Last year, Chris Onstad's Achewood returned from a 20-month hiatus on Christmas Eve, and it looked like there would once again be light and hope in this fallen world. Now, though, after a year of weekly updates, Onstad has announced that he's stepping away from Achewood again.

The announcement comes via Onstad's blog, where he lays out plans for the future and discusses his reasons for taking another extended break from the strip.


I relaunched Achewood a year ago on Christmas Day, putting it up on Fridays, and I wanted to give it one full, solid year. I wanted to prove I could come back as strong as I ever was. And I wanted to make you happy again. So I did (at least, the first one — the second one I can't speak to). And now I am walking away from it again. It's necessary for me.

Achewood takes a huge give from its producer. It's so slippery, so complex, so vast, so old, and I hold it to such a high standard, it becomes all-encompassing. When I do Achewood, I can't focus on or give enough time to the securities I need to build for later in life, or to my human relationships.

There are other reasons. I know a very successful man who likes to reinvent himself every decade. I have been the Achewood guy since 2001. There are hundreds of things I wish I could focus on in life, and I am forty-one now. I was twenty-six when I started this. I want to do something different.

I still haven't written a proper book, and that is first among my ambitions. I also need to commit full-time to the fascinating business my friend and I started, Portland Syrups. It's expanding at an overwhelming pace, and it deserves my focus if it's to grow at the head of its market.

I have the sincere feeling that I won't be able to stay away from Achewood forever. The itch occurs every few years. I do not promise that it is over, in any capacity. But I am going to go quiet for a while and refresh my perspective. I will continue to produce gallery artwork, as that is a creative outlet that's truly come to fascinate me these last two years. It will appear in the gallery shop, and if you've never been there, please check it out. The evolution that's taken place in there might interest you.


It's interesting to note that rather than ending the current storyline in the comic, Onstad instead wrapped it up in the blogs associated with the characters, which have been running sporadically alongside the strip since 2004. That in itself isn't terribly surprising --- despite the comedic timing on display in the comic, one of Achewood's greatest strengths has always been the dialogue and the distinct character voices, something that Onstad has gravitated to over the years.

It's also worth mentioning that Onstad never refers to this as the end of Achewood, leaving the door open for the strip or the characters to return in the future in some form or another. But even if that never happens, its 15-year run as one of the best comics around is nothing to sneeze at.

And if nothing else, we'll always have Airwolf.


Achewood, by Chris Onstad

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