To answer Bill’s question about what we owe the audience, I think the song and dance (or in Mark’s case a dancing monkey) arugment makes sense.
My thinking on the matter has changed a bit over the years because the medium of delivery has changed. When I started reading, I worked through the Tarzan paperback books and the Doc Savage books. Currently, I go through a load of mysteries including some of the series fiction like the Parker novels and even those mediocre Monk tie-in novels. Books were always something to be valued in my house when I was a kid growing up and I have a reverence for printed things. There are some things true now that were not true when I started putting words together on paper.
Back in the day, I approached my work to create works of a superb and enduring quality. I was hoping to write things that would be enjoyed today, tomorrow and as long as print exists. That’s a large goal. With the dawning of the age of digital distribution, I have come to realize that you don't have to be any damn good to stick around forever. Any blog post arguing about women in comics will endure.
Now, I am more concerned with originality in my approach to any new project. With Bill’s Fables and Matt’s House of Mystery series, you guys have taken some universal concepts and made something unique and a product of individual talent. I’m looking at my current work with a more critical eye and wondering if it swerves close to the land of fanfic. So, with my comic work, I am trying to be more experimental with the subject matter.
I have a project in the works that I described as the illustrated adventures of ‘Lenny’ from Of Mice and Men. Thom Zahler is putting together the graphics and he will be illustrating the complete 4 page story I wrote just before Christmas. I wrote a short graphic novel about a cat. I think we owe the audience exciting material and the best way to aid that is to excite ourselves about what we are writing. That enthusiasm shows.
And we have to stick the ending.