Chapter 6 Cover
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Chapter 6 Cover

The first update of The Meek went live exactly 10 years ago today…

When I started posting, the recession had just kicked into high gear. I’d just been un-accepted from gradschool due to funding issues, I was living at home and caring for a family member who at the time was on the brink of death, and worked as much as I could on the comic as a way for me to focus on something that wasn’t fear and uncertainty about the future. A decade later and I’m doing marginally better. I got my first art jobs thanks to this comic… did a stint in the game industry, did art for some forgotten games, met my future spouse and bounced. Nearly lost the comic but eventually got everything back a few years later, much to the surprise of many readers. I self-published the first volume of this book. I created another comic, going to print soon. Successfully ran my first anthology, which is physically at the printers right now. And honestly…

I feel just as much fear and uncertainty as before. The world is arguably in worse shape than when I started the comic, and a lot of the anxieties I poured onto these pages are slowly becoming realities. The base premise of the comic: who exactly deserves to inherit the earth, is as vexing a question to me now as it was 10 years ago. Maybe humans have already had their chance, and it’s just a matter of time before something wipes the slate clean and starts over. Or maybe there is still a way to grow something beautiful out of the ugliness we’ve created…

You’ve probably noticed by now that the comic stops and starts in phases, with the stops and starts of my own life. Not ideal, but I’m a fallible singleton with no additional help doing a bunch of different jobs, and usually it’s not possible for me to be the perfectly organized, physically healthy, 100% energetic and productive content creator a lot of people think I should be. But that’s okay for most of you I think, and anyways, the “off” days are usually the most vital in terms of planning and pre-production. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. We’re nearing another start phase soon with Chapter 6, which will begin in earnest probably in February. I’ve had this cover sitting around a while but thought it would be nice to post it on my anniversary even though the regular updates won’t begin for a few more weeks.

It’s been a busy year, busy 10 years, busy life, but while I’m alive at least I’ll continue picking away at the comic and at the question of The Meek, and as always I thank you very much for following along with me.

61 Comments

  • DukeBG

    Yes! Let’s go another 10 years!

    • FJ

      This is fantastic!

  • Looks like I picked the right day to check on The Meek again! W00t!

    • evileeyore

      Me too!

      Of course I check every Saturday so… eh…

  • hmantegazzi

    I came for an update on a cool comic, and got a beautiful inspirational speech!

  • TachyonCode

    Thank the gods for RSS feeds, or I never woulda known you were back!

    And yeah, speaking as someone whose understanding of how to make a comic is fundamentally incomplete, but who longed to do it anyway: I have had the same urges to create at around the same times in history, and I have been through some (on paper) very similar circumstances. So I can totally empathize and root for you on the ups and downs in life, and as long as the feed doesn’t break down I’ll be following this work. Absolutely love it!

    • hkmaly

      I’m pretty sure RSS feeds are man-made :-). But yes great technology.

      Also, looking forward to see the main heroine again.

      • Thornbrier

        Thank Guha for RSS feeds, or I never would have known The Meek was coming back.

  • KT

    I’ve stuck with this comic for almost all of those 10 years and I’ve never been disappointed by you. Your art, attention to detail, and writing are amazing and are worth waiting for. Life is tough and rarely generous to our creative sides, so I understand and greatly appreciate the tenacity and dedication you have to see this through. I check your comic nearly everyday for even a snippet of what’s to come, and yes – even a title page fills me with warmth and joy. Many cheers to you.

  • Kyle

    <3

  • Russ

    Checking The Meek & Mare Internum is a daily routine that I look forward to. You’re telling fantastic stories with ridiculously awesome artwork for what appears to be nothing more than fan appreciation. That’s toweringly generous. For what it’s worth, I say the “starts and stops” were always expected – life gets in the way and no one should give static for putting the necessary first. I count myself among the fortunate to have found your work and the privileged to be able to go back and re-read it at will.

  • Lovely to hear from you, and many thanks for the light and hope and humanity you’ve provided us these past 10 years. As I’ve said before, and as I think most of your other readers would agree, please take your time, and let us know if we can do anything to help. We treasure you and the art you produce.

  • Welcome back!

  • Rana

    Just glad to see you. I’m happy to stick around for more.

  • LeLutin

    Happy birthday, The Meek!

    and I’m glad to see this comic spring back to life. keep up what you do!

  • Plothole Tsi

    I’m just stoked that we’re finally circling back around to this lady’s story!
    Glad to hear you’re trying to put your mental health first, and that you haven’t given up on the comic even if humanity’s giving you lots of reasons to give up on humanity.

  • Ezequiel

    Oh der… I have been reading since… forever, idk. And i will always be thankful to you for your creation, heck i even bought the signed hardcover when i was able (it still feels so surreal, i wanted to get it a long time ago). Sincerely, i don’t know where i’m going with this, but i just wanted to thank you.

  • Liam

    Hi,
    I haven’t made a comment here before but I just wanted to say I really love The Meek.

  • I started reading The Meek back then! When I was captivated by your work that I’d seen on deviantART while I was still in high school, haha. That feels like ages ago… The Meek and your work in general has influenced me greatly since I found it, and I think it was the number one driving force in helping me realize I wanted to try comics of my own.

    I still remember it was you that I first heard say “Don’t start with your dream project.” So I wrote something that I meant to be short and then… it turned into my dream project. Kicking myself every day for unintentionally spurning the advice I was so sure I’d internalized, lol. I’m just kinda letting it happen though, it is a fun learning experience, but it’s one I think I wouldn’t have been breadcrumbed to without The Meek. So, thank you!

    The times be bad, and I’m not entirely confident things’ll get easier anytime soon, but seeing you and your work persevere gives me the fighting spirit!! Like an art adrenaline shot!

    Here’s to surviving!!

  • septentriones

    Looking forward to Chapter 6 and whatever comes next! This is a project worth waiting for. I have room set aside on my shelf next to volume 1. :)

  • lou

    “[…] usually it’s not possible for me to be the perfectly organized, physically healthy, 100% energetic and productive content creator a lot of people think I should be”: screw every single person who’s trying to tell you what they think you should be :) We’re very lucky to have you! Here’s to another 10 years of not dying :P

  • MikeLinPA

    YAY!

    So glad you are back. I check your two sites every day. So worth it!

  • Xania

    I remember way back, when The Meek went on hiatus the first time, I was so sad that it would never continue (or so I thought.) But it’s come back, again and again, better every time. Keep going, Der-shing, at your pace. We’re always here with you!

  • Patchy

    Omg it’s back!! Anyone have Champaign?

    • Graybeard

      People around here are not that polished, not that sophisticated, not that Urbana.

  • Fleece

    Best of luck with everything!
    This is a really cool cover. Also, I love how your chapter cover pictures depict the moment when the chapter starts, so we sorta already get the first panel here.

  • Matt

    The last paragraph came of as little depressing. Maybe it’s just me. But I often feel the same way about humanity. Still the wonder of live can be so amazing and at the end of the day everyone can improve. If everyone performs a small step the whole world improves. At least that is what I tell myself. And I try to believe it.

    So I do hope that you stay long among us, and no not because of the comic, which is great, but because you deserve it.

  • Frédéric Devillez

    Yeah! A chapter cover!

  • evileeyore

    “The world is arguably in worse shape than when I started the comic…”

    Nah. It’s in better shape. Every year things get better, you just have to look for whatever the news isn’t telling you.

  • Jan Tuts

    You just do you, at your own pace, and we’ll be here when you are! :)

  • Stephanie

    I’m so glad you’re still picking away at this! I wasn’t with you for year one, but I’ve kept little bits of The Meek in my life since, as posters and postcards and bookmarks…. I think I like it most because nobody is super capable and knows the right moves, the right thing to say, and there’s a beautiful humanity in the characters. Thanks so much for taking us with you!

  • Gathenhielm

    Yes! So glad this comic isn’t dead, you really had me worried there.

  • Tom

    It’s like looking in a mirror (almost – I’m an engineer, not an artist, but it’s still a somewhat creative field if you’re doing it right)… I barely graduated at the height of the recession & had to weather frustrating, lonely years of many professional and personal false starts and failures, interspersed with long periods of bleak, despairing *nothingness.* I’ve experienced bereavement, tragedy and mental illness, in myself and my friends, and thanks to the fear and uncertainty suffusing it all I’ve lost the woman I truly love, who once was wonderful enough to love me just the way I was. And until very recently, I’ve bottled it all up.

    I once worked out how long the rope needed to be.

    I can empathise with so much you’ve been through, and I can’t find enough words to congratulate you on still being able to pick yourself up after all of it, to follow your passion and create this bright, vivid beacon of genuine, honest beauty, originality and fierce humanity, in a bland, uncertain world awash with selfishness, self-destructiveness and small-minded apathy.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration. Thank you for simply continuing to sincerely TRY, in a world where it seems nobody can be bothered any more. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work (a beautiful slice of yourself, in effect!), with all of us.

    Maybe I can still do it too.

    It’s a good thought to begin a new year on – maybe the best gift I’ve been given. Thank you.

    • Cait

      I’m glad you’re around to share your story too, Tom. <3

  • pyrAmider

    Creating what you do must be so difficult. It shows not just genius but hard work and lots of it. I wish you the most satisfaction and meaning you can get from The Meek and MI, and look forward to enjoying these tales and visions you conjure as I have for ten years.

  • jeryk

    I been faithfully dropping by, for yearsss, to check in on your projects!
    Have read and enjoyed both your sites (story and art).
    It’s been important, and I know I have commented at some points in past- to say THANK YOU!!! :)
    You HAVE the GIFT- the Artistic KNACK- to convey/elicit (so many)emotions! LOL, I think back now, yup- quite the spectrum you have pulled outta me, as your characters have transported me thru the tapestry of your weaving.
    Holy Shite, yes! Your efforts have mattered on my best AND my worst days. I try not to keep track of mine, but yes- living ain’t easy, getting old is not for sissies (as an old battered(retired) friend snarkily tells me with a grin. He is a valued icon:)
    Do what you can! Know you have 90+% approval and support! (probably more, but the negatives are noisy, and try to skew your perception, silly trolls!)
    So when you are low, or slow, or doubt (buck up and Rock On!)
    Do whatever you need to keep as happy as possible. Clearly you understand self sacrifice, in pursuit of own goals. If your motivation takes you away, You will be missed, because you are valued, because ‘parting is sweet sorrow!?’, but do not drag yourself down, only to please others. Hellll NO! :)
    I said ‘faith’, in first line, it implies ‘trust’! Comraderie, says I give you a conspiratorial wink, from a grinning face:)
    I trust ya to take care, I will do the same!
    Best Wishes Always and See you round!!
    JohnO:)

  • I’ve enjoyed the journey reading this comic for the past 10 years! I don’t think many of your readers (at least not myself) are mad about the on/off update schedule. Life happens, and I’m just glad I get to see your work as it comes. All the best to you! <3

  • David

    Ha! Talk about a blessing and a curse- to have your tale of horrifying authoritarian rule, genocide, and war become MORE relevant and emotionally relatable as time goes on.

  • that guy

    A new comic! Outstanding!

  • Corbie

    Wow! Ten years in the making and always getting better. I’m not tired on checking on updates instead of waiting for the mails. At least this way, I get reminded why I don’t mind to wait.

    Also since every comic creator is human and needs to be human in all aspects, which means updates can be unreliable at times. If that means long times, so be it.

    Just one thought about the world and the state it is in: https://ourworldindata.org gives a great overview over many questions and their answers, often in an unexpected way that counters the ubiquitous worries (I’m far from free of them) about the near future on the media. I hope this might help a bit with them if need be.

  • Lloyd

    YAY! An update! Art, story, characterizations, all are wonderful and engaging. As for the shape of the world, it’s still ’round. (little pun). Thank you for creating both of your webcomics and sharing them with us.

  • Steeeve

    I’m patient. Your comics have just been in my “Hyatus” folder since I read them through in one go. I’d rather see a hiatus than an ending mid-story. :)

    That said, you’d probably gain more supporters with more frequent updates. At least one a month. I mean, for a bit I wasn’t sure if I just stumbled on a long dead comic who’s website hadn’t reached the end of its funding. :( Glad that doesn’t seem to be true though.

    • Tom

      I suspect the quality of a work like The Meek might suffer under those conditions.

      To put it overly simplistically, it’s my impression that good art, “real” art, is done by the artist for the artist first, and the audience second*. “Art” turned out to a rigid schedule to satisfy an audience is, by definition, hackwork*.

      If, by sheer coincidence, the artist happens to work well to a tight, fixed deadline, great, do that. If they don’t, then, to produce something really, truly beautiful, they shouldn’t.

      I don’t know the particular process used by Der-Shing Helmer but, based on the jaw-dropping nature of this webcomic, all I can say is “don’t change anything!”

      *Except for certain specialised subgenres where the method of audience interaction actually constitutes part of the art itself… from this outsider’s perspective, art is complicated and hard to pin down to any concrete definition or formula! I suppose if it could be, it wouldn’t be art…

  • Some_Douchebag

    Here’s hoping she kicks the shit out of another geriatric.

  • Zelly

    Thanks for sharing your insecurities with us. We’re all just people doing the best we can. And it can be oddly comforting to be aware we’re all kinda swimming upstream together.

    Here’s to another 10 years!

  • zeb

    <3

  • DaniBee

    Ah! So exciting to see you active again! I love this story and your art and have been checking in to see when you might be back. Life is pretty dang crazy, for sure. Still, it’s good to see you again.

  • Becca

    Thanks for sharing this cover, it’s great. I also appreciate the honest update you posted. I get the sense that so many of us that graduated during that recession are still digging their way out of it, just as new graduates have better prospects. Regardless, I love this comic and am very excited for new updates. Creative work takes time and energy and thank you for sharing it with us.

  • anon

    I’m a freshman in college, and I started reading this in 6th grade—I hope to read it for many more years to come. Thanks so much for all your work <3

  • James Schmidt

    Woo! It’s crazy how often I check to see if there is an update, and no matter how many times there wasn’t one, I always come back!

  • Baby M

    Welcome back!

  • Tim F

    I can hardly describe how excited I am to see a new chapter. You’ve clawed your way to success and recognition. Maybe it hasn’t reached the level of someone like Rob Liefeld (I’m being funny! don’t ban me!), but there’s plenty of time yet. I will follow every update here and at MI with great enthusiasm.

    • haha, I can only aspire to that level of pouches

  • Magdalene

    me, knowing full well that Soli is a main character and thus would not die this early in the story: oh my god she lives!!! what a relief

  • Achi

    Welcome back!

    I’ve been reading my pdf copy of Electrum and it is FANTASTIC. It feels so good to read that other people feel the same as I have about being mixed. The comic has also instilled new pride in being mixed and washed away some of the shame of never being enough of either of my halves. I am glad you’re back and congrats on the commitment of 10 years!

    • Oh, I’m so glad to hear that :] It was a cathartic project to work on, the team had some really worthwhile insights, and it was super awesome to not just learn their perspectives but to facilitate being able to share them with others. The book is looking crazy good as well too, I’m really happy to see it coming together.

  • LazyReader

    Those boots cuted me the F*** out
    She’s got a total I don’t give attitude……

  • Wonderful to see you come up for air. And seriously, ain’t a one of us immune from LIFE. It’s a thing that happens.

  • The world will always be there to take you back.
    We, your faithful readers, are that promise made manifest.

    So welcome back! Here’s to you, and here’s to The Meek.

  • Sebine

    Updating again, are we?

    Been a fucking while since I checked this webcomic.

  • Ardid

    You comic this beatiful thing into our eyes.
    We’ll wait until you comic it out of our hearts.

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