Thursday, May 15, 2014

The end of THE CITY

I'm ending my comic strip, The City, after 24 years. Here's the final strip.  

I'm ending the strip So I can concentrate full-time on graphic novels. It's all good. I'm not slinking away from a failed endeavor as a washed-up has-been. I'm leaving it behind in a blaze of glory, as a newly minted, internationally-best-selling comix creator. The past couple years have been the best of my career. After 30 years of toil as a (at best) cult favorite to suddenly find success? I'm loving every fucking minute of it! I simply no longer have the time, nor, quite frankly, the desire, to devote to The City. Typically, it takes almost two full workdays to write and draw one strip. That's time better devoted to other projects.

I know some of you will lament this decision, and I thank you.

It was never my plan to produce The City this long. Nearly a quarter of a century? How the hell did THAT happen? But I’d be nothing without this cranky, quirky, little comic strip. Still stuck in a lame daily newspaper job, or, more likely, laid off and lamenting the end of my career. The City by itself is a minor blip in the comix landscape, but I look back with pride at a body of work that was consistently good, and, for a few periods, even exceptional. But it's time to put The City to rest. This strip means too much to me, and I owe it too much, to let it wheeze on as an afterthought.

By my count, I've produced over 1,500 strips. That includes strips that only ran here in Clevo. The City has appeared in 174 publications during it’s life, mostly weeklies such as The Chicago Reader, The NY Press, The LA Reader, Miami New Times, and The Cleveland Free Times. The City outlived three of those five papers, which tells you all you need to know about the state of the weekly press. I am grateful to each and every one (except, of course, to the rags that I had to cut off for non-payment). It was a great run and we all did wonderful and important work together. I am proud to have been part of it, but it's a real bummer to be hitched to a dying industry. I've been a passionate newspaperman for 30 years, stretching all the way back to my days as a cartoonist (and journalism major) for the Ohio State Lantern. Enough. I have a much better option.

Bottom line is I'd rather make books and the truth is, I'm a LOT better at graphic novels than I ever was at a comic strip. It's obviously what I should have been doing all along. To paraphrase Elvis Costello, "I'm an overnight sensation... after 30 years!"

I'm currently working on a new book for Abrams, a continuation of my ongoing Trashed project, which many of you enjoyed here as a free webcomic a few years back. It's slated for a Fall 2015 release. I'm also publishing The Baron of Prospect Ave., an ongoing webcomic starring Otto of Punk Rock & Trailer Parks. And I have other projects in the works. Stay tuned for details.

For serendipity’s sake, this is the same week of the year it debuted way back in 1990, in the pages of the long gone  Cleveland Edition, and changed my life and career. The last strip is drawn in glorious b&w, just like the first. I've also included the original logo. Drawn in scratchboard! 

Here's the Alarm to cheesily sing me out of the comic strip world in swirl of magnificent giant hair and guitars: