It’s been a moment. And a trying time since October when we last spoke. I basically hit a point where I didn’t feel like I had anything constructive to contribute, so I made myself scarce. I really needed to do some thinking and growing, and the last couple years have definitely been a journey of personal growth. Lots to learn, always learning. It did always seem like something was coming up in the world news that kept contributing to my absence. And I feel like I should clarify that I’m talking about world events and not personal life events. After getting over a hump, I have been the most mentally healthy I could possibly be in a long time. I definitely hit a new place, a stronger place. My family and I have been extremely lucky as far as our personal year has gone, and we are grateful. Healthy and happy—you can’t ask for much else.
I appreciate that people have been respecting my space in terms of not being on twitter so I can focus on work and myself. My mental health thanks you.
But it did seem like something was always coming up, getting in the way of communication. Over the years, I just think this is how I operate—sometimes I’m around, and sometimes I’m not. I used to attribute the times when I was around to manic episodes, and then the times when I am gone to depressed phases, but I think it’s a little more basic than that. I think I just have a limit to how available I can make myself over long periods of time, especially when I’m learning things. So, I think my life will always be a series of disappearing and reappearing acts. I’m at peace with that.
Carrie Fisher. That was a kind of wake up call. It was another moment where I felt like just closing myself off again. Of course, like many people, I am a big fan of her work on screen, and she contributed a great deal to my childhood, but it was also her advocacy for mental health, her outspoken critique of celebrity and industry, and her openness about addiction that I always respected tremendously. And her way of being inspired me, opening the doors to talk about mental health. Even recently, I didn’t think labels were healthy in regards how it can position you to be some sort of tool for someone else’s agenda, but I have come to accept that sometimes, facing exactly what you are can be very liberating—it takes the power away from the bogeyman. I will miss her dearly. And George Michael—a booming voice, an amazing talent, and a quietly charitable individual. Watching him struggle over the years with being in the public eye had been difficult, and eventually something I think everyone can now relate to, us all being in the public eye constantly. He inspired me in many ways. And we lost so many amazing and talented people this year, my thoughts are with all of them.
So yeah, I just woke up today and felt like communicating. It didn’t seem like things in the world were going to get good enough for me to open a door to step through to talk to you, so I just had to force the door open. I burned some sage and cleansed the demons and sat down and started writing this.
I have been extremely focused and busy with writing Doom Patrol and heading Young Animal. We are a little late at the moment with Doom Patrol, so I am doing my best to stay on top of things and Nick is working hard to make sure we can produce the best possible book for you guys. Through all of the work we still connect every day and fan the sparks of our ideas. The fire is very real there, and the thing that keeps us going and fighting hard is knowing that we have amazing things to share with you guys, so thank you so much for understanding that sometimes things take a little extra time. I have also been able to re-engage with Umbrella Academy as I catch up on Doom. Doom Patrol is a monthly book, so sometimes it forces you to make it a priority, and Umbrella Academy is a series of mini-arcs that come out when they are ready, so you can see the conflict there. Aside from working on myself mentally, I’ve also had to start adjusting to new ways of working, constantly striving to raise my output. I have always been detail-obsessed and perfection-oriented, so it takes a little learning to let things out into the world. You can only labor over something so long. I don’t think I’ve ever finished an album or a comic, they just come out when they have to.
Music—I’ll start with my music. I am always writing music, I am very lucky that way—there is always an idea and something that inspires me, even if it takes me a minute to figure out what I want to say, which is what really creates the space between releases. I am about to convert a structure on our property into a recording studio, which actually won’t take a lot of work as the space is already pretty perfect. Great drums sounds and church ceilings. Secret echo chambers. I look forward to making some really weird stuff here, and mine for the really hard to get diamonds. Moving into the new year, my focus will become split into music and comics, now that Young Animal is running well (thanks to Molly and Jamie’s hard work, and Dan and Jim’s support) it gives me more breathing room to make sounds, some of which may even be connected to the comics. But we will continue to expand Young Animal and it has been made known to me that the imprint is an essential part of DC Comics moving forward. That is a nice feeling. I’m excited to keep doing it.
As far as music as it relates to my process and the things I have been working on, I have been creating comics almost exclusively while listening to Alessandro Cortini, an analog/digital artist and musician that creates these amazing soundscapes and melodies. You should check out Forse 1-3, though I love absolutely everything he does and it’s all worth a look. It has been the total soundtrack as I come to a close on writing the first 6 issue arc of Doom Patrol. It helps my head breathe. I even listen to it in the morning when I drive Bandit to school so it starts my brain in the right place. And a friend of mine has just turned me onto this amazing band called Culture Abuse, and their album, Peach, is in fact a peach. Their single also has the image of a brick on it, and bricks, especially lone bricks, are very important to the story I am currently writing. Sometimes the universe lines up like that.