Tag Archives: comic strips

Hovercraft

Sometimes in life, we fashion an artistic animus that over time, becomes a cage that confines us. Sometimes we try different things to keep the animus from becoming stale, and redundant. Sometimes we overhear a song that makes us want to kill, kill, kill, until we are hip-deep in blood and viscera.

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Filed under Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Girls of BIUL, Idiot's Delight, Nostalgic Obsessions, Thousand Listen Club, Worst Of All

The Other No Exit

When retiring his comic strip Bloom County, Berke Breathed remarked “a good comic strip is as eternal as a ripe melon.” Personally, I think that’s bullshit, and reflects more on Breathed’s motivation, or lack thereof. A good comic strip lasts a lifetime. We still pass around clippings of The Far Side and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, decades after they were printed. A cartoonist who can’t perpetuate over changing times has inked themselves into a corner. Or dried the well.

If a comic strip is still hilarious long past its sell-by date, it is a successful comic strip. That is the acid test.

Before you ask, the “flip book” of Dan Quayle eating a Twinkie actually works. Quite well.

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Filed under Comix Classic & Current, Magazine Rack

Comic Relief 1985

For an UNPRECEDENTED three years in the late 1980s, I drew a surrealistic comic strip called Mike the Pod for my high school newspaper. Initially, a buddy of mine scripted it, but once he graduated (he was a grade ahead), I went solo and moved the strip in a more satirical direction. This meant parodies of established icons of the comic page, but in the Age Before Internet, what did one do for proper visual reference?

Typically, I would lug a sketchbook to the library, open one of the huge newspaper compendiums, and double the relevant artist until I got the hang of their style. This was seldom convenient. Then one holiday season in 1988 or ’89, the aforementioned co-writer buddy gifted me a small book that not only provided visual reference for over 100 different newspaper strips, but ironic belly-laughs for decades. For crying out loud, the foreword is written by Kenny Rogers… and it’s about a hunger project.

“Comic Relief”.

comicreliefcover

Here’s the flavor text from the back cover:

Thanksgiving 1985 was a memorable day in the nation’s funny papers. For the first time in history, the entire comics page was devoted to one subject: hunger. The project, organized by Milton Caniff (Steve Canyon), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), and Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), brought together over 175 cartoonists, and Comic Relief presents their Thanksgiving Day strips and panels. A cornucopia of cartoon commentary and humor, it is the first time such an array of American comic-strip talent has appeared together in one book. The reader can enjoy this great cartoon spectrum while helping directly in the fight against hunger: Sales of Comic Relief will raise money for USA for AFRICA.

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Filed under Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Nostalgic Obsessions