Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Case of Pianist Envy

I had travelled up and down the west coast for a month and a half getting to know what life would be like in my future. I decided that Seattle made the most sense, it was big enough and yet small enough to be the ideal place for me to create my new strip, Pipe Dreams.

I came up with the title Pipe Dreams in the hopes that the title would be ironic. I was confident in my abilities to come up with strip gags, confident in my ability to come up with funny story lines and confident in that the characters I created that someday the characters would write themselves gags for me to use. I then had to put the ideas on paper.

I moved to Seattle with only the things I was able to carry with two backpacks. That meant I had to find an apartment with furniture. I did at 275 dollars a month. It was tiny, it was located in the U-District of Seattle. I had no tv, heck I had no CD player. I had only my alarm clock radio to keep me company. I had little distractions to keep me from working on Pipe Dreams.

I set up the scenario. Skat graduates art school and is now entering the real world, a world he was not ready to deal with. He hangs out with two friends who graduated the year before. Neither of them was working in the art field. Skat took that as a hint to pursue his muse. He had inherited money form his aunt and through his frugal (read that, cheap) nature he was able to live on the modest income while painting.

His two friends, Dirk and Gritzko live together in the city. Skat, being cheap lives outside of the city in a decrepit efficiency apartment. He spends much of his time at his friends place, because it's more exciting to live in the city.

Skat drinks too much and is very insecure, he has a crush on Rachel, a girl who only has googly eyes for Dirk. Dirk didn't notice at first until he attended a party wher he found her attractive in her party clothes. They soon would have an on again, off again relationship, much to the chagrin of Skat.

Dirk and Gritzko have a roommate. His name is Buck. He was still going to school and would spend so much time away from the apartment they would forget that he lived there. Skat would take advantage of that by sleeping over a lot.

I didn't want to introduce any more characters at the time. I had some on the horizon and had a one shot strip with Julian. I would introduce him later in force.

I wanted to establish the political and social conflict between confident, conservative, somewhat ignorant Dirk and smart, insecure, liberal Skat. Dirk likes to hunt, spend money and getting it on with the ladies. Skat likes to read, drink and pines for women he can't get and is too lazy to try.

I was pretty quick in putting together these strips. It was a bit wordy, at times incoherent, but had a germ of something good. I had gone to the library to find out the names and addresses of the syndicates. There were five, each stating that the odds of getting syndicated were 1000 to one. I felt with five syndicates, my odds would be lowered to 200 to one. I felt if I kept at it, I would be syndicated by 1993.

I felt that my first strips were crude, somewhat scattered brained, but with an energy and spirit that would make Pipe Dreams the comic strip of the 90's. I had put together the strips courtesy of my new friend Mike Payson and the good people at Kinko's (Back when Kinko's was less evil) The moment I sent it to the syndicates, I had worked on my second set of strips.

Now comes the wait...

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