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Read (well, look at) Becky Cloonan’s East Coast Rising Vol. 2 online

It was one of the Tokyopop implosion’s most loudly lamented casualties: East Coast Rising, the promising post-apocalyptic pirate series written and illustrated by Demo artist Becky Cloonan. Only the first volume of the OEL epic made it to shelves before the series was itself shelved by the publisher, likely never to return. This despite the second volume being 75 percent finished, with some 120 pages completed. And as Cloonan herself puts it, “the worst part [was] that Volume 1 ended on a cliffhanger!”

Well, Cloonan’s taking matters into her own hands to right this wrong. Throughout this week, she’ll be posting three unpublished pages of East Coast Rising Vol. 2 per day, until the sequence that continues from the cliffhanger is wrapped up — starting here. Cloonan notes that the pages are unfinished, with no tones or lettering, but even still, if you’ve ever wanted to know how that scalawag Cannonball Joe escaped the tentacles of the Suffocating Death, now’s your best shot.

Actually, it seems like it’s your only shot: Sadly, Cloonan flatly states in the comments for her post that Volume 2 in her series “[will] never be finished,” so it sounds as though there’s no hope of a Brandon Graham/King City-style resurrection at some other publisher. Alas and alack, this is one cool comic that’s making Davy Jones’ Locker its permanent home.

Will Cloonan’s East Coast Rising ever set sail again?

Cloonan's cover for "East Coast Rising," Vol. 2

Cloonan's cover for "East Coast Rising," Vol. 2

Last summer’s restructuring at Tokyopop triggered an “OEL constriction” that left the fate of many of the publisher’s original English-language titles up in the air.

Some books would see print, others reportedly were destined for life online, while others still — contract negotiations permitting — could find a home at another company.

One of the books affected was the second volume of Becky Cloonan’s East Coast Rising, a generally well-received romp about punk-rock pirates who sail the waters of a submerged New Jersey.

Some eight months after the announced restructuring, and more than a year after Vol. 2’s scheduled release, the book’s future is still in doubt.

“A lot of you are probably wondering, ‘Oh, Becky! When O when is East Coast Rising v2 coming out?’ and to that I can only say I don’t know,” Cloonan writes today on her blog. “I have kept quiet since they decided not to print it last year, but I’m very close to finishing it; about 30 pages away from completion, I’m just waiting on the ‘go’ from TP. Every time I think we get close to making a deal, something happens that makes it seem like it won’t go through, so right now I’m just waiting. Hopefully I’ll have some good news about it soon, but in the meantime I’m treating it like a pet project that one day I might see printed.”

Meanwhile, Cloonan is plenty busy: In addition to the new volume of Demo at Vertigo, she’s working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampire one-shot with Vasilis Lolos for Dark Horse.

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