Well, here’s another year, and another inexplicable delay in posting more “Editor’s Corner” updates. To be fair, I’ve had distractions a’plenty (including getting more involved with Facebook than I’d intended–which in a way is a duplication of effort with some of my updates here, so I may experiment with double-posting). There’ve also been some weather-related problems here in the Tri-State Area (not to be confused with the Tri-Wizard Tournament), and–in expectation of another blackout–I went on a bender of scripting and transmitting those scripts to the ever-dependable Thom Zahler. As it worked out, I didn’t lose power here, this time, but it still took me away from more drawing, or more “Editor’s Corner.”
The consistently-helpful Kurt Busiek came up with a few nice business-advance ideas to goose Claypool somewhat more into prominence, and I can hardly wait to pursue them–but I’m not going to announce anything unless/until I have a bit more of a solid footing on the prospects. It’s very possible that 2013 might be a resurgence of the Claypool brand–and its unique approach to the comics medium.
Beyond that, life continues to be creatively solid and secure. DEADBEATS ONLINE is on track, the levels of health for everyone here are suitable for the age brackets involved (Willie is not doing so well, but he’s turning 19-and-seven-months on February 20th, so I don’t expect him to be as spry at Sam or the little girls–and I’m now safely into the “closer to 60 than to 50″ range myself, so my marathon days are becoming a more distant memory). We’re all handling every day with as much grace and purpose as we can muster (some days are more muster-y than others), and every now and then, some unexpected benefit rears its not-ugly head.
For instance, about four years ago, I sent a pencil drawing to one of my idols, Nick Cardy, with some fervid exhortations to encourage him to ink it. Nick’s a great guy, and a tremendous artist (as well as a huge influence on my style), but he’s also–at 93, no kidding–a really busy fellow, and it’s taken all this time for him to get around to my piece. Two weeks ago, Nick called to inform me that his agent(s) had temporarily, inexplicably left him with nothing to do–so it was time for him to tackle my piece. (Nick claimed that he’d had my drawing mounted above his work board, so as to essay it at the earliest opportunity–and so, it appears, he did.) Below is the second-and-a-half Howell/Cardy collaboration (the first being the cover of DEADBEATS #50, and the other–unpublished at this time–is a DEADBEATS cover which I pencilled some time before the paper series’ cancellation, for which Nick inked the part with my cats). I think better of it every time I look at it, and it–naturally–has taken its place of honor in my vaguely-obsessive collection of HARRY POTTER commission drawings. How does it look to everybody out there?
Speaking of unexpected benefits (and, for that matter, DEADBEATS and any chance I get to work that project into the conversation), a very exciting, mostly-unprecedented launch is about to occur. I doubt that it’s any secret that I’m a big soap opera fan–since those long-ago days of the original (and still champeen!) DARK SHADOWS and that PBS phenomenon THE FORSYTE SAGA. Much later, once we moved into Leonia, on the wrong side of the hill to get any decent radio reception, I filled my worktime drawing at home, and listening to and/or watching the various daytime network offerings, getting roundly hooked on (at one point) about ten of the then-extant soaps.
Well, that’s quite a number of years ago now, and time and circumstance has not been kind to soap addicts. (Yes, arguments could be made for the likes of DOWNTON ABBEY, WEEDS, certainly DALLAS–heck, even GRAY’S ANATOMY, but I’m specifying daytime here.) Anyway, over the past several years ago, the heads of each networks’ daytime programming schedules decided–in some (not all) cases with some justification–that the time of the network soaps had passed, effectively signing the death knells of such venerable institutions as AS THE WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT (at CBS, at which they were some of the longest-running entertainment programming in the history of broadcasting), NBC cancelled PASSIONS (no great loss, in my opinion) and ABC daytime was undermined by the decision to cancel both the ailing ALL MY CHILDREN and the thriving ONE LIFE TO LIVE (ABC’s top-rated soap). This left gaping holes in most every daytime schedule which the geniuses in charge filled with (mostly) cheaply-produced talk shows, some of which were swiftly cancelled, some are limping along, and one–at least–is costing the network twice as much as the soap it replaced, with about half the viewership.
Okay, it’s probably clear by now that I think the Big Brains at CBS, NBC, and ABC daytime severely underestimated the connection that the viewership had to its “stories,” and that they made a big mistake alienating a dedicated, dependable viewership in favor of shows that–quite simply–cost them less. There’s no audience dedication to the talk, lifestyle, and cooking shows that took their place. There’s no “appointment television” aspect to these place-holder programs. Basically, the networks shot themselves in the foot, and attempted to take their–perhaps most–loyal viewers with them, limping along.
Now, though, things have changed–in a daring and exciting manner! Taking notice of the continued devotion to the cancelled ABC soaps (that’s ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, for those struggling to keep up with this diatribe), a company named Prospect Park has licensed–from ABC–the creative content of each show and is weeks away from re-mounting, re-staging, re-creating–however it can be most effectively phrased–each of the orphaned ABC soaps, but…for the Internet. Yep, following in the footsteps of such loved-but-undervalued creative projects such as ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (and DEADBEATS, for that matter, the various new avenues for disseminating creative content have made it possible to restart shows (and comics) which their fans still want to support. This is a very exciting time in the development of media milestones, and I’m glad to be part of it, not only because I’ll get to see my pals at ONE LIFE TO LIFE again–heck, I’ll probably watch ALL MY CHILDREN, too–but also because the availability of Internet distribution saved my DEADBEATS strip.
To advert slightly: Here’s a watercolor painting I did a few years ago of Robin Strasser, one of my favorite components of the ONE LIFE TO LIVE canvas. I suspect that she stopped answering her snail-mail some time back, and I really wanted to have the opportunity to give this to her. I know that she’s very active on Twitter (which I don’t know how to use), so if anyone’s reading this who can track down her Twitter contact and can steer her over here, please feel encouraged to do so.
Also, my latest completed painting was brushed its last sometime a few weeks ago (even though I started it before Christmas). Here it is:
As is usual these days, I’m operating far ahead of the posting dates, so here’s a small sample of what’s to come:
That’s it for now