Match to Flame 210

May 15, 2024

Much of 2008 and 2009 was devoted to recovery and training for the climb. Cathy and I would hike the snowy farm fields surrounding our house with weighted packs, CamelBak drinking devices, climbing boots, gaiters, balaclavas, goggles. and numerous layers of thermal clothing for three to four hours a day as we tested equipment, cameras, power snacks, and ourselves. I’d stop work at noon, and the afternoon would be spent training (and now the amount of strips that Dan inked for me in 2009 is no longer surprising). It’s the kind of work I enjoy, attempting to do something with long odds by preparing, training, and educating yourself in order to reduce those odds as much as possible. Tilting against the universe with my wing-lady.

As far as the writing was concerned, with my attention drawn everywhere else, it unfolded pretty nicely on its own. There was no need to figure out what I was going to write about because all I had to do was look around me. On the evening news, the war in Iraq was still a major concern. Even being a year ahead with the strip, it was pretty obvious that the war was going to be around for a while. Since I like for my writing to be of the moment, I had Wally Winkerbean return to war in the Middle East. He’s taken captive for a period, and when he returns he has to deal with severe PTSD (if you’re thinking that this is the second time Wally has gone MIA and had to deal with trauma on his return, I’ll give you a nickel not to). [fig. 10] Likewise, the market crash in 2008 was too hard to ignore, so I used it the way I usually do by bringing it down from the global to the local by showing how Funky and his expanding business was impacted by the downturn.

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