Here are the Rex Morgan strips from late November to mid-December. The first Sunday page is another seasonal stand alone strip. It doesn't advance the story any -- just establishes the time of year and lets me work on showing Rex and Sarah and how they relate as father and daughter. And gives us a little happy moment before the next storyline starts.
The snowmen are a tribute to the late Richard Thompson, artist of Cul de Sac and the still-with-us Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame. I just wanted to tip my hat to Richard and acknowledge his remarkable work and his unfortunate passing. His pal Bill seemed an appropriate addition.
I wanted to start aging Michael in "real time," since, frankly, there's nothing much to do with him
as a baby, except create a reason for June to stay home on extended maternity leave. It'll take a couple more years to get him where I want him to be for more interaction with Sarah and acting as a full character on his own. The first birthday crept up on me mighty fast -- so I'm glad I didn't miss it somehow! The several days of getting Sarah ready for school were designed to lull the readers into a false sense of security -- "Nothing's happening!" they whined -- and then, BLAM! Sarah's accident in the Saturday strip. Don't assume I don't know what I'm doing, folks.
I had initially planned to have Sarah in a car accident -- unbuckling her booster seat's belt to pick up a dropped book or something, at the same time a truck skids on the icy road and hits the car. June would have been driving -- Michael in the car, too. But because of her unbuckled belt, it's Sarah who is injured.
And then there was a big ol' car accident sequence in Judge Parker. Considering that JP is Rex's "sister strip" and runs in a lot of the same papers, I felt I needed to switch gears. I had recently seen some disturbing videos of cars running school bus stop signs, nearly hitting kids -- in some cases they did hit kids. Gears switched.
Dolly and Bugsy make their return to the strip, as we reveal the truth about her daughter. I faked out most of the readers, who believed the daughter had died -- but I never once said that in the strip. I said she was "lost," "gone," but never dead.