So yesterday I was a guest on the podcast The Geek Report.
It was pretty fun.
A topic came up that I wasn’t expecting to talk about quite yet but I figured it was as good of a time to talk about as any.
The next Uptown Girl, ‘The Lazarus Heart’, will be the last Uptown Girl book.
This was not an easy decision in some ways. It was something I decided over two years ago, however. I’ve made the decision for a few reasons…some creative, some business, some personal.
So, let’s talk about this.
When I was working on 2013’s book, ‘The Long Forgotten Fairytale’, I saw a way to tie in the previous Uptown Girl books as well as the next few. I never meant for the graphic novels to be parts of a larger story, but once I saw a way to connect them, a story started to open up before me. Once that story was in my head, it was impossible to ignore. Besides, it sounded like a lot of fun to do. The way that ‘The Lazarus Heart’ will end, it is not only a perfect end to the book, but also a very appropriate way to end the series. If I was going to end the series, this was the perfect time to do it.
So why end it at all? Why not continue it?
This is where is gets personal. Uptown Girl has always been a very personal work. I started the series when I was working part time at a comic book store. I rented a room in my friend’s basement and I was single. Fast forward 13 years, I own a townhouse in the suburbs, I am married with two kids. My life is about as different as it could get. My life is stable and hopefully the big changes are over with.
Much of what I went through found its way into Uptown Girl. When I turned 30, so did Uptown Girl. She went through a lot of the frustrations and self doubt about life that I did. Writing that issue was very therapeutic. When I fell in love with the girl I married, Ruby fell in love with her high school crush. Thankfully my relationship turned out differently than hers. When my daughter was born, so was Rose to Jack and Diane.
To be honest, these days I am having a hard time relating to Uptown Girl and her friends. They have different lives than I do now. They have a life I lived 15 years ago. When I created them I put so much of me into them. They, in a way, represent who I was a long time ago.
I can’t imagine I will love a character more than I love Uptown Girl.
It’s time to walk away while her life life is still super fun. While I still love them. Leave a party when it’s roaring. I want to give Uptown Girl’s fan a final story they…and she deserves. Something with heart, humor and action.
This is a decision of heart and creativity so I am reluctant to talk about the business side of the decision. I’ve worked on Uptown Girl for over a decade. Almost four THOUSAND pages of comics. It’s all I do, creatively. It’s a comic that needs all of my free time and I willingly and happily give it to her. I’m at the point where I can either do Uptown Girl or…other projects, like other comics or a children’s book. I always thought by doing graphic novels I’d have more time to develop other projects. Short of taking time away from my family I don’t have the time I thought I’d have.
A cartoonist dreams, heck, we all dream of making a living doing what we love. Years ago I dreamed of making a living off of Uptown Girl. Over time I’ve talked to publishers and Hollywood agents and even animation studios. Uptown Girl doesn’t fit anywhere, according to them. It’s too all ages to be marketable, a series can’t be successful if the lead character is female, the comic doesn’t appeal to boys…obviously I disagree with all of these thoughts. Undeterred I plowed ahead for 13 years hoping to find a wider audience, to beat the odds. But I’ve been unsuccessful. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve tried. I’ve tried so hard. I did everything I could think of. Emailed anyone I thought could help. I’m sorry. I don’t know what else I can do. I’m sorry if I let you down. I think Uptown Girl could be wildly successful given a chance, but perhaps the comic simply isn’t good enough. Maybe I’m not. I am not looking for reassurance, I understand and recognize my limitations and abilities.
I want to take a stab at supporting myself and family with what I am passionate about. It’s time to try other projects. This is where The Retros comes in. Did The Retros have an influence in this decision?
I decided to start The Retros because I needed something to do once Uptown Girl was over. It’s like deciding on a hobby for when you retire. I needed something to do look forward to.
The last Uptown Girl book will be out in the spring of 2017.