I’m not going to lie – 2015 was pretty trying, not only with the state of the world (and the State of Indiana) getting steadily worse and seemingly plunging pell mell towards an openly racist, fascist nightmare, but personally too. Home life is great, with Bea and all the kids, that’s not the issue.
No, instead I will remember 2015 as the year I nearly chucked writing in entirely. Around February or so, in the midst of a lot of SPACECRIME!! (you know, CRIMES happening IN SPACE) announced by Image, I took a good hard look at a project I’d spent most of 2014 developing (including meetings with editor Sebastian Girner, of SOUTHERN BASTARDS, BLACK SCIENCE, and other Image books), as this was definitely a SPACECRIME!! book, and decided that I just *didn’t like it.* So, I shelved it. Indefinitely. Mentally, however, judging by all the time I’d spent agonizing over this particular project, doing so sent me into a tailspin in a big way.
I don’t recall the *exact* order of events of what came next, but then I also one day snapped and decided I couldn’t take The Comics Internet anymore, and basically stopped participating in it, up to and including stopping my what was then a regular (PAID) writing gig for Bleeding Cool Magazine. I haven’t consciously looked at that website since June, and with the editor who was going to bat for me now out of the picture there, it made that separation much easier. Complicating matters was the very person who tried to bully me out of comics preaching that professionals who were talking shop about abuse and bullying within the industry need to be listened to. I think I suffered one of those triggers I keep hearing about after that.
Shortly thereafter, it became apparent that the artist I’d found to continue with KEEPER after Jeff Simpson left, Carlos Pedro, was full in with the ELEPHANTMEN team and really had no plan to keep drawing KEEPER for the paltry sum I could pay him. Not really having the heart to look for artists, AGAIN, and faced with the fact that not one publisher that was out there was willing to both a) publish the book and b) pay the creative staff so that it could keep going, I killed it. My very first actual real project, 4 issues in, and I had to kill it because there was nothing else to keep it alive at this point. So, yeah, the tailspin worsened.
Come around October, and not only myself, but the entire family, had a gigantic falling out with a group of people that we’d spent an inordinate amount of time with over the last two years. All this because I called out (without knowledge beforehand that it was “designed” by the wife of someone I considered a friend) a poster the Indy Eleven professional soccer club was putting out that featured a very blatant swipe of the cover of the third hardcover volume of THE WALKING DEAD. Despite having proof beyond doubt that it was a total swipe, instead I was treated to abuse sent to me in private messaging and text messages on my phone. So I recused myself from the group for the duration. In addition, at the final match of the season (a game I already wasn’t going to be at anyway due to attending something else), members of the group decided to make light of things by baking a cake and icing it with the one swearie I’d said during the whole debacle – keeping this in mind while I’m being told to “fuck myself.” So, ta-ra Slaughterhouse-19. Your ideals, which I fully subscribed to, are horseshit. And you all can fuck yourselves, too. And no, I’m not renewing my season tickets either. But the upshot is, I nearly quit all social media after this debacle.
These weren’t the first people I’d said goodbye to this year. I’d decided that this was the year I wasn’t going to take personal insults so lightly anymore, and frankly, if you play the man not the ball, you were getting blocked and I didn’t give a fuck who you were. This included friends and former collaborators. I’m nearly 43 years old. I don’t have time for this shit anymore.
But… it wasn’t all bad. In November, on a whim, I’d decided to partake in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where you need to get a 50,000 word novel done the whole of November in order to “win”), and while I quit by Day 16 (because I was hitting a wall and decided I wanted to do OTHER things too), I have over 27,000 words of total shite written, and out of my skull. I’ll do something with it, some day, but I will say it did help lubricate my writerbrain, and I’m looking to do other things now, again. At last. After spending 2015 in a tailspin.
I also rediscovered my love of Japanese Pro Wrestling (no, not sumo, but the Japanese take on WWE style professional wrestling) in 2015, thanks to Bea seeing an article that New Japan Pro Wrestling (my favorite company ever) was now going to be shown on AXS TV in January. So I watched the pilot. And… well. Here I am again. I’ve now started a New Japan blog at http://strongstylestory.tumblr.com, and have recorded 2 podcasts with some like-minded Internet friends at http://strongstylestory.podomatic.com
Yes, I may have a problem.
So hey, here we are. 2016 upon us. I’m gonna try to do better this year. Hope everyone else is too. 2015 more or less blew, beyond a few bright spots. I’m going to start the first new comic project I’m starting up since I killed KEEPER, and was supposed to have a phone call today about another one but it didn’t happen for some reason. But hey. I’m still around. I may even start blogging on my own http://gdwessel.com site again.
Everyone take care of yourselves, and I hope you, too, have a better 2016 than 2015, even if 2015 was pretty great for you. The next one of these oughta have more standard formatting, I’m just lazy right now.
Happy New Year,
— Geoffrey D. Wessel