I’m composing most of this shortly after the week of April Fool’s Day, and that seems like a highly proper time to spin more rhetoric here in “Editor’s Corner. After a pretty tough February (some medical problems, and the loss of my long-time feline companion Willie–at nineteen years and seven months, he’s the record-holder in this household) and playing frantic catch-up during March, I’m finally getting my work schedule back under control–which brings up a subject raised by one of our letter-column favorites:
I’m still following DEADBEATS, now online, much as I was panting over each issue back when they were on paper. The stories are as fulfilling as ever, and it’s still my go-to source for “good boy” art. Sadly, with Jo gone (forever?), Kirby has fewer and fewer occasions to show up naked, but Southie’s stepped up his habit of gratuitous nudity, which–with the possible exception of Brittany–I’m the target audience. Is it my imagination or are you soft-pedaling the peek-a-boo moments now that you’re on the web? That would be understandable, but on the other hand, there’s lots of stuff on the internet that shows more.
I have a question, too: I haven’t missed any installments, and I’m pretty sure that I have a firm hand on my calendar, so why is the latest installment (as of last weekend) dated September 28th?
18 Carey Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Nice to hear from you again, Barbara. I’m still not sure how many readers we lost when we moved to the Internet (not counting the ones we probably disappointed with the various rumors of our demise/nonexistence over the years). I am ramping back the sex and nudity back a bit, since we have no idea where our audience is placed, in terms of age–and anyone can access our DEADBEATS strip, unlike in the old days, when they at least had to be able to fork over two-and-a-half bucks. It may not make much sense, but it makes us all feel more comfortable about presenting the various activities and such depicted in the ongoing narrative. (It’s possible that the violence has been dialed down a bit, too, but that’s a little harder to assess.)
About the disconnect between the “official” dates on the new installments and the real dates: It’s simple, if oddly reasoned. Two years ago, I got into some serious medical trouble, which led to other setbacks, and got me wa-a-a–aay behind in terms of keeping on schedule. Those bad times are behind me now (never to return, if I have anything to say about it), but I chose to keep the original dates on the various postings, and simply post much more frequently than our original plan of three-per-week. It’s taking a while to catch up, but we’re making progress. During some weeks, there’s a new DEADBEATS every day. Mostly this depends on Thom’s schedule, whether or not he’s traveling or is in his office, whether he remembers, or whether I remember to remind him. Eventually, all will be “in synch,” as it were. Don’t be misled by the lagging dates. This week, I finished (and sent to Ricardo), Episodes 893-908. I already have finished, inked art up through #892, and Thom has lettered up through #873–so have no fear that we’re dragging our feet; quite the contrary. One of the great aspects about knowing that this strip will continue as long as publisher Ed Via wants to support it is that we can all get as far ahead into future inventory as our little digits will allow.
On another subject entirely (well, mostly): Barbara sent her letter to me directly through the Claypool website, and it obviously reached me. Every now and then I get some weird “Please moderate: “Deadbeats Online Strip #whichever” (It varies.) In every single occasion that I’ve gone through the several-step process to find out what the comment is that I’m supposed to be moderating, it’s not related to DEADBEATS at all; usually it’s spam of some sort or another. Consequently, I’m not hugely motivated to explore these postings. I’ve asserted this before, and I’ll do so again: If anyone wants to comment on DEADBEATS, or communicate with me on any topic, please send your messages directly through the website. It’s the way to go.
Here’s some random ramblings that I’ve already put up on my Facebook page (yes, I’m experimenting with double-dipping) which may be of interest:
This falls into the category of odd soap-opera stuff: No, not my life, literally soap operas. I’m a subscriber to the notion that if someone’s work gives you pleasure then you should let them know it. (I think it was the rule by which Maggie Thompson’s mother lived.) So when Lynn Herring returned to GENERAL HOSPITAL as Lucy Coe, I sent her a “thank-you” note. She, in turn, sent me a “you’re welcome” missive (hand-written, too). Also, in a GH-related tale, the beloved actor John Ingle (who played manipulative/grumpy patriarch Edward Quartermaine) died last year, the show-runners gave everyone a few months to catch their breaths, then had Edward die peacefully, at home. (His last word was “Lila.”) This set off a storm of family squabbling over the will, the assets, etc. I’d thought that this would be compromised by the fact that so many of the actors who played various Quartermaines were no longer employed at GH. Some–still employed in daytime–were appearing on other–theoretically competing–soaps. Well, as it turned out, Wally Kurth (who played Tracy Quartermaine’s son Ned Ashton), who recurs on DAYS OF OUR LIVES as Justin Kiriakis, showed up to be present at the reading of Edward’s will (and to support his mother). I thought that it was very gracious of DAYS to let him out of whatever arrangement they had with him to let his character make an appearance on GH–and so I wrote a letter explaining same to SOAP OPERA DIGEST, which printed it–but, as usual, with only “R.H., Leonia NJ.” I was quite surprised to receive a signed photo of Wally Kurth, with the inscription “Hey, Richard–thanks for the plug!” I expect that Wally was intrigued enough by my letter to have contacted SOD and gotten my name and mailing address (which SOD requires), and took the next step.