A few months ago, my mother found a letter she wrote to me when I was young. October 1998. I was 14 then. I saved the letter.
Earlier tonight, my father found a letter that grandpa wrote to me when I was even younger. I was 10. Mom read it to me.
I miss him.
Mom and Grandpa were good writers, and sometimes I'm told I'm halfway decent--despite needing to triple check my spelling and grammar. But, after spending a good decade of my life drawing webcomics, I can't seem to remove that part of me that feels like when something is finished, PUT IT UP ONLINE IMMEDIATELY!
So I felt like I should write to you, just as my family has written to me.
Zen Monkey Studios is the result of many years working as an artist. I worked as a salesperson at Apple in their flagship 5th Avenue store in NYC. I worked as an intern at a small animation studio that was working on a cartoon for MTV2. I even worked at Rockstar Games when they made GTA4 and left right before they began to give their NYC division the assets to Red Dead Redemption.
I freelanced a lot. I made concept art for an ad agency, who would call me at 1am to have things ready for him at 3am. I would get scolded at for sleeping through a 'BIG JOB' at 9am, because I was up working on childrens books the night before.
Then the recession happened. I lost my clients. I worked on personal projects. I wrote a Rock Opera with a Ska Band (I still enjoy listening to some of it). I wrote a novel (I still think it's a fun summer read). I went back to making webcomics to stay busy. I wrote articles and drew for gaming blogs.
I began to design shirts.
Well, that sure did snowball into something greater.
I could go on. I'm long-winded. I get that from my father.
But, let's not write a novel just yet.
I went away on vacation in August, to reboot the mind and prepare for NYCC, our company's biggest convention of the year, and then immediately after that, will be the holiday season. But my vacation was the exact same time our Rick and Morty bundle was being fulfilled.
Oh boy, did my team fall apart while I was gone.
Someone said on our apology post on facebook, that we failed to provide communication. I was confused, because I've been talking with my team every day I was away in Europe, another country, with no computer to work with, but NO ONE was handling facebook while I was gone.
It was ignored for over two weeks. So the irate customers were right.
Since then, the team that remains, and myself, have been working to improve communications between you and us. We felt that maybe a streamed Q+A every week could be something fun, to show our faces. So you know that we are also human. That we are just nerds trying to provide you with some decent apparel. That we are a small company trying to do big things.
But with New York Comic-Con almost here, that kind of interaction has yet to happen.
My cousin has joined us temporarily. With an eduction in marketing, he is consulting and aiding me in social media. He is helping us come up with more ways to communicate better. To have more fun with you.
To show our human side.
And I think a few of you have seen the changes, even if it's a slow process. He just started last week, after all. But he'll be the one in charge of social media posts for all of NYCC, while the rest of us will take care of the booth. It will be interesting.
But then tonight, after a hard day of learning there are problems with our orders for NYCC, Mom read Grandpa's letter to me. He talked about his day. He talked about going to the doctor with Grandma (she was recovering from cancer), and how his desk was always cluttered. That he would just tell Grandma how he has too many papers and too many thoughts to keep a clean desk. And with teary-eyes I said to myself, "Aha, that's where I get it from."
So let me interact with you, for now anyway, through a letter.
Hi, my name is Josh. This is my company.
Thank you for stopping by.