5 years with Raven’s Dojo…
Ever wondered why Raven’s Dojo pg 1 opens with “Welcome back to Raven’s Dojo” ?
It seems strange to start a comic that way. Most of you know that Raven’s Dojo has been with me for more or less my whole life. That’s not accurate… Rodney and Dornail have been with me most of my life. Raven’s Dojo has only been a webcomic since around 97 or 98. It’s only been a domain for since 99. But even the that fateful April Fool’s day was the first day I chose to deliver telephonic comics to the dial up denizens of the primitive internet, 2008 was most definitely the true beginning for Raven’s Dojo.
I say that only because I was at the point in my life where I was sick of only being a guy who talked about making comics. Or worse, the comics I did make I always used some excuse to not do my best work. I was in college. Tired after work. Etc. I wanted to show the world what I could really do and that meant launching my favorite heroes into a full effort comic. It would be funny, dirty, and also tell heroic tales of ass kicking by non traditional heroes.
It also meant waving goodbye to any notion of free time. I had graduated college and took a year to work on godmode, but I was still lazing around mostly. Playing video games. Enjoying the fact that I was no longer on the hook for 16 hrs of class a week and 40 hrs of work. It’s scary to take a commitment like that normally. But Rodney and Dornail have been with me my whole life. Waiting for me to get over whatever temporary bullshit is keeping me from them. Raven’s Dojo had always been there waiting for me to get back to it. Unfinished business. And it was time to get back in the dojo.
And to my surprise a great many of you love these characters as much as I do.
Over the last 5 years I have had the great pleasure to help the world get to know Rodney, Dornail, Sarah, Rosetta, and Raven. I have shared their heroic exploits and shown them in epic battles. It’s a hard sell, but I have been blessed by so many folks who absolutely GET what I’m going for.
I have had readers tell me they grew up with the characters and appreciate them in different ways as they themselves mature. I’ve had readers tell me that a dumb joke I made was the bright spot in their shitty day. Or the only good thing going for them in their lives at the moment. I’ve had readers tell me that I inspired them to launch their own comics. Share the secret heroes that live inside them with the world. These things have meant more to me than anything.
I’ve challenged myself as an artist to accomplish goals I’d never have thought I could handle previously. Met so many amazing people and had so many good things come from my time with this comic.
So why is 5 years more special than any other anniversary?
In year one of the dojo’s relaunch Adam Black (of Locus fame) and I were talking about our new relaunches. Much like me, Locus was a life long project that had been waiting for him to get serious about. “when would we be able to make a living off our comics?” It was a question we both wondered. Adam had said someone he knew of said it took around 5 years. That seemed like forever back then. I never dreamed it’d whizz by so fast.
And so it’s 5 years now. I’m not making a living off my comic. The dojo typically makes 20 bucks a month. But I feel as though I’ve started on a path that could lead me to doing the dojo more frequently. My readers have blown my mind time and again with their relentless dedication. I don’t just mean that skin of the teeth Kickstarter victory. I mean the patience as the comic slows down. While I’ve spent the year working on reward fulfillment I haven’t really lost my audience. I’ve had so much fun doing this I can’t imagine why I’d ever want to stop. I’ve made lifelong friends, had skin of the teeth victories so close you’d swear the death star blew up, fought an army of sex robots, been to the moon, fought gods, and so much more.
So what happens after 5 years if we’re not making a living off our comics?
MAKE MORE FUCKING COMICS. BETTER FUCKING COMICS. AND NEVER STOP KICKING ASS!
Here’s to 5 more.. and another 5.. and another 5..