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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Time for tea in Paris
Enjoying a cup of tea at Nina's Paris

And just like that, 2021 was gone in a blink of an eye. A year of rebuilding and getting back on the road to normalcy, only to violently swerve off into a ditch again after getting sideswiped by Omicron. The latest COVID variant was actually larger than it appeared in our mirrors, and we didn’t have time to brace for impact before we realized we were in the middle of sailing over a cliff once more like in the final moments of Thelma & Louise.

It was speculated a while back that Coronavirus would end up being like the flu, where a new strain would pop-up every year, and eventually everyone would catch it, but it wouldn’t be as deadly if you kept up with your vaccinations and boosters. It’s definitely looking more like a reality every day. When the Delta variant hit, Amanda and I knew people who were friends of friends who caught it. With Omicron? It feels like half my social media feeds are filled with people I know directly who have caught it. Thankfully all my friends are vaccinated with boosters, and even more thankfully they only have very mild symptoms, but still! Incredibly scary! The current number of cases are only going to increase after everyone gets back from their holiday breaks, so I’m just thankful to be working from home to avoid any possible cases.

Speaking of work, that’s the main reason I haven’t updated this website for half a year. You can even see where all activity stopped with the last blog post in July. I had been working at my new job for a month, and then got promptly promoted to a higher position with more responsibilities. Bye bye free time! That’s the entertainment business for you though. You work wonky hours, including weekends sometimes, but it’s all a part of the game if you ever want to advance to greatness someday. Amanda and I wish to go far in our careers, so consider us team players.

Cover by the amazing Matthew Grant

Since we last spoke, I was busy putting the final touches on CLUSTERFUX COMIX #3 before sending it off to the printers. I was so busy, I didn’t even make a blog post about it like I did with the other two! So consider this post the announcement that it’s been out, and selling well. I even have copies at Collector's Paradise in North Hollywood, and Floating World Comics in Portland! Looking back on 2021, I produced three issues of CLUSTERFUX, one issue of FUGU COMIX, and sent ULTRAFUGU VS FUGU GHIDORAH off to the printers for January 2022. Not a bad year! I have being let go during 2020 to thank for such a productive year (silver lining?). My hard work was recently acknowledged by Four Color Apocalypse, and a review like that makes me incredibly proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish. Go check out my COMIX section for all my wares!

And that’s not all! With the addition of ULTRAFUGU in January, CLUSTERFUX COMIX #4 will be released in April 2022, and a recently inspired FREE COMIC BOOK DAY issue of CLUSTERFUX COMIX will be headed to local comic shops on May 7th for Free Comic Book Day. It’s been an adrenaline rush getting people together for the FCBD issue because of the time crunch. But as of now, with the amount of people who have signed on, it’s looking to be a very exciting issue. Later in the year I hope to have the second issue of FUGU COMIX out, as well as CLUSTERFUX COMIX #5. Details for those two will be available in the next few months. Bottom-line, I’ve been keeping busy when it comes to comics, and will continue my love for the medium into 2022 and the years to follow. Maybe I’ll even table at a few conventions if Omicron or a new variant doesn’t shutdown half the country again!

Paris Opera House
Amanda and I at the Palais Garnier

Before Omicron started making headlines, Amanda and I finally were able to get away for a week and visited France. All boosted-up and tested regularly, we were safe to travel to Paris and Versailles for our Thanksgiving break, and boy was it a cold one! We’ve been to Paris enough times now for it to feel like a second home, and with our French noticeably better than the previous trips, we had no problems navigating around the city. And thankfully, the whole country was taking COVID very seriously! People were masked on the metros, restaurants and businesses required proof of vaccination before entering, and pop-up COVID testing tents littered the city. We thought we brought enough warm clothing to endure the chilly weather, but next time we go that late in the year, we’re bringing heavier artillery!

Amanda got to take photoshoots she’s been dreaming of all over the Palace of Versailles, and meanwhile I got to go on an Invaders flashing spree. I even managed to get her to start playing! I couldn’t step 2-feet without coming across an Invader piece! It was so enjoyable admiring his mosaics in the city where it all started, and seeing the original ones still up after all these years. Compare that to my home turf in Los Angeles, where even the reactivated pieces get taken down/destroyed within days sometimes. A personal highlight for me was getting the Invader at the very top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve always wanted to go to the very top to begin with, but getting the highest Invader piece in France as well? It was such an awesome experience. Amanda’s fear of heights kept her at the second level, and it was probably for the best: up at the top in the rain, it was so cold I was starting to lose feeling in my fingers. But again, all worth it.

2021 Invader

We plan to return to Versailles in May 2022, if things don’t take a turn for the worse globally, for the Fêtes Galantes gala at the Palace of Versailles. It’ll be Amanda’s 30th Birthday present, and then after we’ll spend the rest of the week on our honeymoon in Scotland (delayed for the past 3-years thanks to COVID). By the end of 2022, our passports won’t have any room left for stamping!

Here’s to hoping 2022 gets somewhat better, but the once optimistic part of me has been slowly bludgeoned to death by reality since 2016. And with mid-term elections on the horizon and right-wing domestic terrorists looking for revenge after losing in 2020, it’s hard to plug your fingers in your ears and tell yourself everything’s going to be just fine. COVID should have been our extra-dimensional psychic squid that united the world together against a common enemy, but little did we realize how incredibly selfish and stupid the majority of the population seems to be.

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

-George Carlin

Here’s Dinah, your palate cleanser. See you in 2022.

Forever licking
Lick, lick, lick!


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