The hope is that this new crowdfunding appeal might also secure sufficient funds for a collection of the first four issues of Merrick – although why no publisher is racing to Tom’s door to secure rights for that is depressingly puzzling.
A Restless Night is planned as a 40 page prestige format one-shot, set in the same world as Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman, this pulp horror one-shot can be read as part of the main series or enjoyed as a complete stand alone story.
Given the team’s past success securing backing on Kickstarter for Merrick (although Tom self funded the first issue, three issues so far have been released thanks to crowdfunding backing), it’s no surprise they’ve again turned to the crowdfunding site and their fans to finance this latest book.
“Set before the events in Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman, A Restless Night is loosely based upon a true story taken from Treves’ journals of his experience travelling through India, “Tom explains. “It recounts his first encounter with the unexplainable as he fights for his life against a vengeful curse.
“Before he met The Elephantman, before he came to be one of the most talented surgeons at the London Hospital, a young Frederick Treves travelled throughout India with a fellow doctor. One night as they set camp in a barren wasteland Treves’ travelling companion recounts the tale of a previous encounter with a local who put his faith in a witchdoctor over modern medecine…”
Treves was, in the real world a prominent British surgeon of the Victorian and Edwardian eras who at one point in his long career served in the Indian Medical Service. He is now known for his friendship with Joseph Merrick, “the Elephant Man”. Around 1886, Treves brought Merrick to the London Hospital where Merrick lived until his death in April 1890, after his exhibition days by showman Tom Norman in a shop across the road from the London Hospital.
“As we were working on Merrick Treves became a pretty nasty piece of work,” a really horrible, cruel, manipulating bastard. It was around this point that myself and Luke came to the conclusion that he might just be our favourite character in the series!
Ever since I read Treves’ original Restless Night in his reminiscences I thought with a couple of tweeks it would make an incredible horror story. This is our chance to show a younger Treves, when he wasn’t such a bad guy, and maybe one day in the future he’ll be able to redeem himself.
• Follow Tom Ward on Twitter @highbrowtrash
• Merrick letterer Nic J Shaw is @nicjshaw