“Everybody Is Going To Get Real Miserable Really Quickly”: An Interview with Dylan Meconis

Dylan Meconis seems to have been making webcomics for forever. Bite Me! was a comedy involving vampires set during the French Revolution. Family Man is an ongoing 18th century tale of religion, wolves and family secrets. Meconis also co-wrote the series The Long Con, made the Eisner-nominated short comic Outfoxed, along with many other projects.

Queen of the Sea, which came out last year, was written, drawn, lettered, and painted by Meconis, and the book is quite simply stunning. As one who has been reading her for years, I expect a lot from her work, but the book was a triumph and a leap forward for her as an artist and writer. It’s historical fiction of the first order, young adult comic that has been written and designed in ways that push what a lot of young readers will know about and expect of comics. And more than that, simply a joy to read.

I really loved Queen of the Sea for so many reasons. You wrote about the inspiration for the book in the back matter, but I wonder if you could talk about that process of finding this story.

I guess it’s two pronged because I knew I wanted to write a story about a new person coming to a convent and messing everything up. [laughs] Teenage Queen Elizabeth is a really fun subject because she really did not expect to become Queen at any point. Finding her correspondence with her half-sister – who was queen and was not very fond of her – was really fun. I wanted to put the two of them together. The actual Queen Elizabeth was never exiled to a distant island convent, of course. Also, I’m terrified of trying to live up to the expectations of Tudor history nerds. [laughs] I will never know enough about this dynasty to satisfy people. I figured it would be both more fun and a lot less stressful to make it an original story but with a lot of accuracy as far as the rhythms of daily life and general political setup. Also if you kill off Henry VIII early, you get to keep all the convents and monasteries in operation!

I would imagine you put a lot of consideration into how closely you wanted the book to skew to actual history. Because it’s not straight history but it’s also not something like Michael Moorcock’s Gloriana.

Yes, there are no dragons. Ten year old me would be so disappointed at the lack of dragons. I don’t know what to tell her. I did my best. [laughs]

So you didn’t want to get into the history of the Tudors but you did want to delve into the lived history of the period and explore those elements that don’t always get written down and recorded.

It’s the part of history I find the most interesting. We all get the great man theory in high school and learn about major political figures and battle dates and the overall ebb and flow of large kingdoms, but that’s alienating from the actual facts. These were human beings – not distinct in any way from us biologically – with a lot of similar cultural origins to readers in the West. The daily life stuff is where you have a lot of your mythologized ideas about history dispelled. Everyone knows the Battle of Hastings was in 1066 but a lot of people still believe that medieval people never took baths. Which just isn’t true! Medieval people loved baths. They had bath houses! It was a huge communal activity.

Finding those sources is really fun for me and it paints a much more vivid picture of what it was like to be alive at a different time than the big overarching political events do. If you’re trying to describe what it’s like to be alive in 2019, you might include some large political details, but mostly you talk about what your daily life is like, where you get your food from, how you eat it, what kind of people you live with, what’s a suburb – all that that stuff is the framework of our lives. One of the fun things about researching the history of convents and monasteries is because the achievements of individuals was underplayed inherently in that system, a lot of the scholarship we have about it is about the process of daily life. They had a very structured system of days in that lifestyle and so we know a surprising amount about what it was like to live in a particular kind of convent or monastery in a particular region in a particular century. For me it was really fun to dig into those cool little rhythms and incorporate my favorite bits into one mismatched idealized concept that turned into the island in the book.

I think that concern is at the heart of so much of your work. That finding those details and finding ways to dramatize them is your way into writing these characters.

Absolutely. That’s what makes them characters instead of figures. One of the fun things about comics – and also one of the worst things about comics – is that you can put so much of that information into the environments and the physical actions of characters without explicitly talking about it. Whereas in prose you would either have to call it out very specifically or you just let it sink into the background unspoken. In comics you have to draw it all. Which is both an opportunity and a threat. You have to be really intentional about what stuff you’re going to try to nail or to highlight or hide as an easter egg. And sometimes you have to say, this table is good enough.

I’m sure there’s a point more than halfway through where you thought, this level of detail seemed like such a good idea when I started…

Exactly. Why?! [laughs] The cliche of historical fiction is that you need big set pieces. I certainly included some of those, but for me, the interior of the church, was more of a drag than, the interior of the kitchen. That’s where they do all the pickling! Some of that has to do with the pencil mileage of drawing a church in the 16th Century and some of it has to do with the fact that I think 16th Century kitchen recipes are really fascinating.

I think the only recipe you included in the book was gruel.

Yeah, I was sad I couldn’t get more recipes in there. I really wanted to have a ton of them. The gruel one was the only one that ended up being a good plot device. [laughs] Maybe I’ll release a related cookbook.

“Dylan Meconis: Cooking Through the Centuries”


When you started to write Queen of the Sea, to what degree was this a different process than the other comics you’ve made?

Super different because it was all plotted really tightly first before I did scene to scene writing. Bite Me! was completely improvised. I literally wrote each week’s script on the back of the page that I then drew the page on. Which honestly was a perfect approach for a comic that I started in high school and mostly drew in college in my free time between classes. Not having some rigid plan to adhere to is what kept it fun. It was a fun game I could play with readers. I could respond to them. Also, the plot was not the point. It’s a bunch of vampires making poor decisions in Revolutionary France. It’s a long series of gags leading up to basically a shaggy dog story. Everybody is there for the character antics and the historical in jokes. Nobody was there for the deft plotting.

With Family Man I knew the full arc of the story. Because I release it at a page a week, in order to keep my brain engaged, I didn’t want to have the whole thing scripted. So I have a bunch of scenes scripted in advance, but for the most part, to keep things lively and to keep me interested, it is a little bit freeform. I don’t paginate things in advance. I would sit down every week and look at the scene that I had written and then chunk it up into panels and pages depending on how the pacing felt right.

Queen of the Sea was very rigidly plotted and paginated and thumbnailed in advance. I knew I was going to be aiming it at traditional publishing. I wanted to have a complete manuscript that somebody outside of my brain could read all the way through and understand, know what the page count would be, and have a really clear concept of what the story was going to be. I’m not a super iterative writer. A lot of people do a zillion drafts but I tend to take a really long time to grind out one draft that gets little tweaks. Which works well when you’re submitting a complete manuscript for consideration instead of just a proposal. It was a much more rigid process, but because production time was so condensed I didn’t have time to feel bored by it or feel constrained by the script because I wasn’t taking ten years to draw it.

So how long did it take you to write and draw it?

From when I started seriously outlining it to when I had a finished manuscript was probably a year and a half or two years. It was something I was doing completely on the side. So when I needed to get it finished I said, every Tuesday is my writing day. Devoting one day a week is a lot when you’re a freelancer. That’s a full day when you could be working on immediately income generating stuff. It’s an investment and a risk. I took a slow, measured approach to getting it all together and really polishing it off before I submitted it around to agents. I made a website and drew thirty sample pages. I was bonkers about getting it ready to go. It took longer than it would have if I had just wanted to quickly produce a script, but I really wanted to polish that rock.

How long did it take to draw?

That was a little more extended because I drew a bunch of sample pages and then we sold the book and then I went back into the art process. All included, a year and a half from start until turning in the files? But in terms of how long was I working full time on that, more like a year. I tried not to keep track of it! [laughs] I just descended into the fog of war until it was finished. I’m including lettering, painting, layouts, the whole nine yards.

Exactly. Drawing 400 pages is a lot, but you did everything. Did you do all by hand?

I did all the layouts, lettering and rough art digitally. My pencils are really tight, which is helpful because it condenses the production process, but once the digital pencils were approved, I printed everything out with a laser printer and lightboxed it onto watercolor paper. If you look at the line art it’s mostly not ink, it’s oil based pencils, which is nicely water resistant. So my final pencils were also the ink stage. I did those in batches and then painted in batches as well. I did not do final pencils on the entire book and then turn around and go back to the start to watercolor. I think I might have lost my mind if I did that. [laughs] I did the final line art and painting in chunks and that was a several months process that went by in a haze of waterproof art tape and paint spatter everywhere. It was really meditative and I really liked it. [laughs] It was very peaceful; I knew what I was doing everyday. Watercolor really forces you to just focus and tune out everything else. You don’t get a ton of time to fix mistakes so your mind really can’t wander too far. It was nice to hone in on something that thoroughly.

Not that you haven’t done short comics over the years, but getting to spend all your time and energy on a long project is something different.

It was pretty cool. I’ve been working on multiple things at a time for most of my career so luxury is the wrong word, but it felt like an indulgent change of pace to really just focus on one thing. I did a few small side jobs at the same time just because I can’t help myself, but for the most part it was just that. It was one of the first times in my career I’ve gotten to just do one project really intensely for that long.

The book feels different from your previous work and I think one reason is because so many of those previous comics were either short comics or made a page at a time and here you’re not thinking about the page as a unit in the same way.

Or less so. It’s more sequence oriented.

Yes. You have some really fabulous pages, but it’s much more focused on scenes and sequences. I’m curious about thinking about comics in those terms. Because it is a shift and in a way it’s less focused on the reader.

Well, less focused on the immediate audience response. One of the most frustrating aspects of doing a book for traditional publishing is that you are in a vacuum where the only people who know how things are going – and have some sense of progress and the fact that you still exist – are the people you live with, some of my studiomates, and your agent and editor check in now and then to make sure you’re not dead. There were various points in the process where I had to set myself challenges like put a drawing online once a day unrelated to the book. Just any doodle so you know that you’re still alive and eventually an audience will get to see this. You’re not totally going off into the desert like some sort of hermit. It was really intimate and really lovely to just have a private space with these characters and that process without worrying about posting at midnight and thinking, oh, only two comments this week, I was really proud of that page. [laughs] Or being like, I’m tired of these square layouts, next week I’m going to figure out some way to make it a cool layout. But it is isolating too, and it sucks to just have to sit on this thing for so long and wait so long for it to come out.

I’m sure you had days of finishing a page and going, this is gorgeous – three and a half years from now when it comes out people are going to be really excited about it!

Yes, the kindergarteners right now who will read this in third grade are going to just die for it. [laughs]

Queen of the Sea is marketed as a YA book and is meant for a younger audience than your other comics, but I don’t think you’re writing down in any way.

That would be antithetical to my whole relationship to that phase of young adult childhood. I wrote this very intentionally for the 10-14 year old age group. Kids in late elementary school and middle school. The great thing about comics is that stuff that’s aimed at a much younger audience is still really delightful for older age brackets. I knew I wasn’t going to lose grownup readers with this book. It’s not a board book where you learn how to count. But it did mean that I got to I really had to use the main character’s voice and have that be a companion for the reader – and also to think about my own emotional experiences from being that age. I think a lot of people who write for youth or kids tend to write for an age bracket that really connect to emotionally as an adult. They still sort of feel like they are that person they were in tenth grade or fourth grade or whenever. For me that middle school age range was emotionally intense but really intellectually engaging. I was a preconscious reader but also a weirdo. [laughs] I was not super well socialized, per se, but I was bright and I was good with adults and I had a vivid inner life and imagination. I feel very protective of that version of myself.

It took a little while to settle into letting that voice come out in Margaret. But when I realized, I’m writing for a kid who’s going to identify with Margaret’s worldview – or at least her emotional way of experiencing the world and her way of expressing herself – then I got to write a book for the kind of kid that I was at that age. The kind of book that I would have been in love with and carried around everywhere. So it was both tremendously self-serving and also just to give to kids at that age. I think that age is magical because it’s a real age of intellectual awakening but you haven’t yet tumbled fully into high school age challenges where you’re starting to think about your future as an adult and you’re starting to have romantic relationships or you’re interested in them  and you’re starting to discover your own sexuality. I don’t feel like I can write effectively in that voice, but I know what it’s like to be a precocious thirteen year old who feels totally displaced form everyone around them, but also very much in love with their own little corner of the world.

You have a lot of beautiful designs and layouts in the book, but you especially seemed to enjoy Margaret’s asides in the book.

There’s a lot of style switching, which is really fun for me. Part of how this project came to be was also me thinking, what is the most fun thing I could set myself up to draw? When I think about drawing a book I feel exhausted in advance because it’s so much work. Doing a book that has a lot of spot illustrations and has a lot of changes in style and medium and has little side stories and bits of mythology or folklore sounded just delightful to me. So I thought, what if I did that? And then I found a story that fit that brief. I’ve always loved folklore and mythology and I really love art history and I love doing different styles to fit different stories. I think if you look at all the stuff I’ve drawn, people who know me well can tell that I drew all of them, but I don’t know that you’d necessarily look at Family Man and Queen of the Sea and go, oh yes, this is clearly the same creator at work. So it was a way to within the context of this story tell a lot of little stories and flex my muscles a bit and change things up for the reader. Originally the book was divided into chapters and the start of each chapter was an aside story. You can kind of feel the rhythm of those chapters every time Margaret stops the main narrative to talk about the rhythm of our day or a visual concept of courtly love. Anytime there’s a chart or a story about a saint or something else that breaks the visual tone up a little bit, that was meant to provide some breathing room for the reader from the moment to moment storytelling. And also give me a break – and give me an opportunity to go, I love drawing in a medieval woodcut style, let’s do that for a couple pages. But I knew I should keep those brief because page count is a consideration. I viewed them as, I get one page or one spread to have fun with this, and then back to the main story. They were little breathers in between the main action.

Like the explanation of chess.

That was actually one of the sample spreads I put together for the book proposal. That will really get the commercial trade publishers! But people loved it because who puts a wacky explanation of chess in a middle grade book? And proving that you can make something that esoteric fun and put character voice in it and be relevant to the plot was a pretty good audition piece.

The book has a lot of great asides and annotations and I kept thinking about a kid that age who has grown up with newspaper comics and Raina and then find this book and seeing all this formal experimentation and realizing this is what a comic can do and be.

Some of that is me getting these weird skills that I’ve accrued in my freelance graphic designer journey. For a couple years I worked for a visual communications consulting firm that does a lot of really fancy infographics and cool explanation posters and presentations. Weirdly enough Kevin Huizenga worked for them to at some point. He uses a ton of diagrams and information graphic techniques in his comics. So doing things like the pie chart of the hours observed at a convent was me having fun with those super-commercial skills and using them for narrative hijinx.

As you were writing this and thinking about the book, did you always want to paint it in watercolor?

I wanted to do it that way the whole time. I really enjoy using watercolors as an illustration medium. I’ve been doing tiny original paintings to sell at conventions for a long time and taking pet portrait commissions too which is believe me the most fun way to survive behind a four day long convention table is to take commissions of people’s pets. Watercolor’s a really great medium to be able to transport and get a fully realized piece that looks really cool but is not expensive to produce and dries quickly. I figured that I had developed the chops to actually do a whole story in watercolor. And I’ve done so much digital work, I just really wanted a book where a big part of the process was traditional media. I was ready to put down the cintiq for a while and just enjoy working on paper and at the end of the day having a stack of pieces of paper and being like, I made these things! [laughs] I didn’t make files today, I made objects, and on an emotional level that’s really gratifying in a way that digital work isn’t for me. I did impose some limits for my own sanity. And for the reassurance of my friends and family the limited color palette was a big factor in my being able to do that story. I’m not a super talented colorist, so limiting myself to an overall warm tone, an overall cool tone, and a yellow to unite everything was a really choice for efficiency.

I had bunch of failed experiments and ones that looked nice but didn’t quite harmonize together and this ended up working best. I ran it by friends who do have painter brain asking, does this look good to your much more advanced eyeballs? Benjamin Dewey, who’s an amazing color artist and painter in comics absolutely has painter brain and I asked him. He said, that’s nice, you actually picked something with a lot of the right technical qualities. I was like, yeah, happy accident! [laughs] I was able to do nice crisp shadow work like I do digitally and not try to make myself use watercolors as painting medium so much as a coloring medium. I leveled up over the course of it for sure, but keeping it simple was really helpful. I think it creates a nice sense of atmosphere and continuity. Certainly I didn’t use colors that people from that era would be startled by. It’s a pretty traditional palate in some ways. Those colors are really cheap, also. [laughs]

So you weren’t looking at, this color was uncommon in that era so I can’t use that.

I did think about that! [laughs] There’s not a lot of saturated purple around, but I didn’t want to put someone in a florescent color jacket. The setting is pretty natural also so I didn’t want to have a gonzo color palette. I very occasionally let me layer colors on the paper so if I needed to make something green, I could do that, but it did mean that there were limited instances where mixed the colors happened. I liked that restraint also.

Is that the approach you took to a lot of elements of the book? You weren’t trying to have anything anachronistic, but you also weren’t going insane over word choices or some other aspects. Although you’re laughing as I’m asking this. [laughs]

[laughs] If you look at enough art from the period, you know the extent of experimentation possible. People from that era were pretty sophisticated with their colors and dyes. There were official color factories. All that stuff is super duper fun but also people lived int he same universe that we live in now so I didn’t want to limit the colors that Margaret has in her imagination. Again she probably wouldn’t have a concept of florescent pink, but not that many things have changed in color technology. Having that safe palette to return to kept things grounded I think.

In some of the asides you’ll use blue or other colors, which weren’t as common.

For the side stories where Margaret is the artist she gets more of a full palette but they’re all bright basic colors. She’s not doing sophisticated washes. I was inking with inks that are in the neighborhood of colors you would get from inks used at the time. It looks like stuff that a kid in that setting where they had access to basic art materials would have been able to produce work that looks roughly like that. And you know she’s living somewhere where they do a lot of stuff with dyes, so Margaret gets a decent crayon box. [laughs]

One of my favorite lines of Margaret’s has to be, “No more kissing! This is a convent!”

She’s not into it. [laughs] That’s a little bit of my own sensibility in there. Part of it is why I as an author have a hard time connecting with older YA literature. A lot of the time it’s understandably really focused on romantic relationships or sexual identity – or discovering that you don’t care about those things and that that differentiates you from your peers now. I think about myself in sixth grade, say, and I was not into it at all. I figure being gay was probably a factor, but it wasn’t on my radar yet. I wanted to give kids that age a story where yes, the adults are carrying on and making out and having those complex calculations, but the kid has a lot to worry about and this is not one of the things she’s interested in. This doesn’t take place in a totally innocent asexual universe, but it’s just not on the top of the main character’s mind at all. It’s a totally normal if you are a brainy 11 year old who sees your peers starting to french kiss and is like, ugh, no thanks.

I was the same way.

There were a lot of us, I think.

I think so, too, and I have the same problem with a lot of YA work.

I think it’s great that there’s a lot more queer representation now, but there are a lot of pretty intense romance and erotica tropes that have wound up in YA writing that really skews to an older age range. I didn’t want to do that. That is neither in my skillset nor really in the interest of the story. It is set at a convent, darn it! [laughs] Not that there wasn’t plenty of hanky panky going on at convents, but if there were here, Margaret was not party to it.

I think that Queen of the Sea is a response to Family Man in some ways. Stylistically obviously, in terms of color and design, and the asides, but it’s also another way to explore lived history and that period and some of these other ideas.

There’s a lot of faith and identity.

Yes and faith was so central back then and you do a very good job in both comics I think of trying to get at the way that faith defined personal identity and political identity.

There are two main characters – at least Luther thinks he’s the main character – who are very different, but at very pressured points of figuring out who they are. Margaret is realizing there’s this bigger world and I might have to deal with it and make decisions about what my moral priorities are and I’m learning that not everybody shares the same upbringing and worldview that I’ve been raised with in this very isolated place. Luther has already figured that out, but now for the first time as an adult he’s experiencing a change in identity or a realization that you can have an absolute moral conviction and be treated unfairly as a result of it. And that really sucks. [laughs] That’s such an adult realization, that you can make a principled stand and then be punished for it. If you’re raised in a very internally ethically consistent environment discovering that the world doesn’t play by the same rules can be so disillusioning at that age in your twenties and you’re trying to make a career or have your own family or make your mark on the world. Family Man is totally a post-college story and Queen of the Sea is very much an early coming of age story, where you’re not a kid anymore but you’re not an incipient adult yet either. You’re still under the impression that childhood is a caste as opposed to a phase.

You dedicated the book to yourself as a child and how you talk about it sounds very personal in so many ways. In ways you may not have been conscious of when you started.

Yeah I really don’t like doing autobiography for a host of reasons but it’s definitely emotionally very autobiographical and draws from basic physical experiences from my personal life more than a story like Family Man does. So yeah, it is a bit more immediately vulnerable feeling. Family Man has a lot of stuff that’s super intense and personal for me, but you have to squint. [laughs] It’s much better hidden. And there’s first person narrative in Queen of the Sea. I’d never done that before. It’s scary. You’re setting up your protagonist in direct relationship to the reader and that’s a little frightening. Especially if that character is a version of you as a kid. People might say mean things about this character who’s a mirror world version of 10 year old me and that’s potentially painful. Whereas somebody can totally go to town on the characterization of Luther from Family Man and I’m like, go nuts! He’s a mess! [laughs]

Was it hard to get into Margaret’s head and find her voice?

It wasn’t hard in terms of emotionally understanding who this kind of character was. It was more getting comfortable with writing in a voice similar to what my voice was at that age. I kept summer diaries for middle school and so I have a lot of my comics and stories from then so I have a clear sense of who that kid was. But just being comfortable enough to actually write in that voice and to have the confidence that this kid wasn’t coming off as obnoxious or as an adult took a little teeth gritting. Those first couple scenes were really tricky. It took me a few times before I settled in. Once the story got going and her voice felt established, it got a lot easier. I totally trust that character at this point. I’m not worried that I’m going to use her to say something that falls completely flat.

Did you see from the beginning that the story had to be, if not first person then dominated by Margaret’s voice in a way that your previous comics have not been?

I knew it had to be first person. Especially for readers in that age rang, if you’re setting the book in an alternate time period that makes it much easier to sink into. Especially when there’s a ton of visual stuff going on that is a direct guide into that world, talking you through it makes it way more accessible than if I did my usual thing of dropping you straight into the middle of the story and taking a cinematic approach. I think of Family Man as very cinematic that way where the narrative voice is kind of silent and it’s expressed through visuals whereas Queen of the Sea starts off with an explanatory essay. [laughs] I knew there had to be a really strong, engaging voice to get you through some of that initial settling into the world building. I wanted you to have a charming travel companion that you trusted so that when the real story got rolling, you felt like you were in good hands.

Family Man doesn’t have asides, it just starts out and doesn’t ever explain itself.

There are some hallucinations in there. [laughs]

[laughs] The reader is often experiencing events as Luther and other characters are and wikipedia can be your friend in reading because you don’t necessarily explain the history and the details.

I do end notes for Family Man so I can be like, look at all the homework I did, readers! Look at all the stuff I didn’t clog the story up with. I get teased by friends because in the middle of normal contemporary conversations suddenly going, did you know that the lighter supersedes the match? It’s this history factoid I learned from god knows where but committed to my otherwise very sieve-like memory. The family calls it Professor Dylan’s Knowledge Minute at this point because it’s like running a program and it just has to go through its process and unload Queen Elizabeth’s toothbrushing process and then it’s over and we can return to the conversation at hand. That’s kind of what Margaret does in the story where she jumps in and says, let’s talk about cheese. [laughs] I think that’s probably an only child thing. A lot of nerds have their little spasms of didacticism, I think. Margaret has them too, but they’re all very intentionally placed to tie into the themes of the story, it’s not totally random popping off. Integrating the behind the scenes historical information is much friendlier to the age range. Also librarians and teachers love it because it’s integrating learning into a compelling story!

So the book ends, “Of course, there is much more that l could tell you about what happened next to the true Queen of Albion and her companions. But for now – it is enough.” So are you planning to make a sequel? Or seventeen of them?

[laughs] I originally pitched it as a “standalone with series potential.” Which is total publishing speak. I’ve been around long enough that I knew marketing phrases and I used them ruthlessly in putting together a pitch. There is more story and the contracts are floating around in the mail. There’s more than one book. I wanted it to feel like one contiguous story that is satisfying in its dimensions but at the end readers would be like, I want to know how everything goes! It’s a cliffhanger but a cliffhanger with an upbeat note. People ask, do they make it to ship? Of course they do. She’s telling you the story, isn’t she? I love an ambiguous ending or an ending that feels like more happens in these people’s lives after this. Just because this arc has closed doesn’t mean the interesting parts of this person’s life are over. But if the story left the island, it would be bizarre. The whole point is this narrative about a kid making connections outside of her little world and the island is a metaphor. [laughs] So yeah it has to end with her leaving the island. If it kept going after she left the island it would undercut the emotional pace of that transition. So don’t worry, there’ll be more.

Okay, I have to ask about Family Man. I had to look this up because its been a while. The last uploaded page is #442. How long is the story anyway?

I don’t have it paginated out so I can’t tell you exactly, but it’s about two-thirds through. The roller coaster is about to go downward. Everybody is going to get real miserable really quickly. [laughs] It’s been maddening to step away from it but also really good to step away from it and just have a little more perspective. I look forward to returning to it. I was going to return to it this past summer but I got swamped with client work which pays my mortgage. Whatever. But hopefully I’ll get a little time to eek out a few pages. It’s very much an active project. I don’t want anybody to think I’m leaving it. I’ve invested way too much time and emotional energy. I’m thinking about those characters every day. It’s more that opportunity to branch out the career and directions I wanted to take have arrived.

I recognize that Family Man is not a sufficiently commercial story that I could ever make a full time living out of it. Even as a Patreon comic it’s a niche story. I am fully okay with that, but it’s always going to be a long distance girlfriend. So projects like Queen of the Sea, even though they displaced my working time for Family Man, they’re going to support me getting to do it and do more weird experimental adult projects like that. It’s a balancing act trying to get your career into that place where you can really focus on the stuff that you care about and have the rent paying work also being stuff that you care about.

I have the print volume of the first chapter of Family Man. I think I got it at Webcomics Weekend year ago. Are you going to come out with a second print volume one of these days?

I have Volume 2 ready to print! I just have not in any way had the bandwidth to run a crowdfunding campaign to get it printed and do all of the logistics. I know how much investment and energy it takes and I do not want to screw it up because I’m so tired and overwhelmed. So yeah it’ll come to print, I swear! I swear it will!

I look forward to a massive multi-volume collection taking up space on my shelf one of these years.

Yes, apparently I’m only capable of making books that can cause injury to a person when thrown. [laughs] I aim to make my print books a good investment for the reader.

QUEEN OF THE SEA. Copyright © 2019 by Dylan Meconis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.