Today my good friend and partner here at Black Snow Comics, Alex Siquig, moved to Baltimore, MD. For those of you not so good with US geography that is the opposite side of the country, nearly 3,000 miles away from where I live in San Jose, CA. Roughly a six hour flight, or a 46 hour drive. He moved to be with his girlfriend who is going to graduate school there. He doesn’t plan on coming to visit until next summer, and really his whole future is murky at best right now. I’m pretty sure he’ll end up living back in San Jose at some point, but no one can say for sure if that will happen or when that would be. I don’t want to get too deep into his personal business, so I’ll leave it at that.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a few things about the man and discuss what impact his departure will have on the comics. In a bit of odd timing today Comic Panda released an interview with Alex and I that contains a nice recap of how we met and started making comics together, which you can read at http://about.comicpanda.com/behind-the-art-michael-balistreri-alex-siquiq-creators-of-black-snow-and-im-famous/
Alex and I have been friends for over 15 years, and been working on the comics together for over 10. In that time we’ve had many great ups and bad downs, but deep down I think we always knew we had each others’ back. When he told me about a month ago that he decided to move for sure it was very disheartening for me on a personal level. I’m not a guy who keeps many close friends, so this is a fairly substantial blow.
One of my first instincts was to be somewhat depressed and not want to do the comics anymore. Any long time reader should have realized by now that these are comics born of our friendship and very much based on it. Would I want to do them on my own? I really don’t know. Getting to work with my friend on something fun has always been one of the major appeals.
You may have noticed a lost enthusiasm in recent times, as I just didn’t feel like blogging, promoting, and barely felt like drawing. Alex leaving was a contributing factor in me feeling that way, though I’d be lying if I said they weren’t other reasons (which I won’t be sharing).
I’m not quitting. I’m at least finishing Black Snow: TDM, which Alex and I took some time to finish writing last week. We’re getting fairly close to the end, really. We also discussed the story outline for the next one, which I would still like to do. I’d also still like to work on Famous!
Alex says he still wants to work on these comics as well, and we can always write over the net and phone. Will his resolve change over time with the distance? I don’t think anyone could answer that. For that matter my resolve may waver. But for now we are committed to continuing.
Maybe next year we’ll hit up the Baltimore ComicCon.
If you were looking for something more concrete…well, sorry. I wish I had something.
Anyone astute enough to remember that Alex and I work together in my day job may wonder if that is over. It has not really been discussed thoroughly, but I think he’ll continue on a limited capacity until he finds new work. Or maybe he’s just done. I’m not sure.
One thing I do know, and you may have caught earlier this week, is that I decided to try a stab at doing a comic strip on my own. Optimistically Cynical represents something I’ve had bouncing around in my head for a long time. It wasn’t always in this exact form, but it has the same essence.
It is a more personal comic were I can express some of my feelings and views. It is also my attempt at a more traditional comic strip that I’m thinking may have a broader appeal to a larger audience. Time will tell, I suppose.
I know that it has just started, so it has the shiny new factor, but I am loving it so far. Part of the creation process was to make it in a style that I could do a lot more quickly, and have a lot of fun with. It is a blast to do something in a more simple cartoonish style and not feel the pressure I’ve built for myself in TDM. And I like trying to come up with more traditional punchline driven humor.
This strip is along the lines of what I dreamed of doing as a kid reading Calvin and Hobbes or the Far Side. It is also meant to be very different from the other comics because I’m hoping it will be an outlet for different types of satisfaction than they provide. So I plan on continuing that while I work on the other stuff.
To close I’d just like to wish Alex all the best and hope he finds what he’s looking for in his new life. I also hope to remain a part of it. In addition to being my creative partner he’s my oldest and closest confidant, served as my best man at my wedding, and has helped me during my lowest times. I will greatly miss him.
Via con dios, mi amigo.