After almost 5 years working on "Plastic Babyheads" and its follow-up, "Jetpack Jr.", I've come to something of a cross-roads. If you read my last post, you probably know where this is going.
I've got lots of ideas for other projects. There are a lot of other things I'd like to do-and sad to say, I can't do them all. After a lot of deliberating, I've decided the time has come to put "Jetpack Jr." and my comic strip dreams aside- or at least on hold.
It hasn't been an easy decision to make. I've loved every minute of working on PBHFOS and JJ, and I put my heart & soul, as well as blood & sweat, into the strip. I've been proud to be a part of the GoComics line-up for the last three years. But from day one the strip had problems at GoComics, and it never caught on with an audience. I've grown increasingly frustrated with its inability to attract subscribers( a subscriber base of just under 1800; for months it hovered near that mark, and then once reached the 1799 mark only to lose 5 or 6 the next day!)--and more than that, frustrated with the core of the strip itself, the character of "Jetpack".
While the surrounding characters became clear to me as I worked along, Hank and Marsha in particular, after "Babyheads" the character of "Jetpack" seemed to lose focus for me. Increasingly, he seemed to be an alien without motivation. The concept of the alien in the home has become so well-known, from "My Favorite Martian" to "E.T." to "Home" and so well done--it seemed to leave "Jetpack" little room to move. Who needs another alien at home story?
Coupled with my growing interest in animation, as well as other projects I'd like to return to or begin--it began to feel as though continued devotion to working on "Jetpack" was akin to chaining myself to a hollow log. I'd come to realize my hopes for the strip were clouded by denial;"Jetpack" wasn't going to develop a bigger audience, it hadn't really connected with the audience it had-- and more than that, I'd begun to doubt my premise and main character. Once you lose belief in the world you're creating, it's very hard to get it back.
And then "Bella Dilemma" came along. And other ideas. I don't know if any of those will have the public platform "Jetpack" has had( small as it has been), but my heart tells me this is the way to go. There comes a moment when remaining steadfast to one set of ideals poses a potential threat to the very spark of life at the center of one's creativity--and I think I'm at that point. My ideas are moving in a different direction now, and deferring them in favor of some misguided hope for the comic strip seems self-defeating, if not delusional.
So it's time to call it a day. But just as this day ends, another begins. And I'm already at work on my next projects; "Bella Dilemma" being foremost among them. The work on the strip these last 5 years hasn't been in vain. Far from it! It's not only given me valuable experience but "Bella Dilemma", and a host of other great characters--all of whom play a part in my upcoming animation projects. In fact, PBHFOS has found new life as one of those projects--and here's a clip from a pitch for an animated series I'm working on!
Plastic Babyheads from Outer Space_test trailer from Geoff Grogan on Vimeo.
There's more to come here--and who knows where that might lead?
So--while it's always sad to come to the end of one phase of life and it's never easy to say "goodbye", it's exciting to come to a new fork in the road-and wonder what lies ahead. Like most of my projects, it may not attract the big audience I've always dreamed of--but it's sure to be interesting. And who knows? "Jetpack" may yet find his way into my animation. So, wish me well. Until we meet again....