Water gurgles through pipelines feeding into massive, pale green machines. A low mumbling hum quickly builds into a train-like cadence of paper being fed through those mechanical caterpillars.
At first, the rolls of newsprint are blank, but soon a wash of yellow appears. Then a ghostly magenta spreads across the paper. Cyan and black inks follow, forming images, words and finally comics.
And, like the ink weaving its way across the page, a smile stretches across my face.
I watched eagerly as the new News-Sentinel weekend comics section came to life, with my comic strip “Ducks in Lodi” taking the top spot on the front page.
September 24 marks the debut of our new endeavor, and it's been a long time in the making. The company that previously printed this section for us closed up shop. Which meant the News-Sentinel could find someone else to do the job, or we could do it ourselves.
Option B provided more control and more creative freedom, such as designing the pages in-house and providing more local content.
For now, we've kept all the same comics as before with the addition of the Ducks.
At first, our momentous run of this four-page cartoony section was way off registration. The machine was stopped, plates and other technical items were adjusted. The press was fired up again and the colors lined up a little better. A few more adjustments and the finally product filtered past, being delivered to the warehouse above to be stacked and stored until its delivery day.
It's my hope that, on that day, our new baby brings the same smile to your face that it did to mine as I watched its historic birth.