Monday, September 26, 2016

REX MORGAN 9-19-16 to 9-25-16



This week in REX sees the characters exploring the fact that nurses dating patients is most seriously frowned upon. Rex offers both sides of the issue -- and a possible "out." We'll follow up on this not too far down the line....




Monday, September 19, 2016

REX MORGAN 9-12-16 to 9-18-16

I suppose one of these days I need to post something here other than my REX MORGAN strips -- but  I never seem to have the time. Even catching up and posting my PHANTOM strips has been something I haven't found a free moment to do. One of these days....

A few notes about this week's strips -- the unnamed patient in the 9-15-16 strip is clearly black in these toned dailies -- amazingly, he was white in the color version that appears on the Comics Kingdom website, as well as newspapers that print the strip in full color. Crazy, huh?

So -- the big thing that happens this week is Michelle and Jordan meeting. I've been wanting to throw these two together for some time. They are both ex-military, both "super achiever" types -- just seemed a natural thing to do. But how to get them together?

Well -- Jordan can drop by Rex's office for a brief checkup, due to delays in getting in to see his specialist. But then -- we have an ethical issue pop up. It is seriously frowned upon for medical professionals to get romantically involved with their patients. So now we have some questions to ask and answer -- and a stumbling block in the way of a potential relationship. And we'll be dealing with that in future strips.





Monday, September 12, 2016

REX MORGAN 9-5-16 to 9-11-16


Another week of B&W REX strips for the folks who otherwise only see the color versions. A reminder that while I color the Sunday strips, the daily color is done by someone else. The gray tones you see on the dailies here are my work -- and, as far as I'm concerned, are the official versions of the daily strips.

This week reminds us that the Morgans are planning a move to a new house -- and presents the flip side of last week -- life and death -- both part of the ongoing experience of a medical professional.

Some readers had trouble recalling the young mother we meet in these strips -- wondering when the drowning rescue sequence happened in the strip. The answer is -- it didn't. This is a event from Rex's life that was not recorded in the comic strip. In other words, I just wrote it -- a "continuity implant" I suppose you'd call it. But I figure not every incident in Rex's life had been recorded on the comics page. As the strip's new writer, I get to add to his history -- them's the rules.



Monday, September 5, 2016

REX MORGAN 8-29-16 to 9-4-16

More REX. Milton slips deeper into dementia and Rex loses a patient.

The Comics Kingdom comment section was full of complaints (surprise!) and questions regarding the daily sequence, so I wrote and posted the following there in response:

"Dropping in to answer some questions and concerns from those who are treating the strip's subject matter seriously today.
I do have sources for medical advice -- one in my family -- and I do a good amount of research before touching on medical matters. That said, please don't expect too much detail here as regards medications and treatments. For a number of reasons, not the least of which is the limited amount of word space in a daily comic, I'm having to paint with broad brush strokes here. What you're getting are snapshots in the lives of these characters -- not every moment.
One must also take into consideration the fact that writing a daily and Sunday comic strip is as much like doing a puzzle, as it is writing a story. There has to be a certain amount of repetition and recap, and things need to be presented as simply as possible to get the point across in two or three panels a day -- for readers who are often spending less than a minute reading the strip.
I do take the subject of dementia quite seriously -- my mother suffered from it in her later years. We're not going to linger over Milton's illness in great detail. Let's face it, it's not exactly a picnic -- and what reader wants to see such tragedy here every day? That said, the next week or so is about the balance between tragedy and triumph in a doctor's life -- and you'll just have to read it to see what that's about. There is a follow-up to this Milton/Heather/Jordan situation coming in about two months. I won't say more, because the whole idea here is for you to come back and keep reading. No story spoilers from me!
You can assume that Rex and Heather have had a far more detailed discussion of Milton's condition than we see in the strip. We present the highlights here, so we can move the story along. To play out the full conversation that would have happened would have eaten up weeks of strip time -- and that's not good comic strip storytelling.
I have more in mind with Jordan, as you'll see in coming weeks -- and the reveal of the prosthetic leg was not something Woody had planned -- but something of a "retcon" of the character from me. In some ways it was, admittedly, a bit of a stretch -- but I felt the character needed more of a story, and this is part of it.
As for Rex doing more doctor duty -- he will -- but remember, this is essentially a "soap opera" strip and not a medical lecture series. Rex's medical practice will tie into plots regarding friends and family -- think "Days of Our Lives," not "House."
And with TWO kids in the Morgan household now, we'll be seeing a certain amount of family oriented strips that aren't necessarily plot heavy, but character based, as I'm trying to make all the characters -- yes, even the dreaded Sarah -- more relatable and likable. Yeah, I know -- big job there. Stick around."

More complaints -- and to be fair, many compliments -- came with the Sunday page, but it seems trying to explain my motivations to the CK snarker crowd is fighting a losing battle. No matter what I say or do -- and I think I just did my best Sunday page ever -- there will always be those who show up only to ridicule and complain. Those folks don't want to give any strip creator a break, and frankly, prefer the strips to be bad, so they can play the bully and poke fun. No thanks.

That said, I'll gladly explain myself here, on my own turf. It's not standard operating procedure for a hospital to call a doctor in the middle of the night with the sort of update Rex gets in the Sunday page -- UNLESS said doctor has requested a staff member to keep him updated -- which is what I had in mind here. Because of the "snapshot" nature of comics storytelling, I wasn't able to spell out that background detail -- but I didn't think I needed to. 

The snarkers want to jump on anything they perceive as an error -- so they were all over the phone call -- and Rex's reaction to his patient's passing. When confronted with something that's "not how that is done," they don't bother to ask the simple question, "But is it possible?" And as far as I'm concerned, if it's possible -- even if it's not probable -- it's a valid story choice. 

As for Rex's response, I don't think it makes him unprofessional -- I think it makes him human. Yes, this is a long-time medical professional -- but Rex, my Rex, is a guy with a big heart -- and once in a while -- as he says in the Monday strip that follows these "It all gets to you." What the snarkers also fail to consider is that I might be setting up something that will pay off later -- stick around for the next week of strips and you'll see that. 

Now I keep reminding myself that the full readership of the strip far outnumbers the CK comment board snarkers who seem to live to gripe about it. Most folks read it, enjoy it, and go on about their lives -- as they should. Those of you who drop by here to see the B&W/toned version, seem to do so because you enjoy it -- and my Facebook followers certainly have been positive in their response. We have also not lost any newspapers with the switchover in writers -- and papers often take a shift in creators as an excuse to drop a feature. So I think I have a good perspective on the more typical response to my work on REX. The snarkers are an exception, and not representative of the average reader. I just find it unfortunate that they've so strongly taken over the comments section on CK -- keeping a real conversation about the strip from happening in favor of the eight-thousandth unfunny complaint that "Sarah has a big head" or "June is sore." 

Sigh....



Monday, August 29, 2016

REX MORGAN 8-8-16 to 8-28-16

I guess I've been so busy I forgot to post the Rex Morgan B&W dailies for a few weeks! So here we go. Rex tells off Dolly -- and we get a little info about Dolly's true motivations (to be followed up on some time from now). Rex does his rounds at the hospital, and we get back to Jordan, Milton and Heather. Life moves forward.













































Tuesday, August 9, 2016

REX MORGAN 8-1-16 to 8-7-16

The Morgan saga continues, as Kelly spills the beans about Dolly -- and Rex takes control of the situation. No background info to add this week -- the strips speak for themselves.



Monday, August 1, 2016

REX MORGAN 7-25-16 to 7-31-16


Rene's out the window and a pair of gangster types confront Kelly and Sarah. The white suited fellow with the pencil mustache is based on FLASH GORDON artist, Alex Raymond -- while the craggy faced fellow is somewhat inspired by B-movie character actor Mike Mazurki. Wednesday has my favorite gag in the strip so far -- I had the leopard/stripes exchange in my head long before I actually wrote this sequence.

Note the art error -- Raymond's shirt and tie switch from black and white to white and black. Oops!

The Sunday page was my response to those who've been troubled by me not adhering 100% to past continuity. Well, folks -- the Rex and June of today's strips can't really be the Rex and June of two or more decades ago -- it just doesn't make sense. So while they remain essentially the same characters, they can't be precisely the same -- a couple with kids this young can't have nearly 70 years of back history. And I can't be expected to remain faithful to plot points from eras of the strip I have no access to -- so we're moving forward -- and here we go.

Plus it gave me an excuse to draw "classic" Rex -- if only this once.