nwiconLet’s start with the executive summary: After being in creative exile, more or less, for the past 4 months, I started work this morning on bringing back my old rock strip Nowhere Band. The new volume will, somewhat recursively, follow the Awesome Boys as they try to get their band back together after a long hiatus and deal with the fact that they’re now edging into being older than their musical peers. First new strip should go up some time next week. It should be funny and human. I’m stoked.

And then the longer version: So, yeah. I just finished a four-month slog through the first semester of a graduate program in software. I’m not sure if there’ll be a second semester or not – the effort was pretty draining, and left very little room for any kind of art-making (or, some weeks, basic recreation) and the biggest thing I learned from the experience is that I start to feel kind of insane if I’m not creating something. Which, I don’t know, does sound awfully precious and twee, but it was definitely the truth. Maybe I’m pretentious and twee. Probably.

I did get some creative work done during the semester, but it was uniformly disastrous. For the first couple of months, I pushed on with penciling and digitally inking pages for Eyeball, the graphic novel project I’d announced a while ago about spyplanes in the early 60s. And then, about 30 pages in, just as the time demands from class were really swamping me, I recognized that my Eyeball script had a bunch of fatal problems. Some of it would have been fixable with editing, but most of it was inherent – the timeline I’d worked out for the story just flat didn’t work in the real world. So, feeling shitty, I decided to walk away from the project, abandoning about 35 pages of (pretty good) inked art.

So then I switched to a writing project, a semisecret thing that involved writing a fake New Yorker article about jenkem. And that was coming along pretty well; I had a first draft nearly finished at about 5,000 words and, while it had the usual first-draft problems, I thought it could be shined up into something that simultaneously was ridiculous but had something to say.

And then a Google Docs synch error made about 4600 of those words puff into unrecoverable smoke.

Fuuuuuuuck.

The lesson there, I guess, is that just because working in the cloud seems easy and secure (hey, Google’s doing my backups! They know their stuff! What could go wrong?), you shouldn’t get lulled into a false sense of security.

So that was that for that project; by this point, I was pretty deep into the overwork freakout from class, so I thought I’d better just ride things out until the semester ended before starting anything new. Which it finally did last night. And for the past few weeks, I’ve really started to get excited about going back to the Awesome Boys and seeing what they’d be like after a few years in the wilderness- the main narrative wound down about two years ago, and I always planned on coming back and seeing how they’d react to life drifting forward. I even did one strip along those lines (partly as an experiment in working in black and white), and the new stuff will build from there. I’ve never meant for the strip to be autobiographical by any means, but resonances from my life do always manage to creep in. And things are eventful and different enough tese days that those resonances should keep me fat with material.

Right on. Enough of this. Lunch is coming up, and I have some panel layouts to work up.

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