Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Images copyright relevant owners

Remember I said in the previous post that things would be back to normal with this one?  Well, let's compromise, shall we?  I'll meet you halfway by showing you some comics pages, but I'd like to wrap up a little unfinished business at the same time.

The above image is from RUGRATS, a monthly periodical published by MARVEL U.K. in 1996.  It survived for 29 issues before being cancelled, and I contributed to 27 of them - from #3 right up to the very last one.  I lettered one of three strips in 5 issues, two of three strips in another 5, three of three strips in 1 issue, one of two strips in 2 issues (content was cut from three strips to two), and two of two strips in 14 issues.  So, out of a total of 71 strips, I lettered 48 of them - in short, the majority - right up to the final issue, completing the entire latter half of the run by myself.

Now let's remind ourselves of what a certain bitter blow-hard said in the comments section a few posts back:

"You were supplied with a Rugrats script to letter and took it upon yourself to rewrite the script replacing licensor-approved jokes and dialogue with dreadful old jokes and terrible puns of your own making!  Indeed so bad was your job, that I forced you to reletter the strip and then had to put up with your abject apologies as you squirmed in embarrassment on the end of the telephone begging for forgiveness.  Trouble is, once a freelancer has made that much of a tit of himself and shown you that level of ineptitude you never employ him again or indeed recommend him to colleagues and peers."

Got that?  I've already pointed out the absurdity of his claim, which is pure invention, but let's have a short recap.  The finished strip would have to be on his desk for him to read any departures from the script, meaning it had already been returned.  He'd then have to post it back to me to be re-lettered, and note that he claims he never gave me any further work afterwards.  Under those circumstances, it would be far more expedient to get a letterer closer to hand and cut me and the Royal Mail out of the proceedings altogether.  As that's not what he says he did, and seeing as how I was never asked (or 'forced') to redo a strip, his claim has absolutely no credibility.

So, at just what point could his 'imaginary story' have occurred?  If he kicked me off the mag as he claims, then how did I come to letter the remaining 14 issues all by myself?  Unless, of course, as luck (for him) would have it, my alleged crime didn't take place until the last issue, in which case there wasn't going to be any further lettering anyway.  And  if I'd revised the script (which, for reasons of space and internal consistency, I occasionally did, after seeking and receiving editorial approval), Marvel simply wouldn't have gone to any additional bother for what was going to be the final issue.

So, nothing about his claim withstands even a superficial consideration, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about how comics were produced all those years ago.  Conclusion?  He's simply being a lying b*st*rd!

However, I misremembered two things (age, alas).  It wasn't a cover which had 27 balloons on it, it was an interior page - and it had 28 balloons on it.  You can see just how copy-heavy some of them are - one even has 33 pieces of lettering on it.  By contrast, a complete seven page strip in an issue of Marvel's ACTION MAN published around the same period has only 25 word balloons - which is a helluva difference!  That means the letterer on Action Man had less work to do on seven pages than I had on one single page - and got paid six times as much for his efforts.

I don't recall getting even one single chuckle out of any of the strips I worked on for the Rugrats mag.  Humour should never be so laboured - or so devoid of laughs.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the comic was eventually cancelled, believe me.  And that should tell you all you need to know about it.  Now, let's see if 'BILLY LIAR' has got anything to say about that, 'cos I sure could do with a laugh.  Probably the wrong person to go to for one though!  (He's crying inside, you see.)  Verdict?  Case proved, case closed!


Mr Straightman said...

Not knocking your lettering job on those pages, Kid, but they do look incredibly cluttered and crowded - there's just no room for anything to breathe. I tried to read the pages properly, but there doesn't seem to be any visual 'hook', as in something that grabs your attention and draws you in... just yak, yak, yak. It reminds me of how disgusted a lot of the old-school Warner Brothers and MGM animators were when Hanna Barbera cartoons came along (which were very dialogue-heavy) and one of their number described H-B's output as 'illustrated radio'.

Kid said...

They are incredibly cluttered and crowded, Lee. Far too copy-heavy to be attractive to kids, which is probably why the comic eventually folded. At first, there was far too much going on in the panels, artwise, and it was never too clear what was happening. Add to that top-heavy dialogue and you have a recipe for an underwhelming comic. The art started to be less crowded and the lettering less verbose towards the end of the run, but by then it was just far too late. I could've posted far worse pages, but there's no point rubbing a certain writer-editor-artist-storyboarder-culinary expert-TV star who's never done anything in his life or career which he's embarrassed about's nose in it. I'm thoughtful that way.

karl said...

Not exactly an connection to the Rugrats, but we are massive fans of the Dallas spin-off Knots Landing, and one of its most regular supporting actors Kevin McBride played ten different characters during its entire run, and my cousin once dated him for a couple of years. Rugrats connection? He was the main voice of the lead boy I the cartoon.

Kid said...

Karl, I don't think I ever saw the cartoon - I hope it was funnier than the comic.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Not usually one for digging into things that were said over a year ago, but I feel duty-bound to say that the voice of the "lead boy" (Tommy) in Rugrats was Elizabeth Daily (female voice actors are often used to voice young males - see also Bart Simpson/Nancy Cartwright). The only stuff Kevin McBride did in Rugrats was male bit parts, such as Reptar (Tommy's Godzilla-esque dinosaur hero).

I'm feeling pedantic today!

Kid said...

Do you have Pedantic's permission?

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