2015avatar2014 was a memorable year, for both very good and very bad reasons. I’ll get the bad out of the way up front: my 16-year marriage ended in divorce this past year, and I’ve relocated to Salt Lake City to live with family. My ex-wife & I are still committed to making things as good as can be for our kids, despite the circumstances, and I am happy to report that we are pretty great co-parents. Our kids still mean the world to us, and their happiness is still a primary focus.

Being a dad is something I am still pretty good at, fortunately. I’ve had some good memories with my kiddos from 2014; camping, fishing, going to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Salt Lake Comic Con. Even everyday stuff like watching movies, playing board games, and helping with homework (unless it’s math, I suck at it) can make for good memories when one’s kids are as awesome as mine.


Fishin’ at the trout farm!

As far as my art goes, 2014 was not very prolific. The aforementioned divorce and some depression issues had a lot to do with it. I made some headway on Cooties, and after many years, I can announce that it will wrap up in 2015. I’ve got the rest of the story scripted, and a production schedule set, and will have a print version of the whole story ready to sell at Salt Lake Comic Con later this year. After that, I will be moving on to my next project.

Speaking of Comic Con, it was a major personal accomplishment for me to be able to table there last year for the first time, which you can read about in my previous post. Looking forward to going back behind the table at FanX at the end of this month!

Now it’s time for my year in review of books & movies! Do I do this because I have no life and am just a huge nerd? Only partially! As a person who finds it difficult to connect with people emotionally, I find that good stories help me find depths of emotion in myself that are normally in my nature to suppress. Good stories help us learn both intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. Heck, Jesus was a storyteller. It’s a skill I want to master myself, which is why I create comics. I find that good fiction can contain the greatest universal truths, and I am constantly on the lookout for those stories that can help me develop my own skills in speaking to people through my work. And I admit, sometimes I just want to see Iron Man fly around and shoot aliens because it’s so freaking cool. I am still a dude.

Books – Here are some of my favorite things I read this year:
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss — some of THE best storytelling I’ve ever read. The author can make something as tame as a lute performance taut and compelling. Explores themes of survival and determination.
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod– I am understandably in a self-help/personal development phase of my life. These were excellent resources as I struggle to get my life back on track.
One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale — History is best presented, in my opinion, by the stories of people; make it a graphic novel, and I will eat it right up and make my kids read it, too. My next project after Cooties will be a historical fiction piece, in fact. #spoilers

Movies – I watch lots of them. My favorites of 2014?
StrippedStripped – A love letter to the comic strip medium. If you have any interest at all in the subject of newspaper comic strips, this documentary will delight you. Including a rare interview with Bill Watterson.

GuardiansGuardians of the Galaxy – Marvel knocks it out of the park again. Hilarious and action-packed. Plenty of Easter Eggs for us Marvel nerds, too; although still a great movie for non-geeks who don’t want to do any comic book homework. Soundtrack was just great, as well.

LegoThe Lego Movie – What could have been an abominable corporate cash grab instead turned out to be one of the most funny, heartwarming gems of the year. The father / son dynamic at the end hit me where it should have.

LockeLocke – A man tries to stay cool as the consequences of his past actions all come crashing down on him at the same time. The whole movie is Tom Hardy in a car on the phone for 85 minutes. And as compelling a drama as I’ve ever watched.

WinterSoldierCaptain America: The Winter Soldier – Marvel is continuing to bend the superhero movie on its ear. This is basically a very timely political thriller that happens to have a dude in a costume in it. The fight sequences are beautiful, bloody-knuckled ballet. My top movie for 2014, hands down.

Miscellaneous 2014 cool stuff:

Best Headline: “Polygamous women in ninja costumes attack two adults in West Jordan” — Seriously, I will never be embarrassed to live in Utah

Best Nativity:

Best graffiti (still on a Marvel high):

Best response to a Union protest:

Aaaand Happy New Year! Excuse me, I need to get to my drawing table.