So… if you haven’t already figured it out, “Abel Boddy” is on a forced hiatus. This is because I am currently looking for work and do not have the time to commit to any sort of release schedule for comics.
I told myself that if I put as much as I could into comic work while I looked for a new job, I would end up with a healthy buffer, new readers, progress on my next book, some new Patreon contributions AND a new job. I mean, it makes sense right? Work on comics in between the job searching and opportunity grabbing? Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me. And frankly, since the comic produces almost no income, I’m sort of regretting working on the strip at all during this time, considering that was all time I could’ve used to look for a job.
Truthfully, the whole experience really has me thinking about how the webcomic system works. I’ve been working on “Abel Boddy” for ten years now, with varying levels of productivity. And in those ten years, in terms of gay webcomics, I’ve been told I’m ‘a fresh new face’, ‘the one to watch’, the ‘ongoing’ series and the ‘grandfather of gay comics’. But never in that time period have I ever really felt like anyone has been paying attention.
Now, I definitely have my regulars, don’t get me wrong. Abel Boddy has fans; frequent commenters who regularly pop up on the site and who I hear from regularly. They exist and I appreciate the attention the comic gets from them one hundred fucking percent. But the reality is, I cannot continue producing comics for myself and the dozen (vocal) regular readers if I cannot keep a roof over my head.
The sad fact is, and I’m about get self-pitying here, that while I’m never made any traction with mainstream attention, (the “Webcomics Weekly” method is bunk, being glaringly self-promotional is, well, glaringly self-promotional and the new Patreon system isn’t doing anything more than making me feel bad about myself) what I’ve always found the most aggravating is getting, what I consider, shrugged off by my peers.
The LGBT comic community is not very big, in fact, I could open up another browser right now and send 85% of it a direct message on Twitter. So, deep down in my heart of hearts I’ve always wondered why I’ve never been invited to participate in local events, anthologies or LGBT comic podcasts. I’ve never seen any evidence of anyone helping each other create awareness of each other’s work through retweets or FB shares. I have never gotten a post, much less a link to my work from specific LGBT comic news sites and I’ve had my email requests to publish with certain gay comic presses completely ignored by individuals who I have looked in the eye and shaken hands with at events.
These sentiments are probably so close to the surface right now because everything else in my life is in an aggravated state, but I can’t help but wonder how much actual progress my work made since 2005 if it cannot even help to pay my bills or provide any visible acknowledgement outside of a website that I did not set up myself?
I don’t know. Maybe these realizations are the first step in finding the creative fulfillment I require. Maybe its just something that needs to be said to clear my mind of anxiety in a time when I need all of my emotional faculties in place. Maybe when Abel Boddy returns, it’ll be in a completely new format or on a Tumblr page or only in book form or tied to a rock and thrown through the window of a prominent alternative comic publisher.
I just have got to figure out what I want to get out of this and make some better decisions on how to get there. Eventually, but first… do you know of any place that’s hiring?
I spend most of my time trying to figure out how not to look like bag lady every day. When you live in a city like New York, one that doesn’t require owning an automobile, you plan your day through trips. “I’ll drop off my dry cleaning while heading into the office.” “I’ll take this bag of old clothes to Housing Works, and stop off at the coffee shop and the post office on the way.” This can lead to uncomfortable slogs across town, often involving the subway or taxicabs; throw in managing your iPod, wearing a winter scarf or carrying an umbrella and you might as well have some old clunky shoes and a cardboard sign that says “Homeless, Please Help”.
Because you are in bag lady-town.
As one of the poor, struggling New Yorkers the only way I can radiant the appearance of success through my carefree strut, and one cannot strut if they’ve got forty pounds of baggage hanging from their limbs.
I watched the bag people pass by this morning at my coffee shop, where I’ve taken to spending an hour each morning since leaving my day job. These hour-long visits are supposed to serve as a buffer for my day, a moment where I can put my priorities in order and tackle the remainder of my week like the type-A, go-getter that I tell people that I tell myself that I am.
As usual, I’m behind on everything: tomorrow’s strip is a mere concept, the CB Jobs board is feeling neglected, I’m behind on emails, three writing assignments and I need to churn out another draft of my script in time for my first reading on Sunday. AUGH! My first script reading is on Sunday! This development has been drifting in and out of my mental purview for the last couple of days. I am simultaneously exhilarated and terrified.
The script is something I have been trying to pull together for the last two years, but I have made the most progress on it in the last three weeks. It’s still not finished, but my writing partner thought having a portion of it read by a group will help us figure out if what we have is working. I remind myself that I think the concept is solid, the ideas are good and a 90% of whether or not the script works will depend on the actor reading the lines.
This is something I’ve noticed from watching a lot of webseries; delivery and believability is almost wholly on the side of the actor. You can spot a bad story or cliché dialogue, which all falls on the writer but a bad actor can take a good or mediocre script and drag it down. On the flip side, they can also elevate so-so material, anyone who watches American Horror Story can attest to that. Performance is so important. I just hope I’m bringing them my best.
If you’ve been following my Facebook or Instagram you’ve probably noticed my recent sketches of my main characters from a new project I’m developing called Hard Corps Action Force. HCAF is being conceived as 130-ish page superhero comic set in a fictional all-LGBT city. The titular characters are a disparate team of heroes based out of a community center owned by a wealthy ex-superhero from the Stonewall era.
I personally do not think we need more superhero anything, but this is something that I’ve been developing for a very long time and I really want to put it out there. A lot of the characters and their conflicts are personifications of LGBT issues, there are heroes and villains that are gay, lesbian, heterosexual, trans, bisexual and their motivations range from personal, to religious, to political, you name it.
I’ve currently in the middle of writing the script, I want the writing to be reminiscent of comic books I read in the late 90’s-early 2000’s. I want the character designs to be something between the way I draw Abel Boddy and my favorite artists of that era. And I want there to be a heavy dose of LGBT history and culture weaved throughout the story.
I plan on releasing a great deal of the pages very close together, which means I’ll be drawing most of it before it’s ever released to the public. No lag time and rushing due to tight weekly deadlines. I think that is a smart way to do it considering I’ll be working on it and Abel Boddy simultaneously.
I’ve been posting about HCAF on my Patreon and plan on running the works-in-progress of the pages there on regular basis alongside early releases of the Abel Boddy strips. If you’re interested in reading more, check out my public posts here, here and here.
You’re going to get 3 Abel Boddy’s this week. Today, Wednesday and Friday. That’s my plan from now on. I normally don’t put things like that in writing, but I’m going to here. I think it’s also time to get that site’s design back, I’m tired of looking at it and making notes on stuff that needs to be fixed. Fingers crossed on that one. So, new strips every Mon-Wed-Fri, unless you’re contributing to my Patreon, then you’ll see the strips (this week) on Sun-Tues-Thur.
I would write more, but… I should probably get back to drawing.
I can never really tell if that feeling of getting your head above water is self-delusion or a genuine result of following through on your commitments and personal development. Regardless, it’s probably best to make the best of it. As I posted above, I’m going to start posting strips regularly again next month as well as get the look of my site back to where it was before the Comic Easel take over.
I’m not sure I have any readers left at this point, but I figure I can either keep putting things off and continue driving any progress I have made over the last 9 years (yes, 9 years!) into the ground or pick everything back up and continue the way I’ve always intended and leave a good looking corpse.