A Year-End Introduction


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When Frederik, our fearless leader and Editor-in-Chief, asked us to draft a special year-end column, summing up 2006, I was initially apprehensive.  I don’t pick up comics on a monthly basis, but rather wait for the trade.  And generally, those trades don’t come from Marvel or DC, but rather from publishers like Drawn & Quarterly, Top Shelf, and First Second, among others.  This hardly makes me unique among BF staffers, whose reading habits are as ecumenical as they come.  But it did make me feel ill-equipped to report on what 2006 meant to the world of comics.

Since the latest Indefinite Civil Crises of Continuity aren’t of much interest to me, even when great writers like Morrison and Bendis are contributing to the mayhem, I’ll instead simply describe what 2006 meant to me.

The most obviously BF-related development began at almost exactly the beginning of 2006, when I came aboard the site, and began my first-ever column, Crossing Borders, reporting on the best the comics world has to offer, with a particular emphasis on international fare. 

The timing of such a column was propitious, because mainstream publishers like Pantheon were joining the fray and making such works as Persepolis, Ice Haven, Epileptic, and Black Hole into almost household names – at least in unusually literate households, anyway.

For six months I plugged away, never missing a week, except when an editor was away at a convention or otherwise unable to upload a new installment.  And, a loyal band of readers enjoyed reading a column or two as much as I enjoyed writing them. 

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But my string of uninterrupted weekly musings was broken when personal events interceded, namely the purchase of my first home in August and the birth of my first child, a daughter, in November.  And those events, while blessed, also meant less time for my other passions – namely reading and writing (and writing about) comics. 

Click to enlargeStill, it wasn’t a bad year for me in comics, all told.  Following up on my first publication in 2005 – with a small San Francisco publisher called eigoMANGA – 2006 marked a few opportunities to break into the mainstream.  Even if those breaks were modest ones.

Notable firsts included the publication of a story in the Judge Dredd Megazine, a story which also appears in this month’s Arcana Studios anthology Dark Horrors.   Another story was accepted for publication in an anthology produced by Ronin Studios, which has been accepted by a prominent indie publisher whose name you’ll recognize when it’s announced.  And yet another story was named a finalist in the Visionary Studios “Be a Visionary” contest, which may be published as a back-up in a Markosia book.   A short Isis story may also see print as Blue Water Productions retools as a self-publisher.  And finally, my science fiction story, Regulators, was accepted for publication in serial form on the soon-to-be-revamped web comics site 01comics.com.

But of course the year had its downsides, too.  Time for writing was often scarce, as my day job demanded more of my time, and the tasks of finding a home and preparing for a new family member intruded upon even the usually sacred weekends.  And, of course, this column was a new priority as well.  Additional time was lost as projects went through a succession of artists, or otherwise lapsed into limbo. 

On balance, where do things stand in my comics career?  Well, a long-awaited step forward should come in the first half of 2007, as eigoMANGA moves to republish its books, including my ongoing serial, in partnership with Devil’s Due Productions.  And I’ll continue with my ongoing projects, as well as seeking out new challenges.

For those of you trying to break into the biz, like I am, or who are simply fans of this great medium, I hope your year was as fulfilling as mine was.  (I know for some of you up-and-coming scribes – including a few fellow columnists – it was quite a bit better, and I congratulate you all for your triumphs.)   I wish you all an even better 2007, and thanks for reading.


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