As per reader suggestion I recently picked up a copy of ‘The Circus of Dr. Lao,’ which was harder than I thought it would be, but well worth the effort.  I’m not going to offer an opinion on the story, I’m not qualified to do that, I think everything is good the first time I encounter it (I’ve only ever seen ‘Battlefield Earth’ one time, and I still think it’s good, that’s how unqualified I am.) I would recommend it, I liked it, but you know, don’t take my word for it.

The formative idea of the story is that Dr. Lao shows up in Abalone with a caravan full of exotic mythical creatures, puts on a wild show, presumably moving on to another town to repeat the performance. Which, you know, on the surface is what the first ten strips of Merunga may have looked like.  And, it was kind of where the idea started, and where I always thought I’d go with it.  But we haven’t seen a repeat of that scenario yet, or anything close to that scenario, since that time.

Looking back over my very first notes and sketches, and now at my current plans for where the Menagerie will be traveling, two paths diverged in a woods, well before the Caravan came to the Torgo road.  For whatever ‘Circus’ did with the concept, good or bad, I don’t think I could have done it as well. And with what I’ve laid out recently, where we’re headed, I don’t see us circling back around to that concept anytime soon.

I don’t regret where we’ve ended up, and I’m looking forward to where we’re going, but it could have been very different, and not nearly as good.