Last Saturday, as with many February 14ths in the past, I got to celebrate two loves. The first, and more important by far, is my wife of 16 years (and partner for much longer), Caroline. To say that I’d be nowhere without her is putting it lightly.
And the second is my life-long love of comics.
On Feb. 14, 2000, I posted my first comic strip on the Web. Greystone Inn would update six days a week for the next five-and-a-half years. The week after closing down Greystone for good, Evil Inc was launched. And I’ve been doing daily comics ever since.
So… how do you celebrate 15 years of doing the thing you love?
By doing it more.
I’m launching two new comics sites. If you support my work in comics through Patreon, neither of these new projects will be surprises. You’ve seen this coming for months now. If you don’t support me yet, please consider it. For as little as a buck a month, it’s a tremendous help to me and my family!
The Arch family has a problem. Their older son thinks he’s a super hero, and their younger son thinks he’s a super villain. Those Evil Inc fans who enjoyed seeing Oscar and Oliver are going to like this strip immediately. Those Evil Inc fans who complained every time the two boys made an appearance can take solace that they will probably appear much less often now that there’s a new home for these ideas.
For the fans of the podcast I record with my two sons on our drive to school, Hey Comics — Kids, you’ll be happy to know that, yes, the humor is loosely based on them. For those of you who are concerned over their mental well-being, no, neither one thinks that I consider him a super villain. (Although one of them wishes I did.)
As you’ll see when you visit the site, this comic is an opportunity for me to draw in a much looser style and experiment with some different techniques I don’t feel comfortable doing in Evil Inc. I’m really excited to hear what you think.
Arch Bros will update once a week, for starters.
By the way, the Arch Bros Web site was developed with a brand new webcomics engine called Grawlix. I’m going to be talking about this more in a little bit, but for now, if you’d like an alternative to the usual WordPress webcomics site, I encourage you to get in touch with them. The official Grawlix email is email@example.com. You can find them on Twitter as @grawlixcomix. It’s still in beta, but I can tell you my experience with it was been amazing. You can also support their Patreon campaign.
Another part of the exclusive material available to my Patreon supporters has been the single-panel “bonus cartoons” I’ve been posting. I’m going to start sharing these publicly on the newly re-designed Guigar.com. It’s here that I’ll be posting more single-panel comics — as well as sketches, pin-ups, Artist Edition illustrations and more.
Guigar.com will not have an update schedule. It has an RSS feed, however, and it’s a Tumblr site, so please be sure to follow the site on your Tumblr so you don’t miss a thing.
By the way… what does this mean for Patreon supporters who have had all of this stuff to themselves for the past several months? No change. You’ll still get to see this stuff before it goes live.
One more thing…
I’ve got another announcement, but I’ll be sharing that a little later in the week.
Looking back over 15 years…
It has been a rare privilege to do comics for you every day for 15 years. As I said before, it has been the only thing I really wanted to do. And doing Greystone Inn — and, later, Evil Inc, has brought me to some amazing relationships and opportunities.
There’s been an Eisner Award nomination — that I lost to an ad for a video game. (I’m not bitter.) But Phables has to be the only comic to ever have been named the Best Newspaper Column in Philadelphia by the Society of Professional Journalists. And my Comic Creator of the Year award from Geekadelphia sits in a place of honor in my studio.
I’ve self-published more than 2 dozen collections of my work, and I have written three books on the subject of cartooning — “The Everything Cartooning Book,” “How To Make Webcomics,” and “The Webcomics Handbook.”
I teach Arts Entrepreneurship and Sequential Art (Comics) at Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia, and my Web site, Webcomics.com, offers guidance and tutorials to other cartoonists publishing their work on the Web.
I’ve been honored to have had one of the best colourists in comics, Ed Ryzowski, toil on my comics for several years. And when Ed moved on to his own creator-owned work, I was amazed to have found a talent like Alex Heberling to take on the duties. (Her Kickstarter is hours from wrapping up, so if you’re one of those readers raving about her work in the Comments, you’d better take this opportunity to show your support!)
Plus, I’ve had the honor of co-hosting Webcomics Weekly with my friends Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett and Kris Straub. And although Webcomics Weekly has come to its end, Scott, Cory Casoni, and I have launched a new podcast, Surviving Creativity, which discusses the challenges of making a living as a creative professional. And don’t forget the podcast I record with my sons Alex (12) and Max (9) during our drive to school. That podcast, “Hey Comics — Kids!”, discusses comics, movies and video games from the perspective of kids and their parents.
All in all, these last 15 years have been chock-full of excitement for a guy who’s only real dream was to draw cartoons for a living.
As I do every year around this time, I want to extend my heartfelt thank-you for helping to support that dream. Whether it’s by buying a book or an eComic, coming out to see me at a comic convention, supporting me on Patreon — or just by being here to read my comics — you’ve been a crucial part of this whole thing. Thank you!
* …and counting