Sunday, October 18, 2009

TAGS December 26, 1993

12/26: Secret Santa strategies.

FP#01 - This is the first full page, Sunday strip format of TAGS. The date in 1993 falls on a Sunday. It's "holiday-time" at the little restaurant in Happiland Park, and the hosts and hostesses (workers) are having a secret Santa gift exchange.

Bingo the snake (first appearance) as a visually interesting character owes everything to the Disney predecessors, Kaa from "The Jungle Book" and Sir Hiss from "Robin Hood." He's easy-going and should have been more of a prankster than he would be later depicted.

Evan, a Welsh Corgi dog, makes his fourth appearance at the end. Monster obviously sees Evan as a rival, yet Evan certainly hasn't had enough strip appearances to support that conclusion.

Tanya (otter) is mentioned here, but has yet to make an appearance. The hostess in silhouette speaking with Bingo in panel 6, is probably Wensdae (weasel), and if so, then this marks her fifth appearance.

As I had all the daily editions, this was originally printed in my self-published newsletter, "monotony." Because "monotony" was photocopied in black and white (because B&W copies are cheaper than color ones), I did not color the FP's. Well, originally I didn't color them. When I did, I would use watercolor paints over photocopies of the finished inked art. The process still seems/feels like a more authentic comic-making experience than digital colors, but it sure does wrinkle the pages.

Even without color, the FP's would offer many advantages over writing and drawing the four panel dailies: 1) flexibility in the size, shape and number of panels; 2) more storytelling and acting; 3) bigger characters. One of the most common comments I have received (or elicited) from people I've ask read my collection of TAGS, is that the FP's are better than the dailies. As I see them as a whole, I can't readily offer an opinion on the matter.

I often feel as Monster does in panel 10.

Lastly, if I had not previously made note of it, "Gats" is the "Good Grief" of TAGS. It is plainly an anagram, a jumbling of the letters of the comic strip's name, but it is also a sound-alike cousin of the exclamatory, "gadzooks." "Fieb" on the other hand, didn't catch on.

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