(Image unrelated to post. I thought I should include a picture,
and I had an unused panel from the Food Fight story, so...)
My preference is to mix up the types of stories in Precocious for variety, so it's a little odd for four of the last five stories to be school-based. In the case of the current "morale-boosting" tale, it's a quirk of timing on two levels. We're a few weeks away from spring, when things (in theory) warm up enough for more outdoors-based storytelling - as well as marking the return of the kids' standard outfits! In sorting through upcoming stories, I found myself with a two-week opening before the warmer weather tales began, and my weather-independent stories were either too short or too long to fit.
But another bit of timing came into play. A little over six months after a stupid fall managed to mess me up, and trigger a wave of painful complications and bad flare-ups of prior medical issues, I've finally fought my way through to the last bit of the book 3's Kickstarter fulfillment. After the packages I'm mailing tomorrow arrive, all that's left is one person (who has most of his order, and is waiting on a special reward), and the few who never filled out their backer surveys. (Since you didn't check the Kickstarter emails, maybe you'll see this post?) It's been a very frustrating time for all of us, and I'm so sorry this had to happen. I'd fought so hard to overcome the pain caused by two botched procedures on me to find stability and productivity again, only to be undone because of what I eventually learned was a defective bolt in my desk chair. ("All for the want of a horseshoe nail...")
One of the unlocked Kickstarter rewards was a bonus story for backers, and that one kept getting pushed back with everything else. Maybe there's a silver lining to that dark cloud, because I gained more time to play with the outline - and one day a second story emerged! The original story for Kickstarter backers was told over 14 comics, I had a 14-day gap in my schedule AND a new side-story, and during this 14-day gap was when the last of my overdue Kickstarter rewards would be sent out. SO I HAVE AN IDEA. Now, everyone can enjoy the bit of silliness I had planned for backers, and those who supported the book 3 preorder will be sent a PDF including this story, the bonus side story and some extra commentary upon completion of this story's run here. The side story will answer a question or two, and provide an alternate perspective on the great sixth grader incident.
I can take pride in knowing I didn't (and won't) miss a comic update, no matter how bad things got for me. The goal of a good daily comic is to always be there to make you smile, through happy days, grumpy days and dark moments. Precocious is something that you could take for granted, knowing I will always be there with a new treat for you ever day. (Thought I'd much prefer appreciation as opposed to a sense of entitlement - but such is the double-edge sword of reliability!) It hit me very hard that I couldn't be Captain Reliable for everything, and I had no choice to but to watch my deadlines come and go for non-Precocious work. While I've had a few commissions take too long, though all had legitimate reasons for those delays, this was a new experience for me. And it was awful. ESPECIALLY since I had the Kickstarter reward timing so perfectly planned out! Nothing makes the universe angrier than someone making plans, I guess.
I'm in no way out of the woods yet on any level. My health is still more bad than good, and it'll be interesting to see how that issue plays out with a potentially helpful procedure on the horizon. I also have lots of comic plans that I'm not willing to put on hold. I still plan to debut book four at Anthrocon this year, and the companion book will be produced as well, though for a later release. One cruel twist on life is that your bill don't stop even when you can't work - in fact, they skyrocket with the addition of so many medical bills! (Don't get sick in America unless you're rich.) I will be looking into various fundraising options to help keep both me and the comic going, and I hope enough people appreciate what I do to give me the chance to keep fighting - but first, before any of that, I have a dwindling pile of outstanding orders to finish. Wish me luck!