No Time to Think

Okay I need help with something.

I normally trust my instinct but this is something I can’t resolve.  Last year I wrote and drew a few sample pitches for a Retros newspaper comic strip.  I had a ton of fun doing this and I loved the restrictions of a traditional comic strip.  Most comic strips are 3 – 4 panels but I would cram up to 6 panels per strip.  I pushed it to the limit.


One of the reasons this was so fun it was a break from the traditional four square panel grid of a typical Retros page but still required me to work with some pretty set guidelines.

After four rounds of submissions, I eventually gave up.  It was a fun project and I’m disappointed it didn’t go anywhere.  The material was fun to do, and given the ever changing roster of the members of the team, these were stories that wouldn’t work within the the normal continuity of the webcomic.  I wanted to show off the work and I hate to see good stuff go to waste, so I had been thinking of a way to publish it.  I considered self-publishing it, but then I thought about reworking the material and shopping it to publishers as a graphic novel.  Once every publisher shoots it down, THEN I will self-publish it.

I kicked this idea around for a bit and I decided that the new year was a perfect excuse to work on this project.  By a twist of fate, I was also going on a work trip on January first and airplanes and hotels are a perfect time draw.  I draw with ink and paper at home, and on my iPad when I travel.  Bottles of ink and turbulence do not mix.  On this trip I reworked the first part of the original newspaper pitch (a total of 20 strips) and finished 8 pages of the new project.  I had a blast working on it.

After I got home, I compared the new pages to the original strips.  What I covered in 8 pages was the first 3 strips of the original version.  That wasn’t a surprise, I knew the new adaptation was fleshed out a little more since I wasn’t restricted to the traditional comic strip panel layout.  But pretty soon some doubt creeped in…

One of the fun parts about the comic strip version is that there is no paper to waste, no time to second guess, no time to think, every line, every panel has to count.  All killer, no filler, so to speak.  But the new version had some breathing room and it seemed to lose some momentum.  The new stuff was funny, but I am not sure if really adds anything to the story.  I mean, it does, but I feel the new stuff lacks the energy and the inertia that the original story had.  But then again, is the original material too rushed?

So.  I need your help.  Take a look at the original three strips below and compare them to the new stuff.  Please bear in mind a couple things:

-Even if the original stuff is better, I will still redraw the panels/pages to fit a traditional comics page instead of a comic strip format

-I didn’t do the lettering yet for the new stuff.  In a way, the dialogue isn’t important in this.  It all comes down to momentum and pacing.

Anyway, here’s the original stuff.  I apologize for the wonky formatting.




…and then new stuff:


Okay, thanks!



2 thoughts on “No Time to Think

  1. Hey Bob!!

    While I do like both versions, I think I like the second one better. I will disagree with you in saying the dialog doesn’t matter because that’s the main reason I’m liking that version better. (At least the parts of it I can read. 😉 ) The bit about the bad guy bringing his own bag and Fly-Girl’s frustrations at being called “little girl” are available to you because of the extended format. If sticking to something like a traditional comic strip format, how you did that is perfectly great, I just like the longer format better.

    • Thanks for reading it! I am completely torn about both versions. I do like the shopping bag/little girl lines and yes, they would probably not be room for them in the first version. Maybe I need a compromise and translate each strip into a page and add stuff if there’s room? 3 strips translating into 8 pages… at that rate it would be a fifty page (or so) story.

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