Editors...

When I began archiving 9CWL in April of 2002, this was the first strip I ever saved. Someone on the chat board pointed out that the Houston Chronicle had archives going back to 1998, so naturally I subscribed, and this was my starting point. Imagine my surprise when I saw the image that you see when you roll your mouse over the picture.

I asked Brooke about this, and he shared some interesting information with me. Apparently at the moment, he was affiliated with the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. To quote Brooke, the editorial staff of the LA Times "didn't much like gags depicting slayings, no matter how gently implied (as was this). The tone of things in Los Angeles, in this regard, seemed to be highly sensitive, and the city was full-to-bursting with groups who were poised to object at a moment's notice to absolutely everything in print."

But after all, that's California, where the lawyer ratio is something like 3 attorneys for every citizen...

So, he changed it. Brooke shared with me that he didn't mind so much, because they didn't tell him what to draw, only that they wanted something different, which was their job. And he graciously complied, which was his job.

I've often wondered about the stifling effect on creativity that the editorial board of a syndicate must have. You would really have to love what you do, in order to make the political nonsense worthwhile.

I'm grateful Brooke is still at it. But it does make me wonder how many other such permutations are out there...