So, here we go.

It’s 10am on Saturday the 2nd of January 2016 and I’m sitting here trying very hard to sound like a writer – by which I mean the kind of achingly hip person who spits truths like bullets and taps effortlessly into the veins of the moment.

You know who I mean.

I’d love to say something pithy and meaningful here about the passage of time, and growing up and moving on, and treading new ground or finding new paths, and figuring out exactly what you want out of life… but… but… I’m really not that guy. Try as I might – as much as I might want to be on occasion – I’m never going to be the chap who captured a generation. In fact, as I consider it, my life has pretty much always been defined by not being ‘on topic’. I’m not the one who discovered the next big thing. I’m not the one who made grand, dramatic, emotional gestures of rebellion – grew his hair, tuned in, and dropped out in his teenage years… I’m not a rock star. I’m not the ‘cool guy’. I don’t have tales of drug use and debauchery. I’m just the guy who found an escape in writing and never looked back. I don’t really do ‘truths’ – at least, those that might resonate on a personal, daily level. I love fiction. I love stories. I love world-building. I love grand themes and impossible worlds… and if I can’t comment on the small things it’s only because I’m still working out the big ones.

Flipping heck, that got a bit pretentious, didn’t it?

See what I mean about trying to sound like a writer? It’s hard: especially when coupled with the pressure to have an ‘agenda’ or manifesto – or simply to be relevant.

So what is this, a mission statement, an apology or just indulgent rambling?

Probably a little bit of all of the above. If you’re looking for social commentary or the elusive zeitgeist, then I’m sorry but this probably won’t scratch that itch. Maybe I’ll never be relevant, but I’m a big believer in simply letting my work speak for itself. I’m still finding my voice as a person – hence my general discomfort with blogging – but my characters’ voices have never been clearer, and of all the worlds I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to bring to life, Afterlife Inc. means the absolute most to me.

Hello. My name is Jon Lock and for as long as I can remember I’ve been making comics (although the earlier ones, stapled together and shared on the school playground, probably don’t count). In 2011 I starting writing and self-publishing a comic called Afterlife Inc. about a con-artist named Jack Fortune who died, discovered an afterlife in chaos and decided to take over and run it like a business. It’s probably a metaphor for something. My original, slightly clunky, website is still open for business should you ever fancy having a browse. Moving forward, I’ll be maintaining it more as a legacy piece, and as a hub for links to my work.

This site, which you find yourself on, is the new home for Afterlife Inc. moving forward. The entire back catalogue of the series is now available for you to browse at your heart’s content. I hope you enjoy visiting (or reacquainting yourself with) the world of Jack Fortune and Co. Yes, it’s about the modernisation of heaven, but it’s also about making the kind of world you’d be happy to live, die and live again in, and maybe finding a little dignity and pride in the face of the great, white nothing. I don’t know, there’ll probably be feels or something.

Most importantly, 2016 is the year in which the long-awaited Afterlife Inc. Volume 4: Man Made God will finally be released. Making these books, particularly at a level of quality I’m happy with, is an insanely expensive and time-consuming process. In fact, it’s a good thing I love what I do otherwise this entire enterprise would be wholly impractical. If I had the resources I’d release the entire future schedule of Afterlife Inc. books tomorrow. As it happens, having to raise funds for both art and print costs is a rate-limiting factor, and something that has definitely taught me patience. Publishing the new book here on this site is simply a way of getting the story into your hands just that little bit sooner. I genuinely believe, however, that a slower, more measured approach has made Afterlife Inc. all the stronger, and now that Volume 4 is finally becoming a reality I can’t wait to show you what the team and I have been working on. Volume 4 will be released over the coming year on this site before later being collected in print. If you’d like to help make this happen, please consider backing Big Punch Studios on Patreon. Any support, however small, would mean the world.

Speaking of Big Punch Studios and Patreon, did I mention that Afterlife Inc. was part of a much bigger multiverse? Why not check out bigpunchstudios.com to learn more about the many worlds of Big Punch Studios and how Afterlife Inc. fits into the Extraverse and beyond. In fact, pledging $5 on Patreon monthly not only helps make Afterlife Inc. a reality but also entitles you to receive a physical copy of our quarterly, 46-page, full-colour magazine, BPM, which collects four ongoing titles from the Big Punch multiverse. There’s never been a better way to keep on top of all things Big Punch.

So yeah, welcome to the show. I hope you enjoy reading Afterlife Inc. as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to life. I couldn’t imagine a finer world to spend time in – and I should know, I’ve tried.

Jon Lock
Cheltenham 2016