Match to Flame 203

Jan 17, 2024

Okay, so that problem was solved, and I avoided a train wreck (train wrecks can be fun to watch, I suppose, as long as you’re not riding on the train). Yes, Lisa’s long shadow would continue to fall over the work, most noticeably in the Lisa’s Legacy walk that became a staple each October and that mirrored the real-life Lisa’s Legacy 5K Run/Walk that University Hospitals presented in the fall. [fig. 2][fig. 3] However, now the situation was manageable, and I could move forward with my characters’ stories. And, while being manageable, it doesn’t mean that there were no problems left. Day in and day out, Funky Winkerbean did the job that a comic strip was supposed to do, which was to entertain you and help you forget about your life. But every so often there were moments when it aspired to more than that, where it became something that helped you remember your life, and Lisa’s Story was one of those moments. With Lisa as my guide, I had actually tried to make something more. The story had transcended the form for a brief period, but, as much as you’d like to, you can’t set up shop there. It’s like running your hand through a candle flame. You can do it, but you can’t keep it there. So my choices were to attempt to spill the same wine again, which—as I’ve just pointed out—you can’t do, or to forge a new path forward and hopefully engage my readers in some new and interesting ways. I’d created a taste that my readers hadn’t realized they wanted. They’d given me the space to tell my story and followed me to this new place in my middle-aged characters’ lives. I had made a big point about how comic strips could carry the weight of adult work (in spite of being precariously balanced on a disintegrating pile of flimsy newsprint that was created to be disposed), and I didn’t want to let my readers or myself down. All of this would have to be accomplished in and around the ongoing book signings that were still being scheduled for Lisa’s Story. Decisions, decisions, decisions. And then . . . my decisions were suddenly all removed from me.

From The Complete Funky Wnkerbean Volume 13

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