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Match to Flame 164

posted on December 15, 2021

Which brings us to those backstairs strips I mentioned earlier. They started in a large field near my house. I wrote about this in the introduction to Prelude: Lisa’s Story Begins, and I was going to rewrite it and expand on that material here. But, upon rereading it, I thought it said exactly what I wanted to describe. So, I’m simply going to quote that paragraph here (this thinking is a companion to the great comic book artist Wally Wood’s dictum on drawing—“Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up”). Here ’tis:

For a long time it was my habit to go running at the end of a workday around a large field near my house. It was always a nice way to unwind and let the thoughts of the day sift out. On one particular afternoon near the end of the run, I suddenly saw the future of Funky Winkerbean start to unfold on the big screen inside my head. Not in ideas, not in words, but experienced as something totally different—a landscape. Exactly, do-doo-do-doo, do-doo-do-doo. But there it was, just this rolling terrain a lot like the field around which I was running—except that every rise, every nuance in the landscape represented a beat in the overall Funky Winkerbean big picture going forward. It was like hitching a ride on the arrow of time and being allowed to see everything over the horizon. Much of it involved Lisa, but everything else was there as well. Everything. It would take the better part of a decade before I would finally work my way through all of it. And here’s the kicker: that was the one and only time it ever happened. I suppose you could chalk it up to not being properly hydrated or whatever, but, nevertheless, from that point forward, I knew Lisa’s story. I knew where it was going and also what it was going to cost to tell it.

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10