2009 in Review

We’ve grown accustomed to using the change of the calendar to take stock, look back at what happened and plan for the future. Now that I have completed two full years of freelance, I thought it made sense to see what was working and what was not.

The good news is that I developed a wide and diverse client list which made it somewhat easier to ride out the rough economy compared with some of my peers. On the other hand, even with that attribute, my income for 2009 was off by just about 40% compared with 2008. That’s a steep drop and to be honest, the spotty cash flow also proved quite troubling in the spring and summer. Couple that with a number of very cool but very low paying projects and suddenly you’re not making what you need to in order to cover your expenses.

Also of concern was the high number of near-misses: projects that people seemed interested in but then delays or problems occurred at the other end which prompted outright rejections or no action whatsoever.  As a result, I look at 2010 as a year of rebuilding, new proposals, new pitches and with luck some new clients to keep things percolating.

On the other hand, looking at what I did manage to accomplish, I am quite pleased with the variety of work.

For Avalanche Comics Entertainment I managed two different web comic strips we produced for Microsoft plus did a lot of development work which I hope will lead to work in 2010.

I wrote four essays for a book on mistakes made in Europe during World War II. There was also the essay for Sequart Research & Literacy Organization’s forthcoming Batmania book and a Green Hornet short story for Moonstone’s prose anthology (and the Captain Midnight story I wrote in 2008 is now scheduled for May publication).

I did a ton of writing for DC Comics including researching the big project and writing the first issue (which will be formally announced soon), an issue of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and some special projects work. Then there was The Essential Superman Encyclopedia where I dropped everything and spent the spring writing the J-Z entries (look for that in August). That was followed by Wonder Woman: Amazon. Hero. Icon. which will see print in April.

I wrote the Howard Chaykin Retrospective, which has led to offers of writing similar works for Dynamic Forces in 2010.

I wrote an issue of a media tie-in comic for IDW (which they will announce over the winter).

For Marvel, I wrote several articles for their Spotlight magazine along with dust jacket copy for nine of their hardcovers.

I wrote my second Batman young readers’ book for Stone Arch (which will be out in a few weeks).

For Star Trek Magazine, there were a few articles then biographical sidebars to all the major performers’ interviews in the three issues dedicated to the wonderful new film. And for TwoMorrows’ Back Issue I did a piece on the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Then there was my concluding editorial work on the final issue of Write Now!

I also did copy editing for a company which I hope will lead to more work with them in the New Year. Similarly, I spent April and May doing work for a start-up comics company that remains in ramp up mode which may or may not desire additional services.

Overall, not bad productivity and in many ways I am very eager to see what the next year brings. The best times, in some ways, are when the phone calls and e-mails unexpectedly arrive, with offers of work, meaning someone out there thinks well enough of you, your work, and your professionalism to hire you. That didn’t happen often enough in 2009.

To one and all, may you have a happy and safe New Year’s.

6 comments

  • Wow! I feel like such a slacker…I AM a slacker, but now I really FEEL it!…

  • John Scheeler

    Didn’t “Iron Man: Femme Fatales” come out this year too? It was a great book, by the way!

  • Ditto. In 2009, I bought, read and thoroughly enjoyed “Iron Man: Femme Fatales.”

  • Heather Dean

    Don’t forget the two author visits that you graced McKinley School with this past year. You taught, excited and motivated 5th grade students–and teachers, administrators, support staff–about the history of graphic novels. You are an inspiration to young and old. In a small but grand gesture you promoted the importance of reading. Well done!

  • Susan O

    And don’t forget your library programs; I thought they were awesome! To watch the geeky teens come in wrapped in hoods so no one would see them, then light up and blossom when they discovered someone who really understood them, was a rare treat.

  • And lots of various and miscellaneous stuff for ComicMix too, saving my hide numerous times.

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