How Grief Impacted My Work

My idols are dead and my enemies are in power
— Unknown

Recent events have me and a lot of friends processing grief. But even at the start of 2016, I was already like, "Fuck this year." My friend Sarah had been fighting for her life from a hospital bed. It was a lot of touch and go in January. At that time, I had a 3rd draft of my Top Cow talent hunt story, which was about Velocity (a teenage CyberForce character) mourning the death of her father.

Sarah passed away in the beginning of February. It was the first time I'd lost someone close to me. That experience made me realize how shallow my understanding of grief had been. I re-examined my script. As it stood, it wouldn't have done any justice for those who have or were currently experiencing a loss. I wanted to do right by them and by her, so I revised the script.

An excerpt from the 1st page of "Force in Mourning." Art by  Francesca Aureli

An excerpt from the 1st page of "Force in Mourning." Art by Francesca Aureli

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I should share this information. I even deleted it. But after thinking long and hard about what it means to grieve, I know that what helped me most was hearing about others who were going through or had gone through the same thing. Feeling less isolated helps you heal. Sometimes friends help, but when you don't want to talk to anyone, a story does.

Now, Velocity is a teenage superspeedster and she processes grief differently from me and others. Yet, when I initially concepted my story, I did so with the intention of possibly helping someone who was experiencing a loss. The current print copy that is in comic shops used an earlier draft of my script. It's the version that comes from a writer who had yet to learn what it meant to lose someone special.

However, the digital comic on Comixology uses my revised script. It's the truest version, one that I feel, does right by Sarah. Since her passing, it has been nothing, but a downhill roll into grief. This story is for her. And for David Bowie, Prince, Phife Dawg, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, Gwen Ifill, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Hillary voters, and the countless other losses we've had this year (except for Scalia, he can just pass and be forgotten like a soft stool).

In light of Carrie and Debbie's recent passing, hopefully this story provides some comfort and an empathetic voice.

You can find it here: