This issue took forever to actually start writing. The problem with writing these comics for me is that I know what is going to happen in every story. Often I’ll have entire sequences and jokes “written” in my head for months. The difficulty comes from just having to START THE STORY. The damned opening to any story is something I’ll anguish over ad nauseum. Once I have the opening I can begin–and just keep going!–but if the opening isn’t there…death. With MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE #8, not having a good opening set me back about 2 years in productivity.
I’ve had issue 8 “mapped out” enough from when I started MANLY TALES in 2007, and by late-2008 I had written up thru issue #7, so knocking out issue 8 should have been no problem. I even thought I had an opening! So I sat down to write it one day, and 8 pages in I was still muddling around trying to figure out how to close the opening and get to the main story. The opening was TERRIBLE! Defeated, I put down the paper and didn’t return to it until early 2010–the point at which I was closing in on finishing the art for #7 and had no choice but to take another crack at #8’s script. Fortunately in that time I had stumbled onto what I thought was a pretty great opening. The genesis for said opening: One day in late 2009 I had walked around a corner to find–a television showing HOGANS HEROES!
As a kid I LOVED Hogans Heroes. Its utter lunacy against such a stark backdrop got to me even as a youth. I knew what World War 2 was about. The absurdity of it floored me. I was in love. Plus back then we only had like 6 channels, and the competition at 5pm was pretty bleak. Anyway, my childhood nostalgia almost immediately channeled into “Hey, it would be funny to do Fleming in a Hogans Heroes situation”. That then quickly gestated into bring back Phineus Hazmat and tying the Britishworth lineage into the fabric of the story more and…well…you just read it. You know.
Like I said in the last post, I’m not 100% on board with that opening German business, but I sure did like creating this tunnel sequence. At any rate, once I started writing this opening it got the rest of issue out with it. So I’m happy.
ALSO– I’m in a comic art show that opens this FRIDAY, FEB 4th @ ALTERED ESTHETICS GALLERY! It’s called LIMINAL and features the work of Minneapolis indie cartoonists Maxeem, Britt Sabo, Tim Sievert, Brett Von Schlosser, and myself. Not only that, but all the art we did was based on the mini-comics of artists from the Netherlands–Ibrahim Ineke, Gareth Hopkins, Mark Van Katwijk, Bernard Meijer and Edmond Spierts. Meanwhile in the Netherlands they will be putting on a show later in the month featuring all the above Dutch artists doing works based on our mini-comics (and even later on in the year the shows will swap continents and their art will be available for viewing here and our art there)! It’s an International Cartoonist Collaboration! Hope to see you there!