Visit MisfitsJourney.com!

Planning some site revisions soon

As you may know, Modern Tales and Webcomics Nation founder Joey Manley passed away late in 2013. It’s very easy to find many eulogies to him on the web — he had a big impact on webcomics and will be missed.

Joey had permanently closed Modern Tales in 2012. Now, after his untimely death, Webcomics Nation has gone down as well. This means that my first Misfit’s Journey story (which was hosted on Webcomics Nation) is currently not available for viewing. I will be moving it over to this site.

This site has been very quiet for a long time. Realistically speaking, it’s going to stay that way. However, I want the first Misfit story to be available for viewing. The time is right to give this site a little bit of polishing. Feel free to visit the contact page to this site and send me a message (or post a comment) if you want to know more about my future plans.

R. I. P. Harvey Pekar

R. I. P. Harvey Pekar

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/harvey-pekar-who-chronicled-ordinary-lives-in-american-splendor-comics-dies/?src=me

Harvey Pekar, one of my all-time favorite comics writers died yesterday. He was 70.

I first learned about Harvey from a valued penpal of mine, Marty Pahls, in the early ’80s. I was a struggling small press comics creator at the time and Marty was a key figure in my development as a writer and a cartoonist. He gave me encouragement and coaching when I desperately needed it. (The story of my friendship with Marty is a great story in itself.)

Marty’s letters arrived infrequently but I always looked forward to them. I thought he was one of most intelligent people I knew at the time. There was a lot about him I didn’t know, and I was eager to learn more.

In one of his letters he mentioned AMERICAN SPLENDOR because he played a major role in “The Young Crumb Story”. I was familar with Robert Crumb and very curious about him too. (In his letters, Marty would frequently draw parallels between my own struggles as a comics creator and those of Robert Crumb.)

Although I remembered the title “American Splendor”, I didn’t actually see any of the stories until the summer of 1986. At the time, I had recently completed my sophomore year at Saint Olaf College in Northfield, MN and was staying with my parents in the Mankato, MN area for the summer. It was, all in all, a pretty miserable summer. There had been a lot of fighting going on on my family. It wasn’t a lot of fun being around my mother and dad because they didn’t seem to be too thrilled to be around each other. None of the intelligent and interesting people that were part of my college life were around me. I felt isolated and alone.

One day, I walked into the Readmore Bookstore in Mankato, MN and a copy of the first AMERICAN SPLENDOR paperback, the one with the talk show cover, was sitting there on the shelf. I flipped through the copy and immediately noticed “The Young Crumb Story”. I had to buy this book and I did. It was the highlight of the whole summer.

I missed Marty Pahls. He had mysteriously stopped corresponding with me in the early ’80s. He was going to draw the cover to one of my small press projects, BIZARRE ESCAPADES #3. He never sent me any cover art, and I ended up doing it myself.

Part of the reason I was drawn to Harvey’s work was that I missed Marty. Like Marty, Harvey was clearly a very thoughtful and intelligent individual. Part of what I loved about this paperback was that it documented one of Marty’s greatest accomplishments — he introduced Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb, two of the best and most influential comics creators of modern times.

This paperback seemed to be uniquely suitable reading for my summer of ’86. One of the story titles, “Awaking To The Terror Of The Same Old Day”, was an apt description of a typical day for me during that summer. As I read the book, I came to think of Harvey as a kindred soul and another person coping with a mundane reality not unlike my summer of ’86. He seemed to have many of my own personality traits — he was stubborn, independent, and ambitous. I found myself rooting for him to achieve his dreams as I kept reading the book.

I found the second American Splendor trade in the Saint Olaf library a year later and checked it out. Only two other Saint Olaf students had checked it out — one of them was Ward Sutton, who did comics for the Saint Olaf newspaper and would later become a very successful cartoonist and illustrator.

About two and half years later, I picked up a copy of THE COMPLETE CRUMB COMICS Vol. 4 and learned about the sad fate of Marty Pahls.

About eight years after that, I decided to publish independent comics myself. I made a number of new friends as a result of the experience. One of them was AMERICAN SPLENDOR artist Joe Zabel (one of my favorites), who would later publish some of my work.

My all-time favorite AMERICAN SPLENDOR cover is the cover to issue #15 by Joe Zabel and Gary Dumm. Harvey says on the cover,” In the ’90s, I’m gonna be harder on everybody … th’ vast inert masses ain’t buying my comics, stupid-ass editors don’t wanna print my stories and articles … I gotta push more than ever. Really sweat things outta people!”

Life may be hard on all of us. It may run over frequently brilliant people like Marty Pahls, but we still have the choice to not take the injustices heaped upon us lying down. I love the piss and vinegar Harvey exudes on the cover of AS #15. Many of us need this to make it through the day.

Creating comics can help you cope with cancer, dysfunctional families, and many of the other horrors life can heap upon us all. Harvey’s work will always remind me how strong comic strip creators — and people in general — are really capable of being.

He left us too soon, but his legacy will never be forgotten.

Ken Meyer Jr.’s Ink Stains column

Ken Meyer Jr. is writing a column over at comicattack.net called Ink Stains that I’m enjoying quite a bit. The latest column focuses on the work of one of my favorite early ’80s creators, Rick McCollum. (McCollum is mentioned favorably in the Past Works section of this website.) It has a long quote on Rick’s work from yours truly.

A Return To Blogging

I’ve recently upgraded this blog to the latest version of WordPress. I had read a number of reports on a malicious worm attacking and wrecking any number of blogs running older versions. Thankfully, the upgrade ended up ending up being relatively easy. I’d like to do a little bit of tweaking and updating yet, but that will have to wait for another day.

I haven’t had much of a web presence lately, but this is something I intend to change very shortly.

Upgrade In Progress

I’m in the process of upgrading WordPress to the latest version because of some news about a worm I just got. This site may look a little out of whack for a day or so because of this. (However, if I do nothing, I’m afraid I’ll have a much bigger mess of my hands.)

More to come…

Where I’ve Been

A few folks have been wondering where I’ve been. http://www.benadamsarts.com/?p=235 explains why I haven’t been blogging much.

I hope to be back shortly with a post reaffirming where I want to go with this blog and the Misfit’s Journey story in the months to come.

I’m glad the Dems did well in the ’06 elections. Edwards and Kucinich are currently my favorite ’08 candidates (but this is subject to change). I loved the Ultimate Superman DVD Collection, but the Richard Donner Superman II cut wasn’t quite as good as I expected it to be. Little Miss Sunshine was my favorite film of ’06. I’m really glad that Rob Walton published that big Ragmop volume, but I still don’t have a copy. I saw some Bill Moyers footage from a media reform conference that was really great.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about above, please Google some of the terms above and learn something new.

Got questions that need answers? Ask ‘em here.

Thoughts on the benefits of doing MISFIT’S JOURNEY

Some people do webcomics because they want to make a living doing them. Some people realize the improbablity of this happening, but want to make some ancillary income off their webcomics. Some people hope that their webcomic will lead to a deal with a print comics company or perhaps a TV or movie deal. These are some of the most common goals that webcomics creators seem to have. Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if these things did come about for me, but I can see OTHER benefits to doing this comic.

The process of writing MJ allows me to reflect on who I have been and who I’m capable of being. It allows to develop my presentation of who I have been, who I am now, and who I could be. It helps me maintain a sense of purpose to my life. I can see the process of writing it helping me to write books and screenplays in the future. I can see the themes in it carrying over into Op-Ed pieces I might write, inspirational speeches I might give, or even into some kind of run for public office.

On the short term, I don’t see MJ making big bucks for me, but I think it could lead to any number of positive things for me in the future.

Frankly, I see plenty of better ways for me to make good money than doing webcomics. They just aren’t that lucrative for me right now compared to other things I can do. I want to keep working on this story anyway, though, but I see many other gains to be made in doing so.

In an academic kind of way, I’m curious about the possible ways people CAN make money with webcomics. I want to do some of my own experiments in this area, but I’m honestly not planning on webcomics being my sole source of income.

I see myself as being something of a booster of grassroots/”homegrown”/small press/alternative comics. Actually, I’m a fan of independent film and alternative music and the things THEY can do too. I’m immensely curious about just how alt comics change with the times, and I honestly think webcomics are a big part of the future of alternative comics. At minimum, I want to be a spectator who observes the future of alt comics. Perhaps, just perhaps, my webcomics work will have some effect on the future of alt comics. We’ll have to see, won’t we?

Webcomickers like to write about the merits of keeping regular schedules for their work and the merits of webcomics portals like ModernTales.com. Personally, I’ve decided I’d rather focus on doing a good job with future MJ stories than maintaining a strict schedule. My experiments earlier this year have lead me to discover that I really don’t need a regular schedule or an affiliation with a portal to bring lots of traffic over to my stories. I may not make a lot of money right off the bat with the approach I’m taking to doing MJ, but I see myself maintaining a strong readership that could lead to any number of positive things in the future.

While I just don’t feel the pressure to do MJ on a tight schedule, I DO feel the pressure to blog regularly. Some months I’ll be blogging more than others, but I fully intend to maintain some kind of regular presence at BenAdamsArts.com.

Wrap up of MISFIT’S JOURNEY related poll

For whatever reason, this poll — summarized on this page — didn’t get as many responses as the last one. Most likely, this is just because the first one was running when the first MISFIT’S JOURNEY episode was getting over a hundred visitors a day and a lot of those visitors were also coming over to this blog.

For the record, all the possible answers from the poll will be covered in future episodes of MISFIT’S JOURNEY.

I’m perhaps a little disappointed that the poll didn’t get more responses, but on the other hand — for reasons covered in my last post — I haven’t had the time to focus on keeping the traffic coming over here.

I’ve learned a lot of traffic-building tricks when I published the first MJ on the web, so I’m confident I’ll be bringing over skads of traffic here in the months to come, but things are probably going to stay fairly quiet here on the short term.

Nevertheless, I like the idea of having polls here to facilitate some amount of communication with visitors, so I hope to continue with the polls later this year.

I plan to be writing more about how I intend to bring the next wave of traffic over here once I have the time.

Light blogging ahead as I make some changes to my life

So, yeah, things have been quiet here lately. The big reason for this is that I’m in the process of making a couple of big changes to my life that are just giving me less time to work on this blog and my comics.

First of all, I started a new job a little less than a month ago. Over the long haul, this is going to improve my life, but it’s creating a lot of short-term chaos.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also about to move to a new apartment. All the extra space is going to be worth the trouble though. I’m planning on spending a fair amount of time furnishing and decorating the new place, and, realistically, this is going to cut into the time I have to work on this blog and my comics.

I expect to have settled into a new routine that will give me more time to blog and work on comics in late September or early October. Don’t be surprised, though, if things are quiet here for a little over a month.

I want to go into my plans for the next MISFIT’S JOURNEY, and I will do that when I have the time. Also, even though I’m busy, I promise to promptly attend to any comments that show up here.

Poll changes

Due to some major changes in my life, I’m really hurting for time right now. This is a situation that will abate in a month or two, BUT I need to make some short term changes to this blog until the storm passes (so to speak). The MISFIT’S JOURNEY poll in the sidebar has ended. The results to it can be seen here. Due to a lack of time, I’m NOT starting a new one. I want to be back with a new one in a month or two though.

I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on this last poll and an explanation for why I’ve been so busy lately.

Tidbits

The next poll is going to be on blogs…all kinds of blogs. I’ll try to have it up later this week. Honest.

The next MISFIT’S JOURNEY story is called “Confessions Of An Overworked Grad Student”. It will be 6 30 page chapters. (The page size will be the same size used on the current episode.) I’ve got a very detailed plot worked up already, but it needs to be finessed just a little. I’d like to have the first chapter out either late this year or early next year. I’d like to have four chapters out sometime next year.

I’m still getting a handful of visitors to the first MJ on a daily basis. (Comments are always nice, folks.)

I’m going through some changes in my life that have slowed down my blogging, but I plan to be back with a vengeance later this week. (I’ll go into the changes very shortly.)

I’m behind on my email too. *sigh*

More to come…

New Poll & MISFIT’S JOURNEY News

Some new poll questions and news on the next MISFIT’S JOURNEY episode will be on the way in a day or so.

I know I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve back back with some substantial thoughts, news, and musings soon.