Looking Forward 2008: I – The Dork Tower webstrips

I think it needs hardly be said that the opinions expressed in the strip are not necessarily mine. The number of folks who seem to wish that every rant that Matt goes speaks for me verbatim is a bit surprising. Such a “Here’s what John thinks” comic strip would get real boring, real fast – for me, anyway.

I’d hoped to post a full-fledged “State Of The Cartoonist” think-piece last week. I didn’t. So this at least lets me slip the start of a brief series into the blog. A series trying to define where everything stands, vis my work and in light (or darkness) or the very, very bad things that happened in 2007. Things that I’ve only recently started realizing what a toll they took on my psyche.

So let’s start with the strip. The four panels or six of Dork Tower that you see from time to time either here, on MySpace or, hopefully, at Dorktower.com.

I’m ahead on the strip, have been so for a while, and that makes me happy. This was Step One in the Master Plan is to get everything back on track: to my mind, the strip languished as an afterthought for much of 2006/2007.

Comic strips are what I did first, and in a sense, they may still be the most natural way I can express myself. It feels a bit like going home, having the strips out on a regular basis. Creating small storylines. Getting to know my characters again.

The web site should see a full redesign soon, as well.Goodness sakies, it’s been a while.

Eventually, I may stop posting the full strips here, but put out links whenever a new one goes up on the web. We’ll see. Y’see, there’s a real chance I may actually (gasp) get some money for the online Dork Towers, after years of wandering in the darkness of Simply Doing This Because I Didn’t Want To Let Readers Down. This all depends on how many people click over to the home page. Again, though – that all comes with the redesign.

I’ve been pretty happy with the strips these last couple of months. It’s a nice feeling, being a week or two in advance. knowing that readers clicking on the site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will, in fact, find new material there. I almost feel…feel….(gasp) professional about it again.

This, despite the fact that — with the death of Dragon magazine, I’m making less than I’ve made from the strips in a long, long time. Still, that’s OK. I’m home again.

(There’s a lot of small, technical, cartoon-ese kinds of micro decisions that goes into my being happy about where I am: finding the right paper to use; settling on a consistent size to work in; eking out a Line Quality I’m happy with; etc., etc., etc. It’s all a bit nerdy, really. Bottom line: I’ve standardized how I work on the strips for the past four months, and the results just seem…right. Which they hadn’t, for the last few years, to my mind.)

Becoming a comic strip artist is what I’ve wanted to do since I was in school. Then I became one. Now, it’s nice to be back. How far can I go with it? I’m not sure, But at least my work’s becoming more consistent, and I’m truly enjoying it again.

Now I get to see how long I can keep this up, with everything else that’s happening in my life – or happened, this last year. I’m still in a dark place, but at least some clouds seem to be clearing.

More on that in another post.

Next: Looking Forward 2008: II – The Games



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