional antagonist.
It all began back in 2008 when I was working in a pub. I didn’t just do bar work, I cleaned the lines, checked deliveries, balanced the till, did orders, all sorts. With my interest in sci-fi, fantasy and supernatural storytelling, and the stories I got from the regulars I came up with the idea for Tales of the Sly Ditt Inn. After a few iterations I started, trying to post weekly, uploading on 1st January 2008.
At this stage I didn’t have the plan for ongoing story arcs, and was publishing on what was then known as Drunk Duck. However, once I touched on the Holy Grail story a whole plot arced out before me. And beyond that three more arcs. It seemed obvious; The Book of Cups, The Book of Wands, The Book of Coins, and The Book of Swords. And so I continued.
Had things gone according to plan it would have taken about four and a half years to reach the end of book two, and then ten years to tell all four arcs. Well I made a mess of that, taking nearly twice as long.
It became difficult to keep telling the same story, to find time to write and draw each strip, to put aside many other ideas because I was determined to finish at least book two. This my hobby and it was becoming hard work. So, I am stopping with the end of book two. Maybe forever, definitely for the foreseeable future.
Want to know what happens next? Well, in Book Three – The Book of Coins, the brewery would take back control of the pub after Primrose’s mismanagement. Their aim to convert the Sly into a family friendly eatery. Obviously the regulars oppose this and battle to find a way to buy it back. Kev becomes a hero through his banking knowledge and there is a quest in the sub-cellar looking for treasure.
In Book Four – The Book of Swords we find that then aliens have sobered up, at last, and remembered why they came to Earth (following signals given out by Shoggy) and they summon a fleet to invade, starting with the Sly. And thus the staff, residents and regulars are the first line of defence and are forced to save the Earth.
If you enjoy Tales of the Sly Ditt Inn, or at least the ideas I can thoroughly recommend some of the ideas done ‘properly’ by Rob Davis in Black Crown Quarterly. Check out Tales from the Black Crown Pub it’s well worth it!
Meanwhile, I’m hoping to bring you all some new stuff soon, from the many ideas I have put to one side over the last ten years. Watch this space!