What happened to 2020?
I had such great plans for 2020.
We all did. Instead we got a really bizarre dystopia. First and foremost, I hope everyone is safe and healthy. This has been a wild time to be alive and I don’t really think any of us had global pandemic on our once-in-a-lifetime bingo cards. Needless to say, once March rolled around and things started shutting down and all the big plans went out the window. As you may know, I have three elementary school age kids, so there was a lot of homeschooling from March-June. My wife works in a school, so I was tasked with doing the teaching at home. I built a really great gym in my garage and I juggled my own day job with homeschooling at first, but in April I was furloughed. Initially, that was only supposed to until July. Then it was extended a few times before finally, I was laid off. It’s okay, I’m fine, these things happen. In a weird way it worked out for the better because I can be home with my kids on their off days from school (they go every other day), while my wife works full-time every day in a school in the next town over.
Now all of this is a little context about why TJ Comics has been dormant. Like I said, I had big plans for this year, but once March rolled around, things got weird pretty fast. I had actually hoped to have had the Kickstarter for The Atomic Thunderbolt #4-6 launched and completed by now. I’d hoped to have launched the first part of Patriot-1: Conviction. Alas, with everything going on, I kept both projects in production, but kept their rollouts on hold.
One of the reasons I put TJ Comics on hold and didn’t run any Kickstarter campaigns is because with the furlough and layoff, I’ve been one of the millions of Americans having to collect unemployment benefits. I was advised not to do any campaigns to avoid messing that up, so I didn’t. But now circumstances have changed and I’m starting to gear up to begin the rollout of these projects. So here’s where they stand and what the plans heading into 2021 are.
The Atomic Thunderbolt
I’ve taken far too long to complete this series. There are numerous reasons, but one of the goals for 2020 was to have this wrapped up by next year. That’s still the plan, but I’m going to approach the final three issues of this series a bit differently than I had with the first three.
Rather than a single campaign for each issue, I’m going to do one final Atomic Thunderbolt campaign to find issues 3-6 and the collected edition. Issue 4 is almost done and I’m targeting issue 5, 6 and trade for October of next year. This series has been a fun one and I’m ready to wrap it up.
Patriot-1: Conviction, the long-gestating sequel to Patriot-1, has been in production all year. I will likely launch a Kickstarter campaign for it in February or March. I really love the story and it resonates with everything going on in America today, and perhaps will even more after November 3.
However, Conviction – and Patriot-1 as a whole – isn’t just about America… it’s about humanity. Releasing the Ultimate Edition of Patriot-1 last year was something I’m immensely proud of and happy with, but I pulled back on pushing it hard for a few reasons. The first being the pandemic, the other reason being I wanted to find a new way to push it along with the forthcoming sequel. If you know me or follow me on Twitter, you know my beliefs in politics and the idea of America. I had some comments late last year about how Patriot-1 looked like it was a “MAGA-fest” which of course it is not. However, this made me think about how anything overly patriotic in America is now often associated with the far-right and MAGA nationalist movements. I don’t like that one bit and it makes me think of Samuel Johnson’s quote: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Patriot-1 is not intended to be a nationalist thing, it’s more in line with Captain America… fighting for an idea and a dream, best summed up in real-life by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman: “Here right matters.”
All that being said, the ball is rolling at a great pace for Patriot-1 and I’m looking to expand it beyond the main books as well as mapping out the third book.
In some exciting non-comic news, the Patriot-1 screenplay placed as a semi-finalist in the Spring 2020 Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards, so that’s a victory I’ll take!
I’ve launched a personal website, kevinmpowers.com that is designed to replace my old Comic Odyssey Blogspot page and to feature additional writing. Thus far, it’s mostly been movie and game reviews, but I’ll be expanding it with more of a portfolio of work.
That’s all for now… I’ll be a bit more active in the coming weeks and months, so be sure to follow on the Socials!