“Thanks for making me stronger, 2012. You almost won.”

Dean Haspiel just posted that on Facebook, and it mirrors how I’m feeling in many ways.

2012 was, to be blunt, the worst year of my life. I lost my beloved uncle, my grandmother, and my cat. There was a hurricane. There were many behind the scenes struggles, and a lot of people I love also had a hard time. Part of this is just the nature of getting older. The older you get, the more people you lose along the way; it’s a part of life you have to learn to accept, but that doesn’t make it easy.

My personal trauma came at the same time that comics were doing better than ever, in so many ways. It wasn’t a year of mad financial success for the industry below the corporate level, but it was a year of incredibly creative vision and production and I think it paved the way for a lot of better things and better-than-peanut-butter budgets for many cartoonists.

And of course there were good things, too. Stately Beat Manor added two adorable new cats named Charlie and Lucy. It was also a banner year for the Beat in terms of acclaim and adding a staff that really knocked it out of the park!

Todd “Terrific” Allen did his usual magic, but I discovered Slammin’ Stevie Morris when he sassed me and he’s become an indispensable part of the site, from his early morning postings to his comprehensive Pixie knowledge. Joltin’ Jessica Lee wandered out of a panel room at WonderCon, and Hot-steppin’ Henry Barajas is a Twitter buddy who turned into a real-life buddy and crowdfunding reporter. Heavenly Hannah Means-Shannon (Whose Facebook post I stole for the above art) came via hanging out at SPX and added her fantastic event reports and reviews to the site. Matt O’Keefe, the man known as LTZ and Pam Auditore also contributed, and columnists Bruce Lidl, Serhend Sirkecioglu, Jeff Trexler, Mike Scigliano, and John Shableski all shared their expertise. I also want to call out long-time contributors Jen Vaughn and Shannon O’Leary whose busy jobs—marketing Fantagraphics and editing The Big Feminist Butt—didn’t always allow for as much posting as in the past, but that doesn’t mean they are any less fabulous. Laura Sneddon and Pádraig Ó Méalóid were late, traffic-busting additions, and both have some even more sure-to-be-controversial posts in the near future. And of course there’s Tireless Torsten Adair—there is only one Torsten, and we all know who he is.

A lot of other people helped out with the Beat, too many to name but I’ll try, Ryan and Ron, who oversaw to move to the promised land a stable server; main Beat peeps Zena, Amy, Elim, Trish, Nisha, Charlene, Desi, new recruit Shea, Dino and Jen, Josh, Jeff, all the Franks, the PW bunch of Calvin, Kate, Matt and Ada; John Nee, the crew at Trident Media, Palooka Joe Antonacci, The San Diego Comic-Con folks, David and Eddit, who helped me out so much; TCAF’s great girl gang led by Deb Aoki who got me through the sad times; and of course the one and only Ben McCool.

But the #1 thank you goes to Beat readers, for contributing their thoughts keeping reading and inspiring me and the rest of the Beatsters to keep on doing this, even at insane hours of the night and terrible convention mornings. To all of you, I wish the best 2013 ever, a New Year filled with happiness and prosperity and promise as far as this site goes you ain’t seen nothing yet. Now that a burst of traffic won’t kill the site, we have more in depth, behind the scenes coverage and analysis. We promise to make your morning coffee more informative than ever.

I’ll end up with a New Year’s comic by my favorite cartoonist, my mother, Suzu.

Happy New Year everyone!



  1. Yeah, it was a serious roller coaster kind of year. The lows could make ya wanna turn a few shades of green and the highs were delirium inducing…I’ll write 2012 off as a sort of bi-polar thrill ride(no offense to anyone on that).
    On the upside, 2013 looks like life is gonna set a new and higher bar for thrill issues…and I now have a massive, 35 pound, big-assed cat named Tom living in my office. Damned thing is taller than my last dog but he pretends to listen to me brainstorming about stuff and that’s cool by me.
    And, Thank you Heidi, for letting me contribute to this great site. It’s an honor.
    Happy Freakin’ New Year, everyone!

  2. Lovely post, Heidi, and so true regarding having to steel oneself as one gets older and prepare to say more goodbyes every year. I suspect the key to dealing with that is to maximize one’s hellos, and to hold old friends more dearly than ever. May 2013 be a banner year for all of us.

  3. I had the good(?) fortune to get The Worst Year Of My Life over with years ago (a widow before I hit 30), so my 2012 was more notable for things – bad and good – that didn’t happen. 2013 will be about making more of the good ones happen.

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