Mid-life crisis? Who has time for THAT?

Next Sunday, I turn 40.

The closeness of the date (November 24, thanks for asking) has really just hit me, because — frankly — life’s been far too busy recently for me to even spare it a thought.

As an early birthday present, my dear friend (and Army of Dorkness Major General) Reyne bought us tickets to last week’s Packers/Lions game, at Lambeau Field.

If you were a Packers fan, the game was a thing of beauty to behold. I’ve never been to a regular-season professional American Football game before (the only sports I follow are Football (Soccer) and American Football — mercifully this means much of the year the inanity of Sports Talk Radio is something I can ignore). This was a GREAT one to start out with.

From beginning to end, it was a crazed, brilliant, insanely fun affair. The weather was perfect; Our seats were shockingly close to the field; There was a TON of action down by our end-zone; And on, and on. The day lasted from 4 am (when we got to the busses) until 8 pm (when we finally arrived back in Madison).

I only bring this up because — I realized afterwards — it was the first time in a LONG time where I didn’t think about work once all day. Not once.

And that was GREAT.

Now, I adore my work, and I love cartooning. But this has been a busy year. And there have been times when it’s all seemed overwhelming.

Dork Tower #21 is (finally) going off to press, making it the sixth Dork Tower to be released in 2002. This is the first time DT has actually hit the mark as a bimonthly comic book, and I’m really proud about that. The Dork Tower Lord of the Rings special goes off next week as well.

But there have also been two Dork Tower trade paperbacks out this year, as well as two SnapDragons comics, which I create along with the wildly talented Liz Rathke. So that might make nine comics and two trades in 12 months.

Then the whole business management side of Dork Storm Press is another time-eater entirely.

And of course, there have also been a slew of games out that I’ve worked on, with more on their way.

To top this all off (BIG NEWS ALERT! BIG NEWS ALERT!), I just sold my first *game design*! I can’t really go into detail about it until it’s announced, but the game should be out by the first quarter of 2003, from Out of the Box Games. (I’m WAY happy with it, by the way. I think it’ll be a ton of fun, and it’s REALLY unlike anything else on the market, I believe).

The conventions this past year have been amazing. Despite my vow in 2001 to cut back, I think I’ve been on more trips than ever (I’m actually getting used to the Chicago-London flights that start off all of my European trips, and now consider them just one long commute). Plus, the lovely and talented Judith and I have also been trying to hit more of each other’s conventions, since being apart from her (frankly) sucks.

This led to periods like one last May, where, one Saturday and Sunday, we were in Chicago celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary. Monday, we drove back to Madison. Tuesday, I took a bus to Chicago to catch a plane to London. Wednesday and Thursday, I was in London, visiting the family I miss so much.

Friday, I took another train to Birmingham, for the Dudley Bug Ball (the convention that had flown me over). Saturday, I was still in Birmingham (woooo!), and late Sunday I took a train back to London, where I remained until Tuesday, flying back to the US.

Wednesday, I was in Madison. Thursday morning, Judith and I woke up early to drive nine hours to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the Whad’Ya Know Road Show she had to help on. We were in Sioux Falls Friday, Saturday, and finally drove BACK on Sunday.

So turning 40?


MAYBE I can fit it into my schedule at some point.

Things ARE in place that should take a lot of the business work of Dork Storm Press off of my shoulders, and the US convention season looks like it will a little easier on us this year as Adventure Retail continues to represent us at Origins, Gen Con, Gen Con West, San Diego ComiCon and Dragon Con. And yes, there IS a chance I’ll be at ALL of these conventions for at least their Friday and Saturday portions.

And speaking of spreading the workload, check out the all-new DORK STORE at http://www.dorktower.com. It’s now being run by the great folk at Offworld Designs, and pretty much EVERYTHING I do will be in stock there shortly.

ESSEN, in Germany, was an amazing experience. I have to thank my hosts at Feder & Schwert, who looked after me so very well. The lines for all of my signings were amazing, and if you haven’t seen them yet, check them out on the brand-new Photo Section of dorktower.com (http://www.gamespy.com/comics/dorktower/page.asp?id=15)! I even caught up with some friends from my LAST German con, Hannnover Spiel.

I was only there for three days, but I had an absolute blast! Between the beer and the putinschnitzel, I can’t wait to return! With luck, that will mean another trip next October, if I can possibly fit it into my schedule. The readers there were great, and I really CAN’T thank everyone enough for what a great time I had.

I was also invited to a convention in Cologne (Koln) next month that I just couldn’t make. Dang. I really developed a taste for that putinpeffersteak. I promise to try and make SURE it’s not two years until I return to Germany again!

Two more European jaunts in the upcoming moths: I’m getting ready for DRAGONMEET, in London, November 30 (check out the web site for details). I’ve also accepted a return invite to the madness that is WARPCON, in Cork, Ireland (January 25, 26).

Though I really DO have to cut back on conventions, I’ll try to keep up the European trips, if only because travelling is in my blood, AND it lets me see my family in London. I may not make it over six times next year, like I did in the last 12 months, but with the advent of French and Italian versions of Dork Covenant in the works, you’ll have a hard time keeping me away!

The web comics have been a little sporadic since my return from Essen, due to an enormous workload across the board, as well as one or two nasty distractions as Real Life pounced upon my little comic book world of make-believe. But this week, all three cartoons made it up (albeit a day late), and Monday’s cartoon will be posted on time! Huzzah!

At busy times, I fear the web strips HAVE to fall a bit on the priority schedule, since I don’t get a dime for them (aaaaah, the good old days). But that, too may be changing soon. Fingers crossed.

HUGE congratulations go out to Scott Kurtz, of PvP fame. Scott’s been picked up by Image comics, and although he’ll be missed at Dork Storm, he’s become a good pal, and I’m TREMENDOUSLY happy for him. Look for PvP to start up again with issue #1 from Image comics in March, 2003! And make sure it’s on your pull list!

On my A-list:

* The new Paul Weller single, “It’s Written In the Stars.” His best in ages.
* The Jam DvD I picked up in London! It’s been YEARS since I’ve seen the “Going Underground” video.
* The new Sleater-Kinney CD
* The Lord of the Rings Extended DvD.
* German beer!!!!!
* Management Material,” a great little card game by Zipwhaa Games
* The new “Lord of the Fries” game, in COLOR, by James Ernest
* Some incredible original artwork my fiends Steve Sack (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and Mark Smylie (Artesia) sent me.


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