I was flying back from Chicago last night and the flight had The Whale (2022 movie) available. I didn’t catch many of the “award movies” this year, so I ended up watching it and I liked what it had to offer. I had just spent the weekend promoting my Ancient Futures graphic novel series at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) with my collaborator author Steven White and his circle of creative friends who care about this project enough to be involved in its growth. The Kickstarter we launched for the continuation of the series (Part 2) is far from meeting its goal unfortunately, but oddly I’m not feeling depressed about it. Perhaps it could surprise us and turn around in a week or two, but it seems that we needed to build up the promotion earlier than we did to gain the momentum to make it a success.
The character Charlie in “The Whale” (played by Brendan Fraser in the movie) is an English professor who teaches online courses and keeps his zoom camera off, ashamed of his obesity. At a climactic moment in the story, he feverishly emails his students a desperate plea to write him “something honest.” The image I clipped above is from a stage version of the same story from at least 9 years ago and you can watch it here if you like. It made me realize how hungry I was for some honesty, as well (… I realize that sounds like a terrible pun, but no pun intended.) I made a decision about 8 years ago to work on fiction comics after working in nonfiction for a number of years. I also decided to make an effort to avoid fanart for the most part to avoid siphoning away time and energy that didn’t fuel my priority to world build new stories.
It’s safe to say that this has been a great challenge. In some ways the pandemic ended up presenting opportunities that fell in line with my career goals, but I would say mostly it has made it a challenge to get such endeavors off the ground. I’m fortunate to be working projects with creators and independent publishers who have the fire and resilience to take on such projects. Apart from my Ancient Futures people, I’m also working with the new comic publisher Battle Quest Comics, another driven and positive group of people. Additionally, I’m working on cover illustrations for a good author friend who bravely pursued his own book series years ago and has since found great success; check out Mage Errant by John Bierce.
My blog has fallen by the wayside, but I’m thinking of attempting some honest writing here again. I’ve become fatigued thinking about my work in a comparative way to other comic creators who have had a more traditional path to success when I really should be celebrating the alternative path of my own. I get to start each day with the feeling that I have work to do that I enjoy with people I admire and enjoy working with. That’s a very good feeling and something I want to stay focused on. I’m trusting that I’ll be able to continue my work on current projects one way or another. If you are interested in any of these projects, and have the means, please consider supporting them.
Here are some photos from my weekend at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo @C2E2 with the Ancient Futures Team. The party continued on and off the show floor as you can see. I’m going to be riding the positive energy we generated there for some time.
And please, if you want to help us keep Ancient Futures moving forward as efficiently as possible, please consider contributing to the Kickstarter that is going on right now. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ancientfutures/ancient-futures-episode-2-young-gods-among-us