Babyheads Tuesday; Summer Vacation and whatever.on July 3, 2012 at 8:55 am
Babyheads Tuesday! What are you waiting for?
Announcement in the Summer Vacation Dept.: For the rest of the summer(-July through August-)”Babyheads” will be posting once a week, rather than its usual twice weekly.
I hope no one’s too disappointed-it was either cut back to once -a-week for a bit or take a few weeks off; and I opted for the former. Back in April and May when my work at the university got a bit hectic, I fell a bit behind in new “Babyheads” material and lost some of my lead time. I thought I’d have gotten it back by now; I’ve been working hard; but it seems that-for whatever reason– coloring the new work is taking longer than it used too-and I can’t bring myself to rush through it. I hope you feel the results are worth the wait. I think you will; along with the visuals, there are new and unexpected developments in the story-line that are sure to delight and entertain! Some of the best “Babyheads” episodes yet!!
Not only that-but there will be some new goodies on the “Babyheads” front–nothing I’m ready to talk about just yet—-but exciting things are underway and you’ll hear about it all very soon!
“Babyheads” may seem like a big change in my work to those who know me through “pood” or “Look Out!Monsters“. On the surface, it appears rather conventional in comparison, and I suppose it is. But I wouldn’t take that as a regression or rejection of previous forays into “art-comics” territory; I’ve always loved comic strips as much as books. And this piece has been as formally interesting and as big a challenge as any comics I’ve done. A comic strip like “Babyheads” develops step-by-step, incrementally rather than by grand design. I think of it as a minimalist piece of music, growing one note at a time, spiraling out from the center in patterns that grow increasingly complex as time goes on. Shaping each increment to fit the requirements of gag strip formats( beginning-middle-punchline)-and still push the story along- is perhaps the biggest challenge-and one I enjoy a great deal. And truth be told, while a continuing strip is demanding, “Babyheads” is a lot of fun to do.
A recent essay by Charles Hatfield, wherein he pointed out that pood was, in its format, a criticism of graphic novel form and culture,(something that was certainly there, but not in the forefront of my consciousness) has me thinking that perhaps “Babyheads” is a further elaboration of that critique. For the past several years, my comics reading has been dominated by comic strips in collected form; Popeye, Peanuts, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Terry and the Pirates, Dick Tracy. It truly is the golden age of comic strip collections and I’m really enjoying these books from Fantagraphics, IDW and Hermes Press. To my tastes, these works; developed slowly, incrementally and organically over many years; are all so much richer and denser than many graphic novels I’ve read. This is not to be dismissive of graphic novels,of course not. Obviously there have been and will continue to be terrific manifestations of the form; but in general, I find I prefer the slow and deliberate pace of the newspaper comic strip for the development of plot and character. There is something about the episodic format that works so well for comics; it is a mirroring of the panel-to panel progression of story that is at the heart of narrative comics, after all. The episodic format works particularly well for webcomics that are conceived as graphic novels( Kevin Mutch‘s work is a perfect example), and allows for something I never thought I’d see again-a revival of the classic Sunday adventure strip form.
Food for thought, and simply a reflection of my tastes and perhaps the predilections that sent me on this particular path to “Babyheads”.
In the meantime, very soon I’ll be posting Nice Work pages again( hah! my attempt at a graphic novel!); and now that the serialization of “Look Out!Monsters” has finished-I plan to begin serializing the follow-up; “fandancer“. And there might be a surprise or two along the way. There are a few other things I hope to do creatively this summer as well, before my time becomes precious with the advent of the fall and my new position at the University as Chair of the Art dept. Wish me luck!
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