|With the passage of time the Barefootz characters began gradually regaining their appeal, and my sick fantasies of assasinating them lifted. I liked the spirit of those cosmic knuckleheads, and drawing them had never stopped being fun. Assured that I could continue to use other styles and formats for the more substantive topics I wanted to tackle, I entertained new thoughts of newspaper syndication.
In 1985 I assigned myself the task of drawing fresh samples, tailored for mainstream consumption, and submitted them to editors. The syndicates remained uninterested in my creation. Although being rejected is never fun, that strikes me as being for the best. While the once-stinging arguments about my feature's "hipness" seem inconsequential today, drawing those samples in the "daily-strip format" necessary for newspapers reminded me of what hadn't survived my years in the underground: any love I ever had for writing "gags." Humor turns me on; punchlines are an annoying intrusion. Seeing my comics in newspapers had been a childhood dream, but the funny pages and I were (and are) on different wave lengths now.
Could Barefootz have ever worked in newspapers? Who knows? The setting would surely have affected the content, but how much? Reducing the feature's emphasis on psychedelics wouldn't have bent me out of shape, since psychedelics had already seeped quietly out of my personal life by the time the 1980s began. But some of those syndicate editors actually wanted me to jettison the strip's cockroaches!