2013 – A Great Year That Almost Wasn’t

2013 has been an incredible year, but it sure as heck didn’t start out that way.

Wrapping up 2012 I thought I had a firm sense of where ’13 was heading. I’d accepted a contract to take over DC’s Birds of Prey with issue #18 and was working away on scripts, excited about my first writing gig for the “Big Two” of comics. When the new year began and the whole thing fell apart, I did my best to bow out gracefully and retreated for a while.

I haven’t spoken publicly about it before but, honestly, the whole thing shook my self confidence to the core. January and February were a slog of frustration and nervousness. I dreaded convention season and people asking questions about it or wondering if I’d screwed the whole thing up. I didn’t want to dwell on it, but I couldn’t stop thinking – What if I’d somehow missed my shot and that was it?

I wanted to burrow and hide. I felt like the year was going to waste as I watched friends and colleagues kick ass and take names on new projects. I’ve had setbacks before, but this one pushed a bunch of unexpected emotional buttons and brought me low in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. A lot of those feelings of frustration informed the post I wrote last month about jealousy.

Stacy was my rock through all of this. She listened, she advised, she kept me going. She knew other opportunities would present themselves and helped me look towards those instead of beating myself up over things I had no control over.

I’d turned down a project with IDW in November so I could focus fully on Birds of Prey, but thankfully had kept close ties with the editor. Even though the original project we talked about was already spoken for, he asked if I’d be interested in pitching on something else they had coming down the pipe – Samurai Jack.

Between Jack and Skullkickers I started to regain my focus. I knew I could do the work and wasn’t going to give up. Each month got a bit better and my productivity kicked back into gear-

Skullkickers, Samurai Jack, Pathfinder, Legends of the Dark Knight, Makeshift Miracle, Shadowman, ShiftyLook, and a whole lot more. I’ll talk about this in more detail in another post but, in brief, in 2013 I scripted 1000 comic pages while still working my full time day job. If I was compensating for feeling like a failure, then I think that did the trick.

Last year I said I finally felt like a writer and that 2013 would hopefully be the year I become a good one. In many ways that came true. I learned a lot about what it takes to be a professional, in both word and deed.

2014 is looking incredibly exciting, with great things happening at Seneca College where I teach and new comic projects coming down the pipe, both creator-owned and work for hire. I’m not making any predictions about how it’ll all go, but I think I have a better understanding about how to stay focused and keep plugging away.

I know it may sound corny but I’m serious when I say this – Don’t give up. There will be lost opportunities and frustrations, regrets and anxieties. Do everything you can to focus on what you can control and keep your integrity intact. Do all you can with what you have. That’s what the year represents to me.

Thanks for sticking with me. I hope 2013 was a good year for you and yours and that 2014 is looking bright.

  1. Just a simple, but honesty, thank you. For your comic work and this blog. Both have been a huge inspiration.

  2. Glad you managed to pull yourself up after that debacle, and glad you have the balls to speak out about the hardships as well as the success stories. Your blog and tutorials are extremely valuable, good work!


  3. Hi Jim,

    As a fellow writer trying to break into comics, your blog has been both invaluable and inspirational. “Don’t give up” has been my personal mantra for some time now. I’m looking forward to what you do in 2014!


  4. Your 2013 Predictions, Part Five: Deader. - pingback on January 15, 2014 at 4:02 am

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