Yes, they do. And they cancel series, and they end multi-book projects, and not all efforts are successful. I have decided, at long last, to cancel Moon Town.
There are many reasons. For one thing, I’ve been working on this thing in one form or another since 2004. 13 years. That’s too long for the progress I’ve made both as a project, and in terms of building an audience. There are currently 50 people or less reading this comic on any given update. I know mostly that’s my fault, what with the starts and stops and reboots and restarts. Hey, I was learning how to do this, and doing it publicly. Sometimes things don’t work out, and I don’t blame anyone for not sticking around. But it does seem as though my energy would be better spent elsewise.
As for the tiny, loyal handful of you who have repeatedly expressed an interest in just knowing how the story ends, it’s hard to answer. It would be like asking how The Lord of the Rings ends after only reading the middle part of The Hobbit (not that I mean to compare Moon Town to Tolkien, but you understand the point I’m making). That is, there are characters you haven’t even met yet who will have a huge impact on the story. But let me see if I can give you some closure, at least for the first book.
Moon Town started in 2001 as a sketch of an alien on a scrap of paper. I was bored in a meeting, so this is what I drew:
Over a few days, an idea hatched in my brain, about a bunch of silly aliens living on a very silly, Aardman-style lunar landscape, with little capsule-shaped astronauts exploring. Occasionally, they would meet a monster.
That was it! That was the original Moon Town. An astronaut (Simon) comes out of the rocket and sees the little three-antennae alien, unaware that the big momma monster is there. It comes out of the big crater and scares him back into the rocket and whackiness ensues. Everything else you know about Moon Town – Cassandra Quinn, Dabney Flagg, Vin Sinclair, Jimmy Dillard, the Very Big Laser, etc – it was all stuff I added on over the years.
So now, this tiny story has become a multi-book behemoth, full of characters and ideas that is way bigger than I ever intended. The part you know – Cassie getting shot down, Simon beginning to hallucinate aliens (or is he…) and Vin finding water on the moon – is just a small part of the middle of the story. You got a glimpse of the larger story a year ago when I began running the text version of the story which involved Cassie as a 16 year old street urchin trying to survive in the slums of the mid-Atlantic megalopolis. She had a young friend named Hector “Hex” Ramirez, and worked for Jimmy Dillard, who was working hard to turn his corner of the slum into a business district. You also met The Guv and started getting a feel for the crime and danger that was part and parcel of life in the Undervilla where most people lived. In the early chapters, you saw that Jimmy had obtained a downed scavenger drone and retrofitted it for a human pilot. Cassandra Quinn would learn to fly, and would eventually pilot it, illegally scavenging junk from low earth orbit.
As that story unfolded, big changes would come up for our heroes. While evading The Guv’s scavenger crew, Cassandra winds up wrecking the scavenger drone into the populated area of the Undervilla. She is uninjured, but several buildings, including her own, collapse. Miraculously, no one is killed, though plenty of people are injured, including Cassie’s mother figure and aunt. But Cassie’s fortunes begin to turn for the positive when The Guv shows up at the site of the accident. It looks to officials that a pilotless drone crashed into the district, and Cassie was trapped in the collapsed building with all the others. The Guv – who ostensibly owns the drone – is there when Cassie is pulled out of the destroyed building, and makes a huge public spectacle of elevating this young woman from a life of poverty. He offers to send her to school in the City Center, and Cassie takes him up on it, starting off in Terraluna Academy and into a life as police officer.
In a different storyline, Simon Owens and Declan Tripline have been caught entering Baltimore Harbor illegally with a bunch of other refugees from England which is largely under water thanks to global climate change. They are captured by The Guv and are going to be forced into indentured servitude. Simon, who is beat down and willing to accept just about anything, accepts it. Declan, who has a scary raging edge to him, does not accept it well. He is beaten unconscious by The Guv’s men. But as he and Simon and the other captives are being transferred to a processing center for servants, time stops. Aliens appear, and as everyone is frozen, Declan is taken away.
We see a moment or two of Declan’s life with the aliens. He is healed. And his anger is given free rein, and amplified. Then, he is delivered back to the exact spot and the exact moment he had been taken from The Guv’s goons. He is not unconscious. He is not weak. And he’s mad as hell. Time resumes and he unleashes his entire rage on the 4 men in charge of them, beating The Guv’s men to death with his bare hands. Simon and the other captives also turn on their captors and then run away as Declan continues turning the last captor’s face into hamburger.
When he’s done, he stops, and says “OKAY” and vanishes again, just as the Guv and a few more goons show up.
Jimmy hires Simon to replace Cassie. Jimmy, Simon and Hex continue their illegal scavenging operation, stealing from The Guv both in the sky and on the ground. Eventually, The Guv punishes Jimmy by hanging Hex (the boy had had a long history of flaunting The Guv and had sliced up one of The Guv’s goons pretty badly at one point) and placing a hit on Jimmy and Simon. Jimmy and Simon trick The Guv and some goons into coming to Jimmy’s garage and they trap the men inside and blow it up. The men all perish except The Guv, who escapes with severe burns and missing limbs. Because of The Guv’s ties to a corrupt city government, Jimmy and Simon know it will only be a matter of time before the police come down on the Undervilla for the death of The Guv’s men. Jimmy and Simion decide to go to the moon – TerraLuna Universal is advertising a new initiative where they are offering one-way tickets to Luna Seven, a new mining colony on the moon, for anyone willing to go. No background checks, no questions asked.
Fast forward 10 years. Cassandra Quinn is a 26 year old Security Agent for TerraLuna Security. She has gotten herself sent to Luna Seven to find out what has been happening to facility ore shipments that went missing amid rumors of piracy. Cassie sees something strange moving around on the lunar surface, but as she communicates with Dabney Flagg to solve the mystery, she is shot down.
Then we watch Simon getting ready for his day. During this time, we see the earth news, and TerraLuna Universal is building a structure to laser etch their logo on the moon in a show of global supremacy. As he is walking to the garage, he thinks he sees an alien looking through the window. Later, when he is getting ready to pilot his digger out to the job site, he thinks he sees it in the garage bay, but it turns out to be a pile of refuse that just looked like an alien.
Jimmy also works at the mining facility, and suspects Dabney Flagg’s favorite miner Vin Sinclair of being up to no good. As the diggers leave for the work site, we see Vin go out of the work area and discover frozen water on the lunar surface, surrounded by mysterious crystals. He gets out to investigate, and a huge shadow falls across him.
Meanwhile, Simon tracks Vin outside the work area but before he can find Vin, an alarm beacon catches his attention. He doesn’t find Vin, but instead finds Cassandra Quinn unconscious from having ejected during her vehicle’s crash.
So, that’s what you’ve seen to this point through the various versions of Moon Town. Where was it going next? Roughly, here:
Simon rescues Cassie, but when she wakes up, she mistakenly attacks him, believing he was the one who shot her down. While they are fighting about it, a huge rocktopus ridden by two aliens shows up and flips over Simon’s digger. Simon and Cassie crawl out of the digger to find Declan Tripline standing out there next to a floating, unconscious Vin Sinclair. Neither of them have helmets on, because standing next to them is an alien with a gigantic glowing crystal on a staff, which provides atmosphere. Declan introduces himself as Ace Tripwire, a sort of space pirate. He says that the giant creature accidentally knocked Vin unconscious because it was overzealous protecting its eggs, a nest for which Vin had accidentally discovered and disturbed.
Tripwire also tells them he is on a mission for the aliens, namely to prevent the laser etching which, it turns out, will destroy the rocktopus’ egg horde. Tripwire explains that ordinarily he wouldn’t get involved in such nonsense, but he owes the aliens. He also says if it was up to him, he’d just go blow up the laser tower on earth, but the aliens have instructed him there should be no violence. So he shot Cassie down. And gotten Simon involved. But, you know. No violence.
From here, our Simon, Cassie and Jimmy will travel to earth to figure out how to keep the laser etching from destroying the eggs, and also to keep TerraLuna Universal from learning about the aliens, as the corporation would surely try to exploit them in some way. Along the way, they’d learn what Vin and Flagg were up to – smuggling frozen water back to earth for a tidy profit by faking the ore transport disappearances and faking “smuggler” evidence as a red herring. They’ll also need to avoid the Guv and the authorities on earth who are still looking for Simon and Jimmy and have figured out Cassie’s role in the scavenger crash that set her life off in a new direction.
They’ll also have to beat the clock because Ace Tripwire will blow up the VBL assembly in The City Center just before the etcher goes live, should Simon, Cassie and Jimmy fail to do it peacefully in time.
Spoiler alert: they do it, just in the nick of time, and Ace Tripwire goes off to other adventures, where he will be chased through the cosmos by Security Agent Cassandra Quinn
So there ya go. That’s the basic plot of Aces and Spaders Book One: Moon Town. I wish I had the time and talent to produce this as a graphic novel. It’s just wayyyy too much for me.
Anyway, thanks for reading and hanging out all these years. And if you want the original book I made, I still have
nine four left as I write this. You can get them from my WishTales website.