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.Continue reading
Tag Archives: comic strips
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.
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.
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.