Hello friends. This is the last week of daily Falling Rock. Not just for the season, but forever. As you can imagine, this is not a decision I came upon lightly.
Since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be a comic strip artist; I used to read and reread Calvin & Hobbes in the morning paper. I drew a comic strip in my high school newspaper and my college newspaper, and when I ran out of school I found other papers willing to run my comics. It has become a part of my identity: I draw a comic strip. Lately, however, a number of things have changed. Daily newspapers are slowly becoming anachronistic. People don’t subscribe to a city’s daily like they used to. Heck, even I don’t get the daily paper. Because of this, the number of new comic strips being introduced each year has plummeted, and the strips that do get introduced often languish due to low readership. Great strips have ended simply because the newspapers aren’t delivering the size audience a strip needs to (financially) survive.
I’ve changed too. When I wrote Dancing with Jack Ketch, it was 2006. This year I published Tomb of the Zombies. Six long years stand between those books. I’d like my next book to come out before 2018. As you know, doing a daily strip 9 months a year takes up most of my time. Not having that commitment will allow me the freedom to tell many different kinds of stories. This idea makes me happy.
Fear not, dear readers, Falling Rock is not ending. I’d like to turn it into a quarterly comic book. I’ll sell subscriptions and bring individual issues to conventions. I’ll be able to tell Falling Rock stories in a way a daily strip doesn’t permit. It will also give me time to work on other comic projects, like Dancing with Jack Ketch and Tomb of the Zombies. We’ll essentially have it all.
This does not completely allay my sadness at not drawing a daily comic strip. This will be the first time since 2002 (when I graduated college and began The Family Monster) that I won’t have that daily commitment. I guess what I’m saying is, I reserve the right to bring Falling Rock (or some other comic strip) back. I’m going to try this out and see how it fits. It is quite possibly the biggest change of my life, because it means not working on the profession I’ve been preparing for my entire life. Sadly, daily comic strip artists are slowly disappearing, like snow leopards or some rainforest beetle nobody’s ever heard of. I have nothing but admiration for those people who are able to make it their living; they are working at the greatest job ever created.
Keep reading this blog over the summer for updates and amusing (but factually inaccurate) anecdotes. I’m not going anywhere.