Though Welcome to Falling Rock National Park began running in papers and on the web in September 2006, I made my first attempt at the concept many months earlier. When I was still drawing The Family Monster, I made my first attempt to draw Falling Rock. What follows is the complete packet I sent to the syndicates.
It is an interesting time capsule. Like the posts on my middle school, high school, and college comic strips, you can read this as yet another stepping stone. I find it funny that, when I rediscovered this packet, I barely remembered drawing it. Ernesto especially looks very strange.
Longtime readers will no doubt recognize some of the jokes; I transferred some of my favorite Family Monster jokes to the Falling Rock world. Knowing these characters now, I realize that was a weird thing to do. They’d never say some of the stuff I have them saying. Ah well. It’s so difficult starting a comic strip from scratch. I figured I could at least use some previous writing to get myself going. I don’t blame myself. I wouldn’t go back in time and punch past me in the face.
Here we go:
I still want to make that line about humans’ eventual extinction into a t-shirt.
Carver would never drink coffee and listen to NPR. This joke was lifted from The Family Monster. I still like the joke, but I used it on the wrong character.
This is an interesting use of time, with all the tiny panels. It was inspired by Matt Groening’s Life in Hell
comic strip. He would sometimes use dozens of tiny panels. Part of what made his tiny panel drawings so funny was the bug eyes on his characters: the eyes stayed large even when he drew the character small.
I said that about my brother once. I don’t know why I had Carver leaning on a saguaro. That would hurt.
I like the timing on the “can’t…quite…put my finger on it.” That could never work in a medium other than comics. I find it difficult to write that kind of last minute reveal joke. When I read those comics I know something is coming because, well, why is that character in close-up for three panels? I usually skip to the last panel, then read the whole strip. That kind of ruins the joke.
I should reintroduce some prairie dogs into Falling Rock. These guys look too much like aliens, though. Need to draw some better ‘dogs.
The apple joke was from The Family Monster, but I think it works here. Carver would try to psyche Ernesto out.
It seems to me that movies are the center of our cultural life. They have supplanted music and books. Not that the latter two are irrelevant; it’s just that most movies (and, therefore, actors) are discussed more than albums or novels. Look at Harry Potter: when it got popular enough, it seemed necessary to turn it into a series of movies.
Berkeley Breathed used to xerox photos into Bloom County, so I thought I’d try. It didn’t work for me, so I never did it again.
Rereading these, I am curious how much Falling Rock will look in the future. It has already changed so much.