The new book collects the four issues of “Desperate Times” that Eliopoulos originally self-published in 1998, plus an additional two issues published by Image. Eliopoulos said that he became caught up in lettering work and the Franklin Richards books, leaving no time to arrange for a collected edition. “It wasn’t until my editor, Andy Schmidt, contacted me and asked if I wanted to publish a collection,” he told CBR. “I went back to read the books to see if it was even worth it, and I found myself enjoying them from a reader’s point of view. So I agreed.”
“Desperate Times” started as a newspaper-style strip in Erik Larsen’s “Savage Dragon,” then briefly expanded into long-form comic stories before reverting to the shorter style once again at the end of its run. “It’s funny,” Eliopoulos said of his strip’s evolution. “I started by doing strips in ‘Dragon’ because I always wanted to do a newspaper strip, but that became limiting, so when I did the book, I approached it as a sitcom. Then, along the way, I was approached by a newspaper syndicate to possibly put it in the papers. So, I switched back to the strip format. It wound up not getting syndicated, but I had developed a writing method with the strip and kept it up.”
The different styles each have their own distinct advantages and drawbacks, Eliopoulos said. “The storylines are a little more stilted when doing it as a strip, and you look for the joke every 4 panels,” he explained. “You have to more disciplined and edit more when doing strips, but when I looked back at the book, I was kinda surprised to see how well the characters worked in both formats. If I were to revisit ‘DT,’ I might consider the long form storytelling. I’ve come to really love it after working on the Pet Avengers.”
CBR asked Eliopoulos what path potential new “Desperate Times” strips might take, whether the series would pick up where it left off or fast forward to the present, a la “Clerks II.” “We have talked about perhaps doing new material. And if the book does well, or if IDW is interested, I would really love to do more books,” the cartoonist said. “Halfway through this book, ‘my’ character gets married and the other guy, Toad, is left the single man and the story became the difference in life between the two. Moving forward and adding a pregnancy to the mix might be even more fun.”
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