To say that this year was neither what I hoped for nor what I expected would be underselling it. I think a lot of us have felt like that this year. Maybe more people feel like this every year, and I just didn’t notice until I felt it myself.
I started this year with one goal: to put out one comic every three months. I didn’t reach that goal. My releases were Sail in January (with the print edition landing in March) and A Prayer to God in November. Sail doesn’t really count as a victory for me in 2017 seeing as how I spent so much of 2016 working on it with Jean Pe. I got to acknowledge the victory in January when we received a positive write-up on Comics Alliance (RIP), but that doesn’t really come from any actions that I undertook this year. It was a great experience getting that book out there, though, and getting to see reactions to it has been a highlight of this year for me as a creator.
A Prayer to God was supposed to have come out differently. Marta Selusi and I did that for this one anthology, and it was almost immediately accepted into it. That felt pretty good. Then the organizer asked us to increase the size of our lettering by a certain degree multiple times, and, after we went back multiple times to change it for him, our short was unceremoniously dropped from the book without any notification. That kind of… sucked. It would’ve been my first time taking part in a comics anthology. There’s a lot of importance placed on anthologies as a place to get your work out there for people to see, and I was just hoping to have more people read my work.
That’s the story about what I’ve put out this year that you can read, but it’s not the grand sum of my work.
A lot of this year has been spent on pitches. I put one together with Joe Hunter that we both liked working on, and we were working kind of quickly to get it together for presentation to a publisher I had been alerted to. There was this Chicago-based traditional book publisher looking to maybe get into comics, and a friend put me in contact with the editor who was taking lead on that. Based on the strength of Sail (thanks, Jean), he agreed to take a look at a pitch for an original graphic novel. So Joe and I spent a couple months working on Scoundrels, a middle-grade, medieval fantasy comic about a heist. It ultimately didn’t go anywhere at that publisher with the cited reason being that I simply didn’t have much of a portfolio for them to appraise. That stung a bit, but it was a fair and honest answer. Pitching that book was a great experience.
I learned more from that pitch, too, when I had it appraised by a pretty rad comics editor. She was kind, but more or less tore the pitch to shreds. And when I looked at the shreds? Yeah, I saw exactly what she was saying about it lacking a hook, ignoring interesting plot threads, etc. Some of it was stuff I had answers for, but it wasn’t in the pitch so my answers were worthless. I’m absolutely going to be referring to her notes the next time I assemble a pitch.
That next pitch should be coming soon. Ten Van Winkle and I are working on something that feels really special these past few months. I’ll be sure to get plenty of other eyes on our pitch material before we officially send it off to anyone because I want to be sure that I do right by this great thing that we have together. If it doesn’t come to life then it’ll be because I didn’t know how to put our best foot forward. That should be ready around mid-February with an eye towards getting eyes on it in March.
There’s also something near and dear to me that I can’t really talk about yet, but I can say that the plan is to serialize it online. We’ll see if that one develops, though. It’s been a bumpy road.
Sometime next year (I don’t know when), I’ll have another mini comic coming out that’s kind of a thematic sequel to what I was doing with Sail. That one is going to be with Emmett Helen, someone I am super glad to have met earlier this year. I’m tentatively planning on tabling the Denver Independent Comics & Art Expo in April, so I hope it’ll be done by then so that I can have three books available the first time I’m behind the table at a show. I’m excited about it. Emmett’s thumbnails were really strong, so I know the storytelling is going to sing.
The plan for next year is to worry a little less about plans. Ten and I are gonna have a book to pitch(!), and Emmett and I are gonna have a real cool mini. That’s all that’s set in stone on the creative side of things while I look for some people to collaborate with on some new book ideas I’ve been batting around. Pie in the sky, I’m hoping to maybe work with Sally Cantirino again on something that we’ve talked about previously at length. As for shows, I’m planning to attend Emerald City Comic Con in March with an eye towards talking to editors about the book with Ten, I’ll be tabling at DiNK, and I’ll be attending San Diego Comic Con. There might be other shows later in the year, but those are the only ones I’ve planned on.
I look forward to having more work to show y’all next year.