Some rambling here. If you’d like to skip to the good stuff, there’s art at the end!
For all who stayed…
It’s been a year and a bit now since I wrapped up The Suburban Jungle, and time to check my progress compared with what my plans were for the year.
The first thing that comes to mind is that writing didn’t really go as planned. I did do a short story that I was quite pleased with, and a lot of trying to hash out various novel ideas, but I never could really come up with something that got me fired up and excited, I suspect at least in part because I had so much difficulty making the “concept” behind the book match what was actually coming out when I wrote. That, and my recurring difficulty with plot, which I’ve written about elsewhere. At the end of the day, for just about each project I tried to pick up, I ended up deciding it needed a little more time to bake and that I’d come back to it.
The next thing that comes to mind is how much I missed doing comics. Back in August Arclight Adventures grabbed hold of my brain and shook me around until I caved in and started working on it — only to hit a wall in November called “familial crisis” (le sigh). Fortunately the familial stuff has ebbed again for the moment, and once the seasonal frantic convention prep is out of the way, I can get back on it. Right now I expect Arclight Adventures to run for about eight issues over the course of two to five years depending on how well it goes and audience reaction.
That said, I do miss Suburban Jungle, and I know there’s going to be more of it someday. Just the other night, Tiffany demanded that I draw her, so the characters are still there bumping around in my head, even if they don’t have any major plots brewing at the moment. But it needs some time away, so that I can let the old series become set as its own thing and then start a new story fresh, instead of succumbing to the temptation of just doing “more of the same in a different format.” There are some core elements of Suburban Jungle which honestly were completely played out by the end and would only be baggage now. By having time away from it, and doing different stuff instead, I hope to be able to come back fresh to the new series and give it its own life.
Then, there’s the issue of conventions. Now, I love conventions, but there are problems I’m going to have to come to grips with moving forward. MammaLlamaDevil, who has been my superlative business partner for the past (mumble) years, is gettin’ out of the convention biz as part of a major life-restructuring. While I wish her nothing but huge success, that does put me back where I was in 2001-2002, having to create merchandise, wrangle vendors, and work the table more or less on my own. She’ll be there for Further Confusion, thank goodness, but for AnthroCon I’m going to have a half-table solo. Sirfox and I have requested to get the same table, which should help, but I will still have to face my worst nightmare: i.e., trying to handle money, interact with people, and keep drawing all at the same time. It may sound fatuous, but I know from experience it’s going to be tough going! Fortunately, Mrs. Gneech will be at Confuzzled, which will be a big help there. I have enough trouble with US dollars — I can’t help it, math is hard! — I don’t want to know what trying to deal in pounds will be like.
Speaking of Confuzzled, I did promise at the top of the post that there would be art at the bottom of it! So here you go: convention mascot Brok the Badger gets tough with a goon! (Click through for larger view.)
To be honest I suspected my GOH days at conventions were probably over, so to not only be invited again, but to be invited overseas, still blows my mind. It has also been a major source of inspiration for me to keep going on the artwork. I don’t do it for the money, obviously — I do it for the fans. And to know that it still means something to people is huge.
So what are my plans for 2011? Right now they consist of finishing off the unfinished business of 2010 (i.e., Attack of the War-Cats and No Predation Allowed), getting Arclight Adventures off the ground, and to continue trying to make the writing work. That ought to keep me busy for at least a week or two.