I refuse to post again until next year!
Yeah, okay, that’s not much of a threat (or relief), is it?
We’ve come to the end zone of 2011. There were ups and downs, but Zombie Ranch has persevered to its third print issue and fifth online episode. We celebrated our two-year anniversary and our 100th story comic. We got to exhibit at the San Diego Comic-Con, and over in Las Vegas I sat on a panel shoulder to shoulder with Neal Stephenson. We got to be special guests at Wizard World Anaheim, and would have been at Wizard World L.A. as well had that not been canceled.
Lest this begin to sound like some rock star lifestyle, it’s not. My email is not yet flooded with the adulation (or condemnation) of fans. We still pay our way to most of these appearances, and it’s only rarely we don’t also pay for the privilege of a table presence. When I talked briefly to Chris Hastings (the creator of Dr. McNinja), he’d never heard of Zombie Ranch, and probably forgot the whole encounter within a few minutes.
No, for the most part Dawn and myself continue our mild-mannered lives as nerds, working our day jobs. Neither of us are aces of self-promotion — I mean, look at how much spiritual searching I had to do even to decide to go ahead with adding Zombie Ranch to the TV Tropes site, despite their assurances that all published works are notable. I know Wikipedia certainly wouldn’t find us worthy of mention, they’re actually quite infamous for deleting the entries of webcomics much more well-known than ours.
There’s this balance we struggle with between wanting to let people know about what we’re doing, and wanting to make sure what we’re doing is worth letting people know about it. I don’t feel comfortable with that hyperbolic carnival barker style Stan Lee had in the 60s, declaring every new character a legend, every tale an epic (and that he was right about some of them ignores the fact that he was wrong about a great many others).
We haven’t gotten rich off of doing this, and we haven’t gotten famous. We’re probably less rich (at least financially speaking) than we would be if we’d never started. But I do feel better about my life today than I did three years ago, because I’m applying myself in some sort of creative arts, and if the stats don’t lie there’s hundreds of you out there who are glad that Dawn and myself put our story out for you to read and enjoy. That’s a fulfilling thing to contemplate. There are people who have invited me to come talk to strangers, simply on the strength of the idea that I have interesting stuff to say. Better yet, I leave such occasions with nary a hint of tar or feathers upon my person.
What will another year bring? Well, if the Mayans are right we’ve got less than 12 months to make Zombie Ranch a household word. But then again, in that case such fame would really, really be fleeting since no one would be around to remember it. So I think we’re good with our progress so far. We’ve had experiences and opportunities we never would have had if we just sat back and let this story go untold, not to mention meeting some great people in the form of fans and fellow creators (and sometimes both!).
So here’s to the inevitable approach of 2012. Happy holidays everyone!