Monday, December 10, 2007
Is Anyone Out There?
When 1992 turned to 1993, I was stating to get doubts about how good Pipe Dreams was. I sent out three sets of strips to 6 syndicates and was getting generic feedback. I was trying to figure out on my own what was good and what wasn't. I continued to get better on my art and my character designs.
I had to take on a second job to pay for my spartan lifestyle. This took some time from working on Pipe Dreams but the fact that I worked at a nightclub made for some inspiration for some edginess in the strip.
The problem is I was now holding back on some of the more scandalous aspects of the group. I was now calculating on what I needed to change to get syndicated. I stopped inferring that Skat was an alcoholic. I was making short gags rather than story lines.
Yet, I made a mistake. I introduced gay characters. Not that there was anything wrong with introducing gay characters. I just didn't do a good job at it.
I based it on two people I knew back in my SVA days. I was casual friends with one guy and only knew his boyfriend from occasional visits to Sloane House. He was a "Flamer" type, not much different from the character I introduced but, it didn't work. I wasn't friends with anyone gay at the time. If I had done it 7 years later it would have been different.It may have been the difference in being syndicated. I don't know because the syndicates did not say why it was rejected.
Or maybe it was the introduction of Rusty Limburger. I wanted my own version of Rush Limbaugh to give Doonesbury's "Duke" character a run for the money. Rush was at his peak back then, A successful radio show and a TV show that looked like it was going to be a phenomenon. The problem I had was I hate Rush Limbaugh, and have absolutely no respect for him. That would be okay for occasional references. As a creator, you need to have some sort of like or respect for the character to work. Besides soon Rush would be irrelevant.
I made one change to one of my characters that worked. I cut Buck's hair. I based Buck's design on my friend Mike's "super mullet" days. Mullets were getting out of style then, (Billy Ray Cyrus excluded) Besides I thought having two long haired charters were redundant, so I cut his hair.
The gags in this set along with the artwork was almost at my peak, one problem though...
I was making my characters boots too huge.