If Dawn and I were married to this comic, we’d have just passed our third anniversary, which some call the “leather anniversary”. I don’t know why I bring that particular factoid up, except it reminds me that I still haven’t really had time nor opportunity to address the issue of leather goods in a mostly post-bovine setting. It’s yet another element of the world where I have the answers in my head and/or notes, but so far you readers have had to just play along, assuming you were even thinking about it at all. I always presume at least some of you are thinking about it. I mean, I would be… but then again, Dawn never fails to remind me what a freak I am for that tendency. She’s the type of person who doesn’t sweat the details so long as she finds something entertaining. I’m the type of person who asks, “If Spongebob lives under the ocean, how can he possibly be going to the beach?”

Then occasionally we run across an article like this which seeks to reconcile both parties. You might wonder how, with such different creative approaches, we’ve managed to keep Zombie Ranch going for three years, but we’re honestly not as opposite as I think either of us will admit. After all, sometimes she’s the one shutting down my ideas with tidbits like “he can’t shove the goat or it’ll just think he’s playing and shove back”.

Somehow we’ve gotten through, and hopefully still have a good comic to show for it. In fact we might even dare to hope that our occasional conflicts have led to a better comic than we might have otherwise produced. We learned as of Friday that Comic-Con International has decided to renew our professional status, which considering the sweat, tears, and even blood we’ve spilled over this project is nicely gratifying. The occasional gratification is immensely important, especially when you’re not really making any big profit.

Starting a webcomic is easy. Keeping it going, that’s the trick. Just this July the nice and talented couple we met at WonderCon had to shut the doors on their gorgeous fantasy tale Planes of Eldlor, although they’ve kept the art & sculpture side of their efforts going. Just this past week we lost a shambling fellow traveler in the form of The Other Grey Meat, whose writer has a strange habit of referring to my works as wise and intelligent despite all evidence to the contrary. TOGM was another husband & wife creative team in James and June Maillet, and although I’m sorry to see them bring their tale to a close, one side effect of having a webcomic of your own is sympathy for those peers who, for whatever reasons, just cannot continue. Even if you might miss their occasional stroking of your ego in public places.

That sounds dirty, strike that. Truth is, James was generous with his praise and support to a lot of people both inside and out of the community of ComicFury where TOGM was hosted, to the point he almost single-handedly managed to wrangle together an online convention last year featuring several hours’ worth of panel discussions. I don’t know if he plans to take a step back from all that now that his webcomic has ended (although he might very well be reading this and thus be goaded into commenting), but I wish I had half his energy on the subject of networking and outreach. At least half the battle of having a successful webcomic is letting people know you exist, and if the popularity of TOGM was any indication, he was pretty darn good at that.

So even though both comics mentioned have ended, I encourage you to give them a read if you haven’t already. They represent the good works of good folks, and I always had a soft spot for TOGM in particular, not just because James thinks I’m cool (though that doesn’t hurt) but because it was another very non-standard take on the zombie genre.

As for us, we’re still trotting along the trail, keeping a pace we hope will carry Zombie Ranch forwards for at least another year, if not beyond. Thanks for sticking with us, and for every bit of word of mouth you might have spread around to bring us new eyeballs. May you find the story to come every bit as compelling as the story so far.