Read Barbarian Girl: The Burning Blade of the Badlands Part 1 by Gene Ambaum and Willow Payne
Unshelved comic strip for 12/31/2004

End of Year

It's time for the obligatory end of year roundup. This is my personal roundup. The official Unshelved roundup happens every February 16th, on the anniversary of our launch, though I'll touch in it below.

In 2004 Overdue Media LLC took off. We gained thousands of new readers, published our second book, signed up with Diamond Book Distributors, and sold thousands of books and other merchandise, showed at five conferences, and registered our trademark. I gave my talk five times.

In 2004 Sara and I started our remodel, a process that began in January with some work on a family mission statement and some deep analysis of the way we use our home. In March we chose an architect and started the first version of the design. In August we found the true cost of that design and abandoned it. In October we settled on a dramatically scaled-back design. In late November the first demolition in our house began, and as of yesterday the new framing and retrussing is about done and they are ready to cut the new holes in the extrenal walls. We think there are about five months to go, knock on wood.

In 2004 we came to terms with the reality of our finances. The remodel forced the issue, but in retrospect we were in steep denial and needed to do something about the disparity in expenses versus income even without the need to pay for a major construction project.

And so in 2004 I went back to work at Microsoft, a choice that from this side seems straightforward and almost universally positive, but from the other side seemed scary and dour. It's all about perspective, I guess. I am having a great time working on a neat project with nice, smart people. And they pay me. I jump out of bed every morning and draw two strips and then take the bus to work, and I have never been a more efficient worker in either job.

In 2004 I started getting my act together. In addition to fixing our finances by going back to work I started swimming three days a week and sketching every day. I also did some crucial personal work that has really paid off in my relationships with my families.

In 2004, just over a week ago, our dog Tella died without warning, leaving a bewildered and grieving family. Around the same time hundreds of thousands of people across the globe died without warning. Which is not really comparable, but I mention them together because I had never before really felt a far-away disaster personally. But because my heart was already open it touched me and now I read every story from the Indian Ocean with extreme sympathy.

And finally in 2004 I began what I hope will be an exciting and successful new enterprise, one I cannot discuss at this time except to say it brings together the cartooning and software parts of my brain. I truly don't have time to take on a third job, so I'm going to attempt to delegate the time-consuming parts of it, a tack I hope to take with Overdue Media as well. More later.

In summary, a wonderful year with some very difficult times. I hope 2005 will bring joy and prosperity to us and to all of you too. Happy new year!


As of right now we have 7987 recipients of our email delivery service. I really really want to get to 8000 before the end of the day/year. I may start cold calling people.

Update Um, nevermind. We're there. Happy New Year.

The Norm Needs You

Since I met my own personal year-end goal I'm going to make one more push on behalf of that great comic strip The Norm. Their subscription drive ends today. If they don't make 4000 we may never see Norm's friendly face (and Renae's cute butt) again. And that would be an extreme shame. Show the world that good comic strips matter by helping support one of the best. Today.

This Unshelved strip

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