Time limit, cutoff, due date. AKA “deadline”. Of course the concept applies to any number of jobs. But let it be said that the real experts on the subject are cartoonists / comic book artists.

These professionals truly know the possibilities of pre-deadline behavior. Today, we present to you 99 ways comic book artists find themselves approaching, or avoiding, their day of reckoning. See if you compare…

1.You start housecleaning.

2.You say to yourself, “I’ll just take a short nap – maybe an hour – then I can start work feeling refreshed,” and wake up 8 hours later.

3.You yell, “Time, stop! I command thee!”

4.“The deadline is tomorrow, but that’s still 24 hours away…”

5.You clean yourself up because the master himself, Osamu Tezuka (creator of Atom Boy), might stop by for a visit.

6.The thought occurs to you, “That deadline leaves a lot of room for error, doesn’t it?”

7.You swap deadlines with another artist who works for the same editor.

8.You start organizing the files in your computer.

9.The deadline is only 8 hours away, which, when you think of it, is one full workday for a normal person. No worries!

10.You start reading your old comics.

11.You start brainstorming how to concentrate and not get distracted. In fact, you want to be able to concentrate so hard, you don’t even notice your own farts.

12.Hey, there’s a World Cup match on TV. Not even your editor is calling to badger you anymore.

13.The deadline is 6 hours away, but you remember that one time you finished with only 4 hours. No problem.

14.You browse around Amazon.com for 2 hours.

You initiate a record-setting frenzy of copy-pasting.

16.You mutter to yourself, “So, the time has come…” and finally pick up your pen.

17.You know for a scientific fact that the true deadline is 11:59 of that date.

18.You go on Twitter and Facebook seeking reassurance by checking what your fellow artists are doing at the moment.

19.You email your editor at 4 in the morning and are shocked awake by his immediate reply.

20.The deadline is only 2 hours away, but you know you can fool them with your righteous copy-paste skillz.

Your editor catches you procrastinating on Twitter and Facebook.

22.When your editor calls you for a status update, you tell him “80% done”, but you haven’t even picked up your pen yet. But the math works out because you’ll only put in 20% effort.

23.You decide it’s time to rearrange the furniture in your apartment.

24.You have faith in the power of NoDoze.

25.You tear through and actually finish the work, and start a spreadsheet to calculate how much money you’d be making if you always worked at that speed.

You decided to test the upper limits of Redbull.

27.The deadline is 3 hours away. Which is 180 whole minutes. It’s all good.

28.You only ink in one frame on each page.

29.You erect a shrine and start praying to the great Osamu Tezuka for salvation.

30.You have a few drinks to see if it’ll help. And discover (again) that it doesn’t.

31.You stab yourself in the arm with your pen because you think you’re just not hardcore enough.

32.You blame your family for making you late.

In the end, your comic doesn’t seem to have a lot of dialogue and there are a lot of scenes with people in the distance.

34.You surf the internet for 6 hours, become aghast at how much time you’ve wasted, and yank out your internet cable from the wall.

You tell yourself you’re still safe as long as you haven’t been called by an irate editor yet.

36.You decide that the tune you’ve been humming deserves to be fleshed out into a properly composed song.

37.You convince yourself you still have enough time because there was that one time you finished 4 pages in 4 hours.

38.You meditate on your convictions.

39.Your editor calls you for an update and you tell him you’ll be done in 2 hours, but in truth you might need 4. Possibly 6. Make that 8 hours.

40.The deadline is 1 hour away, but that’s 60 whole minutes. 3600 seconds, even. So. Much. Time.

41.You browse around for music that will enhance concentration.

42.You feel yourself starting to get flustered, so you sit down to watch a calming, relaxing TV program, like a National Geographic special on jellyfish.

You start getting all these calls and requests – Murphy’s Law – so you end up managing every single minute like some hyped up businessman.

44.To help your motivation, you tell yourself that any mistakes you make will simply add character to your work.

The email said the deadline was today, but your editor hasn’t called you so that probably means you have another 30 hours.

46.You stop responding to your editor’s calls with any actual numbers, like “I’ll be  done with this page in the blink of a jiffy  lamb’s tail”.

47.Your head starts swirling with stories of all the great artists you read about and the crises they experienced.

48.Your storyline starts to include a lot of waiting around and people glaring at each other.

49.You decide it’s a good time to update the OS on your computer, and blame the progress bar for keeping you from work.

You start ruminating with regret on ever wanting to draw comics for a living.

51.You get irritated by your dirty dishes and end up cleaning the entire kitchen, including going out to buy cleaning supplies.

You invoke the Force in your drawing hand.

53.You start to crave money.

54.When your editor originally gave you the official deadline, he mentioned the “real” deadline. Which means there might be a real “real” deadline he just hasn’t told you about yet.

55.You get REALLY flustered and wet your pants. REALLY REALLY flustered.

56.Your editor calls you for an update, and you tell him you’re working on it right now, but you’re actually working on something for another magazine.

57.You got an email saying that the deadline was yesterday, but your editor hasn’t called you, so you think it’s probably okay.

58.You decide it’s a good time start meditating.

You end up turning in something hastily put together, and it gets more compliments than the work you spent a lot of time on, causing you to fall into depression.

60.You have an editor who gives it to you straight about deadlines, so you fess up honestly with him.

61.Murphy’s Law – this is the time you get into a huge fight with your wife and get to sit through endless haranguing.

You contemplate suicide.

63.You have flashbacks of elementary school and the day before going back to school after summer break. (Japanese students get homework to do over breaks, and one school year is from April to March.)

64.You may miss the deadline by a bit, but you vow never to completely drop the ball.

65.The editor calls you and tears you a new one, destroying your self-confidence.

66.It’s 3 days past the deadline and the editor contacts you to push you along, but it’s just a text so you remain unperturbed.

67.You are so into working right now, you’d sit through an earthquake.

68.You try chanting, “Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate!”. And 3 seconds later you’re playing with your iPhone.

69.You summon your ability to stop your knees shaking as you turn in your work.

70.When you find out a colleague has already turned in his work, you feel betrayed.

71.Your computer chooses this moment to crash.

You completely lose it before gaining back your senses and start working.

You realize you’re cutting it close more and more often in your career.

74.You pencil, ink, etc. at record-breaking speeds. You soon enter “god” mode.

You barely hold it together, responding to your editor, “I’m on it, alright!?!”

You’re 7 days past the deadline and you get a call from your editor saying, “We’re really screwed,” but you think, “Another 2 hours won’t make it worse …”

77.You start making a list of 99 things comic book artists do before deadlines, and get all the way up to #77.

You draw at insane speeds not knowing what the climax of the story will be, all the way up to where you really need to develop the climax, at which point you really have some figuring out to do.

79.You concentrate so hard that you feel fine even though you haven’t eaten for 24 hours.

You berate yourself for not doing anything 2, 3 days ago.

81.You don’t look back.

82.The further along in your career, you maintain your composure better and better.

83.You decide to pretend it’s all a bad dream.

84.You think to yourself,  “If I were my editor, I wouldn’t hire me.”

85.It’s 2 weeks past the deadline and your magazine is already out, but your series got filled in by another, new series, so you figure you’ve just earned 2 more weeks.

86.You procrastinate to the end, and you beat yourself up about it.

87.You tell yourself to work nonstop and you’ll be able to finish by 5am, but 20 seconds later you’re surfing the net.

88.You decide to get some real sleep.

You fill the pages with lots of sound effects.

90.Once it gets to be midnight of the day past your deadline, you tell yourself you can have until 10am.

91.But then, you get a call and see the number is from the editor’s desk, even though the trains have all stopped running…

You decided to take a nice, hot bath.

93.You plead on your knees for time to turn back.

You see it’s past the deadline but you turned in your work an hour and a half ago, so you put on your “So, how’s that” face.

95.You bypass turning in a rough draft and just go for the final.

96.The deadline was 11 years ago and the magazine went out of business a long time ago and the editor isn’t even in the same line of work anymore, but you figure you’re still safe.

97.And in the end, you make it in time.

And you repeat it all again for the next issue.

You savor the feeling of being alive.
[ Read in Japanese ]