GPF News Archive

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Hmm... six months between News updates. I wish I could say that's a record, but I bet it isn't.... Anyhoo, you can bet that if I'm breaking the silence, there are some big things worth mentioning, and you'd be right. Let's jump right into the thick of things:

Guest Artist Jim Alexander for "Things Former, Things Present": For this story, I'm pleased to announce that we have a special surprise for you. From 1999 to 2004, the talented Jim Alexander published the serialized comic strip Algernon's Dilemma online. Algernon's Dilemma was, I felt, a very unique comic strip in that it captured the spirit of classic syndicated serials from likes of Al Capp and Chester Gould but with a unique flavor only found on the Web. Sadly, Jim was forced to stop producing the strip and ended it in 2004, eventually letting the site and domain name to lapse. While the comic can no longer be found online, snapshots of the site can be found at the Wayback Machine. (Ignore any entires from July 2005 onward as cybersquatters claimed the domain after Jim let it lapse.)

In 2003, Jim was in the middle of a major, ongoing story arc and needed a side-track to break up the story. He approached me with a proposal for a story that I just couldn't refuse. He shared his plans for the plot and I drew him a few sample sketches and gave him my blessing. The side-track portion of the story ran from April to July 2003.

Much more recently, I began to run into problems maintaining my buffer. For various reasons, I've been forced to let my legendary eight-week buffer slowly dwindle down to about three. I hated the idea going on another hiatus like the one I was forced to take in December. As I browsed through some old entries in Jeff's Sketchbook (one of our GPF Premium exclusives), I came upon the sketch I drew for Jim back in 2002. With a great deal of soul searching, I began to work up my courage to ask Jim if I could borrow his story featuring my character and rerun it here. Since his site is no longer online, it isn't available anywhere and I'd bet many of you have never seen it. But asking another artist if one can wholesale borrow eleven weeks of material is far from trivial. To my surprise, however, just as I was thinking of composing the message, Jim e-mailed me and offered, without prompting, to let me run the exact same story.

And here it is. With the exception of a brief prologue and epilogue, this next story is entirely Jim's and we'll be counting it as a very special guest artist story. We'll get to see an interesting little tidbit of the history of Professor Wisebottom (the character in question) which should be considered official GPF canon. (There's nothing that currently contradicts it in the archives and I don't plan on adding anything contrary either.) We'll also be temporarily increasing our update schedule to seven days per week starting June 21st through September 5th, returning to our Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule on September 7th.

If you have praise for this story, feel free to swing by Jim's MySpace page (linked above) and send him your kudos. I think he deserves the praise and he deserves to hear it directly from you. Filter any complaints you have to me. Personally, I love Jim's story and I think it's a fresh new(-ish) look at one of our favorite secondary characters. If you don't like it, you can blame me for making it part of GPF's continuity.

No Dragon*Con (or Any Cons) This Year (Again): On one rather disappointing note, I regret to inform everyone that yet again I'll be skipping Dragon*Con this year. Dragon*Con is held in Atlanta, GA, on Labor Day weekend and has always been one of my personal favorite stops on our conventions circuit. Alas, after my wife's pregnancy and our son's birth knocked me off the convention trail in 2006, it's been a struggle to get back on. I thought 2009 was going to be our year and Dragon*Con was going to be where we'd make our big comeback. I even had a couple of hotel rooms reserved, vacation time planned and approved, and travel arrangements for me and my minions in the works.

Alas, it was not meant to be. After months of waiting, we received the word on May 24th (the day before my birthday, what a gift) that my guest application was rejected. Naturally, no reason was given "due to the number of applications", so there's no way for certain for me to rectify the "problem" for next year's con. Needless to say, I'm rather frustrated by this, especially after how well Dragon*Con has treated me in the past. But c'est la vie. What's done is done and apparently there's no changing it. I will certainly be trying again next year, and now I have over a year to plan. I won't do anything so petty as to call for a boycott or ask anyone to petition the guest committee to change their minds, but I know a few vocal readers have already expressed their discontent and I won't stand in the way of anyone who plans to express their opinions on the matter directly to the Dragon*Con staff. (Just be civil and polite.)

Unfortunately, that pretty much kills all our cons for 2009. I had already written off Comic-Con in San Diego this year as far too expensive, especially since we don't have Keenspot to rely on for table space and support. Everything else is either too late to apply for or no invitations have been extended.

For the record (and for those who can't be bothered to read the Shows & Cons page) I have always made myself available to cons who wish to invite me, and that hasn't changed. I just need enough time to schedule things in advance. Sometimes finances can be a factor as well and any assistance with travel and lodging is always appreciated. That said, most cons I've worked with can't afford to bring us to them, so the onus is on us to finance the trip, which implies cost/benefit analyses and other boring details. It never hurts to ask, though, and the worst I can do is say no. Well, I guess the worst I could do is say yes, grab your travel expense stipend and run away with it, but I'm way too honest for that sort of thing.

The Usual Ominous Foreshadowing and Premium Plugs: Unfortunately, that's all I really have to announce at the moment. They were two things big enough to warrant a News post, but that's all I have. I always have the nagging feeling that there's something I'm forgetting (and I'm usually right), but I can't think of them at the moment.

But I can tell you that there are tons of things that I'm sitting on that's waiting in the wings. Some of them are tantalizingly close but just so far out of reach that it's best not to announce them yet, while others are big things still in development that I'd love to announce now but which ought to wait until they're closer to launch. However, I'd love to remind our Premium subscribers that they can always check out the Rumor Mill, a sort of super-secret, exclusive News-before-the-News site where I do post these things while they're still in progress. Subscribers can find the Rumor Mill by going to directly to the Premium hub and following the Rumor Mill link from there. (I'd link to it from here but the News archive isn't coded in such a way as to let me conditionally link to it.) Optionally, subscribers can tweak their Site Options in the Account Manager and have the latest Rumor added to the front page, along with the latest News post and Sketchbook entry.

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