It’s 5am on New Year’s Eve. I usually have these end of year posts typed up right after Christmas. I’ve been dragging my feet because 23 was one of the toughest years for me personally and professionally and I’ve just been dreading having to put it into words.
23 was one of the weakest sales years for Strangeville ever. SPACE WORMS flopped hard on release and left me devastated for the characters and story of what I think is my best work to date. People just weren’t there for it in the numbers necessary to justify working nonstop for over a year on one single creative project. Every Strangeville story is my child. I love them all as dearly as I love anything on this Earth. My heart aches that this one didn’t find its audience.
On top of that, I lost some of my closest family and friends this year after several years of the same. Death just keeps taking the people I love and I’m left with the knowledge that aging means this will just keep getting worse until it’s me who’s dead in someone else’s life.
With that in mind, I launched the Strangeville Comics Archive. Probably the best thing I did this year. I’m overwhelmed with the attention it’s gotten for something I initially planned as a place for people to read the stories of strangeville long after I’m gone. A digital immortalization of a life’s work, to be updated slowly over time.
We managed to pull in over 30,000 views from more than 12,000 visitors since the soft launch in March. I dropped the brand new DEATH TO STRANGEVILLE one shot which is like a cool little summary or history of Strangeville up to that point, told from the meta perspective of cartoon Strange while he fights butt-hungry Satanic ant demons. Cool story with maybe my favorite comics cover I’ve done yet. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out. I’m damn proud of the Strangeville Comics Archive.
It’s been a full, amazing, and fulfilling life even if it ended tomorrow. I’m not sweating my own ending. But what fucks me up is knowing I’m going to keep losing more people dear to me before I shove off this mortal coil. People who deserve far better and far longer lives than a goofball like me. That knowledge really got to me this year and I let some really destructive people into my circle and into my head.
I lost a good chunk of productivity this year listening to nonsense and searching for answers in religion. I tried to wrap my creative mind around things I have no business worrying about. Trying to force my passion and purpose, which is whacked out Strangeville storytelling, into a direction I had no business taking.
I sunk my attention and resources into projects that absolutely no one was asking for except for the bad players who spent the year obsessively love bombing me, trying to turn me into their pet religious conversion project. And I’m embarrassed I let them get so deep into my head that all of it spilled out publicly.
I’m no stranger to public embarrassment. I’m Kevin Strange, the director of COCKHAMMER the motion picture. I am a public clown. I don’t give a fuck what people think about me. But this year I actually managed to embarrass myself. For a person as crazy as me, presenting a consistent public image is a difficult job. I have FAR more ideas and projects swirling around in my demented brain-piece than what any individual person could ever accomplish in a lifetime.
It’s vitally important to me that when I get so far into a new project that I start publicly promoting it, that I remain committed to that project until it is finished. That’s the contract between me and the Strangeheads. I say I’m going to make something for them, and I follow through and finish it until it’s in the fans’ hands. That commitment and trust costs nothing extra. It’s just the strength of my word.
This year I fucked all that up, announced some goofy projects and started heavily promoting them publicly. Projects that had nothing to do with the stories of Strangeville or my legacy as a creator. No matter how hard I tried to make sure they were unique and authentic to me, I had no business capitulating to the love bombing Christian cultists and trying to make comics outside the Strangeville Stonerverse.
I’m sorry for that. Sorry for the outrageous religious social media posts. I corrected my mistake as quickly and thoroughly as I could. I promise I’m back on track. As I type this, I only have two pages left until TOO MANY DABS issue 2 is completed. I have a working outline for 2024 that will push Strangeville further than I’ve ever pushed it before. I’ve spent the last two months of the year writing some kick ass stoner comics. I plan to launch multiple new titles that will lean even further into the stoner aspect of Strangeville. If you’re a smoker, this next year is going to be dedicated entirely to you.
As for the dumpster fire that was 23? I released my best and biggest graphic novel this year, Launched the archive, dropped the exclusive DEATH TO STRANGEVILLE one shot, plus knocked out the 40+ page TOO MANY DABS book which I think is a classic Strangeville story with some wild shit in it.
In spite of the deaths, the wrong turns, misdirections, false starts and bad players, I still managed to do what I do best in 2023 and that’s breathe life into unforgettable characters and tell stories like no one else on this planet. Pray for me to the old gods AND the new in 24, gang. I’m gonna fuckin’ need it.