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340: Five Years Later

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AND THAT’S IT! All of Nowhere Band has been reposted. The hack has been undone.

Here’s the original closing text that ran when the strip ended in 2017, courtesy of archive.org:

So that’s it. Whoa!

Now that’s it’s all up, I wanted to talk a little bit about the strip and its ending. Starting with the “why” of ending it. There are a bunch of things there. Nowhere Band started in summer of 2007, and the roundness of a 10-year run appeals to me a bunch.There’s also the fact that I last played a rock show in 2011; the strip was originally meant to document a part of my life I’ve grown remote from (although I leaned into that a little bit by making the strip less and less about them being in a band and more and more about them coming to terms with postband life).

But here’s the biggest thing: I’m about to enter the 9-month process of writing my master’s thesis, and it’s easy for me to imagine a world where I get sucked up into that and just stop updating Nowhere Band because I’m busy with other stuff; I’ve always hated the way a lot of webcomics just sort of peter out. I wanted to give myself the gift of a firm, planned “THE END.”

It’s fun and gratifying to me to look back across the 225 strips that make up the run. The goal was always to tell emotionally honest stories about making music, prioritizing the ring of truth over easy punchlines. I feel like I did a decent job of that (and every time anyone reached out to me and said that a strip felt real to them, I loved it). On the visual side, I definitely got better at drawing comics as I went, but I kind of love the clunky, early strips for their raw badness. I do get a kick out of how willing I was to try weird stylistic stuff early on. On the flipside, the stretch where I did lettering with a font made from my handwriting was a terrible, terrible mistake… if I ever went back and fixed anything, that’s what it’d be.

Oh, and since a bunch of people have asked this over the years: none of the Awesome Boys are supposed to map explicitly onto any former bandmate of mine… really, they’re all just me.

I do regret that I never did a storyline about the Awesome Boys in the recording studio (or, more accurately, in the basement with an 8-track recorder). I always wanted to do that, but could never work out the logistics. Oh, well.

As for what’s next: for the very short term, I still have some drawings to do in my ongoing tarot card sketch project. By the time I’m done with that, I should be deep into my master’s thesis, so sustained comics projects are probably off the table (although I hope to be drawing a bunch). This might not be the last time I do comics with these characters; I have vague ideas, for instance, about a successor strip about Tina’s life in the worlds of academia and art history. But who knows. I do know that I’ve been worried about stunting my artistic growth; I don’t want my brain to be shunting off ideas because it feels like it has to work on the next Nowhere Band strip.

Basically, my plan is to finish my thesis and then wait for a comics idea that burns so hot that I feel like I just HAVE to do it. I know one’ll come.

There are a ton of people I need to thank: None of this whatsoever would have been possible without the support and understanding of Rebecca Collins. None of the material would have existed without the willingness of Erik Jensen, Dale Plasek, Grant Weeks, Bob Brown, Mark Kalar, Joe Plummer, Todd Smith, and Jay Bauer-Clapp to make godawful amplified noise with me. A decent chunk of other material found its way into the strip after conversations with Chad Cook and Andrew Weiss. John Ralston’s been an important friend of the strip since it was before a strip. And I have an entire ecosystem of online cartooning and music pals who’ve kept me sane as I worked (and kept me sane in the past 18 months as the world’s gone insane). And finally, to anybody who’s ever read the strip: thank you, I love you for doing that.

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