27 Issues, 9 Years

Planetary is a book that I've loved since its inception, due to it's gorgeous art and genre fiction meta-examination, but it has certainly been plagued by an undeniably bizarre lateness. My friend Michael and I often joke about how long it's been, but I never realized just how long until I did some checking. I suppose there are indeed some obvious self-referential jokes to be had about "Archaeologists of the Impossible," as the first issue suggests, but I'll resist...

Wikipedia offers the following information: "Planetary was previewed in the September 1998 issues of Gen13 (#33) and C-23 (#6), and issue #1 was cover dated April 1999. It was originally intended to be a 24 issue bi-monthly series. However, due to illness of Mr. Ellis and other commitments by Mr. Cassaday, the series was put on hiatus between 2001 and 2003; it has since restarted and will conclude with issue #27. Mr. Ellis confirmed, on his "Bad Signal" mailing list, that Mr. Cassaday would finish the final issue in early 2008. As of late September of 2008, Mr. Ellis stated that the issue was about halfway finished."

Well, glad to hear we're being consistent and it's now late again. And what illness or other commitments? Both Ellis and Cassaday have had numerous projects since the "between 2001 and 2003" time frame that didn't seem to be hampered by these factors. Assuming it actually does get completed some time in 2008, that would mean a total of 27 issues of regular series output in more than 9 years(!). You realize that's an average of 3 issues per year, or one issue every 4 months, right? Doesn't this break some kind of bizarro record? Not to mention the fact that right now I have sitting on my shelf the Absolute Edition: Volume 1, which collects the first 12 issues. I then have a regular sized hardcover of Volume 3, which collects issues 13-18. I purchased issues 19-26, but in a well intentioned (however, foolish in hindsight) fashion, I gave those issues to a friend in the Bay Area around the post-2003 restart mentioned above, falsely assuming that "the surge" in publishing would finally wrap things up. So, now I'm stuck wondering if I should track down those 19-26 back issues (for fear that's the last we'll ever see of the content) or wait it out. I have to wait for #27. I then have to wait for the softcover and hardcover (which I'd surely pick up at this point) to get published, hoping that one day I would then actually get a Volume 2 of the Absolute Edition to round out my completist ways(?). How fucking long is that little grail quest gonna' take?



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