Author: Garth

Born in Known Space, raised by the likes of Lazarus Long, Dr. Susan Calvin, and Lt. Miles Vorkosigan, Garth Graham has only ever partially shared the same reality as most of us. Fascinated by what might be and what isn't, rather than weighed down by the drama of what is, he has forged a tenuous bridge made of ink and paper between our world and some strange unknowable scape where improbable dreams are born. Perhaps it has driven him a little mad. Yet such madness has born fine delectable fruit for our eye organs. His previous works include the webcomics Comedity and Finder's Keepers. In his spare time Garth likes to laugh maniacally about the abstract and fictional concept of “spare time” and does his level best to refute entropy.

What Comes Next?

As we come to the conclusion of Danica’s epic space adventures, we all find ourselves facing that all important question: “So, now what?” Goodness knows, I’ve been asking myself that for a while now. What do I want to do after Star Power? Michael has revitalized his beloved Dominic Deegan comic with an intriguing mystery of a sequel. So, what am I to do? Thankfully, I’ve got some ideas.

Because I have bills to pay, I’m going to be focusing on paid work for the near future. Whether personal commissions or larger contract work, I’m always game. Which, of course, means if you’d like me to draw something for you, you should absolutely contact me. You can find my commission information here.

I also have ideas for new comic projects that I’m looking forward to being able to dedicate time to. If you want to help ensure I can afford to spend time dedicated to those projects, you can support me on Patreon. The more Patreon support I receive, the more I can focus on my own personal work, and spend less time chasing down contracts drawing other people’s stuff. So what kind of comics might you be supporting, you ask? Well, if you’re still reading this instead of having clicked through to my Patreon page, let me tell you a bit about my next big comic project: Witch & Wane.

Witch & Wane is a high fantasy comic about a world-weary witch hunter who unexpectedly finds herself the guardian of a troubled young witch whose budding powers threaten to consume him and everyone around him.

Sounds pretty baller, right? You bet it does. I’m really stoked about it, and I’ve been slowly developing it for most of 2020 now. There is still a lot of development work that needs doing, and I want to have the whole thing, which I envision as a graphic novel, written before I start drawing pages. I have the first act written and the rest of it soon to follow. Development sketches and rough drafts are going to remain largely Patreon exclusives. Pages will also be Patreon exclusives until I have enough of them to put together appropriately digestible chunks. Will it be a webcomic? Will it be picked up by a traditional publisher? I’m honestly not sure. A lot of that will depend on you guys and your support. The webcomic model requires a robust crowd-funding support to keep it going. Pitching to a publisher is far easier when there’s an obvious audience waiting for it. So, as in all things, how far my future endeavors go depends extensively on the support from readers like you.

If you’re interested and want to keep in the loop on future projects, at least until there’s a more permanent home for my work, you can:

  • Support me directly through Patreon.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Follow me on Instagram.
  • Do that social media thing: tell your friends.

I’ve had a wonderful time here at Star Power, and seriously thank you all for all your support throughout the years. I hope you all will choose to follow along to future projects.

Current Events

I was hoping to announce that I got engaged over the weekend here today. But with the current goings on in the world it feels like such a small an inconsequential thing to talk about.

Once again, the appalling way people of color are all too often treated in this country has erupted onto the public scene. Police brutality isn’t new. Racism isn’t new. There’s a long sordid history of both in the US, often with the blessing of the government at all levels, and neither issue seems to get appreciably better. I suspect too many people feel that both problems are problems ELSEWHERE. “I’m not racist,” they say. “My town isn’t racist. My sheriff is a good person, I voted for them. It’s those other cops that are violent thugs. Those other cities, those other people that are racists.” Too many think this way without ever really taking the time to look closer to home for the budding source of these problems. But I’m a white guy. I can’t really talk to you about racism with any kind of authority, nor should you be turning to me about such a subject, but I can talk to you about police brutality and government overreach.

The police continue to prove that too many of them care more about being obeyed than serving or protecting. Clearly demonstrating through countless needless escalations that their objective is less about keeping order and more about exerting control. When the people object to the way they are treated, Mayors of all parties call out the national guard. The President encourages this. Has now authorized active duty military to back up the national guard and the standing army that is many cities’ police departments. And it’s not an isolated or unprecedented use of force against the American people. H.W. Bush deployed the military at the LA mayor’s request back in ’92 to help quell the Rodney King Riots. The National Guard shot students at Kent State. The FBI and ATF debacle at Waco. The Ferguson Police. The NYPD on any given Tuesday. Across the country, across the decades, government agents at every level have demonstrated a propensity to use excessive force and repeatedly face little if any consequence for their actions.

If my feeds are anything to believed, people are growing more and more convinced that the government is declaring war on their fellow Americans and there is nothing to be done. But that is untrue. There is much that can be done before we resort to open war with our government.

If anything has been made clear to me in the last handful of months of quarantine, it’s the importance of local and state governments. We put a lot of emphasis on who is President and what they’re doing but, even with the ever-expanding power of executive orders and privilege, the bulk of government power lies outside of the Oval Office. It is the State governors who have largely laid down the law with the Covid Pandemic, and it is the Mayors and the Police Chiefs they appoint who have taken point responding to the Floyd Protests.

Even with the separation and grossly unfair protections police enjoy, the departments are still beholden to the government. Mayors can dictate who runs their police department and what policies they should pursue. Local and state governments set police department budgets and authorize purchase of equipment (using taxpayer funds) and those local and state politicians are, allegedly, beholden to us voters. Local governments are the front line policy makers and they are the ones most easily held accountable.

There are policies that can improve the lives of the people, let us live free and safe and without fear, and we can make those policies happen if we focus our attention where it needs to be. While the goings on in DC are important, being involved in local politics is even more so. Your mayor, your governor, your representatives at the local and state level can all be reached via telephone and email and it is in their direct interest to listen to you, lest they be replaced at the next election. Contact them directly. Give them a piece of your mind. Vote. Be involved. A people should not be ruled by their government. The government is supposed to be by, of, and for a people.

A people most surely should not fear their government.

But yeah, I got engaged this weekend. Long time readers of mine will be pleased to know that it’s Karen (yes, from Comedity) that I’m now engaged to. It’s really nice. I’m looking forward to more nice moments like that somewhere in the future.

All Good Things…

Sometimes, there’s just no good way to put it, so I’ll just say it. Chapter 29 will be the last issue of Star Power.

For the last seven years, Michael and I have been pouring ourselves into this comic, and now I’m feeling it’s time for something new and different. Seven years is a long time to hang on a project. It’s probably the longest project I’ve ever been a part of. We’ve done a lot of amazing things and produced a ton of work that I’m really proud of. By the end of this, we’ll have six books in print, totaling over 700 pages of content. That’s wild to me.

I’ve grown so very much as an artist. Go back and look at those first couple pages of Star Power. Pretty good, right? Now set them next to the last handful? Ho-lee-shit. I don’t think I’m being egotistical when I say this, but I have become so damn good at this whole comic thing. And I wouldn’t have seen that growth without the years and the pressure to produce content at the rate that I have for Star Power. Considering the quality, the update schedule we’ve maintained has been truly insane. However, Star Power has never managed to capture a large enough audience to make it a sustainable endeavor.

Comics are exceptionally labor intensive. We’re no strangers to the staggering amount of upfront work necessary to get a comic to the point that it’s making money. We saw some really promising growth in the first three years of this project, but that growth plateaued and never reached truly sustainable levels. This is, of course, no one’s fault. We launched Star Power as Marvel’s MCU was concluding its first phase. Since then, the market for superhero stories has flooded and there are so many movies and shows staring everyone’s favorite superheroes that even the Big Two publishers are having a hard time competing with their own content in other media. Superheroes have long been a hard genre to break into, to the point that most publishers won’t even bother accepting submissions for them. That we’ve come this far and produced so much for so long is a testament to our amazing fans and our own stubbornness, but sometimes our best just isn’t enough.

Michael has started a new chapter to the world of his famous Dominic Deegan saga, in order to bolster his income and provide for his family. We’ve had to reduce our update schedule from 3 days a week to 2 so that I have time to take on extra commission work to keep things in the black. Much to my delight, my skills as an artist are proving to be in high demand. I have more clients asking for work than I can comfortably take on while maintaining anything like an update schedule with Star Power. Much like with my days of Finder’s Keepers I am forced to choose between telling a story I love and focusing on the work that pays the bills. It would be a hard call if I weren’t hungry for something new.

Before Star Power, I wrote stories too and I’ve got several of them bubbling up inside, waiting to be told. They’re stories that just can’t be told with Star Power. Star Power is big and loud and fast and frankly a little ridiculous, the way all superhero stories are. I’m yearning for stories that are more intimate, slower paced, more serious and adult. I have characters that I want to see on the page, stories that I need to tell, and I’m really excited about it. I’ll be talking more about my upcoming projects over the coming weeks, and I really hope you’ll come along with me to see them.

Michael and I have been good friends for years, and Star Power ending cannot change that. This collaboration may be ending, but that won’t preclude new ones beginning. What we started here is amazing, and only better things are to come.

Milestones of Life

My youngest brother got married on Saturday.

Wild, huh?

Some of you who who have been following my work for a while may remember my youngest brother. He showed up in a few pages of Comedity, often being referred to as tacky jailbait. Cuz he was like 16 when I drew Comedity. I didn’t give him that nickname, others did. I always called him “shorty” even though I’m the shortest of the siblings. It’s hard to not think of your kid brother as anything but a kid even long after he’s been an adult. But then he goes and does something like get married.

In the comic he was adventurous and daring and unflappable and that has all remained true to this day. Fewer skateboarding off the roof incidents and more seemingly effortless culinary masterpieces, but still. And the wild thing is that he’s gone and found himself a gal who is as perfectly quirky and bold as he is. They’ve been together for years now, so in some ways getting married seems like an unnecessary legal bow for an unwrapped gift, but it was a lovely celebration of the two of them and the life they’ve been building together.

What could be more adult than being there for someone you care about, to uplift and support them, to help them grow into the best version of themselves, and to be likewise loved in return?

I’m proud of the kid. He and his wife done good. And I know they will continue to do so for years to come.

Congrats, Cole and Taylor.

On the Subject of Burnout

If you talk to any artist, chances are exceedingly good at some point in time they’ve burnt out. If you ARE an artist, chances are super good that at some point in time you will burn out. Probably more than once. 

Burnout is something pervasive in the arts, like writers block, but instead of not knowing where to take a story you don’t have the energy to press the keys and in the worst cases the very thought of looking at your word processor fills you with anxiety, sadness, and revulsion.

Art is a lot of work. It takes a piece of you to make it, more than just the effort it takes to move the pencil around. And when you strive to always improve you spend too much time being self critical and not enough time being pleased with your efforts. You burn the candle at both ends and eventually you’re giving up too much of yourself and not getting enough back. Art goes from being a passion to a challenge to a task to a chore to a burden to a anxiety to a depression. One that seems to go on endlessly because you can’t stop making art. Art is a cornerstone of your identity. Without art, who are you? But art makes you miserable now. You hate yourself for hating the art because you hate the art you hate yourself. But of course it’s not the art doing this to you. It’s the burnout.

It’s not that you’re sick of art, that you no longer find art fulfilling. It’s that you’re burnt out and depressed. Burnout doesn’t cripple you forever as an artist. It doesn’t mean your days of creating are over. It doesn’t even mean that you’ve failed as an artist. 

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that fixing burnout, getting out of that art depression, requires you to change things up. What you need to change depends a lot on why exactly you’re burnt out. Maybe you’re overworked and you need to take on fewer projects. Maybe you’ve too many or too tight deadlines and you need to permit yourself time to breathe. Maybe the work you’re doing no longer fulfills you emotionally or monetarily and you need to change projects. Maybe you need a break, maybe you need to shift your priorities, maybe you just need to be kinder to yourself.

This, of course, is all much much easier said than done when you’re on a deadline and you’ve got bills to pay. Which, in a round about way, brings me to the point of this post.

I’ve been burnt out for a while now. It’s why we brought on Rebecca to help with the colors in The Choir of Dr Hymn. It’s why Michael returned to drawing the one shot Heavy Metal Showdown. It was all to give me some time and some space to get my head right.

And I’m better now. I’m doing art for my own sake, which I post to my Patreon, if you wanna see it. I’m taking commission work again which helps give me some variety as well as helps shore up my income. And I’m still drawing Star Power, and frankly what I’ve drawn of issue 26 is some of my very best work. I’m happy with my art. I’m finding balance and making time for other joys in my life.

But I’m also not 100%.

I haven’t found that insane focus that let me crank out page after page after page. I’m still distractible prone to losing time. It’s something I’m working on though, but I’m trying to not be too hard on myself about it taking time, because that of course would just make it worse.

So what does this mean? Primarily it means that Star Power will not be maintaining the 3x a week update cycle it has held for the last 6 years. At least for a little while. We’re posting pages to the Star Power Patreon as soon as I’m finished drawing them, so if you can’t wait, that’s where to find them. We’ll be updating this site on a Monday/Wednesday basis for the time being. That schedule may change, and we’ll keep you informed. And if that’s too slow for you, then you can wait for the issues to be finished and become available through Comixology or DriveThru Comics, or come to print. Star Power will continue, just a little differently than before.

Change is necessary to overcoming burnout. But you can overcome it. I can overcome it.

Thank you all for your support and understanding.

On the Matter of Practice

I’ve recently taken up competitive shooting as a hobby, and it’s left me thinking a lot about what it means to practice. In art and other creative type things, practice usually means “doing the thing a lot.” You make lots of art. Draw lots of things. Make lots of paintings. You get good by doing. But drawing all the time isn’t necessarily “practice,” now is it?

Practice is studying with your hands. It is a critical and often methodical examination of an activity combined with the repetition necessary to commit it to muscle memory.

No one expects to get good at a sport (on the competitive level anyway) by just going to matches. Now, I’ve never been big into the sportsball side of life, but I’m pretty certain no practice session has every been just a match where the points didn’t matter. Practice involves drilling fundamentals, breaking the game down into discrete parts and doing them over and over again, and this is true even in the arts. No singer spends their entire rehearsal time running through songs start to finish. They do exercises that are seemingly unrelated to the finished performance but work those fundamentals. They rehearse bits and pieces over and over again and then put it all together.

For basically the whole of my art career I have failed to practice. Drawing comics IS my practice. I do it a lot and there’s a lot of repetition and I’m pretty critical of my work so it kinda works out, but it’s not really practice. I don’t spend the time sitting down and doing studies of hands, or really any kind of sketching. I don’t experiment much with styles or techniques. I’ve got deadlines so at best I refine the techniques I already know. Admittedly, it’s done pretty well for me. Over the last 14 years of comicing, I’ve gotten pretty good at this whole art thing. But I can’t help but wonder…

How much better would I be today if I had spent some of that decade and a half actually practicing?

Thankfully, it is never too late to get good at a thing, and I have so many things I want to get good(er) at.


As many are undoubtedly aware or becoming aware, Stephen Hawking has died.

I sit here trying to find the words to talk about the man, his work, anything really. It seems like something has to be said. Something deserves to be said. And undoubtedly people who knew him will say many things. And people who didn’t know him but knew his work will say many others. And people who knew neither will express sadness because that’s what we do when famous important people die.

And certainly Hawking was both famous and important. A rare combination of both a brilliant intellect that advanced human knowledge and understanding as well as a public personality that brought that knowledge to the masses.

The world seems a little dimmer for having lost a star that shown so brightly. Yet the sky is still full of stars. We will shine on.

The Incal Redux

A little while back, Michael was talking up the amazingness that is the graphic novel The Incal, by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jean Giraurd (often known as Mobius). Michael adores this comic, and rightly so, it is quite a story. He had me read it over the weekend.

And regrettably, I was unimpressed.

There are, as I look back on the experience, a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, I am in general rather ho-hum when it comes to space magic. I have nothing against using giant alien mutant jellyfish to fight star-eating anti-matter eggs, but I don’t find it interesting. Tell me why the mutant jellyfish are the key, sure, lets do this, but in general I don’t find dream-logic interesting in science fiction. It’s a big part of what has kept me from falling head over heals for Saga. Ironically, I love dream-logic in fantasy. In a world of gods and true other-worldliness, dream-logic is amazing. But there’s something about it in a sci-fi setting that makes it feel lazy to me.

Secondly, the book is very French. I do not know whether it is a cultural difference or a translation issue, but for some reason I find French fiction to have a lack of emotional depth. Characters just seem to say things and have them be so. Everything is taken at face value. Characters wear their emotions on their sleeves and are prone to instantaneous shifts in mood. And this observation holds with my reading of The Incal. Everything happens so quickly that there is not enough time for me to grow attached to any of the characters before they turn into geometric objects, androgynous conjoined twins, or monsters of shadow and darkness.

But most of all, when all is said and done, underneath the sonic bazookas, the homeo-whores, acid pits, sun-eating eggs, techno-scorpions, extra dimensions, and alien mating rituals, The Incal is a very very very familiar story. In fact, it’s one I heard growing up on a regular basis. Nearly every Sunday:

Salvation can only be achieved by rejecting your baser desires and accepting Christ into your life.

John Difool, regularly prays to The Incal (son of the creator of the universe who performs miracles) to help him in his hours of need but when called to sacrifice his wants for the sake of others he balks time and again and ultimately refuses to give himself to The Incal because he wishes to remain himself. In doing so he rejects the ultimate paradise and is returned to purgatory, to live and die again and again until he learns to accept the divine light. Some say this is actually Buddhist reincarnation, as apparently Buddhist philosophy is something Jodorowsky put in many of his works, but honestly it’s kinda six one, half dozen the other to me. It’s still a story of rejecting hedonistic self-interest in favor of spiritual enlightenment.

There’s nothing wrong with that story. It’s a fine story. A great story even. It was just so… familiar, and I was disappointed when I got to the end and that’s what I was left with. After all the wacky nonsense, it all came down to a message of “reject hedonism, embrace Christ” all without any real discussion as to why that’s what you should do. It’s like an inverse fire and brimstone sermon. Instead of threatening with damnation, it cajoles with paradise. The closest it gets to any sort of theological discussion is to show how shitty a world based on hedonism and self-interest is with the Berg galaxy populated by Jondiffs.

While I did call The Incal full of “nonsense and bullshit,” I do agree with Michael. The Incal is absolutely worth the read. It clearly is a story that speaks to people and is widely regarded as a comic book masterpiece. You should read it.

And if you happen to like spiritual, soul-searching, theological type stories, I would highly highly highly recommend Midnight Nation by J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank.

She lives!

As a follow up to my last post: I have completely overhauled my computer, Alice. This is now her fourth iteration.

There is a philosophical thought experiment often referred to as the teletramsportation paradox, though my favorite version involves a ship. The thought experiment goes like this: a ship sets sail from England on its way to the Americas. For various reasons it requires repair along the route, so much so in fact that by the time it reaches shore again every plank, rope, and stitch has been replaced. Is it then the same ship that left port in England?

It is a fantastic thought experiment because demonstrably it is not the same ship. There is no part of it that is its original self. It is wholly new, even if it wasn’t rebuilt all at once. But we all still acknowledge it to be the same ship. What intangible thing is it that holds that continuity of identity?

Alice may be her fourth self now, but as she’s still my computer, she is still Alice.

Alice 3.5


Alice 4.0


Computer Calamities

Those of you who have been watching me stream on Twitch for the last couple of weeks already know  that my computer Alice has been giving me grief. Lagging to unreasonable levels, especially for a computer as roubust as she is, making my work and life slow and difficult and infuriating. Friday when I should have been finishing today and Wednesday’s pages, her lagging reached the point where Photoshop froze on me. Twice. Within 30min. You can still watch this and me lose my shit in real time.

So instead of finishing pages I reinstalled Windows in a last ditch effort to fix whatever the issue is before resorting to more drastic measures. Sadly, I cannot tell if this reset has been effective without actually sitting down and trying to draw as usual. This we will discover sometime later today, I expect.

If the reset fixes whatever the issue was, we should be back to updating as usual Wednesday. If not, I’m going to have to start replacing parts until something works. I’m not sure how long a rebuild will upset our update schedule as it will depend greatly on how long it takes parts to arrive. Hopefully no more than this week on the outside. We will keep you all informed, as best we can as events develop.

Thank you, in the mean time for your patience and support.