Every year I draw an image that attempts to sum up my entire year, which I then use for the blog archives page of this site. A lot of stuff happened this year, but when I look back over all of it, I think I'll remember 2014 as the year I was on the road promoting Basewood!
Last week I returned home from my twelfth and final comic convention of 2014. I added up all the days that I was either at a convention or traveling to a convention this year: 58 days. So... that's like two full months away from home.
And if you add in other travel (weddings, teaching jobs, etc.) it's another 22 days, for a grand total of 80 days away from home this year, which is just shy of three months.
Now, I know to some people that wouldn't seem like a lot. There are certainly cartoonists who do a lot more. I am in awe of road warriors like Raina Telgemeier who seem to be constantly out in the world, interacting with their readers and promoting their work. But for me, this was too much time away from home.
I have no regrets about this year. I upped the number of shows that I was exhibiting at so that I could promote Basewood and sell as many copies as possible within its crucial first year of publication. I feel like, overall, this strategy was successful. Eleven months after 2,000 copies of Basewood arrived from the printer, I have sold or distributed (with the help of Chris Pitzer at AdHouse Books!) 1,300 copies of the book. As a self-publisher, it was essential that I got out and promoted the book this year, because if I didn't do it, no one else was going to do it for me! However, all of this promotional effort has left me extremely burned out.
I was standing at SPX, my favorite small press show in the world, thinking, "God, I am so sick of this. I just wish I was at home." I never want to feel that way again. So, in an effort to prevent long-term burn out, I am not going to exhibit at any comic conventions in 2015. I'm going to stay closer to home and use those two months that I'll get back to draw as many pages of comics as humanly possible.
In the future, I hope to exhibit at a smaller number of shows (three or four a year?). I'm sure someday I'll have to do another big promotional push when my next book is out. Maybe that will become the new routine... Lots of shows in a "book" year, no shows the following year, to recover, and then a few shows in "non-book" years. It sounds good to me!
So, I won't see you all in 2015, but I hope that will allow me to return in 2016 with a big pile of new work and some genuine enthusiasm for the wonderful comics community that I love so much!
On Friday I'll be traveling back to my hometown of Seattle, Washington for the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival which is this upcoming Saturday, November 15th.
I'll be at Table F-31 along with my stalwart tabling buddy, Greg Means. Just to our left will be superfriends Liz Prince and Nicole Georges and there will also be a whole room full of other incredible cartoonists and artists. If you are in the Seattle area, please swing by and check it out!
This will be my twelfth convention of 2014, and my final one of the year, for which I am very grateful. I am looking forward to sitting at home for a good long stretch and getting some work done.
After finishing up Phase 7 #019 a few weeks back, I took a little break to script out some future comics projects and to work on a short animation project. Now that those are wrapped up, I'm finally back to work on the next issue of Phase 7, which is all about my experiences growing my beard out for three and a half years. You can keep an eye on my progress, over on my homepage.
All subscriber copies of Phase 7 #019 have been sent out, so Phase 7 #019 is now available for online ordering. This issue is the third and final installment of my "Weezer Fan Trilogy." Part Three documents every Weezer show that I went to between 2000 and 2010, including the show in Vermont where I poured my heart out in Rivers Cuomo's face backstage. You'll also read about how I eventually got to work for the band, drawing the Memories Tour posters!
It feels great to have this issue done for a couple of reasons: 1) it was an experiment in drawing faster (smaller, in a simpler style) and in having more fun with my comics. I feel like I succeeded on both fronts! 2) I now have 20 issues of Phase 7 completed! This feels fantastic. I am 1/5th of the way through my goal to reach issue #100 before I die. I've got so much fun stuff planned for the future of Phase 7, I'm excited to dive in and start telling new stories!
It's also worth noting that the new weezer album is out now and it is totally amazing! You should get it. You won't regret it. It is the best album I have heard in a long time. I've pretty much got it on repeat all day long over here at Phase 7 headquarters. It's a great time to be a Weezer fan.