3/19/98 bruno mailing
Well this is my first mailing list entry, so lets give it a try...
Things are going slowly in Massachusetts. That sums up a lot. There have been things in my life which have taken importance over putting the collection together, but in defense of myself, I can safely say that I have remained sane, and that I have worked on it (the collection)... just.... slower than hoped. So, you're all wondering when the third collection will come out, and I had promised (and hoped) that it might be out some time around the end of February. But that has come and gone, and now I'm shooting for the end of March... which might be actually a bit optimistic on my part. The cover painting is in much more detail than the first two books, so it is plodding along at an unhelpful rate. I have the forward prepared, and Peter Zale and I have completed the crossover strips, so those are ready to go. And the paste-up is almost done. But we'll see. I swear, it's that glamorous artist's life that's getting in the way.
In regards to Peter Zale, I can't send out this e-mail without talking about him. He's been a great inspiration to me, and I only wish I had met him at least a little while longer before Bruno ended. Timing is everything and nothing I suppose. But working with him on the crossover... oh wait, you all may not have seen it. In case you havent, here's what it is.... Peter Zale, author of "Helen" and I have had our characters meet. He did the first week, and I did the second. We stayed in close contact over script so that we wouldn't misportray each others creations. And you can now read them here. But as I was saying... working with him has been great. He has been understanding, encouraging, inspiring, and selfless (And he does a great strip too.)
A few people have asked the question regarding further crossovers, or about Bruno meeting his other main character "Spencer", and my answer is in two parts.
1. I have no idea
2. I wouldn't hesitate to work with him again, so we'll see.
Further news in general... umm... the strip's first and last daily printed venue has been in the UMass Daily Collegian (Amherst). I had them several months behind schedule, so they will be finishing up in May, and well... not very exciting. But it is the last real featured showing of her for now in a way.
And... umm, the archives have been finished. And if anyone finds link problems or mis-written dates, etc., please feel free to notify me and I will attend to them. but it is all up. The whole kabootie. Enjoy.
As well, in recent Bruno news, Peter Zale and I got interviewed by www.Newsbyte.com magazine. I've tagged the article to the end of this email, so I hope you enjoy.
The novel I've been planning to get back to has not been touched. But as soon as the third Bruno collection is done.... well, that may be a lie. I'm looking to get the Bruno books professionally printed/published. If that is the case, the entirety will need to be re-pasted, so again, the novel would have to be put on hold. But yeah. I'm dying to get back to it. It was originally based on King Lear, but at this point has no similarities. The story is of a woman around 20 years old (subject to change) who lives in the city of Nothampton, MA (as well subject to change). And as all the characters around her hammer out their individual definitions of love and life, she simply tries to discover for herself if life is worth living (likely to remain the same). There are definate similarites in feel and ideas between the novel and what I've portrayed in Bruno, but if anyone is hoping to find Bruno there, I'm afraid she will not be appearing.
And In the meantime I'm working around some comic-book ideas, and an idea for another comic-strip. But the book is the biggest goal right now. Just get the bruno stuff out of the way, and make sure it's done right.
Anyhow, I'd like to thank you all again for your interest, support and praise... and I will send out e-mails periodically. feel free to e-mail me if your e-mail address will be changing, or if you wish to be disincluded from my rambling. Hope you enjoy the attatched drawing.
and the article....
****2 Favorite Internet Comic Strips Do A Crossover 03/13/98 UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OHIO, U.S.A., 1998 MAR 13 (NB) -- By Craig Menefee, Newsbytes.
Sometimes a comic strip tunes into a familiar side of life in a way that, like Dilbert, provides both humor and focus. On the Internet, Peter Zale's Helen (Sweetheart of the Internet) and Christopher Baldwin's complex, eccentric Bruno both hit that magic spot until Baldwin stopped drawing Bruno in January. But Helen has brought Bruno back to life in what may be the first Internet comics crossover.
The series begins at http://www.peterzale.com/now.html , Zale's site, and ends at Baldwin's http://www.baldwinpage.com/Brunhelen.html site. The crossover lasted two weeks, ending Friday, and both artists told Newsbytes that, for unpublicized private sites, the experimental sequence has drawn very heavy traffic, thousands of views a day.
Bruno and Helen have much in common. Both are wildly intelligent women with takes wildly askew on most things, by conventional measures.
But there are differences. Helen Arianna Nichols is a supreme techie. As Zale describes her: "She entered MIT at age 14 to study quantum mechanics and left at age 15 because they had no cheerleading squad. She is forthright, brilliant, and tyrannical" and a "beautiful computer geek."
In the strip, Microsoft's Bill Gates calls Helen "Blondie." They last
ran into each other at the HackSpo 98 Internet Conspiracy Convention
held in some huge, literally underground convention center at an
unspecified location. Helen tells Bill she's been a bit disappointed by
Bill replies, "Are you nuts? -- 98% of the wackos here use Windows!"
"The biggest conspiracy is the most obvious," says Helen.
"Hee hee," says Bill.
The sequence begins at http://www.peterzale.com/250.html but the entire Helen strip is linked from the home page at http://www.peterzale.com .
Bruno, on the other hand, wanders about New Orleans, Minneapolis, Massachusetts, California, the woods someplace in maybe Pennsylvania, getting in and out of relationships. She has attempted suicide, hooks up with both men and women (never drawn pornographically) and generally falls into situations whose main connecting thread is that they just, well, happen.
When Baldwin brought Bruno to a close early in January her growing cult of followers was disappointed on about the same level as Calvin and Bloom County fans when those strips ceased publication. Her fans consider Bruno one of the best realized of any comic character, a complex, almost real human being.
Baldwin, 25, says there's a reason Bruno seems so real.
"Bruno is me in a lot of ways, an outlet for my thoughts and ideas," he told Newsbytes. "Not that she always agrees with me. Sometimes she takes the opposite view. But whether for or against my ideas, she's an outlet for expressing them."
He says he wanted to create a woman character he could love, whose friends would be his friends, whose outlook would be like his but who would never be his obedient servant.
Baldwin signed the strip "C. Baldwin" and for most of the strip's life fans just assumed him to be a woman. He says when he revealed the "C" stands for Christopher and he is male, he received not a single complaint.
"Maybe it's because Bruno is not really militant. She's more just casual," he mused.
Baldwin pays his bills with what he calls "probably the only illustrating job in western Massachusetts," drawing health-related brochures for a specialty publisher in South Deerfield. He says he may resurrect Bruno in eight years, though the Bruno site mentions no such possibility.
Asked why eight years and not some other span, he replied: "In eight years my philosophies will have changed, so her philosophies will have changed. It might be interesting then, but if I string that out through the years it's not as exciting. Who knows if I'll even have the same fans then as I have now?"
In the meantime, he works at a novel and at oil paintings in his spare time, and sells little books of Bruno sequences for $10. His books are all hand-assembled, the pages hand-drilled and tied with twine, the cover a color reproduction of one of his oil paintings. He doesn't tell you all that on his Web page -- he just says collections are available for ten dollars. People discover they ordered a collector's item only after it arrives.
Baldwin says many of his readers came from Zale's Helen pages, since Helen was already established on the Internet when Baldwin started drawing. The crossover experiment was Zale's too, Baldwin cheerfully admits.
Zale, 39, told Newsbytes he met Baldwin by e-mail and was immediately drawn to Bruno. He says he thought immediately of someday doing a crossover.
"You see crossovers all the time in the comic book world, with Superman and Batman or the Marvel characters all mixing it up together, but I've never seen it done with Internet strips," he remarked. "We seem to have sparked a lot of interest."
Zale says Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet got off to a slow start in June, 1996: "I put up 22 strips and left them there for three or four months. I was going to develop the strip for syndication and I thought, if I'm going to do this strip about a woman on the Internet, I'd better at least have a Web site."
Helen quickly attracted followers, with what he calls "strong pockets" of fans in Australia and the UK, where Web magazines gave the site strong reviews.
"It was meant to be about the glamour of the information age," said Zale. "Helen was to personify how people look at high tech. It's glamorous, arrogant, maddening -- all these things that make up Helen's character."
He added: "It apparently has worked. I think I've gotten it right. But I always feel incredulous when someone considers me a technologist -- my whole background is as an artist and English major."
Zale says Helen's occasionally very barbed observations about corporate life mostly come from his wife, Penny, who worked at IBM for 10 years.
Asked if Microsoft has ever told him to stop using Bill Gates as a character, he said he doubts anyone in Redmond has noticed her, with the exception of a few "under people" who have e-mailed him.
"Bill Gates is a great character," Zale told Newsbytes. "He embodies the whole essence of this industry, which is so amazing and marvelous and yet so lacking in content. The high tech world is full of people with vision but not a lot to say. That's my take on Bill and the whole business."
Zale adds: "There's an enthusiasm and childlike quality to this business that's very attractive, and yet at the same time, it's monstrous. There's an almost cosmic lack of maturity here."
Reported by Newsbytes News Network: http://www.newsbytes.com .
Craig Menefee, Newsbytes News Network
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