So I say to myself "You know what's cool? Fraggles, anagrams, Chuck Jones cartoons, random scene changes, and Snidely Whiplash. That stuff is all awesome". That's how this whole thing was written. Anyhow, Brisbane's carrying an Alparka Pack; Alpaca Park is the label that the High Llamas are on. I had been listening to Hawaii a lot; I think Snowbug was out but I hadn't picked it up at that point.
John Allison and I had a friendly rivalry way back then. He referred to my comic as "Terrence Marks' flagrant abuse of decent artists". I used that as a tagline for about two years. "Maurine Kelvin" is another anagram. And back in 1978, Norway's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, "Mile after Mile" got no points, which is the first (and only?) time that's ever happened. I've never heard the song, and don't know much about Eurovision. "Norway, null points" was dropped in a few times randomly on a Monty Python album (Final Rip-off, I think). Anyhow, I don't think I've ever established which ocean Hippedown is in and I don't intend to.
No, the bridge isn't actually out. Just a sign.
Chuck Jones died in 2002, three years after this comic ran. I never got to give him the donuts.
"Ukraine Melvin" and "Kiev-Lenin Rum" are also anagrams of Unlike Minerva. This is how Grosse introduced himself to me. As I recall it, I drew these comics originally and he sent in his version to show what he could do. I don't think I have my version anywhere, since this was ten years and three hard drives ago. And that's assuming that my versions exist and I'm not just misremembering things.
Here's what I originally wrote for all this when it ran:
Why? It's not that I had written myself into a corner or particularly needed to restart it.
Originally, the Ink Mule Ravine sequence was a long, convoluted attempt to write myself into something I couldn't get out of. It took four weeks. It was bitterly acrimonious thing between the characters. It involved wasps* and the author. Then both of those devices were removed from the strip, and it wound up being a rather silly little thing. I enjoyed drawing it, though. It was the first piece I had written for myself, which is why I think it turned out better than the previous ones I drew.
*: In fact, the original title for Phase 2 had been "Never Listen to an Alpha Wasp". Unfortunately, the Alpha Wasp was edited out of this, so I've got to find a new title.
Part of it is that I want to introduce a new character. You'll see more of her. Her name is Kimberly, and she dramatically shifts the focus of the strip. You'll have to watch to find out how.
Part of it was that I didn't have a nice, clean, introduction to show anyone who begins reading the strip. The Phase 3 introduction (two weeks) takes the place of weeks 1-4, 12-13, and Sunday 6. I wanted practice writing a new introduction. I think that this explains nearly everything that you need to know about the strip and is some of the strongest material I've written so far. The old introduction was decent, but it wasn't concise, and my style had changed and improved since then.
The continuity of the strip is going to change. Some things are going to happen differently. There's no point doing the same thing twice.
Also, I got my own site, It isn't set up quite yet, but will be soon. I'm comfortable with the name of the strip now. I was looking through TV Guide and saw that "Designing Women" was on. I thought to myself, "That's a really clever name. It probably took a bunch of suits three weeks to think up something that clever."
And you know what? I still didn't want to watch it because it wasn't a good show. Then I started thinking that no successful comic strip has ever had a clever name. I mean, look at Sluggy Freelance. That's a bad name if I've ever heard one. When I started reading it, my first question was "What the heck is a Sluggy Freelance?". I still wonder, because Pete Abrams isn't telling. It's a great comic with tens of thousands of readers anyhow, which is my point.
Finally, the new material is different than the previous. The last eight or so weeks had been parodies of some sort. The new stuff is a lot more focussed on the main characters. I started thinking about my roots. My roots aren't Bloom County. They're The Wind in the Willows or Harvey. I'm getting back to that. Or at least more back to that than I have been.
Ink Mule Ravine pt 2 drawn by Terrence Marks and Grosse

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