Just over 18 months ago I decided to get serious about making comics. I knew that this would involve around ten hours every week sitting in my room drawing or writing. I knew that on top of a fulltime job and family commitments, this would really cut into my free time. So why do it? There are all the internal reasons that make creating worthwhile. Over the years, I’ve developed a small universe of my own, populated by over 100 characters with their own names, attributes and stories. I felt the need to create a little lifeboat for them, so they can survive externally from me in some form, because I won’t be around forever. There’s also the simple enjoyment of crystallising your ideas into art. Writing is hard work, turning a series of cool moments into a coherent storyline, refining a character’s voice so that you can hear them when they speak on the page. It’s rewarding like solving a crossword puzzle when things click into place, and amusing when you come up with a good line of dialog. Drawing’s even harder work, but incredibly satisfying when you push yourself to a new level, whether its in backgrounds, characters and their expressions and body language, or the more ephemeral art of storytelling and page layout. That’s all fine, but I have often been struck by the nagging doubt that I’m producing something so obscure and impenetrable that no-one else is really interested. I’m here today, however, to talk about the satisfaction of external validation, in other words, to bask in my own unbearable smugness. First off, Indie Comics Quarterly #1 is out now, featuring Pazuzu!, a 9 page black and white strip set in the world of Universe Gun. The Indie Comics Quarterly is a very professional anthology put together by the awesome Crystal Ash, and can be yours for just 15 dollars. Check out the Pazuzu! link on the front page of Fundament Zero for a preview of the strip.   Secondly, I have a page of Universe Gun hanging in an art gallery in Adelaide right now! This is part of the Lowered Brows exhibition, which covers T-shirts, zines, comic art and cust0m toys, and other lowbrow artforms that are not normally associated with the white walls of a gallery. A live comic jam was held, where we put together a few improvised pages one row of panels at a time. And I saw some awesome art, from the “Rock” Thing T-shirt on the link, to custom action figures called “Choking Hazards”, and of course, this little gem!   As if that weren’t enough, I’m also taking part in a presentation for the Emerging Writers Festival in September. In a mixture of performance art and presentation on the process of creating comics, we’ll be taking suggestions from the audience to assemble a protagonist, a script and finally two pages of thumbnail art. I’ve never drawn in front of an audience before, that should be good nerve-wracking fun! So that’s one reason to make comics. If you refer to yourself as a local comics creator often enough, and put in the hard hours down the pub at local comics scene meetings, it kind of happens, and people start believing you. That in itself is a measure of success. I’ve asked myself if I have any more clarity for my goals in this project, and consequently fitted a simple hit counter to my comics viewer script, which you may have noticed. My aim, I’ve decided, is to get that number up to 10,000, from its current values of around 100. In the next few weeks I’ll give a more technical run down on my efforts to achieve this goal. See you in seven, sailors on the seas of success! Dr Mike 2000, 10 Aug 2014