There a serious disadvantage and a serious advantage of doing serialized storytelling. Oddly enough, they are the exact same thing: reader commentary.

The way I do the SuperFogeys is that, before each chapter, I create an outline that tells me strip-by-strip what I need to accomplish.  The actual writing of the strips usually occurs about a day or two before I sit down to draw it, which is itself a day or two before I post it. (I know, I know–I should really be working with a buffer.) It’s usually at the point of the actual writing that I put the funny.  There’s almost no funny in the outline.

What that all means is that there’s a very real chance that reader response can influence the direction I take the storylines. This can be bad if I’m constantly second-guessing myself (which is something I’ve had other cartoonists tell me is very much a concern for them), but good if I’m confident in the story I’m telling and can judge well what I should pay attention and what I should ignore.

I like to think that I’m pretty good and not letting feedback get to me, but also recognize when readers are absolutely right and something needs to go in a slightly different direction than what I’d planned. Today’s strip is a prime example.

In the lead-up to Herman being killed by Tangerine back in Chapter 5, people were HOT as Captain Spectacular simply stood by while Tangerine dispatched the Fogeys one-by-one in order to get to Herman.  I knew why the Captain was doing that, but I had no idea that something as simple (to me, anyway) as Spy Gal taking it on the chin while CS’s jaw dropped would not only turn the tide against Tangerine, but against CS as well. It was a character bit for me. Something I’m picking up on later and speaks to CS’s general state of mind.

But you guys?  You guys HATED CS for that. You wondered why he just stood there and if Spy Gal could ever forgive him and… actually, it was really cool.  It told me that there was an investment in these characters that I didn’t even know about. And then, when Herman died…hoo-boy.  Could CS even be redeemed?  Didn’t I care about making the “hero” of the story actually, y’know, heroic?

I’m gonna leave the answers to those questions in the care of future strips, but the reader response did make me realize one thing–this failure of character on the part of the Captain had to be addressed. I needed to have one of the characters call the Captain out on his garbage and really stick it to him.  I needed a scene where a character could act as the reader surrogate and really let CS have it.

I think it’s sweet justice that that character turned out to be Tangerine himself.

So why give in to reader response this time when I’ve just forged ahead with my own plan on so many other occasions?  Because I knew you guys were right and, what’s more, I was missing out on a potentially great scene if I didn’t address it. So, for that, I thank you.

And there you go.  I almost never explain myself or point out my brilliance (or lack thereof as is more often the case) on the day a strip is released, but in this case I wanted to give you guys a little peek into how you made a difference. The result didn’t end up being very funny (you guys are off your game–this is a comedy strip, after all), but I think there’s some strong stuff in today’s strip and I hope you enjoyed it.


This is nearly my last reminder about this, I promise. If you have a chance to get out to your local comic shop on Saturday, do it. Inside you’ll find a free copy of Th3rd World’s Free Comic Book Day offering, with an exclusive, just-for-FCBD, SuperFogeys comic inside.

If you’re in the Fresno area, come on down to Heroes Comics at Shaw and Hwy 41 to see me attempting my first in-store appearance. I’ll have SuperFogeys books on hand to sell and sign, and I’ll be doing free sketches as well.


Be sure and check back here tomorrow for a special Friday update!  I’ll be showing off a little preview of the exclusive SF comic inside the Th3rd World FCBD book!

Next Week:

The battle continues on Tuesday with SuperFogeys Origins and on Thursday Tangerine drops some knowledge on Captain Spectacular. Can’t say more than that!


Order The “Sorry, Fidel” T-Shirt Here!

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