Back in the early 2000s, I graduated from college. Shortly after that, I got a “real” job as a graphic designer. The very first ad I designed was for a funeral home. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist. Because, come on. Designing ads for funeral homes? It’s a dead end … in more ways than one.
To be clear, I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist. It has been my dream ever since I was three, and colored my baby sister’s face with a marker to make her “pretty” (true story). But when I was typing out the phrase “cremation special,” that’s when I was 100% certain.
My first comic strip emerged when I was in grade school, back in the early ’80s. It was called “Nerds.” It consisted of nerd characters, beating up bullies. In every strip. Clearly, I had issues.
After years of hits and misses, I came up with the idea for Imagine THIS, around 2006. Which, if you don't already know, is a comic about a grown man who still lives with his teddy bear friend from childhood. It also has Klingons. And a talking plant. Needless to say, it's amazing.
After that? Fame and fortune, baby. *
Working on Imagine THIS has been an incredible experience for me. Life-changing. It has allowed me opportunities I never thought possible. From meeting amazing creators like Richard Thompson, Bill Amend, Lincoln Peirce and Stephan Pastis, to working with Chris Sparks and AMU on the “Team Cul de Sac” project.
If not for this comic, I never would have my met my good friend and future writing partner, Greg Grunberg. Greg is one of the actors from the TV shows “Heroes” and “Alias.” He and I have been working on some incredible, comics-related projects for a few years. One of which I hope to announce very soon! It’s going to be amazing.
I think laughter is my biggest inspiration. If I can make just one person laugh, even if only for a split second, my day is made. And if I can make them shoot some sort of beverage through their nose, I've done my job. And I move on. Like Bill Bixby at the end of “The Incredible Hulk."
After college, I started discovering non-superhero, graphic novel titles like “Bone,” “Creature Tech,” and “Amulet,” all of which were a gateway into the incredible world of all-ages graphic novels like “Lunch Lady,” “Squish” and “Smile.” Where were these books when I was growing up?!
I recently finished my first picture book for Flashlight Press, called “Dragon and Captain.” Available this April! It’s about two imaginative boys who think they’re a Dragon and a ship’s captain. They go on an epic backyard adventure to recover Captain’s lost ship from evil pirates. The book is designed to look like a graphic novel, and is very much in the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes. It was a lot of fun to illustrate! It is my hope that this will be my first of many picture books.
I’m planning to sign some “Dragon and Captain” books at the American Library Association’s annual convention in June 2015. Come on out!
My studio space consists of an ancient drafting table, an old Mac, lots of book and … some Star Wars toys. For, um, inspiration. Yeah, that's it.
I currently work on paper with pen. But I’m hoping to make the switch to digital, later this year. Woo-hoo! Moving on up, baby. Cue “The Jeffersons” theme song!