Any time I don’t quite meet a commitment I feel I’ve made, I do feel bad. Right now, though, I feel bad mostly because I’ve been sick, and Dawn’s even worse… I try not to get overly informative about our personal lives, but fact is she got back from the doctor recently with a diagnosis of acute bronchitis and a 100 degree fever.
Untold story: she first started feeling awful early last week, and still forged through to get the previous comic done in between bouts of coughing and sneezing. We did not mention this, because, well, eh, what do we want, medals? There are people out there who put out a comic 5 or even 7 days a week, sometimes under even worse circumstances. Cry you a river, right?
Some readers are perfectly understanding that, especially with a comic being done for free, the creators might have an occasional life-related lapse. Some others are on the other extreme, unwilling to take any excuse for lateness or missed updates… sometimes so much so I fantasize even a post of “The author died yesterday” would be met with “Well they should have had a buffer. WHERE’S MY COMIC?!”
I can’t control those reactions. I also try to rarely resort to making excuses, but you know, this has just been one of those weeks. The script was done, but to get the artwork done on time would have required me pushing a very sick wife who really ought to be doing nothing more than lying down. Even so she’s voluntarily getting a sketch together for you all as I type this, but one that doesn’t rely so much on brainpower and getting certain specifics right. One that’s not going into the posterity of the storyline.
There’s the rub, right? If I’d insisted she would have done her best, because she really is a trooper like that… but it’s hard to give 100% if your body feels like it’s running at around 25%. Not too long ago, Mark Waid authored “An Open Letter to Young Freelancers“, and though it was mostly geared towards warning new aspiring comics professionals not to be taken advantage of, there was this one quote from it that really stuck with me:
“The quality of your work is all that matters.”
And so that I’m not accused of taking that out of context, this is the explanation he gives in that same paragraph.
“You’re being given an absurd deadline and you think you’re better off turning in crap than being late? We used to literally stand over the fax machine at the DC offices while Neil Gaiman sent in his Sandman scripts in batches of exactly one page. Not admirable, but twenty years on, no one remembers how slow Neil could be, just how phenomenal the stories were.”
Now I still believe that schedules have their place, and that if you ever end up in a situation where you seem to be making more excuses than comics, there might be a problem. But I had a choice this week. I could choose to insist on work out of a sick wife to meet our self-imposed deadline, work which almost certainly would have been compromised and lacking in much of anything resembling joy in its composition… or yield, make my apologies to our fans, and angle for something produced in a healthier state. Excuses, excuses. But after all, as the pages come out the time between them disappears. All that’s left in the end will be how well they tell the story.