Hippo is the watch-word
"How far ahead do you plan the comic?" This is one of the most common questions I get, second only to "where do you get your ideas?" (I steal them from homeless orphans, by the way.)
Ask different cartoonists about how far they plan ahead and you'll get some pretty radically different answers. Some people madly plot weeks, or even months, ahead of schedule, while others essentially wing it on a daily basis.
My method is a sort of mix of the two. Most of the major narrative arcs, story beats, and climaxes of each volume of Sam and Fuzzy are plotted out right from the beginning. But individual strips -- and in particular, gags -- are much more spontaneous. For example, today's watch-hippo joke was inspired by a conversation I had at Emerald City with my arch-nemesis. Jeph definitely deserves substantial credit -- or blame, depending on your perspective -- for that scary-looking hippo. Brr!
The only question is, will Jeph ever use my "accidental hipster lobotomy" idea? Only time will tell!