Meet Your Creator: Donna Lewis (Reply All, Reply All Lite)


“The Accidental Cartoonist”



I always knew I would spend my life being a writer, but I never ever considered being a cartoonist. I was the kid who was writing or reading every minute I was awake. I was the kid who finished my assignments and exams early in school so that I could get back to whatever I was reading or writing. I was the kid who found almost everything besides reading and writing to be boring and ridiculous and a waste of time.


I was that kid.


Unfortunately, I was that kid before the Internet arrived in our lives, so my access to really creative people was severely limited. I was not surrounded by creative people. I was surrounded by people with stressful day jobs and extra-income evening jobs who urged me to do whatever I wanted to do as long as it included getting an education and a job that paid a living salary.


So I got an education and a job. Usually I had many jobs at once, making money however I could make money. I became a lawyer because I figured being a lawyer would enable me to combine the two things I loved the most: writing and good deeds. Except that I called good deeds ‘advocacy.’ Good deeds are what you do when you’re a good person. Advocacy is what you do when you need to put your good deeds on your resume so you can get a better job.


For years and years, I worked as a lawyer, helping people to make their lives easier, better or more fair. I worked in the areas of disability and employment, making a difference I could actually see and a difference I cared about a little too much. At night I taught classes and tutored wannabe lawyers. In Washington DC, tutoring can easily support a fledgling law practice.


And I kept writing. I wrote essays and really bad books and blogs and anything I could get anyone to read. The Internet had come along by this point and now I had a platform. I built a crude website named after my cat Boo and I drove unsuspecting friends and family there to get feedback for my writing. Little by little, people I didn’t know began reading my writing, opening me up to the idea that you can find an audience outside of your known world. I started the process of learning what people enjoy reading. And I began writing for an audience that might someday buy a book filled with my words.


In 2006, I was working and writing and working and writing and working and writing. I was reaching a point of exhaustion – exhaustion borne of the idea that perhaps it would always just be me, working and writing around the clock without ever having an actual book for people to buy. In a fit of frustration, I decided to take an official break from writing and do some sort of creative cross-training. I signed up for an improv class at the local comedy club and quickly transitioned into stand-up.


So it turns out that stand-up is really just a variation on writing. You spend every waking moment of your life writing material. And laughing. To yourself. You write a ton of material and laugh to yourself and wonder if anyone else would laugh at what you just wrote. I loved stand-up. Unfortunately, almost all stand-up occurs late at night in places where people are drunk. I wasn’t very good at being part of that scene. I knew that stand-up couldn’t last long but I also knew that I loved writing humor for the sake of the punch line.


One day, in early 2007, it snowed on a Saturday. I was in the suburbs of Maryland, just outside of Washington DC. One Saturday a month, I did a workshop for people transitioning from crisis back to functioning. I helped them with legal issues and some of the other challenges that accompany hard times.


In Washington DC and the surrounding areas, even the mention of snow shuts everything down. And it was actually snowing pretty hard. So nobody showed up. It was just me, the social worker on duty, and a few others who tended to hang out at the center where we provided workshops.


The social worker pulled out art supplies and snacks while we hunkered down to wait out the snow. We drew flowers and houses and little stick-figure families. We weren’t artists, but we had snacks and crayons, so we were happy adult children.


I drew a stick-figure girl who I thought looked like me. She had a lot of hair and a really big purse. Then, in a moment of accidental creativity, I gave her a punch line. And I laughed because I always laugh at my own jokes.



The next day, I scanned the girl with the punch line and emailed the image to my small but loyal following of readers. They liked her and asked for more. So I kept drawing her. And I gave her more funny things to say. I drew her every day. And I created  friends and family for her, mostly similar to my real life family and friends.


I created many, many cartoons for several years. I didn’t know how to draw, but little by little, I was learning. And I loved it. I loved my characters and my words and I loved the process. I posted cartoons wherever I could, paying attention to what people laughed at easily and what made them uncomfortable or angry.



And then, one day, an acquaintance who worked at the Washington Post asked me if I’d like to talk to the cartoon editor. I said YES, of course. The cartoon editor turned out to be Amy Lago.


By the time I met with Amy Lago, I had read every word she had ever written about editing and listened to every podcast for which she had ever been interviewed. I knew as much about Amy Lago as I possibly could know, which really wasn’t much. Mostly, I just knew that she seemed really smart, really cool, really open to finding new laughs, and really down to earth.


I brought a collection of cartoons to Amy Lago at the Washington Post. She never looked at them while we talked. I have no idea what we talked about, but I remember thinking she was the most amazing person I had ever met and that she had the coolest job in the world, working at the Washington Post alongside such talented writers and creative, smart minds.


Amy and I met in April of 2008. She told me that May was her busiest month and that I may not hear from her for a while. I was excited because she had suggested I might hear from her in the future. I was also dejected because I thought she was lying about May being her busiest month.


I walked straight from her office at the Washington Post to a coffee shop on the corner and turned on my computer. I researched the month of May to see why in the world May would be a cartoon editor’s busiest month. I pretty quickly found references to cartooning award ceremonies and events and realized that May is the Oscars Month for cartoonists. I called my mother to report that Amy Lago had not lied to me and that we might have another date in our future.


I heard from Amy Lago after the cartooning Oscars (otherwise known as the Reubens). She liked my humor. She believed I would learn how to draw eventually. She thought that words were important and that my poor drawing didn’t stand in the way of my words, necessarily. She loved my characters. She asked if I could put together a package of cartoons that was more cohesive, with characters whose relationships were more easily identifiable and, for lack of a better word, “followable”… .


I spent the next month obsessing about getting a package of 40 cartoons to be as perfect as possible. I delivered them to her and she invited me to keep sending her cartoons by email. I sent her a cartoon every day for months. She told me what was good and what to change. I edited and revised every single cartoon. She helped to develop my ideas into a comic strip that made sense.



On August 12, 2010, I was at work when I heard that Cathy Guisewite had announced her retirement. I immediately called Amy Lago who had heard the news only a few moments before I had. By that point, I had hundreds of cartoons ready to go. I was ready to go and a female cartoonist was preparing to leave a void in the world of female cartooning. I wanted to help fill that void.


I was signed on to the Washington Post Syndicate in October of 2010 and my cartoon began running in February of 2011, on Amy Lago’s birthday.


I will never be able to describe how much work it took to develop a comic strip. I worked day and night. In addition to my day job, I worked on the cartoon compulsively. I said no to everything, including family and friends. I lived for the cartoon, thinking about material every minute of the night and day. I thought of so much material that a second cartoon was born, a “lite” version of the strip. That version became syndicated in February of 2012.


I still lawyer by day, although I have very recently transitioned to a less-stressful lawyering role that I perform mainly at home. Basically, I review legal files and write legal documents all day long.


At night and on weekends, I write and draw my strip. And I practice drawing every single day. I’m happy to report that I’m getting better at drawing. Maybe one day I’ll take a drawing class, but I’m not in a rush to get formal art education.  



Here are a couple of fun facts that really aren’t all that fun:


(1) I don’t read comic strips or cartoons because I don’t want to muddy my brain with other influences. A long time ago, I read Doonesbury and The Far Side to the point that I had memorized pretty much everything available from those creators.


(2) I write every single day, whether or not I want to. I write every single day because I have to or I feel all weird and crazy.


(3) I draw every single day, because I really enjoy drawing.


(4) I would continue writing and drawing cartoons even if I wasn’t syndicated. I love the vehicle of humor for communicating with other people.


(5) I’m still the biggest introvert in the world and I couldn’t get cabin fever if I tried.


(6) I’ve heard from haters who think I suck and should die. I learned how to ignore them since they don’t contribute in any way to my inspiration or motivation. And they’re rarely fun or funny.


(7) I love my followers and wish I could thank each one in person.


(8) I love Amy Lago in a way she should be seriously scared of.


(9) My top priority still is – and always will be – health insurance.


(10) I still have no studio. I live in Washington DC, where space is very expensive. I have a collection of folding tables I set up and take down every day, as needed. A tour of my studio would not be inspiring or impressive.


I hope anyone who reads my accidental cartoonist story takes away three things.


First, you cannot only do whatever you want to do, but you should be open to doing things you never planned or expected to do. It’s really cool to see where life takes you when you let it take you.


Second, anything worth pursuing is a total effing ton of work. There are no shortcuts and no such thing as overnight success.


Third, having a day job really helps to keep the lights on.

My first book should be out in February 2015.  I’m really happy to have a book I can give to my mother. I’m still not sure she gets what I do with my time.


– d


Read Reply All and Reply All Lite or follow along on one of these outlets: (art) (cartoons)      

Twitter Q&A with Randy Glasbergen of Thin Lines & Glasbergen Cartoons



Did you miss this week's Twitter Q&A with Thin Lines and Glasbergen Cartoons creator Randy Glasbergen? Catch up on the Q&A below: 




We'll be taking a holiday break from Twitter Q&As for the rest of this month. We'll return to live-tweeting on Friday, January 9 with Monty creator Jim Meddick! Tune in with: #AskJimMeddick 


Over the years, a number of Sherpa creators have experimented with adding animation elements to their strips. The most avid practitioners lately have been Nighthawk and Stelbel, and today their feature CLEO & COMPANY offers my favorite strip-plus special effect so far.


 Merry Christmas!


Cleo and Company


The Best Part of Holiday Baking

What’s better than warm, gooey, freshly baked cookies dipped in milk? Eating the cookie dough raw, of course!


Frazz by Jef Mallett
Frazz by Jef Mallett


Thatababy by Paul Trap
Thatababy by Paul Trap
Adam@Home by Rob Harrell
Adam@Home by Rob Harrell




This recurring LAUGH TRACKS feature highlights individual Sherpa strips and panels that for one reason or another caught the fancy of the aide de sherpa. It could be anything; the drawing, the writing, the humor, the coloring, that they tried something interesting, or that it's a new step for that particular creator.


We hope this quirky sampler will alert you to features you might not yet have noticed amid Sherpa's abundant, ever-changing, and eclectic mix, and that it gives Sherpa creators a modicum of helpful feedback.



Frank & Steinway  12-17-14



Mister & Me  12-17-14











Girth 12-18-14




Witt of Will  12-18-14





 Girth  12-19-14





H.I.P.  12-19-14


Onion & Pea  12-19-14







A complete list of all the Sherpa features can be found here.




It's funny cause it's "truth"

When Jack Nicholson shouted "You can't handle the truth!" to Tom Cruise in the 1992 film "A Few Good Men," moviegoers were greatly moved by the intensity of the scene. If the same line was delivered today, however, Tom Cruise might instead say: "Actually, I've found a very concise and hilarious vehicle for delivering me the truth, one panel at a time. It's called Truth Facts and you can read it every day on!"




Truth Facts is brought to you by the same Danish masterminds that created WuMo. It turns the fabric of our social decorum into swiss cheese-cloth, not just reading between the lines but translating what's written there into witty, irreverent observations that fit perfectly into stylish graphs, charts and pictograms. People who have already been reading Truth Facts might have noticed that the strip hadn't updated in a few weeks, but after working out a couple of kinks in the production pipeline, it's been restored to its once-a-day glory.




Below (and above) are a few highlights from the past month. But I highly recommend starting with today's strip and working your way all the way to its launch earlier in the year.







GoComics Staff Pick: Rose is Rose by Don Wimmer and Pat Brady

Acting like an adult is difficult. The struggle is real. Some days I still feel like I’m a carefree kid, others I feel like the rebellious teenager I once was and some days I’m almost comfortable with my normal adult self. That’s why I love Rose is Rose. The main character, Rose, is always bursting into other personalities whenever the opportunity presents itself. The creators of Rose is Rose, Pat Brady and Don Wimmer, don’t just show Rose acting like a little kid or a rebel in the comic, she actually transforms into a child or a biker depending on the situation.


For instance, Rose’s inner child emerges whenever she sees an opportunity to play and enjoy life in a way that most adults might find “immature.”


Rose is rose 1


Rose is rose 2



Her husband Jimbo even loves to get in on the childhood fun every once in a while (my husband does as well).



Rose is rose 3



But then there’s also Rose’s rebellious side, a leather-clad biker chick with an attitude, who appears when Rose is feeling feisty and wants to go against the grain.



Rose is rose 4



Rose is rose 5



Rose is rose 6



I love that Rose is never ashamed of these different “personalities” that make up who she is. When the time calls for it, she flaunts her childlike playfulness or her wild rebellion in a way I admire. Rose is an adult, but she can still jump in puddles like a kid or live on the wild side like a teen. It makes me feel like my struggle with acting like an adult isn’t so strange after all – it’s just one of my many personalities!



—Rebekah Schouten, Production Editor 

Giveaway: Stocking Stuffer Prize Packs!




We’re giving away THREE prize packs full of fun-sized goodies!


Stocking Stuffer Prize Pack 1:


Stocking Stuffer Prize Pack 2:


Stocking Stuffer Prize Pack 3:


To enter, leave a comment on this blog post and include your FIRST and LAST names. This contest will end Tues., Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. CT. The winners will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.


Our sister company, Andrews McMeel Publishing, offers tons of calendars featuring your favorite comics! Browse here.


The Beauty of Comics

Comics start your day with a laugh. A comic transforms the most frustrating, annoying and awkward moment into a joke. Comics can make the mundane tasks you do daily laughable. Some of the best comics are the ones that leave you hanging. You can’t wait until you read the next one and continue the story. Just like a book you can’t put down, you return to read the comic day after day.


The beauty of comics is that they can make everyday situations so funny. You can laugh as your favorite characters experience some of life’s most irritating moments; it’s always funnier when it’s not happening to you. 


The Bent Pinky


Comics keep me up to date on the latest news. Even something as boring as the news can be presented in a new way. Now I can stay informed while also getting in a laugh. While it’s not always a big belly laugh, it still lifts my spirits. Take Truth Facts, for example. It’s incredibly accurate and hilarious.


Non Sequitur



The Duplex


Truth Facts


Find yourself getting caught in awkward moments? You’re not the only one. The Awkward Yeti does, too! I get uncomfortable just reading some of the situations he gets himself in to.


The Awkward Yeti


If you find yourself needing a dose of inspiration rather than a laugh, look to Zen Pencils. The quotes and illustrations are sure to leave you motivated.


Comics provide a break from the routine of the daily grind. Even if it is a quick glance at a few comics get your day started. On GoComics, you are sure to find a comic that suits you, because each creator has his or her own style. If one doesn’t pique your interest, there are many more to choose from. The wide variety of comics appeals to people from all different walks of life.



TONIGHT: A Charlie Brown Christmas



Get ready for a cozy night on the couch! The classic holiday special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” airs tonight on ABC at 8|7c!


We’re counting down to Christmas with the Peanuts gang! Join us here. Or, take a trip down memory lane and read the comic from the beginning!

GIVEAWAY: 2015 Day-to-Day Calendars - Winners Announced



Thank you to all who entered to win a 2015 day-to-day calendar! We've randomly selected three winners!


-       Duh! Janet Davis

-       Dog Shaming Ed Rush

-       Classic Dave Berry Jamie Schofield


If your name is listed above, please email us at with your shipping address and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by 12/23/14 or your prize will be forfeited.


Browse more 2015 calendars here.

GoComics Adds New Comics in December

We added THREE new comics this month! Learn about our newest additions below.


Waynovision by Wayno

WaynoVision by Wayno

Perhaps unsurprisingly, WaynoVision gives its readers a view of the world through the wise-guy eyes of the cartoonist known as Wayno (one name only, please). The artist uses his panel to comment on (and celebrate) the surrealism and absurdity of everyday life, in ways that are sometimes silly, sometimes smart, but always funny.


You never know what sort of characters will pop up in a WaynoVision panel. Clowns, gangsters, monsters, insects, historical figures, dogs, cats, chickens and advertising and pop culture icons can appear on any given day.


Reading WaynoVision is like wearing 3-D glasses, welder's goggles and X-ray Specs while peeking through a damaged kaleidoscope. The world looks vaguely familiar, but unexpectedly distorted at the same time. The feature appeals to educated readers who appreciate high culture as well as lowbrow laffs.


Wayno is a cartoonist, illustrator, pop artist and writer. He is a member of the National Cartoonists Society, and serves as the president of the Pittsburgh chapter. Since 1997, he has mounted several one-man exhibits of his "cartoon pop" paintings and original illustration art.

He's worked on underground and alternative comics, and has enjoyed a long career as a humor illustrator, working with such clients as The New Yorker, Nickelodeon Magazine, Rhino Records, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian and The New York Times.


Wayno has written more than 150 gags for Dan Piraro's Bizarro, and he filled in as Bizarro's guest cartoonist for two weeks in 2011. He has also written gags for Hilary Price's Rhymes With Orange, and served as Hilary's guest cartoonist for a week in 2012.


Wayno is based in Pittsburgh, where he lives with Kim, his supportive spouse and secret art director, along with their cats, Jackson and Foster.


Read WaynoVision here.


Berkeley Mews by Ben Zaehringer


Berkeley Mews by Ben Zaehringer


Berkeley Mews is a bleak little comic strip in which bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, and everything usually ends in disappointment or death. Satisfaction guaranteed.


Ben Zaehringer started Berkeley Mews while studying film at the University of California, Berkeley. He enjoys writing, drawing, sharing his comics online and improving his high score in Tetris (currently: 1,369,490). He lives in San Francisco.


Read Berkeley Mews here.


Tiny Confessions by Christopher Rozzi

Tiny Confessions by Christopher Rozzi

Tiny Confessions are the secret revelations of dogs, cats and everything else. These hilarious and sincere illustrations give voice to our furry friends in a way that expresses their inner dreams, wishes and moments of complete mischief.


Christopher Rozzi is an artist, writer and comedian who lives and works in New York City. His book, Tiny Confessions: The Secret Thoughts of Dogs, Cats, and Everything, was recently published by Penguin Books and has been featured at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Barnes & Noble. 


Read Tiny Confessions here.


This recurring LAUGH TRACKS feature highlights individual Sherpa strips and panels that for one reason or another caught the fancy of the aide de sherpa. It could be anything; the drawing, the writing, the humor, the coloring, that they tried something interesting, or that it's a new step for that particular creator.


We hope this quirky sampler will alert you to features you might not yet have noticed amid Sherpa's abundant, ever-changing, and eclectic mix, and that it gives Sherpa creators a modicum of helpful feedback.




Caffeinated 12-12-14





Candace 'n' Company  12-12-14







Frank & Steinway 12-12-14




The Beauforts  12-12-14








Mort's Island 12-14-14




The Old Man & His Dog  12-14-14





And now... 12-15-14










Maximus 12-15-14





Promises Promises 12-15-14



A complete list of all the Sherpa features can be found here.


Weekend Faves (December 14)


Rose is Rose by Don Wimmer and Pat Brady
Rose is Rose by Don Wimmer and Pat Brady

Seriously, have Don Wimmer and Pat Brady been spying on me? This is exactly what all of my Saturday nights look like.



JumpStart by Robb Armstrong
JumpStart by Robb Armstrong

Can  you say resourceful?


Overboard by Chip Dunham
Overboard by Chip Dunham

You have to start somewhere.



Luann by Greg Evans
Luann by Greg Evans

Grin and bear it.


The Awkward Yeti by Nick Seluk
The Awkward Yeti by Nick Seluk

It's all fun and games until the remote gets involved.

New Comic Alert! Tiny Confessions by Christopher Rozzi

Tiny Confessions by Christopher Rozzi


Tiny Confessions are the secret revelations of dogs, cats and everything else. These hilarious and sincere illustrations give voice to our furry friends in a way that expresses their inner dreams, wishes and moments of complete mischief.


 Read Tiny Confessions here.

Meet Your Creator: Hector Cantu (Baldo)

Thanks, Sam. This is your fault. Sam is my cousin, and I thought his Mad magazines were funny and cool. So I started buying them, too. I was maybe 13.


It wasn’t long before I drew a gag and mailed it to Mad, totally inspired by Sergio Aragonés, Antonio Prohías and Al Jaffee. Now, why did a sixth-grader think he could get published in Mad? I have no idea. Call it the naiveté of youth. Or no good sense.


An editor at Mad (I swear it was the legendary Al Feldstein himself) was nice enough to send a handwritten rejection letter. I recall being upset – how dare they! – but I distinctly remember the note: “Maybe someday, you’ll join the gang of idiots here at Mad.”


There was hope! Maybe someday …


Photo 1
Re-creation of what my Mad rejection letter looked like after I read it and before I threw it in the trash.


I moved on to comic books (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, John Byrne) and newspaper strips (Berkeley Breathed, Bill Watterson, Charles Schulz), devouring most everything I could get my hands on. In the meantime, I must have thought any company that printed comics was all right, so after attending the University of Texas (around the same time as Breathed, Michael Fry and Sam Hurt), I began working as a newspaper reporter. My crime stories appeared in the A section. Watterson appeared in the C section. Nice.



Photo 2
My contribution to the 1980s comic book market crash.


By the late 1990s, I was neck-deep in my journalism career, but my dream of creating comics was still alive. That’s when I called a professional buddy of mine – Carlos Castellanos – and pitched the idea of together launching Baldo. The strip would focus on a Latino kid who (taa-dah!) had an active imagination.


Write what you know, right?


Photo 3


The most exciting days of my life:

1. Getting married (you’re the best, Boo boos)

2. Birthdays of my kids (pass the cigar)

3. Getting a call from Universal Uclick that they wanted the comic (pass the tequila)



Photo 4
Inspiration can come from novels, biographies, graphic novels, reference books and caffeine-fueled deadline panic attacks.


I’m always writing. I’m always reading. Ultimately, the collision of two ideas inspires me. And that can happen anytime. Pad/pencil/cell phone are always handy to jot/tap down/sketch out ideas. Then it all sorts itself out at my desk (or at Starbucks), where sketches, scripts and final art come together.


Photo 5
A world without clutter is a world without creativity. I just made that up.


While coming up with ideas isn't easy, my goal with each strip is pretty simple: Deliver some kind of emotion (joy, anger, sadness, surprise, anticipation, the warm fuzzies).



Photo 6
When strips play off real-life news events, lots of people get mad and we get lots of angry email. I can live with that.


Photo 7
One of the most requested can-you-please-send-me-a-copies.


There are way too few achievements to list them all here. But I do have another most exciting day to add to my list. 


4. Opening the April 2014 edition of Mad magazine and seeing this on the letters page (a strip we did mentioning Sergio Aragonés):


Photo 8


Maybe not exactly the way Feldstein envisioned it, but close enough for me. Finally, after all these years, I was officially (if only for one issue) an idiot.


Read Baldo here or follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Twitter Q&A with Keith Knight of The Knight Life, The K Chronicles and (th)ink



We had the pleasure of chatting with cartoonist Keith Knight (creator of The Knight LifeThe K Chronicles and (th)ink)! If you missed out on the Q&A, catch up on the chat below:




Join us on Twitter next week for a Q&A with Randy Glasbergen of Glasbergen Cartoons and Thin Lines. We'll be chatting under the hashtag; #AskGlasbergen.


This recurring LAUGH TRACKS feature highlights individual Sherpa strips and panels that for one reason or another caught the fancy of the aide de sherpa. It could be anything; the drawing, the writing, the humor, the coloring, that they tried something interesting, or that it's a new step for that particular creator.


We hope this quirky sampler will alert you to features you might not yet have noticed amid Sherpa's abundant, ever-changing, and eclectic mix, and that it gives Sherpa creators a modicum of helpful feedback.



Apple Creek Comics  12-9-14





 Courageous Man Adventures  12-9-14


Elmo  12-9-14








Girth  12-9-14





Peanizles  12-9-14





Rogue Symmetry  12-9-14






County Line  12-10-14





The Lighted Lab  12-10-14



A complete list of all the Sherpa features can be found here.



Okay, if the handwriting above it were semi-legible instead of Latin calligraphy, this drawing could be from a recent American History class notebook. But it isn't, it's from a 13th-century law manuscript.




Turns out doodling in class is at least an 800-year-old lineage. Check it out here.

GoComics Staff Pick: Breaking Cat News by Georgia Dunn

Breaking Cat New by Georgia Dunn


Even if you don't own a cat, you probably can't avoid seeing them on the Internet. Therefore, everyone can  relate to the feline reporters and their befuddlement at everyday occurrences. Timely, hard-hitting, investigative journalism at its finest!


—Melissa, Digital Colorist



Read more Breaking Cat News here!



Visit R.C. Harvey's Blog



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