Bandit's Banter

First off, a few remaining thoughts on the recently-completed "Free Will" story.  This was definitely a different type of story for me, and I really enjoyed bringing a philosophical dimension to the strip.  Judging from your e-mail, more than a few of you liked reading the story as well.  Thought I might get some negative mail for it, but I didn't.  Not sure if that meant that you agreed with what I had to say in the story, or that my attempts at philosophizing weren't worth the efforts of refuting.  But again, the last thing I was attempting to do was preach to you, the reader.  When I approach a subject like this, my intention is essentially to add to the discussion.  I am not vain enough to think I can end it.  If I can get you to think about what I'm writing about, I'm happy with that.  If I can get you to respond, whether you agree with me or not, I'm even happier, especially if I learn something new, or get a different viewpoint.

Ah, but there is one Bruno story that I have written, but I have not started to draw yet.  I've been wondering whether I should even bother to draw it.  It would easily be the most controversial story I have ever created, and I suspect I would lose some of you as readers because of it.  Still, I'm not sure how many of you I'd lose, thus I'm a little hesitant to start drawing it.  I like to think that if I do lose any readers, it'd be the radicals on both sides of the issue I wish to tackle.  But then, the story may even bring in some new readers as well.  Or I may be fooling myself, and maybe it would make little difference to anybody.  It's hard to know what to do.  What would you do?  You've written a story that means a lot to you, but it may end up costing you a portion of your readership.  Do you draw it as is, do you change it, to "soften" the message, or do you not bother with it?  In truth, I'm leaning towards the first option...

In other news, didja know that the Bruno the Bandit book is now listed at  I was tickled by the news for some irrational reason.  Makes me feel like I'm a step closer to the Big Leagues.  You can check out the listing by clicking here!  Y'know, as of this writing, there were no reviews of the book on the site.  So, um, (cough, cough! ahem! blush!!) Dave Allen, my publisher, asked me to mention that if you feel so inclined as to write a review of the Bruno book for the Amazon site, he'd really appreciate it.  It was his idea!  Yeah, that's it...

Finally, a few words about the passing of Charles Schulz.  It's hard to know what to say, as so many wonderful and eloquent things have been said about the man since his passing, and I'd be har-pressed to add anything new to it all.  But wasn't it a most eerie coincidence that he passed away of a heart attack on the eve of his very last published strip?  I can't help but wonder if it was merely a coincidence?  What I mean is, Peanuts was at the centre of Charles Schulz's life.  Having to stop drawing the strip late last year due to health problems must have really depressed him.  I can't help but wonder if, on the night of Saturday, the 12th of February, the very finality of the fact that the next day's Peanuts would be the last new strip ever seen hit him like the proverbial ton of bricks.  This realization may have broken his heart, literally.

But I really, really hope I'm wrong about this!  I hope Charles Schulz didn't die feeling miserable about things. He didn't deserve to.  With all he gave to the planet over the past fifty years, he had every reason to go out as a proud, happy, and triumphant man, as his life was a huge success.  If there's a life beyond this one, you know he's been rewarded.

Talk to you next month!