I was hoping you’d be reading this while I was still 30, but missing the mark as another year turns over seems a fitting start for what’s coming up. It’s not too long, and I hope you read it.
I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do with my life by the time I was twenty-five. That year came and went, and I didn’t worry too much that I wasn’t there yet, I just hoped I’d figure it out by thirty. I think I did figure it out a few weeks ago, and I’ve got news for you – it isn’t making comics. But that's not exactly what I'm here to write about.
If you look at the first post I made here, you’ll find I outlined the Plan – my attempt to calculate the easiest way for us to get the story told, based on everything I’d learned by spending months reading everything I could about making comics – from Scott McCloud’s brilliant books to heated arguments on Facebook group walls.
The short version of the Plan would go like this: "For this project to be a success, we need to get picked up by a publisher, so we’ll get a pitch together. If that doesn’t work, we’ll crowdfund to self-publish, so we’ll need a web presence. And if that doesn’t work I guess I’ll have to draw it myself."
It took me a long time to realize that with the Plan, I was placing at every turn something between me and the story and allowing it to say “No.” I’d littered my path with threshold guardians.
Publisher? Threshold guardian. Kickstarter goal? Threshold guardian. The need for Twitter followers, or blog views, or a rising brand? Threshold guardians. These are all just excuses holding the world back from being a world with this story in it.
I’d taken all of my advice from people who want to make comics for the rest of their lives. Who want to break into the industry. Who want to draw Spider-Man and do panels at conventions and make a career of it. I have never wanted any of that. I just want to tell this story, and it needs to be told in comics.
I knew from the beginning that comics need artists, so of course I believed that this story would not only take lots of time to tell, but lots of money too. But I’ve finally followed my realization to its conclusion.
I have always thought and continue to think that this story deserves a great artist. But I have also always said that in my ideal scenario, I would be a good enough artist to both write and draw the book.
I’m not at all the artist this story deserves, but I am the one who can make it happen, and I have never been more confident in this project than I am since I truly realized that it rests entirely in my hands.
You’re not going to see it right away. We’re going to keep writing, and I’m going to keep drawing, and by the time we get through part one, I think I’m going to start making this comic. And I will not be great. I will be passable at best. But you know what? There will be no better instruction in drawing this book than drawing this book. And if anyone’s going to do it, it’s going to be me.
Neil Gaiman said in a 2012 commencement speech that he thought of his goals as a mountain and anything that led him toward the mountain, he did. Anything that led him away from the mountain, he did not do.
I’m thirty one today. I know what I want to do in life, and it is not making comics. But creating this story IS one giant leap toward the mountain. And I’m not going to watch any more years turn over without seeing it in front of me, getting nearer all the time.