This is almost a week late, but who cares, because my comic, The Satanic Mechanic, is up and running once again! It'll update on Wednesdays.

It's a soft reboot of sorts - it contains the same characters from the original three books, plus additional ones. The setting has evolved. Relationships are different. I'm also taking a different approach to story, letting it unfold more organically. All in all I'm going to experiment more and let the story be freewheeling and the characters grow and change.

Click through to read the first page!

Destruction & Ownership & Embarassment

Thursday morning I was taking notes on everything that makes me feel ashamed, up to and including the fact that I was taking notes on everything that makes me feel ashamed. I was doing it at the suggestion of my therapist after a long discussion about where I feel certain emotions in the body, shame chief among them, and the lump it makes me try to swallow, and the hollow it forms under my ribs. I filled a page more quickly than I would care to admit.

Friday evening I was at a journal-burning party with friends, throwing old scraps of high-school era writing into a fire that was much too hot for June. I ripped out the page of Shame Notes and threw it in as well. It was satisfactory and defiant.

Now on this very pleasant Sunday I'm wishing I'd kept it, both to avoid the trouble of re-writing and so I could use it to make art. I'm working on a piece for a group show in September and while it's still nebulous in form, it is going to be about shame. I'm discovering (with no little resistance) that the only real way for me to get a handle on these feelings is to make them into something concrete and public, to say "This belongs to me in this moment, and you can look if you want to."

But of course sitting in front of the fire watching pages bloom into ash, it's easy to believe the idea that whatever you throw in will die with the embers.

A Note on the Future of the Satanic Mechanic

I like jumping into things feet first. It's not always the easiest or most sensible thing to do but it's how I learn.

However, sometimes you find yourself waist-deep and you realize that you don't quite know where you're going. The initial plunge was exactly what it needed to be, but now it might be worth hauling yourself back out onto the bank and assessing things from a higher vantage point.

This is what I'm in the midst of doing with The Satanic Mechanic.

I'm proud of the work I've done so far, and I think I'm right to be so. I like the characters I've come up with and the world they live in. I never quite knew their story, though. I knew more or less what I wanted it to be, but the intention is never quite what things become. The further I get down the path that I've determined, the more it feels that it wants and needs to go somewhere else.

So I think I'm going to start over. Maybe it will be the same sort of story, and maybe it won't. I seem to have a world that's well defined enough in my mind, and characters that have enough breath, to simply pick a starting point and turn them loose. As nice as it feels to make up clever plots, they can become traps, and to some degree I think I've caught myself in one.

I don't know what the timeline is for this, but I do know that it will be in the same place online and function more as a weekly comic strip, with small particles and larger stories. It will become (I hope) an aimless walk through city and country, beset sometimes by monsters both inside and out, but always with the promise of finding friends and lovers and a frosty beverage at the end. I don't think it will be a world in which everything is beautiful and nothing hurts, but it will be one in which people do their best to be good to each other, even if they don't always succeed. I hope you will want to spend time in this world, and I hope you'll stay tuned as things unfold.

Thank you to everybody who has ever encouranged me and helped me in the making of these comics. It means an awful lot to me to find a place where I can spend time on them, and it could never have happened without the support of my friends and family and fellow artists. Y'all are the best.