The Witches Cycle – Chapter 4: Le Sentier des Sorcières

Tony Concrete is back with Chapter Four of The Witches Cycle. There’s big news in the world of Tony Concrete, and in this article, the artist offers a peek behind the scenes into the changing world of indie comics publishing. Read on below for all the details, including the full spread of this wonderfully illustrated chapter…

Hello, everyone, here is Chapter 4 of The Witches Cycle. It seems I’ve fallen a bit behind schedule, but you know, I originally thought this project would be released in 2021. So, in reality, I’m extremely behind schedule on this project.

I started drawing The Witches Cycle somewhere in 2020. At first, I didn’t even bother to propose the project to publishers because I thought no one would be willing to publish this kind of work. Yet, France is a unique country where people read a lot of comics. Large-format, full-color comics sell very well, as do Japanese mangas. There are even French mangas in the shōnen style that do well, such as Radiant by Tony Valente. But it seemed that no one would want to publish an unknown artist’s weird, indie manga.

So I didn’t send anything, and I started working on it on my own. I thought it would be better to publish my comic online for the bikepacking community. I had some previous contact with The Radavist. I thought they might agree to publish my comic on their site, as I wanted it to be freely accessible to everyone, but preferably not in some obscure corner of the internet. I thought that if my manga attracted readers’ attention, a publishing house in the US or France might then want to publish it. But for years, I was alone on my project, struggling to make progress.

During this time, the world of comics has evolved. Covid had a profound effect, and the tastes of readers and publishers changed. One day, I was contacted by Anaïs Aubert, an editor at the publishing house Dargaud. She was launching a new collection called Combo, dedicated to works by young authors inspired by comics and manga. She asked if I had any projects to propose. By that time, I had already created a prototype booklet of two chapters of The Witches Cycle, which I sold at festivals under the title Majo no Michi. I showed it to Anaïs, and she became my editor. We decided to keep the title Majo no Michi for the French version of the manga.

From the moment I had a professional eye on my work and a clearer publication plan, it became easier to progress with the pages. In February 2024, I finally completed the 280 pages of the first volume. And on June 7, 2024, Majo no Michi was released in all French bookstores.

Despite this happy turn of events, I remained committed to my initial project of publishing the manga for the bikepacking community. So I insisted on developing the English version independently. The Witches Cycle is a direct collaboration between an author and a translator, offered for free to read on an independent website, which you can support by joining the Group Ride Subscription Plan!

But independence on the English version also means that I have to manage an English-language paper version! Do you have any recommendations for English-speaking publishing houses?