As you might expect, this post will feature a little bit of introspection – last entry of the year and all that!
I summed up my year in review over on Twitter:
To expand on those tweets slightly – it’s been a hard year. I write comics because I love telling stories and comics is my favourite medium for doing that – I don’t do it for the acclaim or money (there’s no money in comics, good grief!) But at the same time, it’s brutal to spend so much time (and money) on a creative pursuit and feel like you’re just shouting into a void. It’s human nature to fixate on negativity (a bad review will stay with you much longer than a good review, for example), and I know I need to work on ignoring the negatives, but I won’t sugarcoat how tough it can be.
*Scripted the remaining 21 pages of Brigantia #5 and all 32 pages of Brigantia #6 – 53 pages written in total
Totals for 2021:
113 pages written
34 pages rewritten/redrafted
33 pages lettered
After I wrote about being streaky a few months ago, this month saw me go on an absolute tear with writing – I’ve had the synopsis for the second half of the first Brigantia story arc written for ages, and decided to just get on with scripting first drafts for those three issues (because it’s better to have a first draft written which you can then refine than not have anything at all!) Fast-forward to December 24th and I was finishing up issue #6 – I’m a little surprised myself, but I guess sometimes the muse just grabs you.
I’m feeling pretty good about the first drafts – I’ll do a little more refining at the start of 2022, and then I’ve made the decision to get an editor involved to do a pass on them. I didn’t bring an editor in for the first three issues, partly because when I wrote issue #1 I didn’t even realise that freelance comics editors were a thing and partly because I’ve been very protective of the story – it’s so personal to me that I dread an editor telling me I have to change big swathes of it! That said, I want to be sure that this half of the story really lands, so I’m choosing to let go a little.
Looking at my totals for the year, I actually wrote a chunk more new pages than last year, and lettered a bunch more as well – plus, the tail end of the year saw me land my first professional lettering job which will see my work in a proper published comic. My comp copy for that actually landed on my doorstep this morning:
Very excited to have some lettering work published (in an actual comic that you can buy in WHSmiths, for god’s sake)! It’s funny, I wasn’t planning to try and surpass my written output from 2020 but still managed to do it by forcing my nose to the grindstone the last few months. Now to actually get some of this stuff drawn/released..!
A shorter playlist as we close out this year with mostly new music (to me)! First up is a lovely little piece from the soundtrack of the game Eastward, which I’ve been really enjoying this month – beautiful art style and an interesting narrative. Next up is some bouncy J-rock from one of Japan’s first all-girl bands, ZELDA – I was actually looking for Legend of Zelda soundtracks on Spotify when I found this, and I’m glad I did! Next two tracks are quite chilled – acoustic folk from Thurnin and a bit of relaxed alt-rock from Manchester Orchestra. Demoniac brought a saxophone to a black metal song, and it works surprisingly well, and they’re followed by Bewitcher who are just solid modern thrash. Asthenia are a Chinese one-man post-black metal project and a real find – really enjoyed this release! I love this Myrkur song and it’s HUGE atmosphere, and was reminded recently of covering it live on stage with some friends a few years back. This Have A Nice Life track was chosen purely for the strength of the name, which sums up some of my recent vinyl-buying habits – and lastly, we’re into YouTube comedy territory with this absolute banger from Tom “Very Australian” Cardy. Do yourself a favour and watch the video for his sterling facial expressions!
George Pérez is one of the greatest comics artists ever to work in the medium, his vibrant and exciting artwork responsible for so many iconic moments (not least DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and his phenomenal run on Wonder Woman (Gods and Mortals) which have both been hugely influential on me). His recent announcement of a terminal cancer diagnosis was an absolute punch in the heart, but he’s been handling it with the courage of a lion, as this wonderful interview makes clear:
That’s all from me for this month (and year) – my only plan for this evening is to watch the new Star Wars show with my partner, eat takeaway pizza and mentally hammer a few nails into 2021’s coffin. I hope you all have similarly positive evenings, whatever you’re doing, and let’s tackle 2022 with verve and determination, shall we?
All the best,