Issue 15: 2022 Roundup
The one you've been waiting for ... Right?!
If you’ve watched the news over the past few weeks then you’ve heard or seen the tales of woe from travelers left stranded at airports over the holidays. Canceled flights, airport shenanigans, and kerfuffles in the snuffleruptors across myriad airlines left travelers unable to reach their final destinations.
I was one of those people. Myself, and my family.
We tried to make it to Ohio for Christmas to spend the holidays with our extended families. We even left a day early to avoid a “Bomb Cyclone” (rejected names: “Explosive Whirlwind,” “Nuclear Twister,” and “Gerbil Mainframe”) that was primed to pummel the northeast. Despite our best-laid plans, we missed our first flight, but successfully flew stand-by from Wilmington, North Carolina to Charlotte before being thrown a cancellation that would have completed the journey from Charlotte to Cleveland.
In that not-so-great situation, we did what anyone else would do… we spent three days locked in a 250-square foot hotel room (two adults + toddler, so it felt much, much smaller) in hopes that we would reach our destination on the next scheduled flight: Christmas afternoon.
While our luggage was misplaced between the stand-by flight and the cancellation, we toughed it out in that Residence Inn with (quite literally) only the clothes on our backs for three days. But the weather gods smirked upon us and we made it to Ohio on Christmas day… before turning right back around and flying home again three days later.
I hope your holiday was better organized. If you were stuck in travel hell, know that I feel your pain.
What happened last issue?
In issue 14, I talked about my plans for a new graphic novel—one targeting younger readers, currently codenamed “The Oddity”—that’s currently in development with Aleksandar Jovic, the artist and co-conspirator on my sci-fi/humor comic series, Unit 44. I laid out the hopes, dreams, and goals for the project in great and exhaustive detail.
Check it out if you missed it:
In this issue:
2022 in Review!
2022, you were… a year. Another year very similar to the two that came before it. Full of bad news, unrest, boredom, and repetition.
I started you off by trying to free up some free time in my busy schedule. I cut loose nearly all of my freelance contracts in an attempt to scrounge up a little free time—between my day job and being a parent—for myself. In that effort, I was successful. Despite “dropping” a bunch of long-term clients (many of whom were totally understanding), I kept myself busy writing the things I really wanted to write (before becoming creatively crippled for several months near the end of the you). I wrote a bunch of issues for my existing comic series The Obsoletes and Unit 44, and I drafted several short stories (which need a fresh set of eyes before they ever go anywhere beyond the rough draft folder on my hard drive). I also wrote a lot of newsletters!
While my publishing footprint was small this year, we brought Unit 44 back to our current (and new readers) with issues #5 and #6 through Alterna Comics. Silverline Comics was nice enough to publish the first issue of The Obsoletes (more coming, I promise), and we got a nice little Unit 44 1-pager called “Cryptid Quest” into the pages of the Alterna Comics anthology It Came Out on a Wednesday #19. It’s all about quality over quantity, people.
Midway through you, 2022, the game I’d been working on at the day job was canceled when it lost its creative director, thrusting me (and the rest of my team) into development purgatory. Fortunately we found our footing with a new project that—while we may not love as much—has kept us all working together, which is a huge win in game development.
2022, I also kept you interesting by moving to a new city and re-establishing myself and my family in a new state. I also broke my oath to myself by undertaking a small-yet-ongoing freelance gig with people I really like to make some extra money on the side.
I rounded you out, 2022, by going to Las Vegas with my coworkers at the video game studio. I’d never been there. The only way that I can think to describe Las Vegas to someone who has never been there is, it’s an assault on the senses. One is constantly being bombarded by lights… sounds… smells... all coming from everywhere all at once. You haven’t lived until you’ve gotten into an elevator at 4 a.m. and had your eardrums assaulted with the B-52’s “Love Shack” blasting at 11.
Coming off that high, were the travel shenanigans detailed above. Well played, 2022.
Overall, 2022, you as a year was… unimpressive. Not bad, mind you, just… you were—in the words of a close friend—fine. You were fine.
2022 Reading List
I hope you read some good books—or any books—this year. Below are the 22 titles I finished before the 31st of December. Interestingly enough, all non-fiction. My fiction reading this year stayed mostly in the comic book realm. However, I didn’t track those titles. Did you read any of the books below? What’d you think?
Wild and Crazy Guys - Nick de Semlyen
A Very Punchable Face - Colin Jost
Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing - Elmore Leonard
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers - Betsy Lerner
The New One-Minute Manager - Ken Blanchard
Ernest Hemingway on Writing - Ernest Hemingway
Creativity - John Cleese
All About Me! - Mel Brooks
Blood, Sweat, and Chrome - Kyle Buchanan
The Nasty Bits - Anthony Bourdain
The MMO Folklorists Guide to Galaxies - James Crosby
Fool the World - Josh Frank
The Night the Lights Went Out - Drew Magary
Video Game Storytelling - Evan Skolnick (Reread)
Gasping for Airtime - Jay Mohr
Boss Fight Books Presents: Goldeneye 007 - Alyse Knorr
Age of Cage - Keith Phipps
Stephen King: A Complete Exploration of his Work, Life, and Influences - Bev Vincent
Down and out in Paradise - Charles Leerhsen
None of this Rocks: A Memoir - Joe Trohman
Kurt Cobain: The Last Interview, and Other Conversations
Kurt Vonnegut: The Making of a Writer - Dan Wakefield
I thought I’d also quickly rundown my favorite things of 2022. (I hope you’ll share your favorite things in the comments!) While these things may not be from 2022, it was the year that I encountered it.
Favorite Video Game :: Marvel Snap!
Since I work in the video game industry (and primarily in mobile gaming) it’s my job—nay, my duty—to keep up to date with industry trends (and competition). When Marvel Snap dropped a few months ago it blew me away with its elegant game design, simple learning curve, and fast, addictive gameplay.
Marvel Snap not only took over my mobile gaming time, but that of my coworkers as well. It’s been great to have a game that gets discussed around the virtual water cooler, sharing deck ideas, strategies, and fun stories. Gaming really does bring people together!
If you enjoy card games, give Marvel Snap a try. It’s made even more accessible by utilizing familiar characters, and doesn’t require one to pay money in order to stay competitive.
Favorite TV Show :: Severance (AppleTV)
I dig shows that have hard sci-fi elements—where they go deep into the actual science of things—but I often get bored when those elements are not tempered and each scene or episode feels like a science class. I’d heard great things about Severance, but hadn’t gotten around to reactivating my AppleTV subscription. Actually, I take that back… I heard great things about the first few episodes, and then I never heard anyone talk about the resolution, so I had no idea if things ended on a strong note or not. I had to find out for myself.
The gist of the 9-episode Season 1, is that workers at some companies voluntarily undergo a procedure called “Severance” where they have their brain separated between work and life. In short, this means that they don’t remember what they did at their day job (or in some cases, what they even do for a job). The procedure essentially creates a “second” person who only is “alive” at work. And what happens when that second version of yourself decides they want to know what’s happening in the outside world.
Loaded with ethical questions, moral conundrums, and fun speculation, the season had me on the edge of my seat. While I would have liked more of a finite ending to wrap up some of lingering questions posed to the viewers, I will anxiously await season 2. Loaded with science, heart, humor, and wonderful actors/characters, it’s worth checking out if you like shows that are (in the words of my wife) “really, really weird.”
Favorite Film :: ???
I’d love to share some sort of deep cut with you here, but the truth is, I didn’t watch many films in 2022. The ones I did see were… meh. (Including several that came on the recommendation of people that I love and respect.)
Did you see something amazing? Tell me about it in the comments!
Favorite Book :: Kurt Vonnegut: The Making of Writer by Dan Wakefield
Being that Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is one of my favorite writers, I immediately grabbed this book by Vonnegut’s longtime friend Dan Wakefield. The book is an autobiography of sorts, but rather than toil away in uninteresting minutiae about Vonnegut’s upbringing, his time in World War II, and his years as an educator and author, Wakefield presents Vonnegut’s past by singling out the events that led to the writer becoming a… well… a writer.
Wakefield points to events in Vonnegut’s life and then connects them to how and where they were used to inspire the writer’s short fiction and novels. Super interesting stuff. If you’re already knowledgable about Vonnegut’s past, there’s not a lot of new information presented, however, it is quite interesting and inspiring to watch Vonnegut’s path from corporate copywriter to soldier to aspiring novelist to bestseller.
The book includes a lot of personal correspondence from Vonnegut to his contemporaries and doesn’t gloss over the hardships the writer encountered despite his success. Fascinating stuff.
2023 in Preview!
What the heck am I going to do in 2023? Gosh, I really have no idea.
I’m not necessarily one for goals, especially since the world has become extremely unpredictable in so many aspects. I mean, one minute you’re trying to get to the end of a story, and the next, you’re stuck in a hotel for days on end.
In a perfect world we’ll get issue #2 of The Obsoletes out there, especially considering that it’s already drawn and just needs inked/colored/lettered). I hope to see issues #7 and #8 of Unit 44 also released, which will bring season 2 to a close. I’ll keep my fingers crossed we can also get issues #9 and #10 out into the world as well, kicking off an exciting season 3.
I hope we can find a publishing home for The Oddity, and through that experience I’ll learn about a new market, meet new people, and hopefully align myself with some solid people in the publishing world.
I’m aiming low so that I can only impress myself. There’s other stuff I’d like to do, to write, to experience… but why put all that pressure on myself to achieve it? Perhaps that’s my overarching goal for the year… I want to work on stuff that’s fun and interests me. So that’s what I shall do. I encourage you to do that as well.
Let’s be honest… the holidays are a slow time as people gather with family, eat nap-inducing meals, and get stuck in hotels for days on end. So while I created a battle plan to get The Oddity rolling, Aleks and I didn’t make a whole lot of progress. I did end up scripting around 30 pages of the graphic novel, but I haven’t touched those words in more than two weeks, though, I’m looking forward to diving back in as schedules return to normal.
The Oddity Progress - December pt II
Script - IN PROCESS
Character Designs - IN PROCESS
Sample Art Pages - IN PROCESS
Unit 44 #7, featuring art from guest artist Landon Franklin, a cover from original series artist Ed Jiménez, and colors by Andrew Pate will be available for preorder starting January 11th. Mark your calendars… OR hit the button below to sign up for a reminder!
I’ll send out a special edition newsletter on this issue within the next week or so with preview pages and the story behind the story!
I also spent some time over the past week working on the script for issue #13. It’s a very special issue, for reasons that I’ll reveal as we get closer to production. And while the script for #14 is already complete, there’s some fun backstory on why I had to skip an issue.
Meanwhile, Aleks Jovic is midway through drawing issue #10, and it looks amazing:
Hey, while I have you…
What’s the best present you gave or received for Christmas this year? What’s the best present you gave someone else?
While I like to keep a minimalist desk setup, I finally bit the bullet and begged my wife to buy me a mechanical keyboard (because laptop keyboards are zero fun to type on and have been slowly destroying my wrists). She obliged, and now I’m the proud owner of a Keychron C1. It has a good feel, and it’s loud and clacky enough that my neighbors are aware when I’m being productive with my writing. My wife loves the sound, too. (Correction: She does not love how loud and clacky it is.)
Until next we meet!
I’m Wes Locher. I’ve been writing professionally for more than a decade. I write comic books, video games, fiction, and nonfiction. I write whatever seems fun, cool, and inspiring. I also love helping other writers to demystify the process of making a living through words. This is my newsletter.