Title: 2053

Wednesday, Aug 13, 2008

August 2008


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Today’s Episode : “Mea Culpa” OR “tl;dr”

August 13, 2008
1:52 PM

Hooboy. I hath returned from the golden state, back to the land of BBQ and… well, BBQ. I mean, come on. It’s THAT good. But yeah – I’m back, safe and sound. Well, to be fair, I ACTUALLY got back a little over a week ago, but I’ve been so caught up with catching up (work for Dave’s Gourmet, catching up on sending out back orders, so on and so forth) that it’s only just now that I feel like I can sit down and write without taking time away from something I SHOULD be doing. Okay – that’s a lie… I’ve got like five things I should be doing, but this takes precedence for now. :)

So, Comic Con International. Wow. It’s been THREE YEARS since I attended the show, and while some things haven’t changed a bit, (Insane lines, the SS Police – er, I mean Elite Security, the crush of people) there are definitely a few notable changes, at least for me. For instance – there is an honest-to-god webcomics pavillion now. They recognize we exist to the point where we took over all of 3 or 4 aisles of the convention center. It was massive.

For me, though, comic con this year was something of a learning experience. In years past, I always came away from comic con with some new idea or get re-energized for the comic, or what have you. In the 8 hour drive home, Liz and I always have excited discussions about this that or the other that I can do for the comic, and it gives me the boost I needed. This year was no different, but the lesson learned was somewhat changed:

I have done a shitty job of running things around here.

Now, I’m not talking about the comic ITSELF, mind you. I’ve always kept the comic as the main focus of my attention, and while I admit to having slumps from time to time, I have a good time doing it, and I’m happy with the end result. (Even though I’ve identified some key missteps along the way that I aim to fix – more on that at a later time) I mean things like the fact that the ONLY posts I seem to make down here any more have to do with some “big announcement” or other thing I think is newsworthy… and even those kinds of posts are few and far between. I mean the fact that Book 2 has become a mythical, ethereal thing that’s more of a joke than anything else at this point. I mean the fact that I let myself get so backlogged in sending out store items that it took me a WEEK of dedicating all my time to it just to get caught up again.

To put it simply, I realized that I lost touch with what was REALLY important.

They always say that the first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem. I recognized it, all right. So now, where do we go from here? I stop making excuses and start taking this thing seriously. Right now, I’ve been having to work pretty much full-time telecommuting with Dave’s Gourmet, because the comic just isn’t paying the bills. If I could just get off my ass and hit a goal of getting two books out per year, (not unheard of at all – most other webcartoonists seem to hit this mark quite nicely) I might actually be able to ACTUALLY make the leap into doing this full-time. And I’ve already started doing the legwork.

See, remember about a year and a half ago, when I “started” working on Book 2 again? I had this bug in my ass to “revamp” the old comics – not CHANGING the art, per se, but adding shading and converting the old gradient backgrounds into honest-to-god backgrounds. I was also resizing the text and putting it into my “new-and-improved” word bubbles instead of the old oval ones. I was trying to “add value” to the book, and create a consistent look across the life of the comic. I was “Lucasing” my work. And while the end result looked nice, to be sure, it took FOREVER. I would get chunks of the book done, and then lose focus. Hell – just remastering one comic was taking me almost an hour. There are 270 comics in book 2’s entirety. In a year and a half, all I had to show for my efforts were 47 converted comics. I was completely floundering. For the entire time, Liz was pleading with me to just put the book together using the original art, but I was being pigheaded and stubborn. I wanted it my way, dammit.

Then, a few weeks ago while we were in San Francisco, we had dinner one night with Cliff. And basically, he told me the exact same thing Liz had been telling me. I was now officially ganged up on. The main issue was one Liz posed, and Cliff backed up – people don’t WANT to see the redone comic. People want the comic they remember. There’s a REASON the term “Lucasing” exists… and it doesn’t exactly have a good connotation. In any case, I finally got the message. At comic con the following week, anyone who came to the booth and asked when Book 2 was going to be out got the same answer – “Before Christmas.” And I’m serious about that. Hell, I’ve even started laying it out – and in a matter of about 3 hours yesterday, I got 2 months worth of comics laid out. I might have the layout finished by next week. I still need to write commentary and bonus content, (I’d like to get in a 6-to-8 page book-only story, formatted for the full book size) but I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

And as for rants, I plan to actually USE my ability to blog. (though I hate the term, for some reason) I used to say that one of the best things about being a webcartoonist is the ability to connect with your audience on a personal level that is completely impossible in a print format. My opinion of the situation hasn’t changed – I still believe that. The thing is, I haven’t really been taking ADVANTAGE of that opportunity, for whatever reason, and I’m truly sorry about that. I feel like I sort of walled myself in, and I don’t want to be that guy. So it ends here and now. Your friendly neighborhood webcartoonist – back in business. :)

Now that this has officially become a novel, (or at LEAST a novella) I suppose I should end it, but I want you guys to know one thing – I APPRECIATE you very much. It means a lot to me that you guys come by here every day, and I want to do good by you. Have faith in me – I won’t let you down.