With a heavy heart, I must extend my apologies to all who are going to the Hartford Comic Con and I am truly sorry I cannot make it. Not that many would know who I am, or even miss my presence, this is my supplication for a general forgiveness for my extended absence over the last year.
This all began in 2012 at the New York Comic Con where we made a debut to much promise. Underneath, I held a secret and a family condition that over the next three years would develop into my leave. In 2012, my mother was diagnosed for the second time with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue on the first day of the con. The first time she fought cancer was a decade before where treatments seemed to work well. In 2002, I put my life on hold to help in her convalescence and it appeared I would need to again in 2012 because of lack of resources both in money and family members to help out.
I also held a secret. Throughout my life I had been countering anxiety and depression alone in a silent despair, as the English might put it. Thought I had a handle on the torment, thought I could best it, and to a degree I did but the cumulative effects were beginning to erode my frayed mind. Asking for help was out of the question. My family did not ask for nor seek help. For me, it seemed a trait of failure to require assistance from others. Just kept taking the daily beating from a bully who stared me in the mirror. But...
Things started to go pretty well for Wayward Raven Media. We learned how to exhibit and sell at conventions by being engaging. Plus, we really cared about comic book readers and what they thought, not just about our books but all stories. A year passes...
My mother is again diagnosed with oral cancer and the surgery, a hemi-glossectomy, rips away her ability to speak. Happens to be right before NYCC 2013. I miss it entirely. But...
Wayward Raven continued to grow and take flight. So many funny stories, so many learning experiences, so many humbling events, so many mistakes, so much fun was had over the year. The things we saw at conventions, and after the conventions at night, filled us with stories to last a lifetime. More conventions, connections and comic were made. Things were looking up but then my demons in the mirror decided to shatter the looking glass, but being busy with Wayward Raven duties, I got a new piece of glass, slicked it with quicksilver and tried to hold it up to reality. And...
Cancer in 2014. Again, I was required to adjust my life, and then, guess what, in 2015 I had to take leave of many of my Wayward Raven duties as my mother had once again been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. The kicker was that during a routine scan, they found a new cancer in her lung, adenocarcinoma. Two different cancers, two different stages, and two different therapy strategies.
Not going to go into the gritty details of taking care of someone after so many surgeries and therapies, but I will say it is disturbing. The fluids a human body makes are amazing but repulsive when coming from your mother. Learned a lot about dressing and cleaning surgical wounds, g-tubes, tracheotomy scars, Welbutrin side-effects, speech therapy, estate finances, taxes, insurance companies declining obviously medically necessary procedures, and more. All the while, trying to figure out how to keep on growing as a writer, comic book editor, press agent, business partner, and friend to Mark and Alex.
I, most of all, regret letting Mark and Alex down. One could not ask for better friends and collaborators who tolerate me with an undeserved patience. They are why I don't quit this.
Sadly, Wayward Raven doesn't pull in enough revenue to pay a nurse/personal assistant so I can get back to my creative duties. Hell, don't now of any companies are going to cover "Taking-care-of-a-parent-so-they-don't-lose-everything Leave".
I extend my sincere apologies for not being more involved with the company this year but circumstance finally broke me. Had my first public breakdown at the Boston ComicCon and that was something I didn't want anyone to see, but I made an attempt at helping out.
Again, I am sorry for being absent. I am not sorry for writing this and stating that asking for help is not a sign of weakness as I once thought.
Joshua Lee Andrew Jones
PS: There are so many stories to tell, so in the rare times, I've been able to write a memoir to expound upon the last three years with Wayward Raven and our travails. First draft should be finished in the next two months. Will be looking for an agent and publisher soon.
PPS: Please go see the guys at Hartford ComicCon. They are amusing and love to chat. Plus, Eric Roberts and Ernie Hudson of the Ghostbusters will be there at the XL Center.
PPPS: Please have a look at our comics, your support allows us to exist. http://waywardraven.com/shop/