Punching The Clock – That Moment Of Clarity

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Rob Humphrey writes;

Addicts often have a "moment of clarity" in rehab- that one brief, glimmering moment in which all of the pieces of the puzzle called "life" suddenly and magnificently fit together and make perfect sense. Most struggle with the puzzle for years, failing to see that in order to fill in the middle, you've got to start with the edge work to build the foundation.

2011-11-29-The-Asphalt-MileMy moment of clarity came about four years ago, shortly before Jeff Manley and I began early production on Punching the Clock.

While I am not an addict in the traditional sense, I have travelled that same path with my passion for comics. For years, I have struggled with how comics- a medium that I have loved since before I could even read- fit into my life as an adult. While working a dead-end day job, I filled my "free time" with working in a local comic shop and coordinating a small, regional convention with a few friends.

2013-01-23-It's-Cold;-Hoth-ColdThe puzzle, at this point, was still just a giant pile of awkward shapes in front of me. I had a journalism background in high school and college, and loved to write… but hadn't done anything with the skill that I had once worked so hard to hone. After becoming friends with a writer at one of the "big two," I woke up one morning and had this idea for a script for the book he was currently on. Long story short- I wrote a sample script, emailed it to him, and asked him to be as brutally honest about as he wanted to be. When he responded that what I had sent him was print worthy "as is," it was like everything that I had been struggling with since I was a teenager finally made sense, and all the pieces had lined up.

Clarity. Sweet, sweet purpose.

Through happenstance, Jeff Manley and I had bumped into each other at a local event and started talking about "doing something" together. I admired Jeff's work greatly, as he had been an independent cartoonist for about 10 years at this point. After a few discussions, we decided to tell the tale of two nerds stuck working their dead-end jobs at a big-box retailer, and Punching the Clock was born.


For this comic, I decided to listen to all of those writing instructors who told me to "Write what you know." After well over a decade of slowly torturing my soul in the consumer hell of big box retail, I felt that I had many stories to tell- and I would do so through the unique lens of two nerdy friends who rely on each other to make it through the workday. In essence, this comic is a love letter to my best friend, of whom the character of "Jeff" is based on. Much of what you see in our comic is based on real-life experiences.

Punching the Clock has been able to blend a mix of comic book, video game and sci-fi humor with the occasional reference to current events, all while telling the story of two friends working an everyday job. If you've ever worked a crummy job, and you're a little nerdy, then our comic is the place to be.

2013-03-19-I-Meme-You-No-HarmPunching the Clock has been live and on the web (new updates every Tuesday) for about a year-and-a-half at this point. We've been fortunate enough to have lots of positive media coverage, a Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award nomination, and have released one collected edition of our comic in print. Jeff and I are excited for what the future holds, as our current Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the next two volumes of our book in print was fully funded in less than six days, and will continue through April 7th.

We are so appreciative that people enjoy our work, and are willing to help two nerds live out their dreams of making comics for a living. My moment of clarity helped me be a part of creating something that people all over can relate to, and if I am able to bring a smile to someone's face or help them through a rough day with a funny comic, then my puzzle ended up fitting together just fine.


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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