It's December 31st, so I guess it's time for a look back at the year just gone, and maybe a look forward to what's coming up in 2014. Let's start with the look back.
I've had a bit of a challenging year, one way or another... mostly financially. A project I committed to early in the year was delayed by several months; I used the time to write a graphic novel and self-publish a couple of comics, but I wasn't earning anything from those, and the occasional, isolated work-for-hire job didn't really fill the financial hole. Fortunately, things seem to be back on an even keel, and it looks like I'll be busy for the next year or so at this point. I suppose the lesson to take away from that experience is to be more aggressive about cutting my losses and moving on. Or just not letting myself get into that situation in the first place. My heartfelt thanks to anyone who bought sketches, artwork or books from me this year; you really helped me a lot.
One thing I did this year was to post something on this blog every day. It was my New Year's Resolution for 2013. My thinking was that , in these days of an alternative comics market dominated by original graphic novels, or periodical comics not having letters pages, my website is the one remaining place you can be assured of finding regular news and content between isolated print projects. So it seemed that some sort of formal, public commitment to the website was appropriate. To be honest, I'm incredibly relieved that the year is ending and I won't be obliged to post something daily any more; it was a real grind sometimes. But I do want to keep posting stuff here pretty regularly. I've got about twelve hours left to figure out exactly how I'll do that in 2014...
Published work this year:
- The final Snarked! collection came out early this year. This is the series that won me an Eisner Award and one of the most satisfying things I've ever done, not least because it was my own project and not some big corporate license. I hope I'll get the chance to do more stories with these characters at some point.
- The last couple of issues of IDW's Popeye came out. The final one, #12, is one I'm particularly proud of: I was allowed to bring back Billy DeBeck's signature character, Barney Google, for a guest appearance, along with his faithful nag, Spark Plug. I insisted on doing everything for this one: writing, art, lettering, colouring, the lot. I adore the Barney Google strip (finding, scanning and digitally restoring those old newspaper tearsheets from the 1920s has been a quiet obsession of mine for many years) and doing that story made me about as happy as I've ever been doing anything.
- The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror miniseries was released this year. I wrote it, and the fabulous J. Bone brought it to life. I was so pleased with how this thing ended up looking. One hundred and eighty degrees away from Dave Stevens' work on the character, and yet so very, very right.
- This year's Adventure Time Annual featured a short piece written and drawn by me. It was nice to do something my kids were impressed by for a change!
- I drew the eighth issue of Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, returning to the first Doctor I ever drew in the venerable Doctor Who Magazine many years ago, Paul McGann. I was pleased to be a part of the Doctor's big year (I expect Paul McGann was, as well!).
- And I self-published two issues of The Fez, my own creation. I can't imagine not working on my own characters and stories at least some of the time. It's what I live for, really. There were also a couple of Fez stories in Aces Weekly, David Lloyd's digital comic anthology. Expect more Fez stories in the future.
Looking forward, I've got some fun stuff coming up:
- Firstly, out today I believe, is Li'l Ernie from Dynamite. This is my kid-friendly reinterpretation of Evil Ernie, one of the oddest things I've been asked to do, but I think it came out pretty well.
- I'm currently working on Rocky and Bullwinkle for IDW, written by Mark Evanier. Mark is doing a terrific job capturing the spirit of the show; I only hope I'm doing the scripts justice.
- I've just turned in the first draft of a script for an 80-page one-off project I'm doing for Archaia/Boom. That will be out towards the end of 2014. I'll be drawing it as well.
- And there's a huge Omnibus Edition of my Muppet Show comics coming out from Marvel in March. It's got the lot, from the Disney Adventures stories right through to the Marvel four-issue series, with all the Boom Studios stuff in between. Can't wait to see it!
So there you go - a snapshot of where I've been in 2013 and where I'm going next. Again, big thanks to everyone for their support and interest this past year. See you in 2014!