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Launching today: Thatababy! by Paul Trap
Today is the launch of a couple of new strips – one being Thatababy by Paul Trap. You might remember that Paul’s strip was one of the finalists of the Amazon Comic Strip Superstar contest sponsored by Amazon and Universal Uclick last year. Since his strip was discovered in a contest rather than through the normal submission process, I asked him when he was approached by Universal. His answer to the that question and others are below:
AG: You entered “Thatababy” into the Amazon contest. Had the strip existed in some form before the contest?
PT: THATABABY had been percolating in the margins of my notebooks for several years before I finally dedicated a weekend to building a submission package for the syndicates. When the contest was announced I plucked a few strips from my packet, added some new Sunday samples, and entered.
AG: For those who don’t know about your strip, give us the cliff’s note version of what its about.
PT: THATABABY celebrates those glorious early years of life where everything is new, you’re in command and the rules don’t apply. It’s a parenting strip through the eyes of the baby.
AG: Where did the genesis of Thatababy come from?
PT: The foundation is largely autobiographical (draw what you know?). Our son was much too busy to sleep for his first two years – through the sleep deprivation I viewed him as a tiny anarchist upsetting the natural order of things. Looking back I can see he had it right.
AG: During the Amazon contest, what kind of feedback did you receive from editors and judges?
John Glynn from Universal Uclick contacted me during the stretch run and said he would like to talk when the dust settled. I didn’t receive comments from the judges until long after the contest ended.
PT: At what point did Universal Uclick approach you with a development contract for Thatababy?
Shortly after the conclusion of the contest.
AG: How has your strip changed from the contest to what newspapers will see on October 4?
PT: I was encouraged to add more Mom to the strip – I agree.
AG: What has been the most challenging part of the development contract?
PT: I thought I was off track with the strip during development – one sketch was returned to me labeled “disturbing” and another thought too dark. I later met the Chariman of Universal Uclick who said that was his favorite strip, so I felt equal parts vindication and confusion. THATABABY will be filled with some treacle, some poop jokes and I hope I can sneak a few things through unexpected for a baby strip.
AG: At what point were you offered a full syndication contract with a launch date?
PT: I believe we began discussing a launch in June.
AG: Most seasoned cartoonists will tell you to work as head as much as you can before you launch creating a deadline buffer. How many weeks ahead are your working from your deadline?
PT: Not nearly enough.