Twenty-five years ago today, Bill Holbrook brought us into the funny and often fantastic world of SAFE HAVENS when the daycare of the same name opened its doors for the first time.
And twenty years ago tomorrow, SAFE HAVENS came to King Features Syndicate, and the cast of characters we know and love began to age in real time– outgrowing daycare for the world of school, then college, and young adult life.
Bill Holbrook was kind enough to share some thoughts about this important anniversary year.
One of the special elements of SAFE HAVENS is that for the past twenty years the characters have been aging in real time, from six to twenty six. They’ve largely tracked the ages of our two children, providing me with lots of material. In turn, Samantha and her friends have also become like actual members of our family as we’ve seen them mature in step with our real daughters.
As a strip in which fantasy and science fiction play such important roles, I have noticed something interesting in the reaction of the audience as the years have sped by. In the first decade of SAFE HAVENS many readers took the viewpoint that everything was occurring in the imaginations of the young protagonists. The outlandish adventures and the appearances of mermaids, yetis, Santa, Cupid and a menagerie of talking animals were only byproducts of their enthusiastic play.
As they aged into high school, college and adulthood, however, that explanation became increasingly untenable with the only other option being, yeah, this was really happening. Suddenly all of the fantastic developments carried enormous stakes impacting the lives of these characters and gained that much more dramatic power.
Even the apparent dream sequences (i.e., Samantha’s visit to Renaissance Italy) turn out to have actually happened (courtesy of the friendly time-traveling mother of Leonardo da Vinci). The newest twist, of course, is the plan to go to Mars.
Fasten your seat belts!
And now, let’s look at some of Bill’s favorite highlights from the past twenty-five years!