2016 Has Not Gone Well

2016 Has Not Gone Well

Thanksgiving is always a good break for me. I get four days free from work (mostly). That time off gives me room to breathe, gather my thoughts and take stock of the year. And deal with a minor medical emergency1. But like most people, I think we can all agree 2016 was the absolute worse.

One of the nice things about keeping a journal is that it gives you a record of your past. It’s one of the best features of Day One that it now reminds you of past entries on their anniversary date. And also one of the worst. I wrote about my creative goals in January this year and I haven’t come close to accomplishing any of them. I didn’t go to any conventions. I didn’t finish The Walk. I didn’t produce any mini-comics. I didn’t relaunch Drunk Elephant Comics. I had to turn down an opportunity to work with Kevin Church again because I was too busy with client work. And I certainly did not finish a rough draft of a graphic novel. Don’t get me started on finishing Moby Dick.

Today, I’ve been making an action plan on getting back on track. For now, that means picking back up on The Walk. The last page I completed was done a year ago last week. I want it done and out of my life. So that’s all I’m doing for the foreseeable future.

The year wasn’t a complete failure for me though. I designed and built a huge website for a client that gave me a ton of ideas moving forward with my own web presence. I did read a ton of books for the first time in years also. Maybe it’s time to give up on Moby Dick? I created 30 pages of comics for a magazine project that will hopefully be released in the near future. I participated in Panel Explorations here in town and contributed to the program.

2016 has mostly been defined by loss. Loss of time, in the above instances. But we all lost people we loved, either near to us, or artists who influenced us. I received the call from my mother that my grandfather had a month to live on New Year’s Eve. David Bowie. Alan Rickman. Leonard Cohen. Sharon Jones. Gene Wilder. Muhammad Ali. Merle Haggard. Garry Shandling. Prince. So many more. That’s a crazy list. And then we had an election that still puzzles me. In so many ways it feels like hope died this year.

I’ve spent more time talking with friends in need this year. And we all need each other. I needed a lot of solace myself. Art, film and music are good go-to’s for myself. But I got solace where it really counted. The Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series.

At the end of a long day, I’ve found myself going to YouTube and watching videos upon videos of that amazing Game 7, and of fans’ reactions. I always tear up, just like I did during what seemed like the entire month of October. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, you can’t help but feel the raw emotion of these videos. I may have purchased Eddie Vedder’s unofficial Cubs theme song, Someday We’ll Go All The Way for the darker moments to find some solace. Some hope that things can change. Because if I can live in a world where the Cubs finally win the big one, then anything is possible.


  1. 1 ↩︎ I ate too much sodium during the holiday festivities and needed to start a water pill regimen to get it out of my system. I’ve already peed 8 pounds of water weight off in two days. Just a reminder to take care of myself a bit better.
Inktober and the Chicago Cubs

Inktober and the Chicago Cubs

I decided to try Inktober this year. I’ve never participated before. I was usually drawing comics in October and didn’t feel like I needed more to do. But this year, I found that I have been so busy building websites that I haven’t had much time for comics at all. Plus I wanted to try something different.

I’ve had peers, doctors, and family try to convince me that I should do a comic about my open heart surgery. It’s been too painful a topic to share. I have a hard time not crying when I do have to talk about it. And I don’t like talking about myself under normal circumstances. I’ve never felt confident in doing autobio comics.

But while my heart is doing well, my mental health is not. I’ve always had some low level anxiety and depression that I’ve learned to cope with. But surviving this experience has left me with a new understanding of depression. There is just something about knowing that you “died” that is hard to reconcile in your brain. It makes it hard to care about much of anything at times. So maybe I do need to create a comic about the experience, just for catharsis at least. But if you already are dealing with depression, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself.

Then I remembered Maus. I remembered why Art Spieglemann used anthropomorphic animals for his family’s Holocaust story. I asked my friend Steven Krall what sort of animal I should be and he said “Duh, a bear.”

I did a drawing of myself every day in October, using a bear as my stand in. Coincidentally, my beloved Chicago Cubs fought their way through the postseason and (oh my god I can’t believe I get to type this) won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. If I was going through emotional highs and lows before, you have no idea what it was like to sit with me and watch baseball in October. I think I cried more during this month than my entire cumulative childhood. I’ve waited my whole life for this, along with several generations of Cubs fans. My Inktober drawings reflect my journey as a fan watching this team very well.

The magnitude of this championship has been life altering in ways that I am still trying to comprehend. Which sounds funny unless you are a Cubs fan. I’ve learned to enjoy the game for the game, win or lose. Because odds were for years, the Cubs were losing. And now they are champions? It’s so hard to wrap my brain around it. But what a ride. Inktober and the 2016 World Series are going to be wrapped together in my memories. It was a great month.


Day one of Inktober. #inktober #dayone #selfportait #inktober2016 #inktober2016fast #inktober2016day1

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Day two of Inktober. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day2noisy #inktober2016day2

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Day 5 of Inktober. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016sad #inktober2016day5sad

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Inktober Day 6 #inktober #inktober2016 #inktoberday6 #inktober2016hidden #inktober2016day6

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Inktober Day 8: Rock On #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day8 #inktober2016rock

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Inktober Day 9. I think my phone is done broke. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day9 #inktober2016broken

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Inktober Day 10. I jumped for Arrieta’s home run. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day10 #inktober2016jump

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Inktober Day 12. Fall has finally arrived here in Omaha. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day12

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Angry this Inktober. What can I do but move on? #inktober inktober2016 #inktober2016day13

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Day 14 of Inktober. Beautiful sunset. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktoberday14

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Inktober day 15. Fighting with a client website. Again. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day15

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Inktober Day 16. Swampy day today! #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day16 #inktober2016wet

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Inktober Day 17. Searing steaks before baking at 450. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day17

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Inktober Day 23. Woke up and had to pinch myself. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day23 #flythew

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Inktober Day 24. My empire of dirt. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day24

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Inktober Day 25. Looooooong day. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day25 #inktober2016day25tired

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Inktober Day 26. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day26 #inktober2016day26box

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Inktober Day 27. Creepin’ on the dog. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day27 #inktober2016day27creepy

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Inktober Day 28. The postseason is killing me. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day28

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Inktober Day 30. CUBS. WIN. #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day30 #flythew #yougowego

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Inktober Day 31. Happy Halloween! #inktober #inktober2016 #inktober2016day31 #inktober2016friend

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