SKULLKICKERS #100 (aka. Skullkickers #34) arrives in comic shops today and I’ll be celebrating the end and signing at The Beguiling tonight from 6:30-8:30pm. Some thoughts about wrapping up the series:
Yeah, it feels really weird even typing that.
Five years ago Edwin, Misty, Marshall, Chris, and I launched SKULLKICKERS. Since then it feels like the entire world has changed and, at least for me, it really has. Back then I wanted to prove that I could write a professional-quality comic and show people my storytelling skills. That unleashed hundreds of pages of comics for Image and a host of other publishers, meeting readers, peers, and lifelong heroes, travelling the convention circuit in North America and abroad and a whole new career as a comic writer.
Even just seeing that in front of me on the page, it seems impossible and surreal. People ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a “comic writer.” For real.
It sounds dramatic, but Skullkickers has changed my life. It became my own creative Crucible where I learned how to open myself up to new ideas, push through my fears, and carry through on my professional commitments. It’s a rambling and childish yarn inspired by tabletop RPGs and the fantasy stories I grew up on but it’s also a representation of me in the here and now as a creator. My creative journey doesn’t end here, but this milestone is incredibly important to who I am as I look ahead to challenges still to come. Saying “thank you” for that kind of thing doesn’t seem adequate, but I’ll try.
Edwin Huang is one of the most professional and hard-working artists I know. His eagerness, energy, and dedication to this book that didn’t even start off as his is staggering. No matter what ridiculous visuals I asked for, Edwin hunkered down and found a way to deliver it. Watching his art grow issue by issue, arc by arc has been one of the most rewarding aspects of working on the series. Whatever he works on next, it’s going to be something special.
Misty Coats took Edwin’s line art and made it explode on the page. Her animated color sense was always on target and she delivered her best right up until the very last page. We couldn’t have done the book without her taking it to the next level each and every time.
Marshall Dillon is a rock. Solid, dependable, unflappable. His lettering took a whirlwind of disparate ideas and brought them together in a way that made even the most ludicrous things I wrote flow across each page. They say good lettering feels invisible because you’re too busy enjoying the story to realize how effortlessly the captions and balloons guide you across the page and that’s exactly what Marshall did. Great flow, unforgettable onomatopoeia.
The rest of the pitch hitters: Kevin, Ross, Mike, Espen, Chamba, Royce, and all the wonderful writers and artists who lent their talents to our Tavern Tales short stories – you rock. You made something fun even better and helped forge lasting friendships.
Thank you to Eric Stephenson and the rest of the Image Comics crew. Your unshakable support for this book has been wonderful. I can’t believe we were able to take it this far. Thank you for your expertise, your guidance, and good humor. I should probably also thank all the far-more profitable Image creators whose successes helped create Image’s stalwart cash flow reserves for printing and distribution.
The readers who stuck with us, the retailers who helped push the book, convention promoters who brought us out to shows, the people who have shared the book with their friends… There are too many people to thank and I wish I could high-five you all right now.
Chris Stevens asked me if I wanted to make a short comic story with him back in 2007. Eight years later it’s become the foundation of my creative career. Thank you, Chris. Your stunning artwork put this series on the map and I’m thrilled you were able to contribute the final cover to wrap it all up.
I hope that if we’ve all learned anything this issue, it’s that stories are eternal. We’re closing this particular book but I’d optimistically like to think that out across the infinite these characters and their foolishness will live on.