If there were any Æsop-level moral to Long John, it would be something about the idea of reflection.

The original ending was going to be slightly different. You can see that I abandoned the idea by the end of this attempted thumbnail. Click for a larger version.

In a world such as the one painted (or, more accurately, sketchily drawn) in Long John, introducing reflection may seem a bit anachronistic like I’m forcing modern values on a time and place that had more important things to worry about. While I’ll admit there’s some truth to that claim, I would counter with a simple *gestures at all of art and philosophy.*

The things that survive the erosion of time are the things that exist through the conscious effort (and results) of reflection. Art, music, architecture, histories, letters, novels, plays, etc.––we have examples of all of these going back thousands of years in some cases. And these are endeavors that––while they may have been conceived in a moment of quick inspiration––only survived because whoever made it sat down and thought about it. Of course, we have have legends of knights and gunfighters, but they’re mostly two-dimensional standees of who they actually were, meaning little more than how cool and tough they seem now.

From the moment Long John wakes up at that tufa tower, the way the world works around him changed and those who move only through instinctive reaction don’t succeed (I’m not saying there can’t be a little of that at times). That’s why I thought it was important to end this chapter on this moment. When Long John finally gets the things he has been literally bleeding and fighting for over the last five chapters––his clothes––the only thing that actually catches his eye is the hat he

The final thumbnail for this page, however, came pretty close to what ended up on the page. Click for a larger version.

belligerently took from the first person who helped him in his time of need.

With that in mind, this is not what Long John “means” or how readers are meant to interpret it. Honestly, I didn’t see this theme until yesterday (at the time of this writing). The themes I aimed for since starting the story in 2013 have been loftier. With hope, those come through, too. But it’s nice––as someone who highly values reflection; someone who, perhaps, unhealthily lives in it at all times––to see it naturally emerge in my work. I guess, I’m finally starting to hear my voice as a creator, only after five chapters and nine years of work. I knew something good would come of it!


I realize that may sound like I’m saying Long John is over. It’s not! (Though after finishing this page, the English major part of my brain did consider it.) We have at least (and most likely) one more chapter to go to bring the entire thing to a close. So, to keep up to date as I start drawing that (I post a lot of process pictures), be sure to follow me on Instagram and be sure to join the Long John Facebook page if you prefer to read your webcomics there. Those are the two best places to find Long John.

Of course, Long John, Volume 5 is available for sale at the store. For $8 (plus shipping) you get a signed copy of the book (with extra exclusive content) and a Long John coaster. You can also get a custom Long John sketch on a comic book backing board for only $10 more. If you want to get all the books so far, there is a 5-Book Bundle for $35 (a $5 savings!) that all come signed and with a coaster, too. There’s some other neat things there, too. There are also high resolution e-book versions of all of the books (including Volume 5) available for only $5 each on Gumroad. The e-books contain everything that’s in the print editions.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for reading and supporting the comic throughout this chapter (especially those who preordered Volume 5!) and through the entirety of the comic’s run so far. As you know, there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon and Long John certainly wouldn’t have gotten where it is––and wouldn’t be going where it’s headed––without your support and enthusiasm. Every day I’m appreciative of the fact that so many of you think that this book is cool and interesting and different enough to stand on its own.

Until next time!