The other day I went to the swimming pool in the complex where I live. I was with my son who chatted up a very attractive lifeguard. When the conversation got going it was revealed she was the little girl who was riding around on her tricycle in our neighborhood when my son was a teenager. Oops. Embarrassing but true story.
Then I got it in my head to try something like that with our characters. I pitched it to my partner John who immediately smiled and we got to work. We thought we would take our character who's single, Craig and have him pick up a woman in a bar, only to have him realize that she is the now grown up daughter of one of his friends. And then he'd have to backpedal his way out of the situation. Funny idea, right?
But then we got to thinking, does that make him a dirty old man? Do we want to have a strip of dirty old men? Can we make her 45 so that Craig's 65, doesn't seem so old? How do you draw a 45 year old as opposed to a 30 year old and at what point does it become creepy? So we didn't end up doing that particular idea. And that's the back and forth of collaborating on a comic. Where does the topic fit in the cultural zeitgeist? Which one of our characters would be most likely to have this happen to them? How timely is the subject? Is it something that captures what it feels like to be in your 60's at this very moment in time (we ought to know)? And most of all, is it funny?
When I was in advertising, my clients and my partner Frank used to tease me for saying, "That's a lot to fit into a :30," meaning, that it was a lot of story or content to fit into a 30 second commercial. Now that has transformed into, "That's a lot to fit into four frames." Except it's usually John who says that as opposed to me. Because he's the one who has to fit all the characters, colors, words, thought balloons and dialogue balloons into each frame. Sometimes you want them packed and sometimes you want them to breathe.
Ultimately, we want to reveal the inner truths of what it feels like to be this age in this time. And we want our readers to have a laugh and say, "Yep, that's me," or "I know exactly how that feels." To that end, we'd love to know what you, dear readers are thinking about our comic strips. When you get a chance, drop us a line and let us know how we're doing. We read everything we get. Promise. And please, if you like the material, share it with your friends.
Have a great weekend.