Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Buttoned Up? No. Scaredy Cat? No. Felix the Cat? Felix Felis?

I've been working on a form of Buttoned Up for the past two years since 2010. All of it as a comic strip off and on. I've done about 200 dailies. Then about two month's worth of Sunday comics. Always working with the hopes to make a daily comic strip that is syndicated.

In the couple years, however, I admit that I have grown very pessimistic about the state of the comic strip medium. Maybe it's because that I've been told too many that this doesn't work, that doesn't work, or "your work is great, but..." It may also be because of the failing newspaper industry in general and those that do get syndicated will never have a true shot at making money. Or maybe it's because too that there is so much mediocre work that is being produced anymore and those that still produce amazing work seem old and tired after seeing it for plus 10, 20, 30 years.

It pains me to think the industry that has made such great comics such as Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Cul De Sac, Mutts, Pearls Before Swine, Bloom County, and countless others have come up with such crap these past ten years. The only comic strips worth mentioning that got syndicated since 2000 is Pearls and Cul De Sac. Two comic strip features and the rest introduced mere slosh.

I think that because the industry is so dead in the water is the reason why any hopes of becoming a comic strip artist now make no sense. But I love the comic medium still. I've looked my favorite comics and am now thinking where do I fit into this comic world? I think that the past couple years, I've been finding my footing my the children's book industry. I'm finding the same things that I have loved in comics I am finding in children's books as well. The same fantastical adventures, colorful characters, and great artwork.

It's because of my working on picture books I think is now I think that I have a great idea for a middle grade graphic novel. One thing I don't see in the comics industry is the lack of comic work for younger audiences (besides the newspaper funnies). Too much adult work in Marvel and DC comics anymore. I think that my story would therefore make a great fit for middle grade.

So below are two sketches of Buttons and other characters. Right now, I am only working on an outline and character sheets so nothing is solidified. However, Buttons I think should be renamed to Felix. For a couple reasons, Felix means happy and is a reference to Felix the Cat, one of the early pioneers in animation. Then maybe Felix Felis (felis means cat in Latin). Felix Felis sounds great, but I fear may sound too similar to an elixir from Harry Potter (felix felicius I think). Who knows? I need to run it by people first.

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