So… I got a day job againon December 19, 2012 at 4:15 am
A funny thing happened on my way to the ____. Well, I wasn’t on my way anywhere really, (irony!) but I wanted to write a post to anyone wondering where I’ve been (fans, friends, haters) about the news that after 13 solid years of freelancing, making comics, cartooning, web design’n and hustlin’ , I’m back in an office full time with benefits…
Does this mean I’m DONE drawing comics. Heck no! In fact, it may be a VERY GOOD THING for me being able to create the comics I want to without the burden of monetizing them and making them profitable.
So why the change?
Back in August, like many Americans these days, my wife’s work got pretty much cut in half. Luckily we had some savings, and figured the schedules would change up again, but they didn’t. Her work relegated her to scraps, even though she has seniority. It caused a lot of stress and gray hairs. On my end, to help make ends meet I had to struggle to take on more clients and more workload on top of the comics I committed to doing and other crazy projects…. just to name a few….
- We started a Roller Derby League in February which pretty much ate up my “free time”
- I embarked on a side project to work with the local historical society to fix up and display my great grandfather’s automatons in bottles.
- …and a billion other side projects, “do gooder” type things because I wanted to be awesome locally.
Unfortunately, Being AWESOME doesn’t pay the bills (well, sometimes! but not here). And things got pretty tight. I didn’t want to make public excuses as to why my comics were late, or why I couldn’t deliver what I promised or envisioned. Frankly, I was embarrassed that I was in this bind after some very good years of successful freelancing. Suddenly, yet again, invoices weren’t being paid that I was counting on and I just was tired of the hustling. I had begun sending out my resume, brushing off some old skills and looking for work since August and pretty much letting the world know I was available if you will pay me, I will move “Team Awesome” to you.
As “luck” would have it…
I don’t believe in luck. I believe that you put things out to the universe, try to do as much good as possible, and the universe abides. I’m not a hippy. I’ve just seen this in action and I’ve seen results. I won’t go into the specific circumstances of how I got my new day job, but trust me, it’s a funny story I would tell you over beers. I can say that I am super happy that over a decade experience in publishing, working with big brands and marketing departments, I am a perfect fit for the job that was offered to me and I’m going to rock it out. Oh, and I’m also like… a boss and stuff. Sorry, I don’t want to say what the job is here or go into details, but it was a welcome sigh of relief myself and for my family…. oh, and I have benefits again. Not something many cartoonists have these days. I can say it’s a really cool, fun company. Wish I could brag, but I’d better not. I’m only in my second week, so I don’t want to jinx anything, but I have a good feeling about this.
“You have to go away to come back…”
One of my favorite shows is “LOUIE”– And one of my favorite episodes features David Lynch as “Jack Dahl” dishing out his “rules of show business”… there are ONLY THREE….
1) Look the audience in the eye and speak from the heart
2) You have to go away to come back
3) If anyone ever tells you to keep a secret, that secret is a lie
These rules are very simple, and the most honest thing I’ve read about the entertainment industry, from the tippy top, to the murky underbelly. I’ve caught glimpses of both of those places. Been to fancy hollywood parties where people kissed my ass and told me how great I was and how this or that was going to happen, was even toasted at a few WHILE they blew smoke up my ass. And I’ve seen the other side, the people who say they’re successful, but are living off credit cards or have to have their spouses support them while they act like a big shot. It’s sad.
“DRAW UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD…”
I’m glad to say that deep down, I still feel like “COMICS” is what I want to do. But I just want it to be fun again. Worrying about it paying the bills and a full time livelihood sucked the fun right out of it. When people asked me about “retirement” or plans for the future, I’d laugh and say there is no retirement for cartoonists. When you choose this profession, you choose to draw until you are dead. Period. That used to sound romantic or punk rock for me to say. Now it just sounds stupid. Incredibly stupid.
My arm is sleeved with Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work for one reason really…. a reminder not to end up like he did. And in it constantly being there, I think it has changed me when I look down. Woody loved comics, but it sucked the life out of him. I was feeling that at one point too. Luckily I’m still young and in good health. Woody wasn’t so lucky. I think Woody’s end all the time, and it scares me. I didn’t think it would end up pushing me AWAY from comics, but it may have actually saved my life.
So, long story short (almost 1000 words in)– I’m sorry if I let you down with the comics. I know there are Hero By Night fans waiting for resolution in the stories I’ll be giving away for free. And I know there are Yirmumah fans who are itching to get back to THAT madness. (which is soon, why do you think I posted this HERE?) — My new chain of priorities is this…. MY FAMILY > MY JOB > MY FRIENDS & FANS (sorry friends!) > MY COMICS — Any complaints go to the very back of the line. If I really owe you something, I know it and I’ll make it right.
It’s weird that something I used to put first, I’m totally fine with pushing to LAST now. Maybe it was just time that it go away in order for it to come back?
Keep your eyes peeled.
Over here at Yirmumah, we still have some epic plans! This day job literally landed in my lap very fast and unexpected, so there may be some delay in what I originally wanted to do… but I’m still going to do it, and have some AWESOME writers along with me for the ride.