Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write, illustrate, photocopy, and staple a minicomic called Amy Unbounded. It was a pretty good minicomic, as far as these things go. I took it to comic book conventions, made a lot of friends, and had tremendous fun doing it; those were great years, and I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could.
But I have something I need to tell Amy fans, something they’re not going to want to hear. They’ve been asking me for almost ten years, and I’ve been hedging because I don’t like delivering bad news. But here it is, friends, and no more soft-pedaling it:
Amy Unbounded is done. There is no more in me. I will not be making more. I’m sorry.
It’s possible that I will make more comics at some point, for I dearly love to draw, but I can’t promise that. I can guarantee that characters from Amy Unbounded will find their way into other things I do; indeed, some already have. Dame Okra Carmine, Sir Cuthberte, and Squire Foughfaugh all appear in Seraphina. Amy herself, older and wiser, might sneak into another story someday. Goredd goes on.
I need you to understand this. Whenever someone wistfully asks after Amy, here’s what it sounds like to me: “Hey, remember back when you were a virgin? Wasn’t that AWESOME? Do THAT again!”
Was that an embarrassing analogy? Then I suppose it was apt. I feel embarrassed, and at a loss how to begin to explain.
Amy had a sweetness and innocence to it. Emotions were uncomplicated; problems could be solved; nobody had any personal demons. Innocence has its place and can be lovely, but it’s also severely limiting. It’s Wile E. Coyote, running on air. Sooner or later you notice you’ve gone over the cliff.
Back in 1999, I did a short comic story called “Merry Pedroolia” that was eerily prescient. Pedroolia is unfailingly cheerful; she jokes all the time and even sings while shoveling manure. Her brothers (humorless clods) find this so irritating that they lock her in the dovecote for a year. When she’s finally released, she is still cheerful, and Pau-Henoa remarks on this. Pedroolia says something like, “Oh, no, I am far, far graver than I was. My eyes are open. I am an entirely different Pedroolia.” Pau-Henoa laughs at this, because she’s still singing while she works, but Pedroolia knows what she’s talking about. Before she’s locked in the dovecote, her eyes are closed in every picture. Only afterwards did I draw them open.
I grew up. I realize no one can tell but me, that I’m still singing merrily while I shovel dung, but when your eyes are open you get to choose that. I think the work I’m doing now is much, much better, for precisely that reason.
As any ex-virgin can tell you: sure, something’s lost. And something else is gained. And that is exactly as it’s supposed to be.