Blog Post for November 23, 2011: “Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel”
I cut my finger this weekend and couldn’t draw for three days. Which was bad because I’d planned on getting ahead on the strip. (It was also bad because it hurt.) I’m still two months in front of my deadlines, so that’s fine, but it made me appreciate my hands a lot more.
—No, wait, that sounds weird. I should’ve written, “It made me appreciate my hands in a different way.” Which still sounds weird but at least has the benefit of being more accurate.
And that’s sort of when it finally struck me: I’m making a comic strip! I’m an artist!
That sounds pompous, but I don’t mean it that way. I’m an artist only in the sense that my art now has responsibilities. It’s sort of like being a parent: once you have a kid, you’re a parent. Then it’s up to you to be a good parent or a bad one.
Every Wednesday a new Harold the Astronaut is scheduled to appear on this site—no matter what. That’s the rule I set for myself, and, really, it’s the only rule I have to follow. I could turn Harold evil and Sally into a rocket-powered pumpkin next week so long as the comic depicting that sudden change of character appeared on time.
(Don’t worry: I’m not turning Harold evil. Won’t happen. That said, Sally as a rocket-powered pumpkin? Hmm…)
It’s an issue of respect. Last week I read Adam West’s autobiography, Back to the Batcave, which is just as strange and fascinating as you’d imagine. (Caveat: the 1966 Batman television show is one of my favorite depictions of Batman ever, coming in right behind Dick Sprang’s 1950s comic book work.) The schedule on that show was grueling, and when he wasn’t filming, West was being shuttled across the country to promote the show.
And honestly? The studio exploited him. A lot.
But every week he showed up. And he persevered. And he always cared. Because he respected the show he was making too much not to care. He respected that world and those characters too much to let them down. Yes, he felt the responsibility of his castmates, the crew, the network, and the audience. But ultimately the responsibility he felt most was the responsibility of the work.
And that’s how I feel now.
When my cut healed, I worked twice as hard to make up for the time I’d lost—not because I had to but because I wanted to. It was a matter of respect.