This isn’t how Bear Magazine was explained to me.
This isn’t how Bear Magazine was explained to me.
Won’t go into details unless the secret recordings get leaked, but I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in my life over the past couple of months. And I can openly admit that I’ve been phoning it in with the strip for quite some time.
Being dropped by the Chicago Tribune was kind of a motivational blow. (OK, you can have that one detail, but no more.) There were times I was on the verge of saying, ‘Screw it.’ But, nah. I’m here until they tell me to go away, and, ‘til then, I’m ready to get back into the strip’s backyard and make it as majestically mediocre as it used to be. I apologize for any abrupt changes in storylines that’re going nowhere, but I have better ones that just can’t wait. Time to start putting effort into this thing again.
I think I’ll start by actually drawing eyes.
Turns out prison wasn’t as sexually confusing as they said it’d be.
As I work at cranking this thing up again, let’s keep this one short and sweet. Often, I’ll go back and look at my archives and find a strip that a) I forgot I’d ever done and b) is so hilarious, I’m still pretty sure I didn’t do it. Here’s such a strip that I re-discovered today.
(Disclaimer: This may only be hilarious to me.)
Original lesson: Nice guys finish often.
Sorry, people. Sometimes I make this harder than it should be.
See, I’m pretty quiet in real life. So quiet it needs italicizing. Quiet. I’m the kind of guy who never has much to say unless it’s necessary. I’d rather listen or observe. There are people who’ve known me for years who claim to have never heard more than a few sentences at once. I’m that quiet.
So, it’s hard to balance that personal trait with a desire to reach out to fans of the strip. I appreciate your readership and feedback, and want to return your devotion, but… I usually feel like I just don’t have anything to say.
I owe you. So here goes…
If you’ve ever wondered what happened before the very first WYH strip back in 2006, you’ll enjoy this (made up as I go along) series of strips. Really, it just give me something to write about on Sundays. I hate writing Sundays.
For a while I toyed with the possibility of introducing an all new webcomic version of WYH, but then realized that it would require either a clone or a thoroughly-trained Peruvian boy. Some of those ideas will make their way into this Year One series. Others will have to stay piled on the shelf, safe from the eyes of eight-year-olds we like to pretend read newspapers. God forbid a college strip be anything like college.
Speaking of God…
… I’m surprised that this got by. Ironically, God is a touchy subject on Sundays.
It’s funny how often, when I think I’ve done my worst, people appreciate the hell out of it. This series of ‘letters to Santa’ strips is really just a series of ‘Cory didn’t have much time to draw that week, so he’ll throw in a lot of text’ strips. The faster I could get these travesties out of my face, the happier I’d be. Then… came the declarations of enjoyment from readers. Meanwhile, some of my favorite strips get like 2 and a half stars on comics.com. I officially don’t know what I’m doing.
I don’t know how many people have picked up on this, but I’ve always tried to portray Robin as left-handed. No reason. Just drew her pen in the wrong hand once and stuck with it.
The last two weeks’ worth of strips seemed to generate a little talk.
First of all, one of my client newspapers refused to run it. I don’t know if it was Quincy’s jubilant misogyny or Cory’s disturbing decline into madness, but the storyline was apparently too hot for their tastes. I’m no closer to understanding it than you are.
Also, as Robert pointed out in the comments to my last post, WYH made a rare appearance in the Comics I Don’t Understand blog. Maybe an odd thing to take pleasure in, but the appearance of the above strip at least lets me know somebody is reading and cares enough to want to figure things out. For what it’s worth.. yes, the punchline was in reference to Robin’s significant breasts.
But people mostly responded to the idea that Cory is actually trying to break things off with January!
I was somewhat inspired by the D.E.N.N.I.S. Method on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (a hilarious show that I don’t watch nearly enough), along with characters like the Pick-Up Artist with their simple rules for totally bagging chicks. Except I thought it’d be funnier to go the other way with it. In hindsight, the idea was funnier than the execution, as my two-star rating streak confirms.
On to the big questions: Why? Why? Why?!
Why would Cory, want to destroy the best thing he has going? The thing that everybody thinks he should be clinging to for dear, pathetic life? Well…
We’ll just have to wait and see where this leads. (Probably means I haven’t figured it out yet, myself.)
I’m not sure exactly when Omar became this angry. When I first came up with him, he was Cory’s smiley, laid-back, slightly snarky best friend. Kevin slid into that role somewhere along the line, while Omar’s sarcastic outlook slowly transformed into general disdain.
It’s funny looking back at how some of the character’s personalities have changed from 5 years ago. Cory kinda used to be ‘me,’ but now he’s more an older version of the neurotic kid from the Bernie Mac Show. Quincy was more of a bullying villain type named Ty, Jason was more like Quincy, and Kevin, quite honestly, was the token white guy with no personality.
Charles Schulz (I think) used to talk about letting the characters write themselves. I’m not convinced that Jason can work a keyboard.
I actually met a guy recently who claimed to still believe in Santa Claus at 14. He seemed like an otherwise well-balanced individual, not at all sheltered or naive. And he was appropriately embarrassed to reveal the fact. His parents must’ve been some brilliant liars… if they were his parents.
This little tidbit came out during on of those stupid tell-us-something-nobody-would-know-about-you party games. Something I participated in despite hating parties and stupid games. Apparently the discovery that I can read upside down is mind-blowing to a lot of people. I dunno. I think the spoon-bending was more impressive myself.
So, this is what happens when writer’s block leaves you with nothing to work with. When I find myself grasping at straws on what to write next, I usually do one of two things. Either I find some recent experience from my life and try to squeeze something interesting out of the incredibly dull, or I invent some randomly ridiculous scenario for the characters and try to write my way out of it.
Last week, I did some of both.
I checked out that movie Paranormal Activity recently and decided I could mine some material from those “found footage” movies like Paranormal and The Blair Witch Project. Not so easy in a 3- or 4- panel daily format, but eh… I had nothing else. They’re definitely funnier if you’ve actually seen the movie. Especially this one:
I also used the chance to set up those random situations I was talking about earlier. In addition to making myself figure out what’s devouring Cory up there…
…I also had to figure out what’s going on with Santa and how it tied in to anything. I spend the next couple of weeks working it out.
(If you still haven’t seen the movie, it would have been great if they didn’t show every major hook in the trailer! It was alright, though.)
I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been here all along.
OK. I’m going to try taking this thing in a slightly different direction. Borrowing an idea from Dan Piraro’s BizarroBlog, I think it’d be fun to try discussing the strips as they run. I can go a little into the inspiration and creative reasoning behind each one. Tell you what I feel about it (usually hatred). Maybe go off on an interesting tangent or few. Can I maintain a daily posting schedule? I dunno. But having an objective every day would sure help.
So here we go…
Check out my 20 question interview with Scott Nickel, where I reveal the secrets of the Universe. “The Universe” being me.