Mischief in Maytia is written by The Immortal Caleb Child.

Our Author, dressed for a rare public appearance

I grew up in a family that loves reading the comics in the newspaper.  True story:  I taught myself to read by reading Garfield.  Everyone would be talking about and laughing at Garfield each day, and I would ask them to read it to me.  But they grew tired of reading it to me so I had to start reading it to myself.  By the time I started school I already knew most of the alphabet.  Throughout elementary and possibly beyond I had the highest reading ability in my class.  Thank you, Jim Davis, for shaping me to a better life.

But writing has also been a big part of my life.  When I was little I wrote my own stories on pieces of paper that I bound with tape, dreaming to one day be an author.  In my adult life I found other ways to direct this creative energy.  I have written a couple fanscripts and short pieces of varying degrees of quality.  I have a few larger undertakings that I still work on from time to time: a television series about superheroes and a fantasy novel.  And through it all, I have retained a single guiding passion: video games.

In my last year of high school a friend introduces me to webcomics, and I’ve been in love ever since.  They took everything I loved about the comics in newspaper and made them better.  They took everything worthwhile about comic books and made something incredible.  From Sluggy Freelance to Bob and George to Dr. McNinja, these things freaking rock.
It naturally follows that I would want to create my own webcomic.   After all, I was drawing little comic books when I was a kid, and seeing how easily someone could just write stuff like this and get attention on the internet, I’ve naturally had this buzzing around in my head for well over a decade.

But there was always something that kept me from pursuing it.  Mostly, time.  I haven’t had the time to devote to a webcomic.  My spare time has been occupied with my true passion: video games.   Either enjoying them, or building levels for everything from Duke Nukem 3D to every Unreal Tournament.  That has been my focus and desire for a career.  And once UDK came out, and I could use the development tools I am most familiar with to create my own game that I could sell, that has been my biggest focus.

 

So what finally brought me to it?  Well, several things that all built up.

In August of 2010, I was re-reading through the archives of Slightly Damned.  What an amazing story that woman is writing. I became enamored with it once again, and my overactive imagination was turning through the events, thinking of alternate stories and what-ifs and so forth.  It’s something I do with a lot of stories I like, although very few can inspire me to wrap my mind for long and come up with lots of ideas.  This was one of those times.  Anyway, I eventually wrote out a script for a fan-fiction using mostly original characters but set in that world.  (One of my best individual pieces too, if I say so myself.)  I wanted to draw and share this story as an actual comic.  I tried a little bit of effort to get something going, but my artistic skill just wasn’t suitable, and besides, I had discovered UDK and put my focus on something I can turn into a career.

A little less than a year later I decided I didn’t want to let my lack of artistic talent hold me back anymore.  I started a project where I would just draw something every day so that I could get better at drawing.  I kept it up for a whole month or so, and certainly did make some improvement in my technique.  But after a month I just took a look at how much time it was taking up and decided that I just should not be devoting that much time to it.  So I moved on.

But later I drew some fanart for Culture Shock as part of a contest it was running for its tenth anniversary.  Aided by low participation I placed high enough to win an autographed copy of the Drunk Duck anthology.  I actually wound up picking it up in-person, and while talking with Reed Hawker about various things the question came up “why don’t you draw a webcomic?”  “Well, I can’t draw well-enough for any of the good ideas I’ve had, and I haven’t had any ideas for something silly enough for poor artwork, plus I really need to spend my time building this video game…”  It was a pitiful answer.  He knew it.  I knew.  I ignored knowing it.

The final push came when I started reading The Wotch.  At first, I’m just loving the great humor.  Then I was loving some of the interesting takes on popular story ideas.  And eventually I realized…  I really liked the stories that were being told.  And for those who do not know, the artwork for the Wotch is…  Well, the point here is that it was a comic with a story that I was loving.  And it even wrapped my mind like how Slightly Damned did.  This was basically the breaking point.  I didn’t like the excuses that were holding me back. If The Wotch could wrap my mind without the artwork of a serious piece, then why should I stop myself for not being able to draw such either?  And I could use some possible revenue, since my game isn’t going to be done as soon as I’d like.

So I started planning.  I started writing.  I started drawing.

 

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