So I’ve been meaning to do a post about this for a while now, and I guess I should before it’s too late… Only very few people have been around since the beginning to know this, but 2016 is the 10th anniversary of A Waste of Time!

Ten years ago, I started drawing this little rabbit character, mostly for the entertainment of me and a few friends. He just told stories from my life, make jokes you would probably only get if you worked at the same bookstore that I did, but there are a few of those old strips that I still like.

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been doing this for ten years… Sometimes it seems like I haven’t done much with it at all, and I’m not exactly rich and famous yet, but when I look at the stack of comics I’ve made, or go through all the files of them on my computer, it’s actually quite a lot of stuff… A strange amount, given that it started out as just sort of a doodle, and became an all purpose character for me to use to vent.

Pretty soon after I started drawing the rabbit, other characters entered the strip… The monkey came about as a way to draw my boyfriend at the time, whose pet name with me was Monkey, and a cartoon monkey was easier to draw than a realistic drawing of him, because I really wasn’t good enough then to do that credibly on a regular basis. Capitalist Pig showed up pretty soon afterward, because I was awfully tired of working at a retail bookstore and I had a lot of angry things to say about capitalism. A teddy bear popped up soon afterward, although I didn’t name him Prester for a while yet. A robot came along as another inside joke, and a way to poke fun at some of my relationship problems- I named him Rickets as a nod toward his story just being another version of my autobiographical stories, but really all the characters are me in the end. Truckstop came around a couple years later, and Persimmon a couple years after that.

Within that first year or so, though, I started to think about the ultimate point I wanted to make with these characters- It was supposed to be a story with an end, not the rest of my life. Pretty quickly, I had the broad strokes of the epic adventure that the core characters would go on. The details have changed, and I intentionally left blank spaces in the outline so that I could incorporate autobiographical stories that I hadn’t lived yet, but I’ve known for 10 years now where their journey ends up, and I’ve seeded clues since the very beginning that will hopefully be interesting once people get to the very end with me.

The thing is, I had just started doing comics then (Well, doing them seriously, I had always drawn comics since I was little), and I had no idea what I was getting into. It was very easy to say- “Oh, the bear and the robot will go on an adventure and save Bill Watterson, and then they’ll go on this other adventure and meet these new characters, and then that will lead to the part where–” What I didn’t quite realize at the time was that each of those adventures would be a book or two, and each book would be a couple hundred pages and take a couple years of my life, and the outline contained maybe ten or so books, plus lots of vague notions about other autobiographical things I could write… It didn’t quite dawn on me I had sketched out 20 years of work.

And then of course it progresses even more slowly than that, because life gets in the way, and like I said this was never meant to be the only thing I would write forever. But you know, when I look back… In those ten years, I’ve had one full-size book published, about five magazine collections, a bunch of zines and self-made things, short stories published in five or six anthologies, and more on the way… So that’s something.

This week I’m going to post classic strips from around ten years ago, since I think most people haven’t ever seen them, and maybe for my friends who have been reading that long it will be an entertaining blast from the past. Then next week, I’m going to post some drawings and odd and ends I’ve been doing… Recently, I’ve done a ton of illustration work that’s not part of the main A Waste of Time story. And then, after that, we’ll finally get back to Monday, the next chapter of which I have now done quite a bit of. I’ll probably also blog about where the last six months went, and why I stopped posting the story after Chapter Three. So check back, new posts are starting up again, and really, this is just the beginning… God help me.