A coupla years back, I heard a rumor about my esteemed colleague Gene Weingarten -- whom I would refer to properly as The Post's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Humor Columnist, but I'm apparently legally bound to cut him a royalty check upon each such trademarked reference, and soon he won't need the extra moolah. Which brings me full circle to the rumor.
This whisper in the wind was that Gene and his son, Dan, were working on a comic strip for potential syndication. Something that would tickle our funny bones, bust our guts and otherwise wreak havoc upon our anatomy.
Some time later came confirmation that Gene & Son had indeed signed with Washington Post Writers Group to develop their strip. I pestered my former longtime United Media comics editor, Amy Lago -- now comics editor with Writers Group -- for a look-see. Politely, patiently and with great care, she explained: "Nothin' doing!"
(This exchange reminded me of yet another reason why I appreciated having Amy as an editor. She will not breach "patient"/editor confidentiality. And hoo-boy, can cartoonists be "patients.")
So last week, finally, I got my long-awaited look-see at the sales kit for the Weingarten duo's completed strip, "Barney & Clyde," which is scheduled to launch June 7, Gene says. And I am greatly encouraged.
The artist is David Clark, a Virginia-based cartoonist who's been honored by the National Cartoonists Society for his illustration -- and who came recommended by "Cul de Sac" creator and longtime Post contributor Richard Thompson.
Comic Riffs will take a closer look at "Barney & Clyde" -- which centers on the "accidental friendship" between "a billionaire and a bum" -- as the launch date nears. For today, though, we want to note that The Washington Post has bought "B&C," so Post readers will see this addition to the comics lineup in the near-future.
Till then, "B&C" -- as most all syndicated comics do -- is undergoing its big sales push to newspapers. Gene knows it's probably as difficult a climate as ever to launch a syndicated strip. But with strong writing and thoughtful characters at the heart of the strip, it's got a better shot than most to succeed.
For more details you can check out the strip's new Facebook fan page -- as well as read Gene's Post chat this week, in which he recounts the birth of the strip. In other words: From his child, the brainchild.