Thursday, October 11, 2012

Qtoon: 14, 12, or 11 Years Later

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
ΔOct 11, 2012
Today is National Coming Out Day, and to mark the occasion, I decided to follow up on a cartoon I drew way back in 1998. (See this week's "Sneak Peek.")

In the original cartoon, Uncle Jim did most of the talking to his 18-year-old nephew, Dylan. The cartoon implied that Uncle Jim was past his 38th birthday but still well short of his 48th. Twelve years later, Dylan would be 30, and Jim somewhere in his 50's. Uncle Jim has changed his appearance significantly over the years. He's put on a fair amount of weight and decided to compensate for his thinning hair by growing a heavy beard. Nephew Dylan now wears glasses and has exchanged his shaggy mane for something with more product in it.

Now, most of my readers don't have my life's work at their fingertips, so it's not like any of the following really matters. But if there are any obsessive fans reading this blog, there is one nagging little inconsistency about this week's cartoon that I might as well try to explain.

I added the copyright date in the second panel as I was nearly done inking the cartoon, and suddenly realized that 1998 was fourteen years ago, not twelve. I hadn't left myself enough room to change "twelve" to "fourteen," so we're left to suppose that perhaps Dylan didn't come out to his parents at 18 (after all, in the original cartoon, Jim advises him that there's no rush to do so) but two years later after another conversation at this diner.

Then, when I hunted up the digital file for Monday's Sneak Peek, I found that for reasons I cannot recall, its copyright date had been changed to 2001. This cartoon was originally drawn in August, 1998 as a "reserve" -- to be released at some later date when I might not have another cartoon at the ready, so my first thought was that we held onto that reserve cartoon for three years.

There is a note on the page the cartoon was drawn on, however, indicating that it appeared in the Phoenix Echo in October, 1998. (Back then, a few of the papers in which my cartoons appeared would mail me those issues.) So either I mistakenly included this cartoon for three years in the January ritual of updating the copyright dates of the unreleased reserves, or somebody wanted to re-release this cartoon in 2001.

I don't have any idea. All I know is that I've fallen woefully behind in keeping up a supply of reserves; I've been without one for months, if not years. I've learned that there's little point in drawing up reserves such as the original Dylan and Jim cartoon for release at specific dates on the calendar unless I have plans to be busy or on vacation at that time. It's more useful to have something totally generic in case of emergency, and I have less need for a reserve Christmas cartoon than I have for a cartoon to be released for publication immediately after Christmas.

By the way, if you have any confident predictions about what is going to be a happenin' topic for LGBT readers around December 27 of this year, I'm all ears.

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