The Reason Why – In Our Dreams Awake

Over the last couple of years, I decided to start writing about the published things I’ve managed to do – comic, short story, and novels. But I wanted to talk about the reason why they exist. Sometimes that’s talking about how the comic came about. Sometimes that’s a breakdown of where I was when it was conceived. Sometimes it’s a look inside my brain.

It occurs to me I never wrote a post for In Our Dreams Awake. Even if I have talked about the origins and it’s history.

The Reason Why In Our Dreams Awake exists is because I feel like I let people down when it didn’t exist.


Back when we were first emailing about this story, Egg was doing his best to try and make it in the world of comic books. He traveled around the southeast to various conventions setting up at an artist table with his then girlfriend. He would craft stories, make connections, and was putting in the legwork.

In the meantime, I was traveling down a different path with the folks over at Terminus Media, trying to get the anthologies finished. Trying to figure out how to create a comic book in the first place. And then later trying to figure out how to do more than the odd 8-10 page short.

Both of us were hoping for that little kick from a project or a connection or something which maybe would make it so this crazy idea of making comics might not be as crazy as you think.

In Our Dreams Awake should have been that thing. It should have been the catalyst for something bigger and better.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There’s this concept called Sunk Cost. Basically it means that a cost has already occurred and cannot be recovered. To me it means that you can’t let your future be determined by mistakes you’ve made in the past. You cannot remain beholden to something because it MIGHT work out for you. Instead, you need to forge ahead almost as if that original mistake didn’t happen.

When the original artist on Egg’s Cyberpunk story fell off the face of the earth, I should have scrounged up some funds and pushed the project ahead with a new artist.

But I didn’t do that.

I convinced myself that we had come too far to go backwards and start 24 pages completely over. I held onto some misguided hope that the time and effort invested in those pages were worth holding the whole project up.

The pages sat there on a computer for over a decade. All that hard work lain fallow.

Even when I finally circled back to the project and decided it NEEDED to get finished and put out into the world, I still couldn’t let go of that Sunk Cost. I still waited to hear back from the missing artist, engaging with him to try and see if we could salvage those pages. And when he ghosted me again, I waited… holding out hope for… what?


In Our Dreams Awake is a story about a man who isn’t sure which life he deserves. It’s the story about a man who is constantly wanting something more, something different than his current life can provide him.

But at it’s core it is about DREAMING BIG.

Egg and I wanted to make a comic book. We wanted to have readers and be able to tell this weird story. We wanted to be able to sell a few copies here and there, maybe break even on things when it was all said and done.



So maybe the biggest thing is the things I’ve learned along the way. Every mistake, every misstep got me a little closer to having printed copies of issue 1 in people’s hands. The mistakes that occurred between issue 1’s Kickstarter and issue 2’s current Kickstarter. And probably the mistakes that are likely to happen in the future.

Because doing this isn’t easy. The imposter syndrome is constantly hanging around in the back of my mind. Telling me that all the hard work isn’t worth it. You’ve invested so much, why keep going? It would be simplier if you just called it quits.

Maybe you shouldn’t DREAM SO BIG.


But that’s The Reason Why, isn’t it? If I don’t push this through, then the little voice of doubt will have been right. And I owe it to everyone who worked on this comic, whether it was 15+ years ago or it was earlier this year, to find a way to get it out into the world. Because if you can’t DREAM BIG about something so wonderful as comic books, then what can you DREAM BIG about?


A quick reminder that In Our Dreams Awake #2 is available on Kickstarter. Go and check it out here.


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

About John McGuire

Writer of comics and novels. In 2006 his first short story "The God That Failed" was published by Terminus Media in their debut comic Evolution Book 1. Since that time he has had stories published in Terminus Media's Evolution Book 2 and Evolution Special, Kenzer and Company's The Knights of the Dinner Table, and Four J Publishing's The Burner #3. Currently he is eagerly awaiting the digital publishing of his first creator-owned comic The Gilded Age #1 to be published online as well as his first novel The Dark That Follows later this year.
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