March 16th, 2008 | Other Projects
Lookit. I’m so psyched. Coming this fall, The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For. Most, though not all, of the DTWOF episodes collected in one big volume. This is very exciting for me, and a big relief, because the individual books have gotten very difficult to obtain, and there are so many of them now, like…eleven? Which makes it hard for new readers to follow the backstory. Plus it’s kind of nice timing because this year is the twenty-frickin’-fifth anniversary of the strip.
But why I’m writing now is enlist your aid in something. The amazing marketing guy at Houghton Mifflin has a plan to promote the ESSENTIAL DTWOF to bookstores by producing a fake little 8 page tabloid newspaper from the world of the strip, like, with ads for stores and places that exist in the comic strip, and news stories about the characters and stuff. It’ll be a copy of The Daily Distress, the newspaper the characters read, so it’s a way of drawing people into the cartoon universe.
But here’s the genius part. You write the stories! In other words, you do all the work! Isn’t that clever of me?
I know, I know. Let me just say I abhor “contests,” like for example logo contests, which are thinly-veiled schemes to exploit peoples’ talent, good will, and time. But I’ll compensate all serious contributors to this project with a copy of the book. And if we use your work in the piece, I’ll throw in the original art to the DTWOF episode of your choice (depending on availability).
So can I persuade anyone to compose a 250-500 word story, newspaper-style, on any of the following topics?
•News article about when the city performed rogue same sex marriages in 2004. Including interviews with newly-married couple Clarice Clifford and Toni Ortiz. Toni speaks not just about her personal experience, but in her capacity as a member of Freedom to Marry.
•The closing of Madwimmin Books. Community institution lost, etc., despite forays into sex toys and a café…including interviews with Jezanna, and Mo. Possibly Lois and Thea too. (Hmm. I’m gonna have to invent last names for this. Mo’s is Mo Testa. Lois is Lois McGiver. But I’ve never given last names to Jez or Thea. Any ideas?)
•A sports piece about the Lady Porcupines, the women’s basketball team at the University, going to the NCAA’s. In which Jerry (Lois’s tranny fag mechanic) is interviewed—he was on the team the last time they went to the NCAA’s, when he was a she. (that would probably have been around 1988) See episode 337.
•A review of Lois’s drag king show. She could be performing as Max Axle. Or in one of her political personae—as Bush in his padded flightsuit, or as Donald Rumsfeld complete with rimless glasses.
•A news article on Clarice’s work on the Union Carbuncle cancer cluster case. Clarice is an attorney for the Environmental Justice Fund. If you’re interested in this one, I’ll send you relevant episodes to gather info from.
•News on Betsy Gilhooly’s MacArthur “genius” grant. Angle: she used to be a professor at the local university. She’s unavailable for an interview, so you have to interview her (extremely bitter and envious) ex-colleague Sydney Krukowski instead.
And if you’re more of a graphics person than a writer, maybe you’d like to design a fake ad! [UPDATE: let's make the ads 4 inches wide, and 2, 2-1/2, 3, 3-1/2, 4, 4-1/2 or 5" high. PDF format would be great if you can do that! Also, they'll be black and white, no color.] Like for some of the characters’ businesses:
Miriam the midwife’s Natureborn Midwifery Services
Jerry’s car repair shop, Rainbow Automotive
Sparrow’s ex June’s incomprehensible business of “high concept digital commerce models”
Clarice’s law organization, The Environmental Justice Fund
AC-DC electrical, Letitia (invent an electrical last name), master electrician
Miko Takagawa’s salon, The Chop Shop. (Miko’s also a writer so perhaps her ad mentions her book “Hair Stories,” which Gore Vidal-Sassoon called “a tonsorial tour-d-force.”)
La Lentille D’Or, the gourmet vegan restaurant frequented by the characters
Or the co-op! Maybe they’re having a special on some of the following items: rosemary-cucumber beard conditioner, gingko-infused parsley soda, birch bark toilet paper. Or celebrating national vegetarian day with a sale on phoney baloney, fakin’ bacon, sham cops, not your mommy’s pastrami, and I’m not talkin’ Turkey.
Or maybe Pillzapoppin’ Pharmacy? Coupons for Vagicorp’s yeast-b-gone, Proposition H Rhoid Ointment, Lilliput Condoms, perhaps?
I’d like to illustrate each article or ad with a “photo,” that is, art from an existing strip that relates to the topic. There will likely be a bit of editing done, to make things consistent. If you think you’d like to participate, LET ME KNOW HERE ON THE BLOG. (I’m amending this post–first I asked folk to email me, but this way everyone can see what other people are working on). This will help me get a sense of the overall balance and make sure everyone’s not doing the same thing.
Oh, also, if your submission gets used in the piece you’ll get a byline. And a copy of the “tabloid.” Plus I’ll put the final piece up on the blog so everyone can see it.
What do you think? Can I persuade any of you to stop composing sestinas and start writing news articles?
Needless to say, if you have any other ideas besides the ones I’ve listed, I’d be delighted. Fire away to us here at DTWOF Inc.
Oh, jeezum. Did I mention I need this stuff FAST? Like, by next Sunday March 23? That’s good, though! A tight deadline is always inspiring, don’t you think?
Needless to say, I would be honored and grateful beyond measure if any of you find this worth doing.