February 26th, 2011

Deadline Drama

by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman

Comic strip lore is full of stories of cartoonists playing with deadline fire. Before digital filing of our strips, you’d hear about cartoonists racing to FedEx offices as they closed or bribing airline pilots to get their strips aboard the last flight to New York. I even heard of a guy who moved his entire life to Kansas City so that he could have until ten minutes before deadline to physically run his strips into the office.


By comparison, Jerry and I have mellowed into deadline choirboys, never more than a week ahead of or behind the syndicate’s calendar. Deadline drama is a young man’s game. If you’re going to survive in this profession you’ve got to learn how to deliver your stuff on time-ish.


But I’ve always figured that if I flaked out for a month and suddenly had to deliver a lot of work really fast, I’d get a hotel room.


I work really well in hotel rooms. The first thing I do upon checking in is to rearrange the whole room. I move the desk so that it’s perpendicular to the window and pull any available tables and lamps near so as to lay out sketchbooks and my computer and get a decent orientation to the TV. I fill the bathroom glasses with water – one for ink, one for white-out. I grab wads of tissues as wipe rags and pull the couch into position for room service trays. It’s not exactly The Who, but it’s my cartoonist’s version of trashing a hotel room.


I’m in a San Diego hotel right now, working in the room while my wife attends a conference downstairs. She’s a professor and attends conferences several times a year. Since I’m a bum cartoonist I go with her and redecorate her hotel rooms. I lucked out here. This one’s got ESPN, a killer view of the harbor and an in-room coffeemaker. I’m golden.






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