HERMIT HILL - Online Comic Strip - 2007 - 2010

I wrote and drew the comic strip Hermit Hill for two and a half years. It was published directly to the web from 2007 through 2010 to the web site hermithillcomic.com (that URL now points to this blog site). In addition to the web syndication typical of most webcomics through RSS feeds, blog posts and social network updates all the strips were sold and collected into periodic paper comic book issues and ultimately collected into trade paperback books and sold at trade shows, local indie friendly comic book shops and mail order through online stores.

Hermit Hill the comic strip featured the wild adventures of a lonely hill and it's equally lonely inhabitant, Walter. The hill was intended to be a remote getaway from civilization, but life endlessly encroached on Walter's sanctuary often with humorous and outrages results. Poor Walter tried, in vain, to keep the world at bay by hiding atop his earthy tower.

Walter's shunning of the civilized world wasn't always by choice. He suffered from a crippling case of agoraphobia. Outwardly he projected a personality of an old grouch, eager to chase people off his property, but inwardly he craved the mental fortitude to break free of his own phobic prison and leave his hill. This internal conflict is where I drew most of my inspiration for the character along with the foil characters I threw into Walter's life. Gnorm the Gnome was one of those characters. He was a fun loving hill gnome magically enchanted to be bound to the hill itself. Trapped with unwanted company, Walter is forced to make do with the little prankster.

I physically created the comic strip by penciling and inking the artwork into Bristol Board card stock. After the artwork was complete I would scan it into my computer (MacBook, OSX) and use Photoshop to add the panel borders, dialog, sound effects and any artwork cleanup that may be needed. Once it was all complete I would upload the comic strip to the web for everyone to read. New strips were posted three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

So, why did I end the strip? Well, I really loved writing and drawing Hermit Hill and I am very proud of the body of work that came from it. I think looking at the strip's run as a whole Hermit Hill is some of the best work I've done. After two years of making the deadline I set out for myself, however, I realized the format of an ongoing comic strip updating weekly with no real end in sight just wasn't for me. I had several other ideas for other, very different, projects during the Hermit Hill run that I didn't feel I could pursue while still putting out the Hermit Hill strips on a regular basis. It is a tremendous amount of work keeping up with a serialized comic strip and I earned a greater admiration for those creators who are able to do it and do it well. I realized I very much like the idea of completing a project and moving on to another one. A comic strip that is expected to just keep going and going and going does not lend itself to that very well. So, with some reluctance, and a lot of relief, I ended my work on the strip and moved on to other things.

During the time I spent publishing the strip to the web I built up a small, but loyal, readership for Walter and his antics. I will always remain extremely grateful to the folks who read Hermit Hill, gave me invaluable feedback, came up to my table at trade shows, linked to the strip through their own online endeavors and bought my books. Knowing that people were enjoying the work made it a very fulfilling and rewarding experience for me as an artist. It also made it a difficult decision to finally bring Hermit Hill to an end and is probably why I kept it going even longer than I would have otherwise.

I left the archive of online strips up on the web, but not updating, for about a year after I called it quits. I finally decided to shut down the site in early 2012. While the online archives are no longer up on the web, the comics and books are still in print and available through my online store, at the various trade shows I attend throughout the year and in some independent publisher friendly comic shops here in Texas.

Hermit Hill is a project I look back on with pride and a sense of accomplishment. I have boundless thanks and appreciation to the readers that help made it possible and all the creators I was able to rub elbows with as a result of my work on the strip. It wasn't easy, but things worth doing rarely are.