Welcome to 2012 ladies, gentlemen and option threes. Happy new year!

2011 was quite a roller coaster ride for us. We don’t often talk about our personal lives, but we thought we might share with you all a little about what the last year has been for us as well as what we’ve got in store for you next year. We’d really hoped to be able to keep up with 2 pages a week on Shounen Fight but ended up doing far fewer pages than we’d been aiming for. On top of everything in real life that we had on our plate, we also started really trying to polish the look of the comic. JD started inking digitally at the beginning of chapter 4 and I’ve been trying to make my color more detailed.

To give you a peek in to the lives of the Scuttlebutts: we live in uptown San Diego in a condo. About a year and a half ago, a few months after we started making Shounen Fight, I decided to leave my office job to pursue self-employment. Now, we get by on a combination of commission and contract web design/logo work, going to conventions, and JD’s student loans. 2011 was the first year that we chose to really go for broke on the convention circuit to both help pay our bills and try to get word out about the comic. It was an incredible year and what an experience! We exhibited at nearly 40 conventions across the country this year. What that does, unfortunately, mean is a lot of time on the road (I had 12 weekends in a row that I was away from home during the summer) and a lot of time and energy put into planning and trying to make ends meet.

As winter approached and the conventions started to slow down, we had hoped to be able to concentrate more on the comic. We received bad news at the end of October that JD’s father had been diagnosed with cancer, and we didn’t know how much time he had left. We started considering our options and making a plan to move closer to him and the rest of JD’s family in northern California. Sadly, he didn’t have as much time as we’d hoped and passed away shortly before Christmas. He was a kind man and was wonderfully supportive of our career path in art/comics. He will be deeply missed.

Between this, the holidays and trying to stay financially afloat, it’s been a really difficult end to a really difficult year. But we’re starting off 2012 with high and positive hopes, ready to wipe the slate clean and tackle the world once more.

We’ve still got a couple months of rough road ahead of us. We decided to go through with the move anyway and are going to be relocating to a small town in the San Francisco bay area. We’ll be closer to JD’s family and we have a unique opportunity to move into a house that’ll give us a lot more space to live than what we have now. We love where we live and love San Diego but we’ve definitely grown cramped in our little space here. It’ll be a huge change for us and it’s all pretty damn scary but we know a lot of really positive stuff is going to come out of it. Still, wish us luck as we move out of a busy city neighborhood peppered with gay bars and into bedroom town NorCal suburbia. If this isn’t a premise for a sitcom, I don’t know what is.

We’ll be moving in March and though we’ll still be going to a lot of conventions, we’re pulling back quite a bit on the number of cons we go to this year. We’ll still be going to most of the big anime conventions in the US and a few new comic book ones, but we’ll probably end up going to 25 or 30 instead of 40. We have a tentative 2012 schedule up on our about page now. Want to see us again at a convention not on the list? One of the best things you can do to help us out is contact your favorite convention and request us as guests. Making guest appearances lets us get some help with traveling to the convention, gives us exposure AND let’s us do fun stuff like running panels and contests and activities. 😀

On top of making changes in our lives, we’re shaking things up a bit here at Shounen Fight and are hoping to give you guys more as our awesome supportive fans. We’ve decided to change our schedule and instead of scrambling to try to get two pages done a week, we’re going to dedicate ourselves to one page a week, updating regularly on Fridays. I know a lot of people have had trouble keeping track of our updates because we tend to be all over the place with our schedule so we hope that’ll make things more pleasant. It’ll also let us start to get a head start on our pages so that when things get super busy, we won’t have to skip updates.

Along with regular updates, we’re also going to start updating the Top Web Comics incentives on a weekly basis! In the past year, we’ve only put up three incentives because we were trying to provide something polished every time. What we’ll offer each week is a sketch or a bit of concept art or a silly doodle. Maybe we’ll start taking requests for those. What that means is that every time you go to check on the new comic page, you can vote for us on TWC and get a bit of extra art!

Another option we’re considering is something that our friend Alex, writer of Artifice, does– that is, taking donations and offering extra comic pages in exchange. You guys could contribute toward a donation goal and when it’s met, we’d post an extra page that week. This would let us provide you more content by easing up the work we have to focus on to keep up with our finances. The less we have to be at the grind to pay our bills, the more comic you get! 🙂

And speaking of getting you more content, we’ve got something particularly special in the wings right now. In the next month or so we’ll be offering a bit of extra back story. If you do a link share, you’ll be able to contact us and receive a PDF of a short, illustrated novel-style story of how Yuki and Alex met. Once we have that ready, we’ll give instructions on how to request it!

We’re also working on a couple of new products to go in our store! To start off, we did a poll to see if folks would like this image provided as a poster and the results were pretty decent! So we’ll be soon offering signed 10×20 posters of this. We’re working on another poster design to be released later. 🙂 We have another couple of things in the works, including a very fun collab with another artist and possibly a t-shirt design. We’re always really glad to hear what you guys would like to see from us if you’re interested in merchandise – or anything else!

You can also support us by shopping on our Scuttlebutt Ink website – With over 150 different fan badge designs, we’ve got something for pretty much anyone there!

2011 was rough but it was also the most exciting, if sometimes terrifying, year of our 8 years together. We did some incredible things, climbed a lot of mountains, both figurative and literal. We saw dozens of new cities across the country and had just as many weird and scary and ridiculous experiences. We met so many awesome people and formed new friendships – we’re super happy to have met and gotten to know Emy and her hubby Dave from Trying Human, Chloe and Schumie of Two Keys, Kat and Kendra of SpaceJinx and many many others folks on the convention circuit and in the web comics world! We worked the hardest we ever have and managed somehow to scrape by and support ourselves without day jobs. Whoo!

The support we’ve received from our readers as the comic has been unfolding has been so awesome this year. Thank you all for continuing to read our silly comic and we hope your 2012 is the best year yet!