Ease on down the road.
In the beginning of 2008 I started drawing a project that I thought would last one arc, one year. Today, near the end of 2013, just shy of 6 years later… I have finished that project. Today, I close the book on my time with OZ.
I’ve never been emotional about a book I’ve worked on. As an artist in today’s comic landscape, you get used to spending 6-8 months on one title and then moving onto another. The long run of characters being yours and yours alone is very rare. To come to work every day for nearly 6 years and spend time with the same characters in the same world is something I grew to love and depend on. Leaving it behind is bitter sweet. I’m excited face new challenges but a bit sad to leave one of the most reliable things in my life.
When the idea of drawing OZ was brought up, it was late 2007/early 2008 and I still lived in Chicago. I was 29. Now, I’m 35 and have lived in 2 other towns, brought home my wonderful Saint Bernard Emma, welcomed my son Baxter into the world, sat in hospitals for a few months while my little brother had a new heart put in, got our loyal golden doodle Penny, got a call saying my dad had a heart attack and passed away while away in Ireland, married my long time better half Casey, won 4 Einsers, spent around 30 total weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and became a part of the legacy of books that have been apart of peoples lives for 100 years. Thru all of this, Dorothy and her band of strange travelers have been with me. OZ will always be special to me in ways I’m not sure many other jobs could ever be.
One of the best things to happen over these past years is the connection to the fans I’ve been fortunate enough to make. Seeing sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and parents and children all sharing this journey with me has been priceless. We here the buzz phrases “kids don’t read comics” and “woman don’t read comics.” Oz pulled back a curtain to a world filled with readers, old and new know those statements to be untrue. There’s no way for me to thank you all enough for the support you’ve given us and the stories, art, tattoos, and relationships you’ve shared with us and OZ. You’re amazing and you’ve changed my view what comics and their readers are. Thank you.
Eric Shanower and Jean-Francois Beaulieu. You made this job effortless for me.
Eric’s scripts were detailed and rich with information but always freeing to let me explore my take on the world of OZ. Most importantly though, he as ON TIME!!! I never waited on scripts, they were ALWAYS waiting on me.
Jean has been my right hand for nearly 8 years. He makes me look much more talented that I am with his beautiful colors. Despite the many times I would push the limits of our time table, Jean was always there to catch us up. He never complained about schedules, or the minor tweaks that may be requested or anything. Just flew like the wind and kept our ship a float more times that I wish I had to admit.
Both Eric and Jean are true professionals and I was lucky to be apart of the team.
A giant hug to the rest of the OZ crew. Jeff Eckleberry, our letterer. Sana Amanat our editor for the majority of the run, and all the other editors and assistant editors who came and went thru the long run on this title, you all were amazing. A well oiled machine that made every single day of this “job” feel like recess. Seriously, you’re awesome.
A giant thanks to Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada, CB Cebulski, David Bogart, Axel Alonso and David Gabriel for being my champions. The word “cartoony” can be a four letter word in our world and these gentlemen carved out a little corner for me to throw that four letter word around as loud as I wanted.
Most of all, thanks to Casey McCualey… or Casey Young… or Casey McCauley-Young… or whatever we’re going with now that we’re officially husby and wife:) We have 2 dogs and an amazing 4 year old son that are the gems they are because of her. Drawing comics isn’t a normal job and it doesn’t abide by normal hours. She has carried our family and home on her shoulders while I work strange hours and I appreciate it more than she may know. Thank you, Case, you’re my hero.
I’ll see you on on my next projects. Fun stuff is coming your way.