I’ve been asked to contribute to a Jewish comics anthology, that includes such luminaries as Art Spiegelman and Robert Crumb. I’m putting in two pieces, one new and one old (I wrote and drew comic books for over 10 years and the older piece, called “Ben Dordia’s Confession” originally appeared in one of them). It’s being funded by a Kickstarter campaign that runs until March 8th, so if you’re a supporter of things like that and you want, say, a cool Golem tee shirt ( A $25 contribution), please make a donation at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1350078939/the-jewish-comix-anthology-volume-1. You won’t be sorry and neither will I.
Oh my goodness! Has it really been 2 months since I posted here? Scandalous, really. All I can say is, I’ve been very, very busy. That’s no excuse for not keeping my social media up, but it’s all I’ve got.
Anyhow, I thought I’d start the year off by showing how Patty and I create Edge City each week. Though it may seem as if cartoons appear in the paper by magic, they actually are produced in specific places by specific people. Everyone develops their own method for doing it, though. This is ours.
The process begins with a meeting every week, usually on Sunday. Patty proofreads the finished strips from the week before and the roughs I’ve written for the week I plan to draw. Hopefully, she likes them. If not, we figure out how they can be fixed. We also figure out Ideas for new stories, if the one we’re working on has come to an end. Deadlines, by the way, are 1 month ahead for dailies and 2 months ahead for Sundays. I’m a little ahead of that, so what you see in the paper today was actually created about 2 months ago.
The next step is to take the rough story line Patty and I have come up with and turn it into 6 strips (I think of the Sundays separately). I think of all my ideas in a hot bath. The heat causes my mind to to free associate, and if I point it in the right direction, the strips will usually float into view.
Now I’m ready to write the strips in rough form. I sketch them up in pencil on standard white xerox paper. I cut and paste with a glue stick if I need to move them around. Then I put them aside to show Patty at our next meeting.
Next I start to draw strips from the roughs Patty approved at our last meeting. I like to do a week all at once in stages. First, I pencil all the strips, 3 strips together on 2 pieces of 14″ x 17″ bristol paper. I pencil with a non-photo blue pencil that doesn’t show up on the scans, which means I don’t have to erase anything.
Then I letter the word balloons. I actually do it in ink with a calligraphy nib (B6, if you’re curious). I know, it’s old fashioned. But, hey, I’m old.
Lettering finished, I draw in the panel borders with a sharpie and ink the strips with a Windsor Newton Series 2 red sable brush. If there’s things I want to change, I use Pro White. I also paste over larger corrections with Avery labels.
All that’s left is to cut the strips apart on a paper cutter, scan them into the computer and finish them with Photoshop (that’s where I add the shading dots). Then I email them to the good people who do production, cross the week off my calendar and take a break.
Next week, I’ll do it all again. What a life!
Few subjects have generated as much recent response in recent years as the dialogue in 2 Edge City strips that appeared last week. In them, Colin uses the commonly employed though grammatically incorrect phrase “Me and Sam” instead of “Sam and I”. So many readers wrote about this (one of actually said she’d stop reading our strip because of it) that, rather than write them all individually what would be basically the same message, I just wrote 1 form response and emailed it to all of them. It reads as follows:
Dear Sir or Madam–Due to the volume of email sent concerning the issue of bad grammar in the Edge City strips of the last few days, far exceeding the responses to any other issue I can remember, I found it necessary, if regrettable, to answer your note with a form letter. While proper grammar is, of course, important and necessary, I would like to point out that the offending sentence forms were used by a character who, in our judgement, would speak that way and that fictional characters generally should not be expected to function as examples of what the public should or should not do. That being said, we do make an effort to act as a positive influence on our readers, especially our younger ones, and apologize for any detrimental effect our use of bad grammar may have caused. Take care and thanks for reading Edge City–Terry LaBan
So if you want to know what gets people’s goat, that’s it. I’ll refer all future complainants here.