Rich Stevens‘ Diesel Sweeties will come to an end, at least in newspapers on August 10, he has announced on his blog. In an interview over at Fleen, he suggests that the additional work to produce DS for family friendly newspaper standards and the lack of significant income contributed to the decision.
Fleen: What was the prime factor in deciding to quit?
Stevens: Not to sound like a jerk, but time and money. I was (currently still am) spending 12+ hours a day 5.5 days a week keeping my business afloat and doing 12 comics a week. My website and merch were a little over 90% of my gross income last year. When the workload starting making me sicker and fatter, it was pretty much a no-brainer which job had to go.
(And before there is any argument from the Peanuts-worshipping gallery, this was my experience. It is not true for all newspaper strips or print cartoonists, but I lived it and have the debt and carpal tunnel to prove it.)
Fleen: What positive things are you taking away from all this?
Stevens: It was grad school. Med school. Boot camp. The editorial help I got working with Ted was awesome. Having another pair of eyes questioning my writing was incredibly helpful. Would never have gotten that anywhere else.
The perspective of going from moderately well-known on the internet to an absolute nobody in the outside world was really useful as well. Working for a completely new audience who couldn’t give a shit about obscure band lyrics and computer in-jokes forced me to grow a whole lot of new comedy muscles. Hopefully I can still move my neck.
The other positive thing is the joy that I dodged a bullet. You know the bullet where a loved project becomes a fifty year millstone one never gets to put down until one drops dead.