2014, Dead At Last: My Year In Review

Dear Gods, am I glad to see the end of this year.

I mean, seriously. Even tho, personally, once again, my family and I had a pretty OK year all things considered, 2014 really has been the year that evil won. If it didn’t become obvious, more than any other year in memory, that we truly do live in a police state, I’m not sure if it’ll ever be moreso. I could go on and on. Cops can kill Black people, man woman adult or child, in the streets, with impunity. Nothing will ever happen, and if you dare criticize, you’re a terrorist. On the heels of an election that saw the Right sweep, on the backs of racial hatred, fear of ISIS and Ebola, and a media that lapped it all up, America 2014 became the absolute worst country on the planet. Indeed, my family and I are discussing our exit strategy, as it’s clear it’s NOT going to get any better, and I’m done fighting that fight now. Scotland was looking promising, but then they fucked THAT up too. It’s looking like Germany is the winner at this point. By 2020 is my personal goal, but, as ever, we shall see.

Meanwhile, 2014 is the year my relationship with social media really hit the wall, especially in the last few months. To start with, I’ve decided I just cannot with Tumblr. I don’t get it, and after months of trying, it’s clear I’m not really meant to. So, I occassionally post pictures there, but that’s about it. I tried Ello, like everyone else did for about a week, and I’ve more or less forgotten about it since then. I barely ever blog at gdwessel.com or atypicalcomics.com (and then there’s DischargedComic.com which, when it comes time to renew all my domains, this one will be going away. DISCHARGED as an idea is dead, and Alwyn Talbot doesn’t even seem to be doing comics at this point. So, fare thee well DISCHARGED, 2011-2014. We tried.)

Facebook, meanwhile, turned into such a cauldron of drama and hurt feelings, especially in the wake of Ferguson, that I finally just had to shut it off. In fact, I switched phones during that time, and still have yet to install the app on it. I am not going to delete my account, however… YET. But since it’s become clear that my page can’t be used by ME to talk about what *I* want to discuss without it turning into a discussion about some random person from high school’s hurt feelings, then, I guess I’m just going to move my FB page into merely a hype page or repeater for blogs and newsletters (see below). Seriously, congratulations, you won. No longer will I regale you with news and opinions about things that happen outside your, or my, direct sphere of influence and experience. Considering I probably should have done this years ago when it was decided I couldn’t discuss my favorite book of all time without unleashing barking dogs telling me in great detail what an asshole Alan Moore is, then… yeah.

And let’s not be favoritist, here – Twitter has been getting it from me as well. I’ve unfollowed virtually everyone in Arsenal FC fandom over there because they’ve proven to be horrible people, and in the last few weeks I’ve been unfollowing about 10-20 people per day. As of this writing, my Folloing to Followers count is over -250, and I’m sure there will be more to come. Just… time to declutter.

With all that said, for the New Year, I just created a newsletter/mailing list type thingy, and I would highly advise you subscribe to it at http://tinyletter.com/gdwessel. Tho this might be one more thing to forget about in a matter of weeks, at least I can keep things concise over there, and it’s less hassle than blogging. Which we’ve determined I’ve just become bad at.

2014 was not ALL bad, however, of course. Watching the kids, all of them, grow into themselves and get closer to the “creatures that they’d always meant to be” (to steal a line from the Pet Shop Boys) has been mostly a joy, sometimes a pain in the ass. Our home life is pretty well and good, it must be said, tho we are starting to outgrow this place a bit. Everyone comes with their own challenges, and baggage, and that’s just life, working through it all and coming out the other side better for it…

Of course, KEEPER Issue 3 came out, and with a new art team. I end the year having spent considerable time at New York Comic Con in the company of the legendary David Lloyd (surrounded on all sides by Howard Chaykin, Walt & Louise Simonson and Geof Darrow as well), and earlier this week, SYSTEM S.H.O.C.K. returned to Aces Weekly, so, yeah, get on that.

And hey! A book I was in, got nominated for both an Eisner AND a Harvey. It won neither, but it was a bit of a thrill to have that happen. Hope it happens again, soon…

I’m in the midst of getting together my biggest project to date, and if you want more information about that in the coming weeks, get on the mailing list above.

I am also in the midst of getting together a Patreon page, as I think the time has come to stop doing everything COMPLETELY out of pocket. Stay tuned for that.

If I have one wish for 2015, it’s that everyone, EVERYONE, Be Better. Be more empathetic towards people who aren’t You. Learn their struggles, and points of view. Stop making everything about Yourself and Your Hurt Feelings when there are opportunities to learn about someone else’s pain. Hell, I was even guilty of that myself recently, and got rightly called on the carpet about it by a fellow pro. I didn’t think so at the time, but… it happened. I’ve also been quite guilty of seething jealousy, seeing fellow creators who I consider friends and contemporaries getting snatched up for books and projects at publishers while I still grind out what little I can do. Morrissey was right, we DO hate it when our friends become successful. But, I also know it’s not right, it’s not good, and …

All I can do is not do it again. So can you. Humans can learn. I’ve seen it happen.

With that said, tonight between us, the family will dine on toshikoshi soba, followed by us adult persons opening a bottle of Laphroaig to see in 2015. Tomorrow we watch New Year’s football fixtures and have the traditional corned beef & cabbage dinner. I do hope everyone reading this has a good New Year as well, wherever and whenever you celebrate it. Thank you to all my friends who have been there, and all my collaborators especially. We’ll kick more ass in the coming year together, I’m sure.

So, fare thee well, and fuck off, 2014. You won’t be missed.

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