mouseguard winter

An Open Letter to David Petersen, Creator of ‘Mouse Guard’

Comic Books

mouseguard winter

Dear David Petersen,

The first time we met was at Free Comic Book Day a few years ago, up in a little NH city. Just a small little moment in time, as all our encounters have been.

After what seemed a long line of people asking you to sign TMNT covers, we finally got to meet the creator of Mouse Guard. Your eyes seemed to light up as we gushed about our love for your creation, like a mom being told her kids are super amazing and kind.

We were a young nerdy couple, playing MMOs and reading comics together. I never cared for the superhero universes too much, and Mouse Guard was such an amazing story, with such attention to detail in the illustrations.

My partner always commented on your killer line art skills as an inspiration of his, and how he would study your panels. He taught me to appreciate comic art and all the work and dedication that goes into a finished product. Gaming was more my style, and I never got into the superhero comics.

Mouse Guard was something we could appreciate together.

open letter to david petersen
When our little family met you at Boston Comic Con, B was six months old, sleeping, all wrapped up on my torso. You mentioned how awesome we were for bringing him. This time our eyes lit up, as we all joked about raising the next generation “correctly.”

Your panel on self-publishing that day again inspired my partner. Your story of how you brought drawings of mice to a convention, and listened to the calling to turn them into something more, creating the Black Axe… all of it.

I remember him listening intently to your words. Soaking it all in. Here is a guy who did it.

Last night, you wowed me again in your AMA on Twitch. It wasn’t the footage of the “sizzle reel” or the impressive set models. It wasn’t even the immense grace with which you answered the same questions over and over that made me write this letter.

It was your heart.

During the AMA you touched upon internet bullying when you talked about the opinions people have shared with you, and also the emotional burdens of life. You talked about impostor syndrome and how so many people feel it, even Paul McCartney.

My partner watched as you opened up about your mother’s condition and the amount of energy it takes to care for a loved one in those situations. You got vulnerable about your feelings, and I’m so thankful and grateful that you did.
It’s so important for men, like my partner, to see other men open up and be vulnerable. It’s so important to create a space to talk about emotions, and you created that for him last night.

His grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. It was hard for him to deal with, and it’s something he doesn’t talk about. I can think of, maybe, a handful of times in our 14-year relationship.

During your AMA, he opened up about it in chat. It was a small moment, and he will say it’s no big deal.

But trust me, as his wife… it is.

So keep doing you. Take the time you need to take care of you and your loved ones first, and remember that in doing that, and sharing your own personal story, you are creating change in the biggest ways.

And when this small moment passes, we cannot wait to see what you’ll do next.

May the Guard Prevail!

Jenn Mac

Watch the AMA here.

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3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to David Petersen, Creator of ‘Mouse Guard’

  1. David is one of the most kindest, warm-hearted people that I’ve ever met.

    I met him the first time at Emerald City Comic Con in 2018, and then again the following year. For awhile there, I never expected to meet him because the idea of going to conventions overwhelmed me (I’m weird about crowds – 40,000 at a soccer match – I’m good; the idea of a comic convention – NO WAY.)

    He remembered me from our interactions on Twitter which made me feel like the most important person in the world. A “stranger” from the internet remembered me in a way that wasn’t just lip service, it was real. I remember asking about his mom and seeing how hard it was for him to keep it together and then remember how his mice helped me climb out of an emotional abyss the year before.)

    I’ve said it’s silly how these little mice make me happy, and maybe it is. But maybe, it’s not. And reading stories like yours makes me believe it’s not.

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  3. Jenn,
    I only just today discovered your open letter––and it was an amazing thing to find! Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I often struggle being someone who loves to talk, that it’s very easy for me to talk too much or over-share…and there are times when I’m meeting fans who want their Mouse Guard questions answered that get more than an earful about everything going on in my life. The connections I get to make with fans at appearances is something I desperately miss though. Twitch has allowed me some access to you all in 2020..but it’s not quite the same.

    I’ve seen some criticism of the conversations about ‘men’ and ‘feelings’ to be forcing men to be emotional which is then categorized as ‘un-natural’ or ‘emasculating’…when I think all of us who can appreciate a man being emotionally open is more about being honest about a human experience than dictating any specific behavior. I’ve found that I’ve always done better in communicating with loved ones—even strangers, when I’m honest with them about my feelings and experiences. I’m very glad the same is true in your household.

    The loss of a relative’s memory and mind before their body goes is a cruel bit of life. Obviously for them, but also for all of us that need to watch as we prop up that person and care for them on an intensely personal and intimate emotional level—all while they loose that connection as we slowly become strangers to them.

    My best to you and your husband and to B—that your household is safe, and kind, and loving. And that we can all see each other at a convention sooner than later again when it’s safe.

    -David

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