25 End In Sight (Sort Of)

A lot of stuff needed to happen over the span of Stuck Rubber Baby's 210 pages. (I had persuaded Andy Helfer to allot me four additional pages beyond the 206 specified in my contract, but my storyline still didn't have much as much room as I would have liked for late-blooming touches.) So I was delighted when, thanks to a flash of midnight inspiration, I figured out how to lop a couple of unnecessary pages from the middle of Chapter 14. In my working script I had a whole post-coital conversation between Toland and Ginger once they had finished "doing it" on the banks of Bluerabbit Lake. In that draft I then had to devote several panels to setting the scene for Sammy Noone's first brush with the KKK, which intruded rudely on his tryst with a bar trick. In other words, in my earlier draft I had used a lot of folderol to get from "here" to "there."

But by visually echoing my close-up of Ginger and Toland with a close-up of Sammy and his sex-partner that's so similar to what has gone before that it takes a moment to realize that time has passed and the scene has changed, I'm able in the published version to segue smoothly over a "several week" interval of time, all of which passes in the half-second it takes for the reader to turn the page. By panel two of Sammy's sexplay, which we've joined in progress, the KKK are already painting "Faggot" on his apartment door.

Fresh fireworks are quickly under way. It's called keeping the pacing brisk, and it's cool in comics just as it is in movies.

(Nobody needed to know what Toland and Ginger said to each other after sex, anyway, since few people are at their most articulate in that situation.)

LETTER TO KINNY AND ALASTAIR (March 3, 1993)

… I continue to press onward with the graphic novel. 126 pages are done; 80 more lie ahead. Completing it no longer seems like an impossible task, but I know that more of a year of drawing has yet to be done.

Sometime this summer a book of interviews will be published, co-authored by Stephen Bissette and Stanley Wiater, called Comic Book Rebels. Presumably I’ll be included in that book (unless I’m relegated to the cutting-room floor, as I was with a documentary film that came out several years ago called Comic Book Confidential).

On the personal level, my spirits have been lifted lately by my daughter Kim, who has resumed writing letters to me lately. She is married now and says she and her husband figure they'll start a family in a year or so. So you can begin preparing for Howie Cruse the literal granddaddy (as well as "the granddaddy of gay cartoonists, as Don Media called me in Buddies). …