The Accelerators (comics)

The Accelerators
Cover to Accelerators #1, art by Walt Flanagan
Publication information
PublisherBlue Juice Comics
ScheduleIrregular
FormatOngoing series
Genre
Publication dateMay 2013
No. of issues15
Main character(s)Spatz, Alexa, Bertram
Creative team
Created byRFI Porto
Written byRFI Porto[1]
Artist(s)Gavin Smith
Letterer(s)Crank![1]
Colorist(s)Tim Yates[1]
Collected editions
Time GamesISBN 1940967511
MomentumISBN 194096752X
RelativityISBN 1940967538

The Accelerators is an American comic book created by writer Ronnie Porto, who originally conceived it as a screenplay. It is illustrated by Gavin Smith, colored by Tim Yates, and published by Blue Juice Comics. Planned to be a six-issue limited series released in 2013, it was followed by two additional storylines. Accelerators was promoted through podcasts and social media. Fifteen issues have been released on an irregular schedule, and they have been collected into three square bound volumes. Porto has said the story will be complete after the fourth or fifth volume. The series has received mostly positive reviews from critics for its handling of time travel and its characters.

The story is about a teenager named Spatz who is accidentally taken to the future. As the story progresses, he encounters future versions of himself at various ages and states of sanity.

Publication history

Development

Ronnie Porto[note 1] originally conceived The Accelerators as a screenplay,[2] as he had previously had success with other film scripts,[3] and worked on it periodically for about two years.[4] While working on the set of AMC's Comic Book Men television show in 2012, he met members of Blue Juice Films, Inc who were also involved in the show's production. The show's content convinced Blue Juice Films to start a comic division called Blue Juice Comics.[2][5] Blue Juice asked Porto to pitch ideas for a comic series, and they liked The Accelerators the best.[6] They fine-tuned the concept for four months, deciding what events should happen in each issue and where chapter breaks would fit best.[4] The series was initially planned as a five-issue limited series, but Porto was able to persuade editor Tom Mumme to extend the plan to six issues.[7]

Another worker on the set who was aware of the developing book knew Gavin Smith, an aspiring comic book artist, and told Porto about him. Smith had graduated from the Kubert School in 2011, and he agreed to illustrate The Accelerators after a two hour telephone conversation with Porto in July 2012.[7] Because no one was sure how successful the comic might be, Mumme only promised to pay Porto and Smith for two issues, with only one issue guaranteed to be published. The book would be released on a bimonthly schedule to allow extra time to gauge sales. If sales were weak, the rest of the project would be cancelled.[2]

When Smith's artwork arrived, Porto and most of the Blue Juice team thought the quality was high enough to publish it in black and white, which would reduce costs. As an experiment to see if color could help distinguish different time periods in the story, Smith had his friend, colorist Tim Yates, submit a colorized version of one page. His enhancements to Smith's line art, such as scars on a soldier's face and red hair on a character whose clothes often blended into backgrounds, convinced everyone involved that the series needed to be done in full color.[8] Due to the development path of the project, Porto and Blue Juice share ownership of The Accelerators, while Smith and Yates are considered work for hire.[2] The final product is available in stores nearly a year after Porto begins working on the script.[9]

Production

As the creators developed the comic, they gave weekly progress updates on the "I Sell Comics" podcast hosted by Comic Book Men stars Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen and shared various stages of artwork on social media. Through Facebook, Blue Juice Comics ran a poll to see what a fair price for an independent comic would be.[10] At the same time, Blue Juice was working with Diamond Comic Distributors and Comixology to secure a way to get the finished product to readers. This process took longer than expected according to Porto, but he was glad for the delay because it allowed him and Smith to get ahead of schedule.[6]

Before starting each issue, Porto and Smith have a phone conversation to discuss the coming story.[7] Most of the plot comes from Porto, but Smith occasionally suggests ideas that are used in the finished work, such as a main character befriending one of the henchmen. When drafting a script, Porto provides lots of detail because he has specific ideas for how Smith should set up certain scenes and settings.[2] Aside from a costume request from Porto, all character designs are left to Smith. After Smith completes the pencil work, he scans it and applies inks to a full-size copy. He sometimes applies white out to the inks to achieve a smear effect, and will occasionally use digital tools to add zipatone patterns or to make an adjustment. The line work is sent to Yates for coloring with only a few notes, since they established comfortable baselines on the first issue.[7]

To draw more attention to the series, Walt Flanagan provided pencils for the first five covers, with Smith inking.[7] Niko Walter also provided art for a variant cover of the first issue.[11] Beginning with issue six, Smith has penciled and inked the cover art.[7]

Publication

On October 17, 2012, the Blue Juice Comics blog released a free PDF containing two covers and the first seven pages of the first issue.[11] Beginning in May 2013, a new issue of Accelerators was released to comic specialty shops every two months. Following issue six, the comic series went on hiatus.[6] A paperback collection of the first six issues was released in July 2014 with the subtitle "Time Games". At that time, sales had been good enough for Blue Juice Comics to approve an additional four issues.[7]

The next issue was released May 2015 as Accelerators: Momentum #1. It was labeled as a four-issue limited series and released on a monthly schedule.[12][13] It was followed by a second paperback collection in December 2015.[14] After another hiatus, the series returned with five more monthly issues in May 2016. These issues carried the subtitle "Relativity" and were numbered eleven through fifteen.[15] They were collected into a third paperback volume that was released in December of 2016.[16]

In a 2015 interview, Porto said his ideas for the series would last for a total of four or five volumes.[2]

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