Enter your address below to receive free email alerts when a new comic or a blog post is published:
You may unsubscribe easily at any time & your email will never be shared with anyone!
Explore the current collection.

Category: Head First

One of the characters I came up with for my graphic novel has been on my mind a lot since the book came out. He’s not a new character in fiction. Lots of creators have come up with personas for him, even though he is not a “person” per se. Death, one way or the other, finds his way into a lot of narratives. That said, I like to think of my version of him as unique.

Other interpretations of Death tend to portray him as some sort of bloodthirsty goblin who is plotting against us. I suppose that is because we fear death and the suffering connected with that event. But to me that is a misreading of this (admittedly imaginary) character.

If there really were an entity whose job is to oversee the end of life, it seems to me that he would be pretty businesslike about the work. He certainly wouldn’t be the menacing figure we so often see, slavering over our early and unpleasant demise. He’d be too busy for that kind of emotional involvement. Death, moreover, would not have any particular axe to grind. His axe, you’d think, would be razor sharp all the time. And he wouldn’t be in a hurry. He’ll get to do his job eventually. So what’s the rush?

Now that I’ve been writing about Death, drawing him, and putting words in his mouth. I think it’s taught me a little bit about the character — and my own attitude toward him. He wouldn’t be cruel. He wouldn’t take pleasure in ending lives (unless it was satisfaction in a job well done). And there is nothing about that job that would necessarily keep him from taking an interest in his prey.

Come to think of it, “prey” is not he right word. “Clients,” perhaps, or “customers.” It’s not really an adversarial relationship, in any case. Indeed, Death provides a service that we will all need at some point.

At the same time, he’s not exactly a friend, either. He wouldn’t step in to save our life, for instance. We can count on his respect, though, because that’s what we’d expect from a thorough professional. So, even though friendship is out of the question, there is no reason we shouldn’t feel friendly toward Death. Just so long as we remember that, for him, the job comes first.

And so, I found myself actually liking my Death character. Others who have read the book told me the same thing. Perhaps that’s because I made him so non-threatening. That was a bit ironic of me, I know, but Death himself is a bit ironic, isn’t he? The whole idea that life has non-life built into it is the ultimate Catch-22. It’s a beautiful gift that we know will be taken back from us at the end.

That dark irony at the heart of Death gives him an open field to be funny or serious or just plain silly. Whatever the situation permits. So he can be quite likable. Up to a point. He may be detached, but there’s no reason why he couldn’t enjoy himself — or be at least be academically interested in us. That’s why I decided to draw him without that off-putting hood. A frank and fully visible skull seemed much more appropriate.

There is no character named Death in real life, of course. No Grim Reaper with a scythe and an agenda. Death is simply the end of life. Whatever identity he has is strictly a projection of our own feelings about our approaching demise. During the writing and drawing of Head First I found it comforting to think of him as friendly, even trustworthy.

If it’s our time to go, what’s the point in making it more of a bummer than it already is?
The Book! (Epilogue)
In case you missed it, my graphic novel, Head First, is finally here. My chosen printers in the United Kingdom did a great job. The richness of the color, the spot varnish on the cover, and the tricky binding were all perfectly executed, and the effect on hand and eye exceeds my hopes.

For one thing, the credibility of a printed book is such an upgrade from the digital version of the same content. I colored the book on my computer, so all I had seen of my “book” was a bunch of images on a screen. The colors were right, but there is nothing like having the actual book in your hands. The weight of it, with real paper, real ink, along with the added drama of a story unfolding right under your fingertips — all make for a unique and very personal experience.

I am utterly gassed over it. The book arrived several weeks ago, and I have been busy getting copies out to the fine people who backed my Kickstarter campaign. All those copies are now in my backers’ hands, and I have been fielding their kind reviews with pleasure and gratitude. It’s been a great ride. Demanding, challenging, fulfilling.

I never really cared whether the book made money. The effort on Kickstarter more than covered my costs, and that is all I wanted it to do. At some point during the creation of this project, I had decided that it was not so much a publishing enterprise as the crafting of a work of art. I just wanted to imagine a book and have it turn out as close to that vision as possible. I am happy to say that that has happened with Head First.

The vision, however, is not quite complete. I still have 150 or so copies left. In keeping with my notion of the book as a work of art, I saw the 300-plus copies I had printed as individual elements of the creation. There will be no more copies of Head First. Not like this edition, anyway. The hard cover, the extra-heavy paper, the “MindThing Museum” in the back, the large format, that spot varnish detail on the cover (so cool!) — if there is a second edition, it will not be published by me, and none of those features are likely to be part of it.

I do, however, want the remaining copies to end up in somebody’s hands. Somebody who will turn the pages and experience the book in its fullness. That experience — like everything connected to this project — is a part of the artwork itself.

Too ostentatious? Maybe, but it feels right to me. So…I will sell those few remaining copies in local bookstores, and privately to anyone who wants one. And when they are gone, they are gone.

Please let me know if you want in. The cost is $40, which includes tax and postage. Drop me a line at this mailto link, and we’ll make arrangements. Thanks for being part of this!
It's Alive!
Head First is now officially on Kickstarter! Click HERE, check it out, then back that thing!
Zero Hour Approaches
First, thanks to my subscribers. Just knowing you are out there is a big reason I do this. And keep the input coming.

Now, for the big news: March 30 — next week! — my graphic novel Head First will finally go live on This full-color, hardback book is the single biggest cartoon project I’ve ever taken on…and the most rewarding. The book and the Kickstarter page are all finished. All that will remain is the response of people who want this book.

I’m counting on you to take a look at it. Feel free to tell me what you think. Backing the project would even better

In case you don’t know, here’s how Kickstarter works: backers go to the site, take a look at the different rewards that are offered (the book itself is one, of course). They will pledge to back the project at whatever level appeals to them. However, no money is actually received until the campaign ends. That’s 30 days later…and only if the stated goal ($5000 in my case) is reached. It’s all or nothing, in other words.

Again, the clock doesn’t start (and you can’t back the project) until the 30th. What you can do in the meantime, though, is click HERE and leave your email with Kickstarter to be notified when my launch goes live. That will be your cue to step up and support Head First.

The book is done. It’s ready to go to the printer. All it needs is the support of people who like my cartoons.

Thank you!
first  previous  1  2  3  4  next  last
Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz