The Two Hardest Words

Jane as BatmanIn honor of Halloween: The time Chelle and Jane dressed up as Catwoman and Batman.

I’ve thought of posting something for the past days about the final week of Jane’s World, but I’ve been a bit of a mess. Some days happy, some days sad, overall, feeling bittersweet about letting my friends on paper go their own way. I decided the two hardest words in the English language might be, “the end.”

How ironic, that Jane’s World, a comic strip too risque for mainstream papers twenty years ago received a send off from one of the biggest mainstream papers, The New York Times. I would be lying if I said that didn’t mean something to me. I’d like to thank George Gustines for writing the story and for chatting with me about my two decades with Jane.

Jane’s journey was my journey in some ways.

I’d been thinking for more than a year about how to bring the comic to a close. I was feeling ready to work on other projects but it’s too hard to write new characters when other characters are still filling your head with chatter. I knew I needed to let Jane go in order to write other voices.

In college I wrote this quote in my sketchbook. I’m not sure who authored the quote, but I’ve returned to it time and again when faced with big, life-changing decisions. The quote reads: “The important thing is this, to be willing to sacrifice at any moment what you are for what you can become.”

Letting go is difficult, but necessary.

The good news is that Lion Forge recently released an anthology of the twenty-year run of Jane’s World titled: Love Letters to Jane’s World and it’s available everywhere books are sold.

In other news, just yesterday, the syndicate who manages GoComics said that they’ll begin rerunning Jane’s World from the beginning. The first of the classic strips will appear November 5th. So for those of you who missed Jane’s goofy, humble beginnings… here’s your chance to catch up.

Thank you to my readers for all the supportive emails and comments. Seriously, your kind words meant the world to me.

So, here’s to letting go… and looking forward to what comes next 🙂

New York Comic Con! See you there!

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I’ll be in New York next week for New York Comic Con. My schedule officially starts Thursday afternoon. I’ll be signing the new Jane’s World anthology at the Lion Forge Booth and Femme Magnifique at the IDW booth on Saturday. Here’s a quick schedule. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 4, 2018: Lion Forge Booth #1936, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

PANEL:

Friday, October 5, 2018: Fandom for Teachers: The Educator’s Guide to Comic Con

2:45-3:45pm @ Javits Center Room 1C03

Comic Con has become a phenomenon that has changed the face of not just popular culture but all aspects of life. With the push to include graphic novels, film, and even cosplay into the 21st Century classroom, these events have started to cater to educators through programming, author events, and classroom-friendly content. This panel will offer educators new to Comic Con tips and tricks from seasoned educators who can show them the ropes on how to get the most out of their fan fest weekend!

MORE SIGNINGS:

Saturday, Oct. 6, 4:00-5:00: Femme Magnifique signing at the IDW booth #1844

Saturday, Oct. 6, 5:00-6:00: Signing Lion Forge  Booth #1936

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Jane book party, this Friday!

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Yes, folks… for those of you who know me, this photo was taken on the rare occasion when I was not wearing a plaid shirt. Luckily, I had a plaid jacket on hand.

Event date:
Friday, September 21, 2018: 6:00pm-9:00pm
Love Letters to Jane’s World

Join Jane’s World creator Paige Braddock on the Garden Terrace of the Gravenstein Grill to celebrate the release of Love Letters to Jane’s World, the 20th anniversary anthology of her award-winning comic strip.

Event Location:
Gravenstein Grill
8050 Bodega Ave
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Hors devours will be served and full bar available.
Copperfield’s Books will be on hand so that you can purchase your copy of Jane’s World at the event. For more information check their listing: Copperfield’s Books
See you there!

Where Ideas Begin

Today’s Jane’s World comic:

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I just had to share a small bit of backstory on this one. We haven’t been having flooding in California lately. Unfortunately, just the opposite. It is extremely dry here. So that part of the comic isn’t based in reality, but the disaster element, and the DMV are. My wife was away one week in May, so of course I promptly went out with a pal of mine to see a science fiction movie and then for BBQ afterward. It was only a short time later that I realized something was horribly wrong with that bit of pulled pork I’d eaten. I suffered twenty-four hours of food poisoning and was just beginning to feel better when my tiny dog, Buddy Barker, cornered a skunk in the yard and got sprayed. Having only just recovered from being deathly ill, skunk smell was not helping with my recovering. The next morning, as I was getting packed to travel the following day I realized my driver’s license had expired. Gah! I had no choice but to cold call the DMV for a replacement because I needed a rental car when I arrived at my destination. (It only took five hours in line.) Are you keeping count? I suffered food poisoning, getting skunked, AND the Department of Motor Vehicles all in one week.

I’m not sure which is more zany sometimes, Jane’s World, or mine.

Happy Friday.

 

Love Letters to Jane’s World!

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Hi there friends… The Jane’s World anthology is almost here. And by here, I mean, printed… for real… an actual 300 page collection of hilarity and hijinks. If you’d like to know more about the book, or just want a link to purchase one, my awesome publisher, Lion Forge has set up this handy landing page with all the info you need. Check it out: bit.ly/JaneWithLove

I’ll be posting info in a few weeks about where I’ll be during NYC Comic con. I hope to see you there. Cheers!

More Thoughts…

jw180131UN-fan mail: So I did this post yesterday about hate mail… but “hate” is such an ugly thing, that the headline started to bother my wife, and me… and well, we don’t need more of that word out in the world, especially on social media. So I edited the original post slightly. But the gist of it is the same, the celebration of UN-fan mail. It’s important to come to terms with negative comments, especially as a creative person. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between genuine constructive feedback… (Like, Terry Moore once commented that he liked it when Jane’s World focused on humor, and I listened. Because there was this moment where I got a little more serious and dark.)… and just over-the-top negativity that in all likelihood has nothing to do with a comic strip or you. I’m sure when I first got some of these messages they upset me, but now, over a decade later, looking back at them, they just sound ridiculous. They actually made me laugh out loud yesterday. So, here’s to UN-fan mail and how it can inspire all of us to speak our truth and not give up. Jane’s goal, and mine, has always been to put something good out into the world. That’s not gonna stop because of a few bits of negativity… but still, it’s worth sharing the bad with the good. It helps keep everything in perspective.

I’m convinced that regardless of the negativity we see every day on social media, that people still ultimately care about each other. And that this divisive political season will pass, eventually. I am, after all, catastrophically optimistic. And in the meantime, we still have coffee… and glazed donuts. It’s important to find joy in the simple things.

Sharing a Little UN-fan Mail

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This might seem like a weird topic… you know, celebrating UN-fan mail… but I’m in a weird mood today, so here goes… (this post was originally published with a different intro and headline)…

I was reading through some fan mail to pull a couple of funny quotes for a book I’m working on and I came across some really awesome hate mail. (I save the good and the bad.) Don’t worry, I didn’t get all of these in one week or anything, they span about an eight year time frame. The thing is, truly heartfelt hate mail is almost as meaningful as fan mail… it means people care enough about what you’re doing to write to you and complain.

After doing comics for twenty years I now have a much thicker skin than I used to.

Constructive feedback is always welcome. Comics can be a solitary endeavor. It’s easy to lose yourself in your work. Late nights, too much coffee, and going down some rabbit hole of a story line… and then realizing you’ve written yourself into a corner. Jane’s World has always been that kind of creative work. I made a conscious effort not to overthink Jane’s path, and to let her world organically evolve. I think doing that makes what ends up on the page authentic and unfiltered… or, at least, that’s been my goal. Which brings me to some of my most awesome hate mail. I’ve pulled a few of my favorites to share with you. These are all emails I’ve received, without edits.

This first one might be my favorite:

“Dear Paige Braddock,

My assessment of your ‘comic’ strip is that it is not funny.  I accessed it through comics.com, it being recommended to me as something a regular reader of Pearls Before Swine might also enjoy.  First, I don’t like comics, such as yours with a story line that must be followed daily so as to get it.  Next, the three characters that I saw in your ‘comic’ strip are women and as just about everyone knows women have no or a poor sense of humor.  How could you possibly make them funny? Here’s an idea, kill them off by having their planes collide in mid-air and replace them with just about anything else.  

Best wishes, Mr. Edwards”

But wait… there’s more…

“Here’s the problem with you fags. You think you can do anything. If any other comic strip had a guy grabbing a chicks tit it would be banished. But a lezzy doing its OK. Right. Fuck you!” — J.

“I used to enjoy Jane’s World but I’m no longer going to read it because, frankly, you’re a flake. You disappear for months at a time and subject your readers to repeated comics during that time. Your website is sadly out of date. I found a list of publications elsewhere on your website that you claimed run Jane’s World. All the ones I checked did not run your comic. The one I didn’t check was because it was blocked by my antivirus for being a Trojan.” — C.

“You have a lot of talent and Jane’s World has the potential to be a great lesbian comic but you need to grow up and assume some responsibility.” — G.

“The phrase “painfully slow” comes to mind.” — J.

“WOULD YOU PLEASE GET THIS DAMN STORY INTO SOME SEMBLANCE OF CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER??? I CAN’T KEEP THE STORY LINE STRAIGHT.  OR IS THERE EVEN A STORY LINE???” — H.

This is why sometimes it’s a relief to simply do jokes about missing socks. Take care, friends. And be kind to one another. I’m happy to report that for every over-the-top angry email, I get a hundred positive messages. Life is good and comics make the world a better place.

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