Well, it's two weeks late, but the latest installment of "An Illustrated History of Jonah Hex" has finally been posted in its entirety. Normally, I can write up an entry in a few weeks, no problem, but to be honest, I think I'm going through a spot of depression because this one was darn hard to complete.
I imagine there's many of you who've gone through a depressive swing this year because...y'know...frickin' 2020, but I figure most of mine stems from the fact that my Mom passed away about 2 months ago. Before you ask: No, it wasn't COVID. She'd been living with Parkinson's for over 18 years, and things had gotten worse for her health-wise early last year (for those who remember me having to cancel some appearances in May 2019 due to family issues, this was part of it). It all came to a head this past summer, and the docs had a frank discussion with her that they were quickly running out of options, so they gave her a choice: Exhaust every option they had left to keep her alive but put her in tons of pain with little improvement to her quality of life, or stop everything and let go. We talked together quite a bit about this, and in the end, she decided she was tired of fighting the inevitable, and she passed away three weeks later.
Most days, I'm pretty good emotionally: I know my Mom isn't in constant pain anymore, which was a big concern those last few months she was alive. But sometimes -- like right now typing this -- it hits me hard, and it wasn't until I was struggling through writing this latest Hex history entry that I noticed it was likely effecting my ability to work. I'm normally a pokey writer, so I thought that's what it was, but then I realized the drive wasn't there. I know that one of the signs of depression is not finding pleasure in things that you normally enjoy, so that kinda shocked me, especially because I've got plans.
You might've noticed this latest entry is structured a little differently than the others, namely there's virtually no external links. That's because -- prior to COVID turning the world upside-down -- I'd decided to work on getting "An Illustrated History of Jonah Hex" published. The old man's gonna turn 50 in 2022, and I feel that's something to celebrate, so my goal is to cover all of Hex history up to that point, then publish via Amazon's printing service, same as I do Swords & Sixguns. This will be an unofficial work, naturally, but that's not for lack of trying (DC has made it impossible to contact them -- even industry pros I know have no idea who I should talk to about such a project), and I've already spoken with some fans with collections of original Hex art who'll provide the "illustrated" portion of the work, as opposed to the page scans I've been doing (this should help get around any copyright issues). With all that in mind, I decided to write the next few entries so they're mainly text as opposed to a mix of text, pics, and external sources, just to cut down on work later on (I need to go through all the previous entries and do the same, probably fatten up the really early ones as well because they were light on info compared to later ones). It's a bit of an undertaking, but not impossible...or at least that's what I was thinking before this one entry took twice as long as usual.
My Mom was proud of my writing. She had absolutely no interest in the genre, preferring Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson, but she was proud that I wrote a book, got it published, and had fans who appreciated my work. She loved telling people her daughter was an author, and always wanted to know how things were going with cons and such. I'd even tell her about the Hex history project and the pros I'd interviewed for it (she was tickled by how Johnathon Schaech contacted me and the chats we've had). So it's a bit disconcerting for me that this depression is cutting into my ability to do something my Mom actively encouraged me to do. I know it's going to take a bit to work through, to find a way back to where I need my head to be in order to get all this done in a timely manner. Right now, I'm thinking of working on some Hex fics to get back into his world in a fun way (besides, I've seriously neglected my DC2 work the last couple of years!), then crack down on the history stuff once we reach January 2021. As I do that, I was wondering if'n y'all could help me out in a few ways.
First up, if you haven't already, go become a member of the "Jonah Hex, Via Pony Express" posse. As I write this, we currently have 913 members, and I'd love to have over 1,000 when the book gets published. So join up and ask others to do the same so we can beef up that number. Also, if you own any original Hex art, be it pages, covers, or sketches, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add you to my list of potential contributors. I'll be honest, I can't pay you for your contribution other than give you credit in the book, but the bigger variety of art I have to pull from, both in terms of eras and artists, the better it will represent all 50 years of Hex history. Lastly, I just began a sale at my online store: From now until December 12th, you can pick up autographed copies of Swords & Sixguns: An Outlaw's Tale for 20% off, along with a few other exclusive items. That might sound unrelated to the Hex stuff, but in truth, buying those books will help me raise capital to print the Hex history book, as I'll need to get cover work done for it, and last time around, that cost me a few hundred dollars. If we were still having cons on a regular basis, my revenue stream would probably be a lot better right now, but we're not, so it ain't.
That's about it for now. Thanks for listening, and I wish y'all a happy and healthy holiday season.