So, it's all over.
I began writing Grace and Caffeine more than three and a half years ago. It's been with me since before I started my degree. It's been a major element of my life for what feels like forever.
Back at the beginning of August, I wrote the 178th and last strip.
And this afternoon, I completed and uploaded the new-look archive site, containing every single strip ever written, along with colour versions, development sketches, cartoonist's commentaries, a brief guide to the characters, a revised and expanded FAQ, and the 20-episode run of Grace and Caffeine's precursor Games Baptists Play.
Thing is, there is now absolutely no work of any description left to do on the whole 45-month-long project. And it feels really weird trying to get my head around the fact that one of the two longest-running creative projects I've ever undertaken is now done and gone. It hasn't really sunk in yet. It might take days, maybe even weeks or months, before I really get a grip on the fact that my pet project isn't there any more.
It didn't really end very spectacularly. You always want these things to end in a blaze of glory, with fireworks and trumpets and one last massive achievement. But it didn't. It all ended with a tiny - almost insignificant - fix to the HTML code on one of the new pages. It was a very small glitch that had snuck in ages ago and I'd forgotten to change at the time, so after making all the dramatic moves (logging in to the server, wiping out the whole of the old site and uploading the 388 files which constitute the new one), I then found myself going back into the abandoned house for a few moments to tweak a few characters of the source code, re-save the page... and with that tiny little gesture, it was all over.
I'm nearly finished with Megastropulodon Attacks! and The Making of "Intergalactic Hamsters" too. Once they're done, nearly all of the old threads will have been severed, and I'll be well and truly off the end of the map and wandering out into the post-college-era void, trying to pick up the threads of whatever new tapestry is heading my way.
The other thing is, I'm left wondering if anyone besides me actually cares. I made it known a month ago that the project was coming to a close, and nobody's said a thing. No "Do you really have to stop?", no "So why've you decided to pack it in now?", no "Well, it's been an interesting three years"... not even "Thank goodness you're giving it up at last you miserable *beep*!" Is there a single other human being on the surface of this planet who is remotely interested by the fact that I won't be restarting Grace and Caffeine this month as I have the last three Septembers? I don't know. I hope there is, but if they're out there then they're keeping really, really quiet about it.
Anyway, enough self-pitying rambling. If you are one of the minority who are at all interested, the shiny new archives are now open at the usual URL, http://gc.mattghc.com - feel free to take a look around and offer any feedback that might come into your head.
Now, what's the next project going to be...
- The Colclough