Saturday, 11 June 2016

Ted McKeever: Why I'm Quitting Comics

5" x 5": Cerebus (2016)
(from the Mr 5x5 Blog, 4 June 2016)
Time I addressed the subject of my leaving comics.

Traversing the comic book landscape of late has, shall I say, become less than enjoyable from a creative standpoint. It's all but impossible for me to maintain a level of enthusiasm on the projects I work on, with the industry heading more and more in a direction that just doesn't jibe with what I do. Simply said, I'm no longer having as much fun working on comics as I used to.

And so, Pencil Head will be my final series.

Who knows, maybe one day I'll return, and self-publish a story that I feel is worth telling. But, as of right now, I just want to be an artist. To paint, draw, and create whatever spontaneous images strike me at any given moment, with no storyline, dialogue, or deadline to hinder that flow. To do what I did before I got into comics, and create art for art's sake.

Which brings me to what has become my creative solace...

These 5" x 5" original pieces, that I will now be producing on a regular basis. Eventually, they'll be made available through the store on this blog. But, at present, my focus is on attending Amazing Vegas Con. Which, by the way, I will be accepting on-the-spot sketch requests for my weird 5" X 5" full-color PORTRAITS. All for the same price, no matter the character.

(from a Bleeding Cool Article, 8 June 2016)
...What best defines my last thirty years in comics can be summed up in what Dickens wrote:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness."
As for the highs and lows... working with my good friends, Archie Goodwin and Lou Stathis, were the highest points. The current state of the comic book industry, is the lowest...

...take nothing for granted. It all can change in the blink of an eye. For as much of a blast it can be when everything's going good, being a creator in the comic book industry isn't all willy-wonky-chocolate-factory-happy-time fun. I mean, there are exceptions to the rule. But, for the most part, it's more like standing in a food line, holding an empty plate, while waiting for meals to be handed out by over bloated, egotistical, wannabe-creators posing as editors. And that's all before a project even gets green lit. After that... it gets worse. At least, that's how it is nowadays. Used to be where you didn't even have to get along with anyone in the editorial offices, just as long as you turned in the work on time, and had a following, you were gold. Whereas, these days, it's all about which editor you're buddy-buddy with, and how far you're willing to bend over. No thanks...

Ted McKeever is the Eisner Award nominated comics creator who has been working in comics since 1987 and is best known for Transit, Eddy Current, Plastic Forks, Metropol and The Extremist.


Travis Pelkie said...

This was bummer news. McKeever is so damn good, one of my absolute favorite comics artists. The industry should be ashamed that there's no place for him any more. I've been buying his work regularly since Image first reprinted it in those sweet HCs, and been getting his new series, but I've been remiss in reading enough of it.

Man, I wish they'd reprint Plastic Forks, though.

That is a sweet Cerebus, btw.

Robbie Foggo said...

Hopefully a break away will recharge the batteries and he comes back in a couple of years with brand new stuff.

Will try and pick up a print if we can pick them up from his website in future though.

And it is a great Cerebus!

futurepastimes said...

Agreed fellas. Ted's one of my favourites as well and I wish him the best.

Karen P. Smith-Zulli said...

All best wishes to Ted!

Jim Turoczy said...

I was with ya when Transit first came out and I'm with still ya with Pencil Head. I didn't buy everything you ever did, but I own the lion's share of your work. Ted, you will be missed.

Ted McKeever said...

Much thanks, guys.
Your support has, and will always be, greatly appreciated.

Dave Sim said...

Yeah, we really hate to hear stories like this. It IS a GREAT Cerebus. I hope you'll post pictures of more CEREBUS characters here just to remind people of what you're doing NOW or if you've got a personal appearance coming up.

I was always fortunate enough to be able to do my own work without running it past an editor. That has its pluses and minuses, too -- it wreaks havoc with the critical reaction, for one thing -- but, really, the best thing is getting something to come out as accurately as possible: as close to what YOU want it to be as you can get it. Everything else is just...everything else.

coughin'dave said...

Don't editors at Image leave you to do what you want? I always assssumed they would do - after the project has been green-lit, at least.. Oh well, all the best for the future

Dave Sim(pson...)