I feel like I haven't achieved very much in 2018. There have been these "name three achievements from 2018 you're most proud of" memes going around social media and I haven't participated because I haven't been able to think of three. I will stand up for at least one, though: Criminy, the graphic novel I did earlier this year with Ryan Ferrier, which Dark Horse released in September. I'm very happy with that book. (One achievement you're proud of is still worth celebrating, I reckon.)
I've done some smaller things that I don't think really count as "achievements" in any real sense of the word but which I'm glad I did: a P.G. Wodehouse adaptation (just for the fun of it), a Popeye Sunday strip for King Features (out next year, to celebrate Popeye's 90th anniversary and Thimble Theatre's 100th), a fun pinup for Nick Prolix's excellent Slang Pictorial. Other stuff I'm forgetting.
I lost some weight.
I've written to my MP on a number of occasions. I've donated to various fundraisers and charities. I went on my first political march this year... and then I did it again. I file these under "civic responsibilities".
Looking forward, I'm hoping that some projects I've been waiting to get approved will finally get a green light in 2019. Two in particular I'm crossing my fingers for: one, a literary adaptation with rights issues that still need to be resolved, and two, another project with Ryan (for IDW this time) that the licensor has to sign off on.
One thing that should definitely be going ahead is a new Fred the Clown story for IDW's Full Bleed anthology, "Arizona Daisy", which I began in my self-published Zoot! comic but which will be continued (and concluded) there, in colour. (And allow me to give you a heads-up about the Kickstarter campaign currently running for that, which you can contribute to here.)
That's paying work; food-on-the-table kind of stuff. Other things I want to do this year that won't earn me a bean but which I believe are worth doing:
• Some new Fred the Clown web comics, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the original Fred web strip, which started in 1999. I had an idea for a new approach that I think has legs, so it should avoid rehashing twenty-year-old riffs. That's the plan, anyway.
• Another self-published issue of my old-school one-man-anthology, Zoot! I like the idea of making that an annual tradition. The last couple have been timed to coincide with the Thought Bubble comics festival in September, so I expect that will continue to be the case.
• I plan to put together a pitch for a series that will pick up, in some ways, where the Marvel book I wrote a few years back, Thor the Mighty Avenger, left off. Not built around Thor, obviously, as that isn't an option; what I have in mind is more to write something new with a different central character but which picks up the tone and the themes I was exploring with that book. There was a conclusion I was working towards with Thor: TMA which I think is still worth telling, and this would be a way to do that - at least in most of the ways that count. I've been thinking hard about how to get that right over the last year or so, and most of the pieces are in place now in my mind. So that's quite high on the list of things I want to do.
I won't beat around the bush, 2018 has been challenging for various reasons - some professional, some just to do with the world we now live in. My anxieties have measurably, tangibly had an effect on my productivity. I'm hoping I can turn this around in 2019 through sheer self-discipline, and a part of that is declaring publicly that I intend to do X, Y and Z, in order that I might be accountable for following through on them. I have used this strategy productively in the past, and I see no reason why it shouldn't work again. So this post is a sort of call-to-arms to myself, as much as anything.
I feel like it's very easy to give in to negativity right now. I want to be a voice of positivity. I think this, above all else, is my goal for the coming year.
Have an excellent 2019.