2013 And All That…

It’s that time of year, again. By which I mean, THE END.

As is customary, this seems to be the point where people like to reflect on the past year, and I suppose this is no different. I know from reading many of my friends, and other people I follow, 2013 wasn’t too good a year for them, but me, I can’t complain. About the worst I’ve had to deal with was a pointless legal action during the beginning part of the year, and the Pittsburgh Steelers not having their best season. If that’s all I really had to contend with, I’d say I’ve really not got much to complain about.

On the comics front, I had a story called “Problem Solver” (with art by Michael Bills) come out in Image Comics’ Outlaw Territory 3, which was a LONG time in coming (I got commissioned for it around this time in 2009), but it finally arrived, and I couldn’t have been happier to be in such esteemed company.

As you may have seen once or twice *ahem*, I’ve also started a serial in Aces Weekly called System S.H.O.C.K., drawn by Neil Ford and lettered by Jim Campbell, published by the one and only David Lloyd. That alone is a dream come true, working with someone whose work I’ve admired from afar for literal decades.

I also self-published two new comics, in the earlier part of the year, under my new Atypical Comics banner. TAKEDOWN was drawn by Zach Bassett and lettered by Jim Campbell, and got some reasonably good reviews on the internet. I also released another issue of KEEPER, but sadly, artist Jeff Simpson decided to depart from the book not long after its release, and KEEPER has been in a holding pattern ever since. News soon tho, I swear. From both of these, I also learned how to deal with ComiXology, so I can be a bit more prepared for future releases. Hopefully I can be a better self-publisher in general next year, too, when the time comes again to wear that particular hat.

I made another trip to NYCC this year, and had a fantastic if all too short time there. I got to catch up with some old buds, like Michael Vincent Bramley and his wife Alice Meichi Li; artist Larry Watts, without whom I wouldn’t have had TAKEDOWN produced; my old chum Al Ewing, who in the midst of getting on at Marvel now, also had time to co-produce another volume of Zombo for 2000AD, which is getting on Best of 2013 lists all over the internet, up to and including Time Magazine’s. He also did another run of Damnation Station, even tho he confirmed I pretty much was the only person who liked that strip. Including him.

2013 was also fraught with so many NEW, wonderful people in my life, which can only be a good thing. I got to meet and be social with the likes of Andy Diggle and Si Spurrier, who is amazingly LESS grumpy than he appears on the interwebs. (If you’re not reading Disenchanted, do so. Now.) I got to meet fantasy author Maurice Broaddus, who rather conveniently lives here in Indianapolis, and as it happens I will be spending this New Year’s Night at his home. Through HIM, I got to meet another fantasy author, one who wrote one of my favorite books of the last few years, which got rightly nominated for all sorts of big awards (like, the Hugo and Nebula), Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed, without whose random comedy tweet about G.I. Joe and Cobra, I never would have devised System S.H.O.C.K., so, y’know. There’s that.

I also got to meet some people I’ve talked to on the internet for a good while. Liberator writer Matt Miner, Orphans writer Eric Palicki, and after twenty years of discussions and arguments, Lance Parkin, whose biography of Alan Moore, Magic Words, really is something you should read posthaste.

I know I’m forgetting people and running out of room at this point, so hey, if I have, you were awesome too.

On the personal front, it’s been a great year seeing the kids grow and evolve. Liam transitioned to a new school with aplomb, doing quite well, maturing as he has. Miranda, especially, has been having great success as a freshman in high school, no small task when you consider the nature of autism. But with help, she has succeeded greatly, even garnering two Student of the Month awards in her very first semester in high school. I’m also still learning how better to connect with Gaby. It’s not easy some days, but I think (hope) I’m getting there, and I think I learned enough the last time I was in a stepparent situation to not make the same mistakes. (All the more room to make all new ones, wa-hey!)(I kid.)

I also had a radical change in my diet, because it was that or start shooting insulin, and I can’t be having that. Three months in, I’m eating better than before, and have lost a LOT of weight.

Through this all, it must be said, Bea most of all has been my rock and my biggest fan, and I don’t honestly know where the Hell I would be without her. I can only hope I can do just as well by her.

I’m already making plans and arrangements for 2014, probably too many to start with and I can think of one artist that is probably ready to kill me for my screwing around with other projects. But hey, it’s better than NOT, right? I know I will have an actual manga out by mid-year, and there’s another project that is my MISSION to get out there, to you. In addition to more KEEPER and System S.H.O.C.K. Yessir.

Lastly, go ahead and follow me on Tumblr. Just for kicks.

To everyone, have a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading me in 2013, and let’s all kick ass in 2014 eh?

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