So this is it. The end of Moon Freight 3. A project that first formed in my head in 2005 and finally made it to paper, and your screens, in 2008. A project that has seen me through two homes, two jobs, and a brief period of unemployment. A project that I’ve stuck with longer than almost anything else in my life. And I keep calling it a project, but it was so much more than that. A project implies it was nothing but work, but Moon Freight 3 was fun. It was a learning experience. It was an opportunity to travel all over the country for conventions. It was a discovery of myself and finding skills I never knew I had, from the crude pen-and-ink drawings of the early days to something much more toward the end. I’m glad Moon Freight 3 was there to help me grow as a writer and, surprisingly, as an artist. I’ve told this story many times, but if you’ve never heard it, I never intended to draw MF3, just write it. But I couldn’t find an artist to work with so I had to learn how to draw enough to do a four-panel strip three times a week. There’s never been a time I wasn’t happy I forced myself into this new challenge.
There are a lot of people I need to thank. First and foremost, there’s Brian Cross, my logo designer, my web master, my best friend, and the king of funk. Tom Chu, the guy who colored all the Moon Freight 3 and Gang From the Store book covers. Shawn Pryor, who hosted The Gang From the Store on his old PKD Media web site, which allowed me the time to do a second comic for eight months and still focus on MF3.
And a special shout-out to the new cartoonist friends I made, for without MF3 I never would’ve had the chance to meet them, and this alone makes it all worthwhile: Joe, Scott, Corey and Rob, Christiann, Ted and Greg, and last but not least, Alina, the first friend I made in this business and still one of the best.
If I didn’t mention you, charge it to my head and not my heart (to steal a line from Mr. Pryor). Trust me, I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Larry and Bolts have been quiet in my head for a while now. But that’s okay. Their story has been told, and I’m glad I told it. But Fingullet, Nick, Oakland, and Turbo have taken their place, and their story – as well as the story of many of their friends we have yet to meet – has just begun. They live in a little place called The Center of Somewhere. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a new all-ages (think Pixar, not preschool cartoons) comedy strip that updates every Monday through Friday. It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I think/hope it’s a good successor to Moon Freight 3.
So that’s that. The chairs are up, the lights are off, and the station has been blown up. Larry, Bolts, X, Katie, May, and everyone else are off on new adventures, adventures they don’t need me for. Thanks to each and every one of you for giving me the opportunity to tell this story, for your support, your feedback, everything. I sincerely couldn’t have done this without you.
Convention season may be over, but I have one more signing this year, and it’s this Saturday, at A Hero’s Legacy Comics and Collectibles. What is A Hero’s Legacy, you ask? Well, it’s one of the Dragonball series, but it’s also the name of the new comic book store that the business manager and store manager of Buried Under Comics recently opened at the site of Buried Under after the owner, Brian Kozicki, tragically passed away this summer. The store’s been open a few weeks now, but this is their grand opening celebration sale. I will be there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and not only will I be selling the Gang From the Store and first two Moon Freight 3 books, but I will also be debuting the BRAND NEW Moon Freight 3 volume 3! Come on down, buy some stuff at the big sale, visit some of the other creators, and welcome a new comic book store to the world as we give Moon Freight 3 one last sendoff, since this is the last signing before Moon Freight 3 ends next week!
My last show of the year is this Saturday, ladies and gentlemen, and I will be heading up to Northampton, MA, for the Paint and Pixel Festival at the Northampton Center for the Arts. This show is only in it’s second year and is a brand-new show to me, and it looks really cool. Also, it’s in Northampton, which is always nice for a day trip. I will have the Moon Freight 3 books, the Gang From the Store book, and plenty of material for drawing sketch cards and anything else you might want me to draw for you. The show is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only costs $5 for adults and $2 for children 6-12 years old, and free for children under 5! I hope you can make it and help wrap up the 2012 convention season in style!
This weekend I’ll be at Intervention – a convention geared toward webcomics and other Internet entertainment – in Rockville, MD. This is my first year at this show, but it’s one I’ve wanted to attend for years now, so I’m glad I’ll finally be able to do so. I’ll be sharing a table with my super-cool friend Brenda Kirk from Geektress, who will be promoting her own original artwork and cartoons. We will also be next to Christiann MacAuley of Sticky Comics, a good friend of mine who I’ve done a few shows with in the past. It’s going to be a great weekend, so if you live in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area and have ever wanted to meet me or pick up one of my books, this is going to be the best time to do so!
Last Saturday was the fourth anniversary of Moon Freight 3. It was also the day that my good friend Brian Kozicki passed away, so you can understand why I didn’t talk about it then. It’s been a crazy four years, full of ups, downs, laughs, serious stories, and a lot of learning and growth as a writer and artist. And it is also time to make an announcement that has been a long time coming:
Moon Freight 3 will come to a close on November 16.
I’ve been working toward this end for a long time. I’ve known HOW the story was going to end almost since the beginning, but I didn’t know WHEN that ending was going to be. I only actually wrote it down for the first time earlier this year, so I could have it when I needed it. Even then I could tell the end was upon us. And as another month or so passed, I could sense even more that I was going to need it soon. So I wrote every strip between where I was in the production process and the end so I could make sure a few small loose ends were tied up and a few other things were set up for the big finale.
Some of you may be asking why I’m choosing now to end the strip. Honestly, it’s only about nine months earlier than I originally intended to end the strip. For a long time I only saw Moon Freight 3 as having a life of about five years at most, so the fact that it will run four years and three months isn’t that far off the mark. Could I have kept the strip going for another nine months, to get it to that point? Sure, but when I made the decision to end the strip I felt that I had told all the stories that I wanted to tell. I’m comfortable ending the story now, and I don’t feel it’s being dragged on unnecessarily or ended prematurely.
Did The Center of Somewhere have anything to do with this decision? Yes and no, but mostly no. As I always do, I was idly brainstorming one day as the ideas for CoS started coming to me. I’ve had plenty of comics come to me like this, so I did what I always do: I took notes to save for a later day. Maybe CoS would be the strip I did after MF3. Maybe it would be one of the other ideas I had brewing. But then the ideas kept coming. And kept coming. And kept coming. And I knew that CoS wouldn’t be a strip that waited. It wanted to be created, and it wanted to be created NOW. So I started seriously scripting and fleshing out the characters more. And then I started drawing it. And then I realized I could potentially have a five-day-a-week comic on my hands. And it was then that I knew that it was time. It would be okay to end Moon Freight 3. My cartooning career had a world beyond my Martian inspection station, and it was going to be fun.
So what happens next? Besides Center of Somewhere, I have a few other comic ideas in various stages of production, but I’m only writing those. I’m working with some very talented artists and I hope to be able to make some concrete announcements soon. I also have to finish collecting Moon Freight 3 in book form. “Messing With Heads” may not have been funded on Kickstarter, but I’m working on a Plan B now. I still have to collect the final 15 months of the strip, too, and that book should be released in early 2013, if the Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise.
So that’s it. The story of Larry, Bolts, X, Katie, May, Kim, and everyone else is coming to a close. But the story of Fingullet, Nick, Oakland, and Turbo is only just beginning, and soon you’ll see some new friends make their way to their little corner of Middle America. I have absolutely no regrets about my work on MF3, and I’m exceedingly happy that I was able to tell a story that long on a regular basis, learning so much along the way. So stay tuned for the next few weeks, and be here Sept. 24, when the eight-week concluding epic begins, and the lives of our regular guys in space change forever…