Magazine article Editor & Publisher

He's the 'Best Man' for Various Roles

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

He's the 'Best Man' for Various Roles

Article excerpt

Syndicate executive. Comic writer. Actor. Movie Director. Movie Producer. Screenplay Writer. Is this a story about six people? No, it's a story about one man -- John Newcombe.

The director of development at Creators Syndicate recently began writing the "Zack Hill" comic drawn by John Deering. Meanwhile, Best Man in Grass Creek -- the award-winning film Newcombe directed, co- starred in, co-wrote, and co-produced -- is out on video and DVD. Tying together tinsel and 'toon towns is the fact that Newcombe plays a syndicate salesperson in the movie.

Adam is the character's name, and he's at risk of losing his Midwest sales territory after selling the "Kreature Korner" comic to no newspapers. Then, an Indianapolis Star editor Adam barely knows offers to buy the strip (for $500 a week!) if Adam will be best man at his wedding in the tiny Indiana town of Grass Creek. But Adam has a major phobia about nuptials after getting stood up at the altar three years before.

The romantic-comedy film is set mostly in Grass Creek, but there are work-related scenes, too. For instance, there's a very rah-rah motivational session for the syndicate's salespeople. "It's a little bit over the top, but not much," said Newcombe, when asked to compare the scene to real life. At one point, the syndicate head shouts: "I want to see it ['Kreature Korner'] in no less than 200 newspapers by Christmas!"

That's a tough order in today's economy, and the fictional comic doesn't even seem that good. Adam is shown calling newspapers as he vainly tries to sell the strip. Rejection "is daily fare for the average syndicate rep," said Newcombe, who, as Adam, vents his frustration by putting a noose around the neck of a plush-toy version of the comic's cow character.

There's also a scene in which the salespeople walk barefoot over hot coals as a confidence-building exercise. …

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