avatarThis is the first of the “Directors Cut” strips I started doing a while ago. I’ve learned alot about story telling with comics since starting Children at Play. Initially, time in the comic corresponded pretty evenly with time passed in the real world. Sorta like Calvin and Hobbes had winter based strips in the winter, and Valentines day strips on Valentines Day.  And it worked great, when I was updating three times a week. But as the quality of art and writing went up, the time I spent working on each strip went up exponentially. Making three updates a week impossible while going to school and/or holding down a fulltime job. So updates began to get further and further apart. Nowadays two a week is a strech. Then add on to this a focus on increasingly longer and longer storylines (while we rely on gags, I’ve never really considered Children at Play a “gag” comic, it’s always had a running storyline, albiet, sometimes lighter than others) and suddenly you get a story that happens in the winter, immediately followed by a story that happens the following autumn.  So along the lines the comic adopted a real-time point of view, where the amount of time it took you to read a comic, well that was pretty much the same amount of time that passed in the Children at Play Universe. With more and more of a focus on building stong characters, and character comedy, the comic became a chronicaling of the daily events of their lives, not a gag-only comic. And these old comics, in the old format, just seemed out of place up agaisnt the new comics.

I’ve always held that even the old comics are important to understanding the new ones. The characters are built upon from the very firsy strip, and many of the jokes you just wont get if you aren’t familiar with these people. So I really felt it was a serious detrimate that my early comics were so artistically unappealing. People would be more apt to skip them because how badly they looked, and then they’d miss out on some of the stronger writing later because of it. Redoing old comics is a great excuse to solve both of these problems. The writing in these old strips, while not always great, is almost always worthwhile. So redrawing them, to me, is a great way to make sure new readers, who are intrigued by what they see today, remain intrigued when they go back to look at yesterday. Additionally, it gives me a chance to fix alot of the narrative mistakes I made early on because I didn’t really know better, by fleshing out the story, filling in the blanks, so to speak.

Also, they’re often alot of fun to write, to go back into the mindset of these characters before they lived with Chip, or broke up with twins, or had an evil talking daisy to contend with. In fact, Ryan would much rather work on these old ones than continuing to move the story forwards.

See you in the funny pages!