Tuesday, May 31, 2016

REX MORGAN M.D. 5-23-16 to 5-29-16

Yes, I'm doing a comic book-themed story right off the bat. Had to get it out of my system.  It will tie into other current events in the Morgan's world -- you'll just have to wait and see how. This is my comic strip format love letter to EC Comics -- though the comics you'll (eventually) see aren't exactly ECs -- just similar.

Some long-time REX readers are upset that I've "retconned" a bit of the strip's history. In my version, the Morgans bought this house, and are not the original owners -- it having been built in the 1950s. This conflicts with the previous writer's version in which the Morgans had the house built.

As I've explained elsewhere, the current Rex and June couldn't possibly be the same characters that appeared in the 1950s -- or even more recent decades. They'd be far too old to be still having children, even accounting for "comic strip time." So I figure there have been unannounced "soft reboots" every now and then anyhow -- and I'm doing one now. This one just happens to be announced! I'll stick with the continuity of the past few years -- anything I drew, especially -- but anything more than four or five years ago? As far as I'm concerned, that happened to a Rex and June from some previous comic strip universe. I'm far more interested in picking up where we are today, and moving on from there. I want to tell the best stories I can, and having to juggle decades of largely forgotten and ephemeral continuity does not play into my plans.

I made an art error in the backgrounds of some of these daily strips -- those floorboards should be running the other way. Mea culpa. And if that's the worst mistake I ever make on the strip, I can live with that. Someday I'll discuss the time constraints under which these strips are produced -- for now I'll just note that those who think I can spend an entire day drawing one daily strip are quite mistaken.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

REX MORGAN 5-16-15 to 5-22-16 -- SKUNKED!

Week three of the new REX. Once again, Ronn Sutton is helping out with the pencils on the daily strips. Sarah and Abby encounter the stinky side of nature -- and June makes her opinion known. The skunking of Sarah was done to signal that bad things CAN happen to the kid, as she's lead a charmed life up until now -- and I'd like to shake things up a bit -- or at least have that option.

The anti-stink treatment mentioned here is incomplete -- and anyone contemplating using it should do a good deal more research into it, as the full method isn't exactly explained here. Don't try this at home, and all that.

Some readers complained about the two day sequence of Sarah and Abby playing ball -- but I felt I needed the extra "beat." I wanted to show her playing like a regular kid for once -- and one daily strip wasn't enough. So there.

I did consider having Rex and June pull out the kiddie pool from the garage to clean up kid and dog outside-- but even not showing it, I figured I'd be pilloried for even suggesting little Sarah was starkers outside! So inside and the bathtub it was.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week Two of the new REX MORGAN 5-9-16 to 5-15-16

My second week as writer/artist on the REX MORGAN strip. In order to catch up a little on a much too tight deadline, I called in fellow cartoonist Ronn Sutton to help with the pencils on the dailies. He worked on next week's strips, too. These are, again, the gray toned dailies done for the newspapers that run the strip in glorious black and white (as they should). The King Features-hired anonymous colorist of the daily strips does a fine job -- but given a choice, I still like my dailies sans color.

After seeing this week in print, I realized June should have been saying electrical sockets, not plugs -- but that was a common misuse of the word in my neck of the woods when growing up, so it didn't sound wrong to me when writing it. Oh, well -- I can always say June grew up saying it wrong, too!

The diner in the Sunday page may look a little familiar to my Twin City pals -- I based it on St. Paul's Mickey's -- a favorite lunch stop when I lived in Minnesota. And of course "Zippy Service" is a nod to Bill Griffith, whose comic strip often features classic diners.

Some readers seem confused about baby Michael being there in the Sunday page -- I thought I didn't have to spell it out that Rex and June had gone home and picked him up before heading to lunch. I'm trying to move things along at a faster pace now that I'm running the show, so at times I'm just going to skip over minor stuff like that and figure the readers can fill in the blanks.

And yes, we're done with Franco and Cilla.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

REX MORGAN -- A NEW DAY (and the rest of the week, too) 5-2-16 to 5-8-16

My stint as writer and artist of the strip begins. Here is the first week. These are the gray toned dailies, done for the newspapers that don't add color. Woody left me with plenty of plot elements that need tying up -- this is just the beginning.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

REX MORGAN April 24, 2016 to May 1, 2016

Woody Wilson's final REX MORGAN strips. I begin writing the series, as well as drawing it, with the May 2nd strip.