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Eric: Flashbacks to Count Floyd, anyone?

(From Midnight Macabre! Click on the thumbnail for full sized bureaucracy!)

There is a kind of courage in starting something new -- especially when the old things are so successful for you. Randy Milholland has guts.

This is a spin-off strip, done in true spin-off style, though I don't think that was Milholland's original intent. There was a one-off episode of Something Positive where Aubrey reminisced about her favorite show. Just like Star Trek's own Gary Seven or that episode of the Brady Bunch where they met their new friends the family with the adopted white, black and asian kids, we have a quick establishing reference and now we can move into the series proper, the pedigree assured.

Of course, neither of those series were actually picked up, but I digress.

Milholland is also brave because this means he's actually producing two strips a day during the week, now. He's doing Midnight Macabre five days a week, Something Positive seven days a week, and has announced plans for New Gold Dream which will soon begin updating three days a week. That's fifteen strips a week he's going to be producing. Say what you like -- that's ambitious.

It's also ambitious that the three strips are all different types. New Gold Dream looks to be fantasy/adventure (with a side order of dark humor). Something Positive is of course relationship/friendship based dark humor. And now Midnight Macabre looks to be workplace related dark humor. (Does anyone else see a trend, here?) They're different fields, and while they may cross over into each other's themes -- certainly, Something Positive indulges in Workplace humor, for example, and I expect the bitter, cynical hand of friendship to rear its head in Midnight Macabre -- these are still three different strips with three different premises and three different priorities.

And you want to know something else ambitious -- he can't cross over their continuities. Oh sure, New Gold Dream's cast may show up in a Something Positive strip, or Midnight Macabre videotapes may show up on Aubrey's mantle, or we might see the child versions of Aubrey, Davan or Scotty at a taping or the like, in Midnight Macabre, but either the gulf of universe or time separates the strips. Milholland has his options for cheap ratings ploys sharply reduced. He's operating without a net.

I like Midnight Macabre. It looks like a good venue for Milholland's humor. I suspect it'll be fun to read. I have faith in Milholland to engage me and amuse me. And to be honest, the subject matter resonates with me. I grew up watching the Big Money Movie on WLBZ, with Eddie Driscoll. I grew up watching bad movies without benefit of MST3K, but with silly sketches in between. I grew up in an era where local television stations made their own fun, no matter how cheaply they did it. Today, Midnight Macabre would never make it to air. I suspect that whenever Milholland decides to end this strip, it'll end with the show being yanked off the air to give more time for infomercials and Live with Regis. Just like every other television station.

So there's a wistfulness to a strip about a show where people actually want to entertain kids locally. And it's one that resonates with me. I'm looking forward to seeing this strip unfold. I'm looking forward to seeing a new strip from someone who's had years of daily updates under his belt. And I'm looking forward to seeing Randy Milholland's head explode from the stress of three different strips and the e-mail he'll receive about them.

Because like I said, sometimes you have to make your own fun.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at May 23, 2005 9:41 AM

Comments

Comment from: William_G posted at May 23, 2005 10:12 AM

I'm putting twenty internet bucks up that says he's gonna be shooting from the nearest bell tower by the end of 2006.

Any takers?

Comment from: Crashlander posted at May 23, 2005 10:19 AM

15 strips a week?! How is that even possible? I struggle with 3. I'm impressed and a little afraid. Someone hold me.

Comment from: RKMilholland posted at May 23, 2005 10:34 AM

Bill Holbrook does 21 strips a week.

But, then again, he's God.

Comment from: RKMilholland posted at May 23, 2005 10:35 AM

Bill Holbrook does 21 strips a week.

But, then again, he's God.

Comment from: RKMilholland posted at May 23, 2005 10:36 AM

Damn it - a double post.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at May 23, 2005 10:45 AM

I can't even imagine writing 21 strips in a week.

Comment from: MasonK posted at May 23, 2005 11:31 AM

Oh, *right*, Bro. This from the guy who wrote ALU #100 in under a month--an episode that measures out to 73 pages counting headers, so probably closer to 71. But hey, what have you done lately? Oh, right, you took on NaNoWriMo last year and beat it out by, what, seven days?

Don't tell me you couldn't write 21 strips in a week. :)

Comment from: Jenny Rowland posted at May 23, 2005 11:31 AM

...has anyone confirmed that Mr. Holbrook is, in fact, human? My money's on hyperintelligent comic-producing robot from the future.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at May 23, 2005 11:39 AM

ALU #100 was just 37,000 words. It just feels longer because it's turgid.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at May 23, 2005 11:44 AM

Just when I start patting myself on the back for having a relatively consistent update schedule for five days a week... something like this happens.

Curse you, Millholland!

*shakes fist*

Comment from: The Gneech posted at May 23, 2005 11:47 AM

Mork and Mindy got picked up, does that count?

-The Gneech

Comment from: MasonK posted at May 23, 2005 11:54 AM

Exactly. Nine years ago, it took you a month to do 37,000 words. Now you can do 50,000 words and still have some month left.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at May 23, 2005 12:18 PM

I'm putting twenty internet bucks up that says he's gonna be shooting from the nearest bell tower by the end of 2006.

Any takers?

What on earth makes you think that he isn't already doing that? Admittedly, he probably takes the precaution of waiting until he goes back to Texas for a visit before doing it, so that no one will notice.

Comment from: RichK posted at May 23, 2005 12:48 PM

[Getting of track]

Damn you Eric,


You've got to stop introducing me to all these new strips! I've only been reading Websnark for a short time and you've hooked me on four new strips (one being yours by the way).

[/Getting off track]


I grew up with "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" and loved those SCTV Count Floyd sketches. I hope this will be just as good.

Comment from: lgm posted at May 23, 2005 1:31 PM

Wow. The Big Money Movie with Eddie Driscoll. I also immediately thought of that, though I couldn't for the life of me come up with his name. I fondly remember those silly sketches we got through the fuzzy reception we got...

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at May 23, 2005 2:22 PM

Okay, I do dearly love Bill Holbrook, but I don't think his strips are quite are BIG or quite as WORDY as Milholland's comics. Now, I only read "Kevin and Kell," so I might be wrong about this...

Comment from: Maritza Campos posted at May 23, 2005 2:24 PM

Randy, you're *crazy*.

And yeah, Bill makes a lot of strips. But they're a lot smaller than what you do.

Beware of burning out.

Comment from: RKMilholland posted at May 23, 2005 2:32 PM

Thankfully, a lot of the other two comics are already written. It's S*P that I spend the most time on.

This whole "working from a script" thing is actually quite magical.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at May 23, 2005 3:37 PM

And so it begins: the Whirlpool bath, with no electrical or moving parts in the water.

Comment from: Sonictail~ posted at May 23, 2005 6:15 PM

Happily surprised, time will tell I guess but in the meantime, all I can say is "good luck"

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at May 23, 2005 6:25 PM

"I'm putting twenty internet bucks up that says he's gonna be shooting from the nearest bell tower by the end of 2006.

Any takers?"

"What on earth makes you think that he isn't already doing that? Admittedly, he probably takes the precaution of waiting until he goes back to Texas for a visit before doing it, so that no one will notice."

Dude, I hope you're just blowing smoke. The next time he visits Dallas, I'll be at the same con as him- hell, I'm scheduled to share a webcomics panel with him!

And, y'know, I'd hate to have all seven of WLP's fans show up only to be gunned down by a bitter expatriate Texan for the sake of stress relief through displacement activity...

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at May 23, 2005 6:41 PM

I can't even imagine writing 21 strips in a week.

I suspect it helps considerably to have nothing else to do all frakking day.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at May 23, 2005 8:39 PM

Well, all I know is that I like the first Midnight Macabre. Much more funny than any first comic has a right to be (or second, if you want to consider the S*P comic it spawned from the first). So that's one less source for hate mail.

Comment from: Black Dove posted at May 23, 2005 9:42 PM

Well; I just sent in my "Year two of keeping Randy chained to his drawing desk" money, and I call it funds well spent. The output of S*P alone consistantly exceeds my hopes, and the extras are just amazing... I just hope he does add Pay*Pal links to the spin-off/side comics in time, as they are bound to develop readers seperate from S*P that would also like to support a very talented storyteller.

-Black Dove

Comment from: quiller posted at May 23, 2005 10:03 PM

Well Isabel Marks has been doing 16 strips a week this year, and is involved in coloring Kevin and Kell. On the other hand, that is less panels than RK seems to be setting himself up for, and she has writing help on two of the comics.

Comment from: terrence marks posted at May 24, 2005 3:32 AM

I think you overestimate how helpful I am....

And Isabel does 18 strips - there are two bonus strips each week at NamirDeiter.net, our site for donors. And a comic book or two each month, also for donors.

Comment from: quiller posted at May 24, 2005 7:20 PM

You know, on the one hand I think your wife overworks herself to an unhealthy extent. On the other hand ... extra comics!

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