Friday, January 3, 2014

Some news

I'll have some big news soon. 2014 promises to be a good year.

I'll be splitting on another European book tour in February. Gotta bust my ass until then so I can get a month's worth of strips done before I leave. I'll be a featured guest at the Angouleme International Comics Fest, where Mon Ami Dahmer is up for the grand prize. I'll also be there for the release of Punk Rock et Mobile Homes. It'll be a blast all around. 

Mi Amigo Dahmer is about to be released, as well. But I've heard barely a peep from the Spanish publisher. The Spanish economy is in the toilet, so I doubt they'll be bringing me over. I'd make the suggestion to piggyback on to the end of the French trip, but three weeks on the road is plenty! I'm sure it'll be a blast, but it's quite exhausting. 

So… early warning… I'll be taking a February sabbatical from The Baron of Prospect Ave. I could bust my ass on that and work ahead, too, but the whole point of that project is to have fun making comix again. My comic strip is a total chore now, and graphic novels are serious business with brutal deadlines. The Baron is a way for me to relax and enjoy the process and the unfolding story. A labor of love. Hopefully, the result will be something worthwhile, maybe even exceptional. It's a different way of creating for me, to let the story wander where it will. I just read that Chester Gould worked this way on Dick Tracy!

The Baron is a free read. So you really have no reason to bitch.

Suspicious character tries out Chester Gould's drawing table at
the Ohio State Cartoon Museum.

I'm thinking about Gould's method  because I got a couple of the gorgeous IDW Dick Tracy collections for Christmas. 1944-1948, Gould's peak. The Mole, Flathead, Mumbles…. great stuff. It was all downhill from there, of course, as Gould became obsessed with B.O. Plenty and then all that wacky Moonmaid shit in the Sixties (when Tracy suddenly sprouted a groovy set of burns). Tracy became weird, and not in a good way. And, of course, Gould became a rightwing ideologue. Not that he wasn't in the Forties, mind, but it didn't seep into the stories as much. Outside of the Tracy and his fellow cops flaunting several Amendments with regularity. But apparently, Gould's storytelling method got him in hot water from time to time when he lost track of the plot or concocted a ridiculous (even by Tracy standards) climax, which typically was Tracy escaping from some dastardly trap and the villain's grisly bllet-ridden end. But, according to the (very interesting) intro essays in these Tracy volumes, a Chicago Tribune editor was so outraged at one particularly nonsensical Gould plot twist, he ordered him to re-do a week's worth of strips! This was back in the era when big newspapers had big-time cartoonists like Gould on their payroll, which was the case with the Trib. Gould was the top cartoonist in the world at that point, with a merchandising empire and a film franchise, but here's an editor ordering him around like a schoolboy. Hilarious. Hard to believe Gould didn't tell him to shove it and walk out. It was a different time. And a very different biz.

But I digress.

Happy New Year, everyone.