Assuming You Survive

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the storyboards from the first issue of the comic Margaret Treanor Frey and I are doing together, “Assuming You Survive”. When we first started this, I wasn’t sure what the division of labor was going to be — I felt a little guilty leaving all the drawing to her, since it’s so time-consuming and so much work. (But she’s so much better than me, it quickly became clear making her draw everything was by far the best plan.)

As a co-writer, mostly I meet with her on Zoom / Slack for an hour once or twice / week, where we brainstorm theme and structure and plot and characters. Sometimes she asks me to fill out a character’s Pinterest board, to help give references for the room she’s drawing.

One of the main characters, Sita, is South Asian-based, so Margaret tends to leave it to me to define her — she just asked me if Sita wears a bindi, for example. Sita is pretty mad at her paladin husband, who is always on the road, rescuing people, which is super-virtuous and all, but ends up leaving her with all the domestic labor and child-rearing…

So I think Sita only wears a bindi when she’s dressing up for a party and wants to match her outfit, OR if he’s somehow managed to win himself into her good graces, in which case, she would wear a traditional red one, sign of a married woman.

Anyway. That’s the sort of thing I do, and Margaret does all the real work! I love it when she shows me storyboards of scenes we’ve drafted dialogue for; it’s super-interesting seeing how varied her layouts are. (I’ve read _Understanding Comics_, which is great, but it’s super-dense, and I think I’d have to draw comics for years before I really was able to integrate much of his advice.)

In this scene, Sita is arriving, uncertain, at the inn in Adventure Village. She’s left behind judgmental relatives who didn’t really understand why she took up adventuring in the first place, much less had romantic relationships (and kids) with ‘monsters’. She’s had enough of her kids being teased and excluded, and is hoping to find a place where they can belong.

I mean, I’m not saying Adventure Village = Oak Park, but there are some similarities. 🙂





Okay, so here’s a big announcement, and I swear, we didn’t actually plan this to coincide with the Great British Baking Show dropping its new season today, but we probably should have, so let’s just pretend we were that clever. We’re writing a comic! It’s called “Assuming You Survive”! Margaret Treanor Frey (my college roommate) and I have been working on a comic for a while now, since WisCon 2019, I think, so about a year and a half. We’re now far enough along that we’re ready to start showing it to the world more seriously — we have a plot arc for season one, for example. There’s going to be a bake-off! 🙂


“Assuming You Survive” follows the daily adventures of mythical creatures who have retired from adventuring to live together in a small, out-of-the way village and raise their families. They soon realize their quirky town is unavoidably attractive to human ‘adventurers’ (and their money belts) and figure what the heck, might as well make a buck. If they could handle their lairs and dungeons being constantly plundered, they can handle a bunch of tourists. Right?

The story opens with Sita, the only fully human character, moving in to town, looking for a place to raise her ‘part-monster’ children. It goes on as a slice-of-life story in a fantasy setting, strangely devoid of vicious betrayals or gut-churning slayings, and becomes about building community and found families. But with dragons. And merfolk. And a baking competition. Woot!


We have the first issue close to finalized now, and the plan is to keep working (which is mostly Margaret, since we’re co-writers, but she’s the illustrator, and I just peek over her virtual shoulder and try to make helpful comments) through the fall. (For anyone else interested in doing this kind of collaborative work, I’ll note that we’ve found Slack and Pinterest super-useful tools for us, since Margaret lives near L.A., and I live near Chicago.)

When we have a full season ready, we’ll start posting it weekly as a web comic. I’m kind of hoping for January 1, but we’re not quite ready to pin down a date yet.

Then at some point, we’ll aim to ALSO release it as a full color graphic novel (I imagine there’ll be a Kickstarter linked to that, so you can pre-order it there, if you like).


Right now, we have a website, Facebook group, and most importantly, a Patreon. If you’d like to help this comic come to fruition, and are in a position to support it, we’d love you to join us at the Patreon. There are various treats for supporters at different levels ($1 / month and up), so pop over and check it out! Patrons also get materials e-mailed to them, so they never miss any goodies!

You’ll also be able to read the blog and follow along on our site and/or the Facebook group:



Whew, I think that’s it! Is this a launch day? Maybe a pre-launch day? Happy pre-launch day, little webcomic! So excited to see you grow up!