Back-up Vocal~ Beloveds, we have finally reached Comic #227. This is a deeply significant number for yours truly in the journey we know as “Mannyacs”. I wondered for several years if I would or even should talk about why when this one launched. After much debate in my own mind, the larger, real-life picture won out and I felt compelled to stop and acknowledge the moment with you all. Thus, I look all the way back to Comic #27. At the time I built that strip, I was at the very beginning stages of the absolute worst break-up I had ever experienced. Today, I can share that I was an undeniable trainwreck for much longer than I care to admit, as several friends can attest (gargantuan love to all of them…they know who they are). That same point in time saw the collapse of several institutions, such as housing and employment. I’m here to tell you I wasn’t finding anything in the way of hope for my personal future and there was a considerable amount of that exact view infecting everyday life in the world at large as well. But, I had one card in my pocket that was mine and mine alone.

I had Manny……and Manny had stories to tell.  So, rather than giving up on creating anymore (I won’t lie, that thought was tempting on more than one occasion), I dug in deeper and I worked harder. Because truth be told, I was in my early 40s and not getting any younger. I was looking at the very real possibility that a family of my own may well never happen. That meant the realm and characters I had crafted mattered even more, as they likely represented the only mark I would leave behind to prove I had been here (I told you, I was one seriously morose mofo).  So, I determined that if Mannyacs was all I had left, then it was crucial to make it all it really could be. Manny and Soxx were inspired by my own dogs, Simon and Caleb. Both were called back Home several years previously. They always gave completely free, unconditional love and they needed their memories honored. Mannyacs was and is the one way I can give them the tribute they so richly deserve from me. So, once I reconnected with the purpose of my Splendorland crew and recognized that I’d kept them waiting, we fired up the furnace again. I got to work. A handful of years, plus countless pencils and sketchbooks layer, we arrive at a full 200 Comics since the weekend that produced #27. I’m not offering any words of wisdom or inspirational quotes in any of what I’m sharing here. My only thought was that perhaps knowing these stories are always fueled by the real-life joys and struggles of the guy who generates them, might make a difference to a reader or two. In my own ways, I have been where you may be at this moment and Mannyacs became my road to the other side of the tunnel. Rest assured that you can find your pathway, too. If my boys and I can conjure a giggle out of you on your travels, then we are truly honored to help brighten a few days along the trail.   

Allow me to share one final truth on the subject for consideration: spinning more and more tales amidst that monsoon of personal turmoil, gave our Tully his now legendary “Yoga Boy” sobriquet. While never intended to be more than a passing quip, it grew legs when I wasn’t looking and transformed itself into one of the most endearing elements in the Mannyacs landscape. A beam of sunlight finds a way through.