Touching Base

Happy New Years Eve-Eve!

Another year is almost over, with another fresh on the horizon. We made it!

In the midst of the grey area between Christmas and New Year where few brave souls really know what day it is, I thought I’d take the opportunity to celebrate 2019 and look at what it’s brought for me.

First off, I’m really late to talk about this, but still excited to tell you all about my friend and co-founder of Good Comics Paddy Johnston’s new book Stealing Home: Rookie Season. See the excitement on my face? See it??

Stealing Home a collection of newsletters published weekly throughout the baseball season – not to be confused with hardcore baseball writing, the collection is about life and the game, with a delicate array of anecdotes and thoughts on America’s greatest sport. Each newsletter is also beautifully illustrated by my bae Samuel C. Williams, with bonus comics by him too. I was also lucky enough to be involved too, with my comic about Justin Smoak gracing the final pages of the book. Check out a preview below:

Having come directly after finishing Sparenting, it was another emotionally raw story to tell, and I’m truly honoured to be part of the Stealing Home collection. And check me out – I finally have some baseball knowledge! It’s only taken a year and several Big Boys Don’t Bunt podcast episodes, but I’m a seasoned expert now!

You can pick up Stealing Home: Rookie Season from the Good Comics online bookstore, and you can sign up for the Stealing Home newsletter by clicking here, ready for spring training in a couple of months.


So, with Stealing Home rounding out my year, what else have I been up to? Well, at Good Comics HQ we were fairly busy, launching our new website and podcast, plus attending shows far and wide. I also made my editorial debut, working with Mohar Kalra on his newest book Novelty, released in June. We also welcome Paddy’s son Eric to the world, who will be an excellent Creative Director of Good in a few years. We also spoke at the Laydeez do Comics festival earlier this year, talking potential creators through our submission criteria and our ethos, which was a really proud moment for us. And we even managed a Christmas party!

For my personal work, I took the year to really slow down and practise what I’ve learnt over the last few years in newer and interesting ways. Firstly I worked on Rocks, which began as a panel-a-day experiment, musing on rocks which turned into a self-published comic. Paring back my preparation and writing on the go was a new experience for me, and it taught me a lot about how little I really need to prepare for a comic.

In summer I began working digitally for the first time, using new software to draw directly onto the screen – removing the need for thumbnail sketches, roughs, pencils and inks on multitudes of paper and instead working on one digital file with multiple layers. I experimented with some ‘sketchbook’ pages and a short comic called Ebbs & Flows, before spending a couple of months working on Sparenting.

Aside from that, I’ve spent more time learning how to woodwork, whittle and create sourdough. I’ve read 30 books this year (which is an all-time record for me, usually totalling around 5 a year before now…), I’ve practised my sewing skills and made more of an effort to look after my body and mind. I’ve also undone some of the efforts of looking after my body by fracturing my hand and spraining my ankle whilst skateboarding (but had the most fun in doing so). I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to two beautiful cities, spending time with those I love.


Here’s to what 2020 will bring!

Happy New Year everyone.

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An Ode to Sparenting

Good morning all!

Welcome to November. I have something special for you all today, a new comic that I’ve been creating on-and-off since June. Although it’s not that long in pages, it took some time to finish purely because of the subject matter and its personal nature.

Also, it’s in a new format for me. One long, continuous comic that is available online for free, and as of yet I have no plans to print.

For anyone outside of close friends and family, I don’t often talk about the struggles of being in very close, emotional proximity to an ongoing and often unpleasant argument over separation and childcare. Some days I manage just fine, and some days I don’t. But, being in this situation for a couple of years now means I’ve been able to reflect on who I am and what my job title should be.

There’s probably not a huge amount I can say as a foreword to my newest comic Sparenting, but here’s something nice from my good friend and fellow comrade at Good Comics, Dr Paddy Johnston. He wrote this to share Sparenting on the Good Comics blog, but it seems perfect for here too:

This week’s Good Friday is something very different, and very personal for the three of us as publishers. I’m lucky enough to have Sam and Rozi not just as co-publishers, but as close friends too. We all met through comics, but if we were to stop doing it, we’d still be close friends, and there’s so much that we share and have shared on the journey of friendship over the last few years.

As such, I was really touched when Rozi let me be the first person (apart from Sam) to see her latest comic, which totally floored me, and not just because it tackles her own personal emotions and a subject I’m aware of contextually. If I didn’t know her at all this comic would still have really affected me, because it nails the art of sharing the personal and emotional whilst still offering an accessible story. Any one of us could be the person she describes, the exhibit in a museum she draws, the empty name tag stuck partially to a shirt not made for name tags to stick to. 

This is why we do what we do, and why comics are often the best kind of medium for what we at Good Comics want to share. Rozi’s words and her pictures are for all of us here. If you’ve enjoyed Rozi’s previous works such as Cosmos, you’ll be familiar with her style and tone, but I’ve never known her work to be this open or this raw. I really hope you enjoy it and connect with it as much as I did.

Paddy

Without further delay, here’s Sparenting.

x

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