Unshelved comic strip for 11/11/2016

End of an Era


Here it is, the last new Unshelved strip. Today we’ve also got one last round of new book reviews.

But that doesn’t mean the end of Unshelved. For many years now we’ve run hand-selected “greatest hits” on weekends. Starting tomorrow, we’ll do that seven days a week. We’ll write blog posts too, to let you know about stuff that we’re doing, or new merchandise we’ve come up with, or perhaps a special offer from one of our sponsors.

A little housekeeping before we say our final goodbyes:

  • We still owe you podcasts of Bibliovores and Reads Well With Others. We’ll get around to these over the next few months.
  • Backers of our latest Kickstarter will get updates via email. You should have already gotten your surveys from Backerkit. Let us know if you haven’t heard from us yet.
  • The Unshelved Store will stay up as long as it makes sense, but there's no guarantee any particular item will stay in stock. If there’s something you particularly covet, we suggest you not procrastinate.

And now we have a few things we each wanted to say:


Becoming a professional cartoonist was a life-long dream of mine. After my son was born I decided to take a swing at it. I bought art supplies, took classes, found cartoonists who would mentor me, and came up with lots of bad ideas for strips. Then my librarian friend Gene started telling me hilariously gruesome library stories, and the rest is history.

Unshelved was truly our love child. He’s more of an idea guy and I’m more of a punchline guy, but over the years he contributed a lot of punchlines and I wrote a lot of stories. I was the artist, but Gene has a fantastic design instinct, and he fixed a lot of book covers and t-shirt designs.

Among our family and friends we were famous for our arguments, because we came at almost everything from different places. We argued over every word of every comic, every price of every t-shirt, every slide of every presentation, every line of every contract. He, reading this sentence, will find a way to disagree with it.

Gene is the funniest, weirdest, most infuriating man I’ve ever met. I’m a huge pain in the ass, and I’m blessed to have had a creative and business partner with such enormous patience and integrity.

I’ve been thanking people for weeks now, but the one person I haven’t mentioned is my wife. Sara, you started me on this journey, and encouraged me and supported me even when it cost our family money and took me away from our family. Thank you for loving me so well.


First, I want to thank my wife, Silver, who let me spend my vacations at library conferences for years, who told me to go ahead and quite my day job when the time came (despite us having a young daughter at home), and who has a career that continues to provide health insurance for our family. Honey, you’re a rock, you’re smarter than me, and you know me better than I know myself. When people ask me how to become a successful comics creator the first thing I tell them is to marry well, and I’m not lying. You supported me way back when you didn’t think Unshelved was funny, and you hardly complain about all the toys and books in our house. You’re amazing.

I need to thank Bill’s wife, Sara. She introduced me to Bill a long time ago, brought him to my wedding, and forced us to go on movie man-dates after I moved back to the U.S. In some way this is all your fault. I know your mind is full of checklists and schemes, and that you probably planned this whole arc of my life. You’re awesome.

I’m not forgetting you, our fans. especially everyone who’s ever said hello at a conference, sent an email, and/or told me a funny library story. I’m a people person, and working in my kitchen alone most days is still weird. You give me energy when I need it and you make me laugh. I sat down and tried to make a list of those of you who mean so much to me and it started to look like a book of baby names. It’s all of you. (Yes, even you.) I am both disturbed and gladdened at what we all choose to put up with every day at libraries all over the world. I hope you’ll all like my new comic, too. (Launching next week, I think. Watch this space for news.)

And then there’s Bill. No one else is ever going to understand what making Unshelved was like. There were moments when we wanted to kill each other, and others when we laughed so hard neither of us could breathe. (I know you love it, Bill, but I reject the marriage analogy. When I talk about the emotional and creative extremes, I also need to mention that we never actually made out. (People have asked.) Or had a fistfight. (People have also asked.) Not that I think that’s part of a marriage. Shit, this is why I don’t like that analogy.) We're family. Unshelved was us. Thanks for all of it.

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