Twenty-Sixteen

bi-94

BACK ISSUE! #94 out Jan. 2017

As usual, the holidays are a blur and suddenly we’re at the end of another year! As much as I try to avoid the chaos by staying ahead and organized, I somehow always feel the pressure of a deadline or two. Luckily 2016 wasn’t too bad and most of the strain I felt was self inflicted. Besides, I have so much to be grateful for, it’s hard to focus on the stress that inevitably develops with any project. Professionally there have only been highs, adding to make this a whirlwind year.

My first article for BACK ISSUE! magazine was released this past July from TwoMorrow Publishing. Interviewing one of my childhood heroes, writer, Dan Mishkin, for his applauded run on Wonder Woman in the mid-’80s was a dream come true. Dan is a true creative force, with years of experience, keen insight on writing, comic books, and life. Combined with his pleasant demeanor and wit, I was pleased to share this experience with BI readers. Shout out to my local comic book store, Comicopia, at 464 Commonwealth Ave, Boston for promoting the issue. You guys rock! I spent much of 2016 writing four more articles for BI that will be released intermittently next year. The first being an extensive look at independent publisher, Continuity Comics. I interviewed a half dozen creators for the piece and had the chance to talk about some of my favorite superheroes, childhood memories, storytelling, and the life of an artist.  I also had lunch with Continuity writer/editor, Peter Stone, someone I have long admired. An incredibly gentil soul, Peter has worked with some of the biggest legends in comic books and remains an endless source of stories. I look forward to what he and Continuity have in store for the future.

This summer I went from art teacher to site director of a local public school. I hadn’t intended to run a school of over 400 students, but it was an exciting and encouraging experience in the end. I worked with a solid team of professionals, some fellow public school employees, others from nearby non-profit organizations, all with the goal of educating and enriching students, grades K-8. It was an intense few months, but we more than survived and walked away having built solid friendships. The reactions of parents and students alike regarding this session of summer school proved all of our hard work was worth the time and effort.

aoh-swart-studio

Pinup for AXE of HELLENA, by SWart Studio.

And what’s more, I have been continually busy in the studio. I was asked to submit a pinup for a small local publisher run by my friend, artist/creator, Ian Chase Nichols. From there the idea of writing/illustrating a short story developed. That pinup caught the eye of another artist over seas and the start of wild new project developed that I’ll be announcing in the coming months. I released some of my initial concept sketches online and interest in similar commissions arose. Social media and word of mouth is slowly but surely getting SWart Studio’s name out into the universe. As always, I appreciate any and all support from friends, family, and fans alike.

2016 was by no means easy for any of us. The number of celebrity deaths, worldwide terror attacks, the results of the presidential election, etc — all of it weighs heavy on my heart. Nonetheless, I’ve chosen to press onward and upward. I’m eager to see what 2017 will present and take each new opportunity to learn and grow from. Sending love and respect to all, happy new year!

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