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Before I got syndicated, I wrote all of these really edgy strips thinking (in my hubris) that the only reason papers didn’t run edgy stuff was because no one was writing it. I alone would write it. I would start a revolution! Ahem. …Turns out, I was wrong. Now I know that most cartoonists probably push the envelope as much as they can, but there is a very plain line in the sand that you are just not allowed to cross–especially on Sundays.
Now, I’ve had dailies turned down for content, especially in the early days of my strip, but the amount of those pale in comparison to the Sunday strips. I remember I wrote one where the punch line went something like “I think I’ll just go HANG myself!” and I got a call from my editor singing “No hangings on Sundays!” I got several calls and emails like that. “No bloody shrunken heads on Sundays!” “No sluts on Sundays!” “No peeing on Sundays!” It was funny, though the extra work involved made it rather tedious as well. Sunday comic strips are rated G in an X rated world.
Now, I can appreciate this, I really can. I like plenty of G movies, and I’m all over some wholesome family entertainment. But, I doubt most cartoons I wrote or turned in would even earn a PG13 rating in any other industry. It was strictly PG, and sometimes I found it frustrating as hell.
I think this is an interesting topic, so I’ll write more on it another day. For now, I’ll end with an example. It’s a Sunday strip that ran on March 12, 2006. Below, is the original strip I turned in to UPS.
As you can see, Eve is decked out in her old nursing bra and granny drawers. I thought the picture of her like that was really funny. My editor thought it was too graphic. She asked me to try coloring her undies in, so they wouldn’t be so… in your face. Below is the final panel from the second try of this comic.
Finally, she told me that everyone agreed that it was just too graphic for a Sunday strip. Could I change it please? The strip I came up with is below.
I actually like the final version a lot. I think it works just as well as the first one. I couldn’t say which version I like better. My point is that this was a lot of extra work for a strip that wasn’t (in my opinion) that bad to begin with. The funny thing about this is that my editor said that it would be okay to show Eve like this in a daily, so I wrote one. I liked it so much, it’s up in my favorites at my karenmontaguereyes.com site in the 2006 year.
I hope this doesn’t seem too negative– it was just a topic I thought was interesting. My editor Sue was fabulous and saved me from problems many, many times and for that I am grateful. One Sunday I wrote mentioned abortions, the NRA AND religious fanatics. A veritable hat trick of bad judgment, and I was (thankfully) talked out of shooting myself in the foot.
In other news, I now have the archives up. I have decided to leave up a two week archive. Of course, right now I only have a three day archive, but that too shall come in time.