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Posted By Art Baxter

Chapter-9 - Build a Beach Head

Ben Towle has recently posted some thoughts on his blog regarding a seven page response to Chapter 9 of Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS that James Sturm and I did for the COMICS JOURNAL in 1998.

James had originally written the piece as an essay. Tom Spurgeon who was the COMICS JOURNAL editor at the time, suggested the comic format to him to match the book itself. James asked me if I wanted to draw it. He had moved to my home town of Philadelphia a few years earlier and we had gotten to know each other pretty well. We both had recently gotten XERIC grants to publish our comics. We used to team up on tables at SPX and stuff like that. Anyway, he gave me the essay, and pretty much let me do with it what I wanted. He left soon after on a cross county trek that left me to start laying it out as a strip. Although it was only a dozen or so years ago it was like to stone-age compared to now. I had no computer, internet, email or cell phone. I was pretty much out of communication with James until he checked in with me throughout the summer. When he returned from his trip, James and I went back and forth on "Beach Head" quite a bit to bring the piece into sharper focus. The only use of the computer was to letter the word balloons with James' own font using his early Mac and laser printer.  I think I finally finished the art and sent it out sometime in November. It was like: "Get it done already! The strip appeared in the COMICS JOURNAL #211, April 1999, the "Impact of UNDERSTANDING COMICS" issue.

Anyway, I supplied Ben with new clean scans of the art and a long commentary by me on what I remember about the creation of the strip. James also weighs in with a few comments as well. You can read the whole thing here.





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