When I quit my comfy quasi-government job in 2013 to focus full-time on entrepreneurial endeavors, I thought one of the things I’d do for sure was increase production on all sorts of creative projects, including my then-longish-running webcomic, The Utopian Foundation.
Launched in April 2012 as a sequel to my 2009-2010 webcomic The Utopian, The Utopian Foundation started as a semiweekly strip, but then I had to drop frequency down to weekly once I realized my well was running dry and I was falling behind schedule. But in the summer of 2013, I figured, hey, now I’ll be working for myself! I’ll have plenty of time to get this strip out quicker, and maybe also animate a chapter of the original series! And also finish these screenplays! And also make custom Munny figures! And also maybe host a PBS TV show! (Remind me to tell you that story one day.)
Of course, the reality is, once I fully launched Creation Forge Studios with my pal Daniel, all of those ideas came to a crashing halt. The “free” time I had when I wasn’t cranking out writing and public relations work for freelance clients (a/k/a that which paid my bills) suddenly became fully committed to building a brick & mortar business out of thin air (and thin finances). Although I continued to work on the script for The Utopian Foundation when I could squirrel away little scraps of time here and there, I was forced to put the webcomic on indefinite hiatus.
Fast-forward to 2016: It has been more than two-and-a-half years since the last new Utopian Foundation strip was posted. No one is clamoring for its return or conclusion. With my life somewhat stabilized and my “free” time returning to being actually “free” (as in, not bound by deadlines outside of my already-demanding day job), I’m trying to dive (more like wade) back into the small pond of creative projects I abandoned while building and destroying a few businesses. One of those is, of course, The Utopian Foundation.
The thing is, as I mentioned, no one is asking for its return. No one probably remembers it existed. Including its own website. Yeah, that’s right: I literally had not even looked at The Utopian Foundation website in more than a year, and when I did, all of the 133 strips posted to it were gone. The WordPress plug-in I used to post and manage the webcomics became obsolete in that time, and although the site and the database were intact and in good shape, the comics and structure were kablooey.
If I were to pick up, were to begin producing strips again, finishing the lengthy serial storyline that I wrote a few years ago, I couldn’t exactly just start throwing up strip No. 134 with a “here’s what you missed” note. I viewed this as an opportunity, rather than a handicap. I installed new plug-ins and a new theme, freshened up the website, and decided I’d re-post all of the original Utopian Foundation strips, rolling them out to the world until we’re caught up and naturally run into new strips.
So, quietly, with no promotion other than a tweet, I started reposting these strips on April 15, exactly four years after the webcomic’s initial launch date, and exactly seven years from the date of The Utopian‘s original 2009 launch. Yeah, April 15. It’s an easy date for me to remember. It’s my mom’s birthday. (And usually Tax Day.)
If you’ve never read The Utopian Foundation before, now’s a great time to get started. If you did read it before, it’s also a great time to re-read it. It’s a hard comic to describe. It’s not high concept. It’s about a bunch of people–students, faculty, parents–who have been affected by the events of what went down in the first Utopian series. It’s basically a webcomic soap opera. Kind of like Beverly Hills 90210 meets Degrassi meets, um, The Wire.
I’m posting these at an aggressive pace: Daily. Which means all of the existing strips should be reposted in about 26 weeks. Six months should be plenty of time for me to get a good number of new strips knocked out, ideally at least 25 or so (I aim to produce one a week, and so far, so good). By the time we get to the new strips, I should have a stockpile, and then we’ll slow down the posting frequency to once or twice a week so that the buffer remains far enough ahead for me to maintain pace.
But that’s looking way ahead. Right now, I’m just taking it one day, one strip, one panel at a time. I’m very out of practice, am still trying to get my home studio optimized for illustration work, and have a lot of work still to do on the script. For now, enjoy (hopefully) the comics that I’m putting up there, and stay tuned to the Twitters for behind-the-scenes updates. If you don’t see any, throw a digital rock at my head. I need the encouragement.