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John Darling – Take 4

posted on October 28, 2015

John Darling - Take 4

Back in the day, we used to get color proofs of the Sunday strips. Eventually that policy was ended, but since I had a color proof of the second Darling Sunday, I thought I’d use that. As he would continue to do, Tom A knocked it out of the park. And, as is my wont, I didn’t show John getting torched by Gene Simmons, but instead left it off panel for the reader’s imagination to fill-in.

John Darling – Take 3

posted on October 14, 2015

John Darling - Take 3

This was the first John Darling Sunday to appear in the papers. It wasn’t the first  I wrote or my first choice. The strip that I wanted for the first one was the Tom Armstrong’s version of my pitch Sunday featuring Kiss, one of the hottest bands going at that moment. I thought it would make a distinctive and dramatic splash on the nation’s comics pages and would follow a week of dailies featuring Kiss. At the last minute, the syndicate decided that they wanted the strip to begin on a Sunday, so I fell back on the way I had opened Funky and wrote a piece introducing all of the characters. It tapped into the Funky karma which Tom A added to by creating a logo with John Darling’s face in it as I had done in Funky from the beginning. I appreciated that nice thought and, in the end, we had a pretty good strip to kick things off.

John Darling – Take 2

posted on September 29, 2015

 John Darling - Take 2

In the summer of 1978, I received a call from the syndicate asking if I’d like to write for a strip called Heads and Tails which had been submitted by a commercial artist named Tom Armstrong. It consisted of celebrity caricatures along with some sort of humorous bon mot accompanying them. I told them that I preferred writing character driven work and suggested they use a talk show setting as the raison d’être for bringing in celebrities to interact with the cast. The syndicate called back and said “What have you got?”. Actually what I had was a character named John Darling and the cast of a small Ohio TV station. Along with talk show host John Darling, there was Phil the Forecaster, sportscaster Mike Majors, and news anchors Brenda Harpy and Charlie Lord. These characters all lived in the Funkyverse and had been growing and developing almost since the strip’s beginning.

The syndicate and Tom A all liked the idea so John Darling and the cast of Channel One decamped from Funky and took up residence in their own strip John Darling. The above strip was from when JD still resided in Funky.