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Sam and Fuzzy Q & A: Retcon Edition
Got a question you want answered? Just drop me an email with "Q & A" in the subject line!
"It must have been trippy for you to revisit the whole Ninja Mafiosos versus Sam's apartment bit. It was interesting to see some of the stylistic changes you made - adding jokes between panels (the Christian rock music), changing timing (the sword coming through the floor a beat after the door locks rather than right behind Sam's heel). But you seem to have actually changed some of the ninjas' dialogue too.
I guess my question is - how does it feel to cruelly retcon your own story like this?! Us purists of the original Sam & Fuzzy timeline know that sword definitely came through the floor BEFORE the door even closed! Furthermore-" -LB
It's been a really interesting process!
Personally, my goal with this chapter was not to replace any of the original Classic era stories, but to tell a new story that interlocks with them. The primary focus is intended to be on things we've never seen before... but when it does revisit a previously-seen event, that event is meant to be the same as it ever was. (Which is why you're occassionally seeing direct recreations of moments and and dialogue torn straight out of the originals.)
That said, the original Classic-era comics were newspaper-style gag strips, while the current ones are written more like a comic book. Those two formats are very different! So, even when I'm revisting the same "canonical" moments, it makes sense to present them in different ways. And that's where all the exciting Comics Theory kicks in. (OH BOY!)
Think of it this way. Comic panels are not photos... they don't show single moments in time. They are composites of different things happening at different times, merged into one image. That's is why, for example, when two characters are talking in the same panel, they both have their mouths open. They aren't talking at the same time! Time is passing within the panel. Cool, right? Similarly, time also passes between panels... sometimes mere fractions of a second, and sometimes hours or even days. These two kinds of passing time, both inside and outside panels, are used very differently in different kinds of comics.
For efficiency, newspaper style gag comics tend to compress a lot of time into a single panel. For example, the third panel of the strip you mentioned contains enough time for all three lines of dialogue to be spoken, for Sam and Fuzzy to leave the apartment, and for the sword to pop through the floor. Those are a lot of distinct, non-simultaneous events, all stuffed into a single box! So when I revisted them now, in a more comic-book style comic where the pacing could be more deliberate and spread out, that one panel became several.
Newspaper-style gag strips also tend to employ a lot of big time jumps, both between strips and even between individual panels. As an extreme example, consider the huge jump between this strip and this one. This kind of storytelling almost feels like a highlight reel -- it's very different from comic-book storytelling! So, when a classic scene is revisted in our current chapter, I've often included "new" moments that occur during those time jumps. They can be as substantial as the rest of the Fridge scene that occurs after this strip, or as slight as the additional Christian rock discussion that occurs between panels two and three of this strip. There are also some places where I've done the reverse: where the classic version of the scene contains a beat that is skipped over in the new one.
Again, the end result is not to replace the original. When a specific scene is directly revisted, think of the two versions as two alternate video edits crafted from the same base footage. Both versions of the scene are equally "real"... they are just edited and paced differently to emphasize the aspects of them that are most relevant to the story being told. Make sense?
I hope that answers your question! It's definitely something I put a lot of thought into when I was planning this story out. (And it's been a lot of fun figuring it all out!)
"What ever happened to General McMillan anyway? Is he still in the Ninja Mafia?" -Ethan
Probably not. The entire Ninja Mafia, save the elders and Mr. Blank, abandonned ship after the emperor was killed. In the time since Sam assumed the throne and started to rebuild, I imagine many of the old rank and file troops have returned. But General McMillan -- who turned up briefly in Monday's strip -- was a member of one of the twelve families that made up the old Mafia's ruling class.
I imagine few if any of those guys came back when the organization was up and running again. Like Blank, I think they'd find the idea of a commoner on the throne distasteful. They probably don't hold Sam in very high regard... especially since, at first, his "new" Ninja Mafia wasn't even a proper criminal operation!
I'm not sure what McMillan has been up to since! Like Gertrude's mom, he may have gone into exile to avoid being arrested.
That's a wrap for this week. See you on Monday, team!