It has been over a year since I started this webcomic. When I first made it, it was because I wanted to create something new, without any bad associations. I didn’t think about it much, I certainly didn’t actually expect it to become popular and reach so many people. It was a happy accident. This thing I created for myself, to help me feel better, suddenly was helping others feel better too. The positive response I have received for this comic is overwhelming. The messages people have sent me sharing their stories about how my comic has helped them moves me in ways I didn’t think were possible. I didn’t think I was capable of doing this, of getting to this point I’m at right now. I didn’t think I would actually be alive at this point in time at all. I know I’ve briefly shared that I had a horrible hospital experience that I almost didn’t survive, literally. But surviving has brought me here- if I didn’t go through that awful thing and live to tell the tale, I wouldn’t have made this comic and reached so many people.

There really isn’t anything in the world I’d give this up for- and not just because it helps me- but because I know it helps others. I know I started this as a coping mechanism, but it has evolved and flourished into something more complex than that. This comic isn’t just for me anymore- its for the world. I want to be capable of healing others as I have healed myself. And really, doing this for others does help me- it’s what motivates me to keep going. I happened to have made this comic for a reason, even if it’s just giving people a reason to look forward to Monday instead of dreading it because of the return to work or school, or the fear of the problems in their world that make them not want to go on anymore. I’ve been in all of those places, I know that horrible, awful feeling. Even if I’m not capable of healing the whole world, anyone is enough for me- any people I can reach- even if it’s just one or two people.

I know you all are probably wondering why I’m talking about all of this. It’s because I’ve realized something- I’ve realized a lot of things in the past 15 months. For one, I’ve realized just how powerful art can be and how many people it can help, how many lives it can save- I have also realized how many people it can hurt. I’m sure everyone is at least somewhat aware that the characters in my webcomic are actually quite negative, and if you aren’t or haven’t thought about it- this is about representation. My comic is, as you already know, full of LGBT characters. At the same time, those same characters… aren’t good people. The message I’m trying to send is being distorted by my bias to want to create LGBT characters, as a lesbian with a dev crew that does not contain a single cishet person. My reasoning isn’t because “this many gay people in one place isn’t realistic!” but rather, “this many bad gay people isn’t realistic!”

Trust me, I am aware representation is extremely important, and I do want to make a series with an all-LGBT cast… but this series just is not the right place for it. The message my comic is meant to send is about the flaws in the medical system via over-exaggeration and irony. It’s meant to showcase the idiocy and arrogance of health professionals who ignore the reality of problems and think that everything has a simple solution- throwing drugs at patients and sending them into a spiral of dependency and darkness. I have had multiple people in my life harmed by these sorts of treatments. THAT is what my comic is about- it’s not meant to be representative of good people and their identities. When I first made my comic in a spur of the moment attempt to crawl out of a depressive episode, I didn’t realize just how much I could affect others.

When I turn on the TV in our current time, I don’t want to see a lesbian character who’s an evil serial killer. I wish we lived in a world where it didn’t matter, where being a lesbian was just as normal as being tall or short, where the way the world viewed me wasn’t already so negative. But the reality is, we don’t. We can’t afford to be portrayed as violent harmful evil people in a world that’s already dehumanized me as much as it has- and I don’t want to contribute to that. I don’t want to become part of the problem. Fiction does affect reality- if I am able to make this many people happy and have hope, I am just as capable of  hurting them and many others. And there are some people I have already hurt, and to be truthful, one of those people is myself.

I know this sounds a lot like I’m gonna cancel my comic. I’m not. But I am going to do something… I’m going to start over. I’m going to reboot it.

I realize that I am definitely going to get backlash for my decision. I might lose some readers- I might lose a lot of readers. I know people are definitely going to be upset with me, but I’ve realized that no matter what I do, someone somewhere isn’t going to like it. I’m not doing this because anyone is pressuring me, or because I want anyone to like me or change their minds about who I am as a creator and individual. I’m doing this because, in my heart, I feel it’s the right thing. I want to do what’s right, not just for me, but for the sake of the world and everyone like me. This is my decision. I want my story to be told and help people heal in the best way possible, and rid it of any negativity that may hinder that process. And I’m not making everyone straight, I’m just not making the bad characters LGBT.

This actually isn’t the sole reason I’m rebooting, albeit being a major one. Another reason I’m doing this is because when I started Sparklecare, I made it in a spur of the moment and it gave me no time to really develop it and flesh it out. Sure, I did loads of that in the last 15 months, but I didn’t even have an ending or real plot in mind when I started it, and it made the beginning (and a majority of the first chapter) very clustered and hard to follow. Another reason I’m doing this, is because some of the characters in the comic were not made by me and I ran into some legal ownership trouble with the creators of said characters  (if you were wondering why I don’t really put OCs in my comic, this is why- it’s dangerous especially if you plan on going on to publish and profit off your comic series). Some characters will not be returning in the reboot because of these reasons.

I learned a lot about comic making and things I want to do better, and this time around, I want to get it right. I want this comic to be the best I’m capable of- the best my whole crew is capable of. I am going to have it published in a final book, and I want that book to be consistent in quality all the way through. I know I’m capable of that- I’ve come to realize my strengths. I’m going to do this.

Thank you so much to every single person who has read my comic and supported me. Thank you, even if you decide to stop reading because of this decision. I understand and wish you the best, there are thousands of other very talented, hardworking LGBT creators out there who are waiting for your views, with better representation than I’ve given so far. Please support your favorite independent artists, this is our lives, and we all need you. And to those who are patient enough to stick around while I make my way back to square one, thank you so much for holding it out for me while I work my hardest to make this comic the best thing I’m capable of. This marks the start of another hiatus while I go back to the drawing board and prepare to start back at the beginning. I am not sure of the length this hiatus will be, but I won’t make you guys wait forever. I will be uploading art and progress of development to my social media accounts, and my patreon too. Once I have a clearer time frame in mind, I will definitely let everyone know when the comic will return.

Remember, this isn’t goodbye. We’ll be back.

-Trip