So, we’ve successfully made it into October without the entire country collapsing on itself (though it feels like it’s well on its way). Until it happens, I’m going to keep trudging along and making comics and here are somethings that went down this month so far.
Last Friday, I was invited to come down to my alma mater Franklin College to speak on an alumni panel on Writing, Publishing, and Communication. I hadn’t been down to the college since last year and maybe three years before that so I thought it would be a chance to sit down and talk about what I do with students who may be considering comics or really any form of creative writing. I didn’t really know what we would be speaking about so I was slightly nervous as I like to prepare and get my thoughts in order, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice winging it.
The drive was cloudy, but nice enough. I’d tried to leave early to give myself time and after getting stuck behind two different accidents, I managed to get there roughly five minutes before things started. It turned out that only four students showed up for the event which ended up making it much easier for me to speak (relatively speaking). The panel was originally going to consist of three alumni but one called in sick so it was myself and an ’11 grad named Chelsea Sutton who had worked as an editor and works as a Communications Coordinator at Indiana Historical Society. We both spoke about what we did and how our education helped us get to where we were as well as where we saw ourselves in five years. I did bring copies of my works and Clusterf@#k got the best reaction from the crowd which was good since I was nervous about bringing it.
After the panel was over, I realized that it was in fact homecoming weekend but I knew I couldn’t stay because I was my brother’s ride to work and had already planned to drive down and drive back that same night.
On my way to my car, I saw one of my favorite professors driving by with her husband so I waved. She had him stop so she could hop out of the car and give me a huge hug. It was really nice to see her because she was been a very positive influence and her classes helped me be more outspoken/speak up in class. It was really good to see her as I think I missed seeing her last year.
The two professors who had invited use took us out to dinner at a really nice restaurant I didn’t even know existed. One of them was another very influential professor I’d had my Freshman year and was possibly the first teacher that was really critical of me in a way that made me want to improve. In fact, he gave me some advice on a paper that not only helped me improve my thesis writing skills but also my life in general. I couldn’t remember the quote when I relayed it to him but it was something like:
“Jon, you have these great ideas but you do this ticky-tacky shit where you take a bunch of stuff and throw it on the paper.”
(NOTE: I’m paraphrasing but he did say ‘ticky-tacky shit’ which let me know I was definitely in college.)
For some reason that always stuck with me and it helped me become a lot more focused. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have become as receptive to criticism or seek out editors that would push me if I hadn’t had that professor in college to kind of help me unlearn high school BSing that allowed me to coast.
At the end, I was able to see two professors that had a huge impact on me and speak about doing things I love to a few students. On the surface, it might not seem like much but it was huge to me and I hope I can do something like that again.
In other news, I will be putting up a new short comic beginning next week. It is a 12 page story called New Management that was drawn by my Secrets & Shadows collaborator Dexter Wee and lettered by Clusterf@#k’s Nic Shaw (who also lettered Image’s The Fix and recently got married). It is a story I came up with after watching some old mafia films. It’s in line with my other two shorts Job Security and Professionalism. It’s a little bit more realistically violent but it was an attempt to do something different more serious. It will go up the next two weeks (6 pages each week).
I hope you enjoy it.
Other than that, I’ve been working slowly toward getting some new projects together for next year because I want to hit 2017 hard. I also want to try to double the amount of conventions I’ve done this year. I can’t guarantee everything will be amazing, but I’m definitely going to try to top what I’ve done so far.