It is done. Fourth Floor has updated again. And I’ve gone all Alpha Shade on your ass. I bet you didn’t think I could do that, did you?

Such a lengthy absence deserves an equally lengthy explanation. Here goes. I started drawing the strip and the process was lengthy. I worked for about a year creating a buffer of thirty comics and then went on-line. I knew I wasn’t going to be like the other comics — I was going to ascend to the pantheon of the gods in a matter of hours.

However, this ascension was impeded somewhat by the introductory nature of the strip. I invited people to look at the first five strips together. I realised that they served as an excellent introduction to the comic but were nothing more than that — an introduction. I found myself assuring newcomers — wait and see, it gets really good in a few weeks. Sensing that a slow-paced introduction to the strip was not the best way to draw in new readers, I impatiently posted the rest of my buffer in the months that followed on a tri-weekly basis. Forgetting that this was the work of a year, I used it up in a few months to, you know, get it out of the way.

Then, I began my first job. This was almost a year ago. At first I found it difficult juggling a very difficult job with a time-consuming comic and I fell behind with my updates. I realised that I would not be able to maintain the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule I had established and that the readers I had tried to lure in by using up my buffer were leaving me. Then I got back into the swing of things and started working at producing updates. I became quite ill at one point, a combination of stress, sleep deprivation and overwork, but I carried on working on the comic anyway, knowing that to quit now just because it was hard work would be weak and pathetic.

It was at this point that my monitor broke. It did not break so that it could not be used, only so that it could not be used for the comic. The screen went all yellow. For limited periods of time I could write things on the computer, because when typing I can glance away from the screen as often as I like. When I tried staring at this thing for hours at a time to work on the comic (today’s comic) it made my eyes and head hurt. I knew I would have to stop working on the comic for the next few weeks until a replacement monitor could be bought.

The replacement monitor arrived in March. I realised that I had spent the best part of my first year as a web-cartoonist doing exactly what all the other hacks do — not updating. I hate filler art so I hadn’t cluttered up my archives with much of that. My entire readership had left me. I thought back on how lengthy the process of creating a comic had been in the past and I realised that I had been spending most of this time pains-takingly creating in Paint the kind of comic that users of Photoshop can create in minutes. Someone in the Comic Genesis forums said they couldn’t tell if my comic was hand-drawn or digital. It made me think: why spend all this Goddamn time hand-drawing comics and not using Photoshop when people can’t even tell the difference?

So, before bringing the comic back, I learnt to use Photoshop and today’s comic is the result. From now on, all the comics will be made this way. It’s quicker than my previous process and I’m sure you’ll agree it looks much better.

I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to churn comics out at such a high level of quality every week but I thought that I might as well treat anyone who still has me book-marked after all these months.

By the way, wire monsters are hard to draw and very hard to colour in so this comic took quite a while, as you can imagine. However, once this storyline shudders to its climax, I think I might be able to manage a comic every ten days or so.

“Insert pretentious quotation here.”