May 13th, 2008 | Uncategorized

Thanks, everyone, for your very sweet support for my decision to suspend DTWOF for a while. Well, that seems to be the preponderance of opinion so far—I haven’t read all the comments closely because I’m working hard to get the last strip done. I’m inking today. In fact, I’m hoping to get the whole thing done by lunchtime, at which point I’ll post it on here.

As for the fan-fic thing, I just had some vague ideas about it. One was that it would be something we could somehow host on this site. (Dr. E, thanks for your thoughts about the copyright issue…that hadn’t occurred to me and I’ll have to think about it some more.)  I know people would take the story off in all kinds of directions, but I was thinking that, at the point when I resume the strip, I could decide which, if any, of the fan-fic plots were things that really happened. But again, I haven’t really thought this through.

Anyhow. I’ll get back to work. It’s taking me a little longer than usual because, in my compulsive, self-archiving way, I’m shooting video of the process. Since it’s the last strip for a while, and all.

30 Responses to “hey”

  1. Kelli says:

    Like Gary Trudeau and Bill Waterson, I’m sure you’ll come back refreshed and filled with new creative energy.

  2. Did Bill Waterson come back? I often wonder what he’s up to.

  3. Ms Wormwood says:

    Hey! Aren’t you supposed to be inking?!

  4. Danyell says:

    You worry too much.

  5. Bigtime Lurker says:

    Bummer for us. But hope you have great, creative, restorative sabbatical. And for the record, I would say you shouldn’t recycle strips. I think we should all go out and buy your retrospective collection when it comes out.

  6. Ellen O. says:

    Do many cooks dilute an idea to its lowest common denominator or inspire fresh, bold approaches? It’s fascinating, these questions of art’s creation and ownership, the myth (?) of the lone artist working in her garret (or in this case, her daylight basement), the power and problems of collaboration.

    I remember when I was writing my play “God, Guilt and Gefilte Fish,” and well-meaning people kept saying, “Someone should get pregnant. Someone should have sex in a bedroom.” (The play was already over-burdened with characters and situations).

    At first, I was astounded that Alison would encourage others to experiment with her characters. (I wouldn’t be so open-minded and gracious.) But perhaps after so many years of drawing DTWOF she’s had a shift, approaching her creation with—as the Buddhists around here say—more detachment.

    Oh, and Kirsten, I promised to say hello via this blog when we were in Florida, so here’s a wave out to you, Elizabeth and Stormy.

  7. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Alison, as for the copyright thing, as long as each person posts a disclaimer that the characters are your property and the property of whomever your publisher is, and that they are making no money off of this, everyone should be fine. Fact is, efforts to legally curtail fanfic have been largely unsuccessful, since the people who write/draw the fics don’t make any actual money off of them, and I think that falls under fair use.

  8. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the sabbatical, just have Mo stumble upon Patrick Duffy in the shower — and it’ll all have been a dream.

  9. NickelJoey says:

    (Uh, that “Anonymous” was me. Sorry.)

  10. The Cat Pimp says:

    Waterson did not come back to syndication. He’s done some books, but has essentially, retired.

    Berkeley Breathed, on the other hand *should* have retired.

    Trudeau keeps on ticking.

  11. ready2agitate says:

    Cat Pimp: HA! 🙂

  12. LJR says:

    Anonymous/NickelJoey has an interesting idea — What if the various fan-fic plots were all placed as dreams that the characters have had? Then continuity doesn’t matter at all!

  13. Public Health Vet says:

    Alison, I’ll miss the strip tons, but I think that it’s terrific that you are taking some time off to finish your book. We can only do so many things well at once and stay sane and healthy, after all. 🙂

    I truly loved Fun Home and bought many copies… I’ll do the same for your new book… and I’ll even hope to have the opportunity to meet you again and have you autograph a few, as you did for so many of us in Madison, WI in 2006.

    Best wishes to you always!

  14. Kassie says:

    By the way, will you post your video of your working method? A while back you posted a pencilled panel of Clarice, and we readers could then compare it to the finished one, and I found that so interesting! Cheerio

  15. DaneGreat says:

    Hey Alison, would you consider putting up archive strips in place of new ones? I’d love to look at old ones while pining away…just a thought.

  16. Rose says:

    I find it fascinating that ideas of incorporating fan fiction on this site are being floated. I’m a huge fan of fanfic, I wrote a thesis on fanfic, in particular the intersection of female sexuality and fan fiction, so I just a) think this coming up organically on this site, in response to Alison’s work proves some of the points I made in my thesis and b) can’t wait to see how things actually pan out.

  17. Suz says:

    I love the idea of free-reign fanfic that can be explained away as a dream (or fantasy or whatever).

    Much as I admire and respect what’s come out of the blog community here, part of the attraction of following one writer’s (or one artist’s) work is seeing where that one person goes. I’d hate to see AB’s very personal viewpoint diluted by any implied acceptance of or negotiation with what we create. IOW, it’s not that we’re not interesting, it’s that we’re not AB.

  18. dylanbd says:

    I saw Berke Breathed speak a couple years back. His tragedy? He doesn’t WANT to be a cartoonist! He wanted to become a Hollywood player, but he failed. He spent the entire talk jawing about how he used to live next door to Robert Zemeckis (or “Bob” Zemeckis, as he, a next door neighbor, was permitted to address the man) and how they almost made any number of successful movies but in the end did not because, in Breathed’s analysis, “children don’t care about the past.”

    It was the most depressing evening ever, and confirmed all you may have suspecting from reading the grim recent Opus strips.

  19. Em says:

    Watterson hasn’t done anything with Calvin and Hobbes since he retired the strip, but in the early 90s he did take a 9 month sabbatical.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Good luck. I support your decision to take a break, and look forward to your return. I’ll keep reading your blog, and I’ll be in line to buy your new book when it comes out.

    The fan fic idea doesn’t thrill me. I am not excited about the idea of slogging through non-Bechdel DTWOF strips just to keep up with plot developments. If I want to read a strip by another artist, there are plenty of wonderful cartoonists with their own original work to tide me over while I wait for DTWOF to come back.

    What if instead of fan fic, you or your readers could have one or two featured cartoonists a month? You could recommend a strip or book you like, we could read and discuss, and it would keep things active while we eagerly await the return of DTWOF.

  21. LondonBoy says:

    LOL @ NickelJoey…

  22. Leda says:

    I think the fanifc thing is a great idea but it shouldn’t be embarked on as possibly being part of future plotlines. Doing this would mean Alison trying to monitor writing the strip by committee which would surely prove way more hassle than just doing the strip!

    However I’d love to see other people’s imaginings of alternate DTWOF realities, the substitute strips sent in so far have been brilliant and really interesting, but in a separate place (a different website) which clearly defines them as companion pieces not in anyway part of the main story line. Not being part of the blog also makes them optional.

    This way the blog is just a blog, something optional for Alison to do when she wants to during this sabbatical. Otherwise its not really a sabbatical is it?

  23. Ian says:

    In other cult fandoms, the author’s original work is known as ‘canon’ and untouchable and unquestionable, even when it contradicts itself.

  24. *tania says:

    i agree with Leda. commandment #11.5: keep holy the sabbatical!

  25. j.b.t. says:

    I’m still nervous about “sabbatical” – I hope it’s not like a “break” people take before they get divorced!

    Alison, please don’t forget to come back to DTWOF!

    Thank you,

  26. j.b.t. says:

    And when you come back, when will it be? When you left off? Since the strip is real time, maybe it will pick up where ever the characters are and we’ll have to figure out what’s going on?

    Sorry… I am genuinely anxious about this all.


  27. Sylvia says:

    Just wanted to add another voice of support from a longtime fan. I hope your time “off” is enjoyable and productive and everything you want this time to be. (I think it could be cool to see fan artists/guest strips here while you’re gone, but only if it’s also fun for *you*! If you don’t feel like hosting fanfic on your own space, we still have the whole rest of the internet to play around in. 🙂 )

    When you come back, though, Mo should wake up in bed next to Suzanne Pleshette.

  28. 'Rora says:

    Hey! A topic I have something to say about! (The commenters here are so good I often just don’t feel the need to add anything.)

    Trying to integrate the fanfic into the cannon in any real and consistent way would likely prove troublesome. Other people are likely to write characters doing and thinking things that wouldn’t fit with Alison’s vision, even in dreams. And part of the fun of fanfic is often seeing what you can do with the characters that is outside the authors vision but still fits with the published material or with some idea or scene they wrote. If it all had to be realistic enough to be imagined as a “real” part of the story that would really limit that.

    As I understand it, most authors don’t read fanfic that uses their works as cannon, at least until they are sure they’ll never do anything more with that work. If they do read it and then want to write something that’s also been used in fic, everyone is left wondering if it’s properly original. The fic writers and readers end up aggrieved and the author has to chose between using perfect ideas (that sie thought of hirself), and alienating some of hir most passionate readers. That said, in a community like this I think most people would be thrilled to see tiny references to their fic in Alison’s work–things that weren’t integral to understanding the strip but would give everyone in the know the feeling of a little inside joke. I would be fascinated to see how the conversation between fic and author could happen in a shared, friendly space.

  29. Lea says:

    Hi Alison,
    a good decision to take a break from DTWO, but I wonder why you call it sabbatical. I mean you are working on your new book. Well hopefully you just have a bit more time for your love, summer, Vermont, your cat…
    Blue Skies!

  30. Marshalldoc says:

    You certainly deserve a break after such a prolific run.

    It’ll certainly leave a big gap in my Sunday mornings (when I access your site to read your latest) though…