Subscribers to SPARKY’S LIST get additional commentary about each week’s cartoon. To give you an example, this is part of what I sent out with this week’s email:
My strip is defined and limited by its outer borders — the original digital art occupies a space roughly 8×9 inches. I can divide that space into four panels, or, more commonly, six panels. When I started doing my annual Year In Review cartoons, I started dividing it into twelve panels. When that turned out not to be enough, I went a step further — sixteen panels.
I don’t think I can go much smaller than that.
But sixteen panels just wasn’t enough this week, for all the craziness I was observing. And then it occurred to me — I’m constrained to the standard size for my PRINT publications. Online, I can do whatever the hell I want.
So this is what I ended up with. I edited it down to a sixteen panel version for the newspapers, but this is the real deal here.
I should note, I’m not onsite. These are all observations from three nights watching C-Span. This is the first year since 2000 that I haven’t gone to at least one of the political conventions. I’ve had great experiences at them — one year I spent a day following my friend Michael Moore around and ended up in Jimmy Carter’s skybox. That actually became a right wing zombie lie for a long time — that the Democrats had DELIBERATELY INVITED Michael into that skybox to send a signal about how LEFT WING RADICAL they secretly were. But the thing was, I was there. You want to know what actually happened? A mob was forming around Michael, and somebody said, come in here! And we did — and it was the Carter skybox.
That’s how planned in advance it was.
But the thing about attending conventions is, it’s exhausting. Gruelling. Imagine standing in the worst airport security line you’ve ever been through — for five straight days. If you don’t have institutional affiliation, which I never have, you end up in a Motel 6 the next state over, or sleeping on somebody’s floor, and spending half your time in transit in a city suddenly beseiged by some twenty or thirty thousand extra human beings, and often without the public transit resources to accomodate them. All of which is to say, the logistics of it make it very difficult to produce the kind of cartoons I do on site. It would be great, if I could go, and soak it all in, and come home and spend a leisurely week or two digesting it and producing some work — but by the time I did that, everyone would have moved on to the next topic.
(I also just didn’t get around to finding anyone to cover my expenses this year, let alone pay me for my work — and plane tickets and rental cars and hotel rooms add up, especially at convention time when you’re not going to find too many discounts.)
So this is as close as I can get to the cartoon I would have done in a perfect world, if I had attended AND had enough time to work on it. It’s actually probably a better informed piece than I would have been able to produce on the ground — one of the ironies of attending these things is that, in the center of the storm, you’re often the least well informed about what’s going on where you are. Though on the positive side, there’s more chance for bizarre serendipity (such as ending up in the Carter skybox).
I doubt I’ll do something this in-depth for the Democrats. Longtime readers know I’m far from a partisan cheerleader, but there’s just probably not going to be enough head-exploding crazy to make this kind of intensive effort worthwhile. I’ve been locked in my studio since Tuesday — I think I have a family out there in the house somewhere, but at this point they’re just blurry memories to me.