July 3: A well-written epitaph for Weltschmerz appears on Bryan Munn's Sequential blog.
This is the last Weltschmerz. I know it's open-ended, but that's how I am -- more European downer than Hollywood blockbuster. People keep asking if Horst and Celia will ever get back together. All I can say is, maybe. You can paint your own happy ending, if you feel so inclined.
In drawing the farewell ice-floe image above (which appears this week's View and Echo, along with an interview and a few vintage strips), it was hard for me to imagine the characters not living on. They may well, somehow, in some incarnation. But right now it feels like they've lived long enough with me. It's time for Horst -- and me -- to move on. And in the final frames above, he is in fact moving. Somewhere.
I cannot thank my readers enough. It's been an incredible 15 years. At times, when I'd lost perspective and had no idea whether a cartoon sucked or not, an email or comment on the street would make my day. Thanks especially to Rob McAleer for being my cartoon doctor in times of need; to the unbearably talented Nick Craine, for giving me a wide-angle view on characterization; and to Sue Richards, for being a comrade in blogs (among more invaluable things). A big smoochy kiss to Christel Herick, for living under the impression that she's Celia to my Horst for the entire length of our marriage -- and living with my cloudy moods before the brainstorms finally break.
But my cartooning ain't over. I've got plans. Whether I can find an economic model for them remains to be seen (see below). Please check back here later this year for news. Email me at lind at lindtoons dot com if you'd like to be informed when I have something new on the go (I won't spam you -- just a note or two a year.)
What's next for Lind? Well, first comes summer. For the first time in 15 years, I'm not burning the midnight oil to get a cartoon or two ahead and take some time off.
Then I'll see where my sessions at my drafting table lead me. I want to continue to explore environmental and technological themes -- more pertinent today than ever. To be able to do so in a way that both makes people laugh and makes me more than small change is the challenge. While graphic novels are burgeoning, their poorer ascendants, newspaper comics, are stuck in a snow cone, relegated to cute cultural backwaters by timid editors and scarcely enough square inches to write a punchline (with a few exceptions). Now, with declining readership putting newspapers in a nosedive, trying to break into mainstream comic strip syndicates has become even tougher.
Friends have asked if I've considered a graphic novel. I'm more comfortable with a serialized format, though I'm not ruling it out. A book takes years of work in advance, with at best a publisher's advance equivalent to a few months' salary.
The web too offers no paved roads. As I've discovered with Weltschmerz, making any sort of splash requires blind luck or relentless marketing (and money). This site draws on average 1,200 unique visitors a month -- with 3.5 repeat visitors (thank you for being one of them!). But that is nowhere near enough to generate ad revenue. And the number of cartoonists who survive on the web alone do so only because they sell stuff beyond the comic-reading experience. Maybe I'm a purist, but I don't want to do retail. I want to do comics.
And that's what I hope to be doing. Somewhere.
Thanks for bearing with Horst, his foibles, rants and suspect friends all these years. As he said in the first strip, "I get culture shock just living here." It's been a pleasure sharing that shock and guffaw with you.