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October 07, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 16: Berkeley Mews

A weekly feature spotlighting new & unusual features on the GoComics A-Z roster


Feature: Berkeley Mews
Creator: Ben Zaehringer
Format: strip
Frequency: currently updates every Monday
Recommended if you like: Poorly Drawn Lines, Perry Bible Fellowship, Invisible Bread, Up and Out, Pie Comic


What is Berkeley Mews exactly? A left-coast college for cats? A hybrid of Bloom County and Garfield? The title obscures more than it reveals. The art and writing, however, is crystal clearly a treat for fans of Web comics and uplifting black humor. If Berkeley Mews were taught at the actual Berkeley, however, it would be rife with trigger warnings: "Do not read if you have had traumatic experiences with child-eating witches. Avoid at all costs if you can't bear to see Tom Cruise in distress." Here in GoComics country, however, the mildly sociopathic comedy of strips like Berkeley Mews are a welcome treat for the brave reader. Never mind the toilet paper icon on the A-Z listing and the strip's banner: Berkeley Mews is anything but a throwaway read.




Read more Berkeley Mews every Monday on GoComics.

September 30, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 15: Unstrange Phenomena

A weekly feature spotlighting new & unusual features on the GoComics A-Z roster




Feature: Unstrange Phenomena
Creator: Ed Allison
Format: strip
Frequency: currently updates every Monday
Recommended if you like: interplanetary pseudoscience, Tom The Dancing Bug, a hilarious and totally non-factual alternate world version of "Ripley's Believe It Or Not"



What's more fun than fun facts? Fun facts that aren't true, of course. But not just plain old untrue — spectacularly, wildly, imaginatively, cosmically untrue. And with nice spot-colored illustrations, to boot. Such is the domain of "Unstrange Phenomena," a slight mis-characterization of what is in fact a genuinely strange reading experience. For example: all that recent hubbub in the news about discovering water on Mars? "Unstrange Phenomena" had even more exciting information about the makeup of the red planet years ago...




"Unstrange Phenomena" has a social conscience as well, dealing with issues ranging from immigration to the illegal pet trade, sometimes in the very same strip.




After reading through a lot of the U.P. archives on GoComics, I'm a much more informed citizen of the world than I was a few hours ago. And even if 100% of that information is totally bogus, I feel a lot better off for it and had some good laughs along the way. Give it a try yourself, right here on the world's finest indie/syndie comics powerhouse, GoComics.

September 23, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 14: McArroni

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.


Feature: McArroni
Creator: Julian Loayza & Carmen Perez
Format: color illustration, various
Frequency: currently updates every Monday
Recommended if you like: a hybrid of Angry Birds and fine art with a Charlie Chaplin slapstick sensibility


I love comic strips with no words. Something about discovering their meaning or punchline without any verbal clues allows me to appreciate them more on an artistic level. And there's plenty of artistic integrity to the unusual McArroni comic, which has run on GoComics since 2012 and has been in existence since 2008. Animator Julian Loayza created the strip with his wife, Carmen, before moving to the United Arab Emirates to work in the coffee trade.


The strip stars a mischievous bird and his friend Amadeo, but there aren't really storylines as much as odd scenes and situations rendered in colorful, detailed drawings. In 2014, the creators of McArroni posted black-and-white drawings every day, and later that year experimented with collage and photoshop techniques. But it's the classic, colorful illustrations that best define McArroni, and which you can currently read every Monday on GoComics.




September 16, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 13: Bent Objects

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.

Feature: Bent Objects
Creator: Terry Border
Format: single-panel photography and sculpture
Frequency: three days a week (M/W/F)
Recommended if you like: Seeing food items and other small objects anthropomorphize in fascinating, delightful ways.



Terry Border takes playing with your food to the level of an art form. Using still photography and wire sculpture, his longtime project "Bent Objects" stages food items and other small objects in bizarre, inventive scenarios. Much like the action figure photography of Chris McVeigh or the pioneering claymation work of Will Vinton, "Bent Objects" creates its own universe, one in which previously inanimate objects assume a new sense of scale and a bizarre sense of purpose. It's not hard to imagine a hallucination-filled sequel to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" featuring set designs and animations from Terry Border. Only it would have to be a more positive and fun-sounding title, like "Delight and Imagination at the Breakfast Table."


What's most remarkable to me about "Bent Objects" is not just the picture-perfect personifying and juxtaposing of food objects, but how consistently great they are. A scroll through the samples on Terry's website shows the following: a posse of marshmallows holding up a match to a tied-up traitor marshmallow, a trio of zombie peanuts cracking open the shell of a victim and eating his insides, and an old raisin with a cane tottering through a cluster of ripe, green grapes. It's like reading a series of offbeat short stories, a sensation that's only aided by the witty, succinct captions. As the late Roger Ebert once said of Border's work: "brilliant."


Read more "Bent Objects" every M/W/F on GoComics.

September 09, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 12: Molebashed

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.



Feature: Molebashed
Creator: Wes Molebash
Format: strip
Frequency: three days a week (M/W/F)
Recommended if you like: humorous and heartfelt observations about the weirdness and wonder of being a new parent




There's something isolating about being a new parent, even for those lucky enough to have friends or family members going through the same experience at roughly the same time. The demands an infant puts on your time, attention and emotions can feel all-consuming, and even with the support of your partner, you're often awake for hours holding your newborn and asking yourself how it's possible that your life changed so suddenly and dramatically. On the other hand, having a kid is heart-expanding and can be tons of fun. So it's with great excitement that I began reading the comic strip "Molebashed" on GoComics — it felt like (retroactively) having a companion during those first few weeks of weirdness and wonder.


An largely autobiographical strip by cartoonist Wes Molebash, this thrice-weekly feature begins with the journey to the hospital and continues from there, with sharp artwork, wry observations on being a parent and — to my mind — incredibly true-to-life observations about the supreme comedy of raising a human (the pull-out chair thing in the strip above is identical to the one I spent two nights on in April 2012). It's also been remarkable to me how quickly the rituals of child-raising can become routine, but with a keen sense of awareness and humor about the situation, I have a feeling the Molebashes' journey will be anything but boring. Read the whole thing from the start right here on GoComics.

September 02, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 11: Up and Out

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.



 Feature: Up and Out
Creator: Jeremy Kaye
Format: varies
Frequency: three days a week
Recommended if you like: sadistic cats, creepy uncles, undead friends, hapless hobo-kidnapping criminals, cat-puters



Let me first just say how much I've enjoyed the evolution in popular comic strips over the past decade. While classics like Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes and Red and Rover will always be regarded as the gold standard of family-oriented newspaper comic strips, the online comics that receive thousands of views these days are often way too weird or subversive for a mass print audience. Which isn't to say either category is better than the other. Just that it's nice that today's cartoonists are able to explore dark, weird and socially questionable material online, whereas on the print side we still get complaints about things like ketchup being depicted as fake blood in a Lio daily. In other words, print comics have to worry about not offending anyone, while Web cartoonists are often all about pushing the envelope.




All of that being said, however, even the open-minded and black-humored among you might well find something to disapprove of in the delightfully sociopathic "Up and Out," a comic written and illustrated by Jeremy Kaye, in which women are hit on at their husband's funerals and a child is incinerated for messing up the Pledge of Allegiance. "Up and Out" has been online for a few years, with many of the strips popping up on reddit or Tumblr. Kaye also recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to publish his first "Up and Out" collection. In the meantime, fans of weird, awkward and sadistic humor should check out "Up and Out" on GoComics. In spite of all the blood, death, kidnapping, meanness and disappointment, I found reading "Up and Out" to be a positive and lighthearted experience.


See for yourself right here on GoComics.

August 26, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 10: Lard's World Peace Tips



Feature: Lard's World Peace Tips
Creator: Keith Tutt and Daniel Saunders
Format: strip
Frequency: daily
Recommended if you like: peace, silliness, Toothpaste For Dinner



It was an exciting discovery to find out we had something on our roster in which the main character is named, and who also resembles, Lard. Lard is an affable, round little fellow in pursuit of an ambitious aim: world peace. A collaboration between accomplished author Keith Tutt and illustrator Daniel Saunders, both of the U.K, Lard's World Peace Tips is a fun daily nugget of amusement. Even when the suggestions themselves seem totally absurd, Lard's wish for peace feels genuine, and you keep rooting him on. (In fact, you can submit your own tips for world peace on the comic's website.) The art style reminds me a little bit of a simple, psychedelic take on Britain's famous "Rupert the Bear" characters, with the character Little Joe a cute castaway from David the Gnome's forest. But that description hardly does "Lard" justice. It's a harmonious self-contained universe, and one I'll definitely be revisiting again and again.



4ac9652034320132a512005056a9545d that you can check out every day right here on GoComics!

August 19, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol. 9: Shutterbug Follies

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.




Feature: Shutterbug Follies
Creator: Jason Little
Format: single page
Frequency: Mondays and Thursdays
Recommended if you like: graphic novels, thrillers, Ghost World, Charles Burns


When I first started reading graphic novels in the mid-aughts, I felt a tingle of excitement similar to when I first dug into art forms like jazz, or documentary films -- exciting new worlds that existed totally outside of my nascent awareness of them. Early additions to my graphic novel shelf included Daniel Clowes' Ghost World, Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, Charles Burns' Black Hole and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Right next to those was a lesser-known classic called Shutterbug Follies by a cartoonist named Jason Little.


Shutterbug Follies contained a high level of intrigue and suspense (a style he referred to as "bubblegum noir") along with a strong sense of time and place, (New York, fresh out of high school, a time just before digital photography became cheap and ubiquitous). My boss at Universal thought it would make a great feature film, and I agreed. But I also thought its magic fit perfectly into the fish-eye-lens-shaped comic panels that populated the pages of the graphic novel. The bad news is I no longer have a copy, having given it away to a friend several years ago. The good news is the whole thing is online for you and me to read and reread. Where? Where else but GoComics, of course. Check the whole thing out starting here

August 05, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 8: Free Range

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.




Feature: Free Range
Creator: Bill Whitehead
Format: single-panel
Frequency: daily
Recommended if you like: Reality Check, Off The Mark, Kliban, Close To Home


When I explained a job to a friend of mine recently, he told me that I should check out the comics drawn by our friend Thomas's dad. "He posts it every day on Facebook!" my friend told me excitedly. "Oh, great," I thought. For a comics editor/proofreader, hearing that a family friend draws comics is usually prelude to reading dozens of cliched or poorly constructed gags, pretending that you think they are funny, and then receiving a lifetime subscriptions of emails from them "just checking in" to see if you're interested in helping them find their strip a larger audience. But in this case, Thomas's dad turned out to be Bill Whitehead, the author of the daily "Free Range" comic. Not only is "Free Range" a longstanding single-panel strip syndicated by Creators, it appears every day on GoComics! "Free Range" doesn't exactly rewrite the book on single panel comics, but it's also not trying to, and that's a big part of what I like about it. It's very comfortable in its own skin. It inhabits the cliched scenarios of one-panel comics through the decades (psychiatrist's office, homeless guy on the street, guy lost in the desert), but approaches them with a freshness and humor that feels anything but cliche. Many of my favorite gags (a few of which are posted below) get a great joke across without requiring any words. The detailed, colorful artwork is also very impressive for a daily strip. I've enjoyed these on Facebook for a couple of years now, but am happy that it's available to everyone else via GoComics as well. Here's a few more recent faves: 










Read more Free Range comics every day on GoComics!

July 29, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 7: Pie Comic

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.



Feature: Pie Comic
Creator: John McNamee
Format: large formats
Frequency: 3+ times a week
Recommended if you like: Invisible Bread, Poorly Drawn Lines, PBF Comics, XKCD, Creased Comics


When searching for a good candidate for this week's post, I scrolled past the words "Pie Comic." What a delicious and simple title! I love pie, and I work for GoComics. How come I have never heard of this strip? The answer, it turns out, is that it just launched on GoComics two weeks ago. However, the strip's creator, John McNamee, has built a large following for Pie Comic on Tumblr and other sites for the past decade or so. With his other writing credits including stories and videos for The Onion and sketch comedy troupes, John's imagination and talent seem especially well suited for comics. I like the simple but fun-to-look-at art, the sharp and effective punchlines, and the fact that you never know who the characters will be from strip to strip or what unexpected turns things will take. Here's a couple more recent examples:





Read more Pie Comic today right here at GoComics.

July 22, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 6: Reply All

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.



Feature: Reply All
Creator: Donna A. Lewis
Format: four panels
Frequency: daily
Recommended if you like: Cathy, Dilbert, humor related to office politics, self-appearance and family members who don't know how to use email properly


Each week we get submissions detailing people's childhood dreams of creating a syndicated comic strip. Many of them write that it's the only job they could ever imagine having. But it's often those who have labored in other professions who wind up finding the most joy and consistency in the cartooning profession. In other words, when you work hard for something and know what the alternative looks like, it's hard to take that success for granted. At least that's the vibe I get from Donna A. Lewis, whose daily comic "Reply All" chronicles the day-to-day neuroses and social interactions of Lizzie, a highly self-aware single woman in the public relations industry. Like Stephan Pastis, Lewis has a background in law, and she still works as an attorney for the Department of Homeland Security even while producing "Reply All," which has been syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group since 2011. Lewis' art isn't terribly sophisticated, but when it comes to the writing, the characters' clever exchanges, modern concerns and streamlined dialogue give "Reply All" a subversive, socially conscious flair. For example, take the two-day sequence on mansplaining below.





The issue is handled in a way that a white male reader like me (presumably the most offending category of "mansplainers") feels in on the joke. The feminine perspective will appeal to readers of Cathy (a character Lewis has said she does not personally identify with), and the office humor is similar at times to Dilbert, but "Reply All" feels more of-the-moment than those two classics, like a comic your witty colleague doodled during a meeting and made everyone in the office giggle. Which, in fact, is exactly how "Reply All" came into being. Here's a couple more recent strips: 






Read more "Reply All" every day right here on!

July 15, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 5: Randolph Itch, 2 a.m.

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.




Feature: Randolph Itch, 2 a.m.
Creator: Tom Toles
Format: single-panel
Frequency: daily
Recommended if you like: Kliban, The Far Side, Reality Check, Off The Mark, Tom Toles' editorial cartoons

One night shortly after my first child was born, I decided to take advantage of my loopy, sleep-deprived state to write a bunch of punchlines that I thought would be excellent material for a batch of one-panel cartoons. I got on quite a roll and came up with about two dozen, but almost all of them turned out to be totally worthless when examined in the light of day. The insomnia-driven musings in "Randolph Itch, 2 a.m.", however, are nuggets of single-panel cartoon gold. Written and illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Tom Toles, "Randolph Itch, 2 a.m." was in syndication from the late '90s until 2002, when Toles took a job with the Washington Post. It began running on GoComics a decade later, offering fans of Toles' editorial work a window into the parts of his imagination not concerned with politics. The back-and-white art is every bit as sharp and detailed as his editorial cartoons, with Sunday strips in full color. Much like Pat Oliphant's Punk or Dave Whamond's Squirrel, the little cartoonist in the corner gets the first word/riff on that day's joke, adding an extra layer of punniness and observational humor. Having read Toles' op-ed cartoons for a decade, I gained a whole new appreciation of his talent and inventiveness through reading "Randolph." Here's a few more samples…







Read more Randolph Itch, 2 a.m. comics right here at GoComics!

July 08, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 4: Kid Shay Comics

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.



Feature: Kid Shay Comics
Creator: Josh Shalek
Format: large format, multi-panel
Frequency: 2x a week (Mondays and Thursdays)
Recommended if you like: Zombies, Egypt, mad scientists, crazy uncles, friendly werewolves, Anubis

Since it launched in October 2014, Kid Shay Comics has chronicled the Egyptian adventures of Kate Crane and her crazy uncle Brian, who has a fascination with the zombies outside Cairo. Complete with helicopter crashes, haunted temples and a werewolf named Levon, the "Tomb of the Zombies" sequence in Kid Shay Comics is a suspenseful but lighthearted foray into the realms of the undead — all carried out over the course of Kate's summer vacation. Cartoonist Josh Shalek does a lot with black and white here, with figures that look a little similar to Ted Rall's comics or the Big Nate strips that are drawn by Nate. The size and arrangement of panels differs in each strip, with a change of perspective that keeps the eye occupied and draws anticipation for the next installment. I like the artistic touches such as the middle panel of this strip that illustrate the main character's imagination. Now that the "Tomb of the Zombies" has wrapped up this week, I'm excited to see what's next for Kid Shay Comics. In the meantime, stop by table O-6 at the small press pavilion of San Diego Comic Con from July 8 - 12 and say hello to Josh in person. And...


C4faca102c130132a282005056a9545d more Kid Shay Comics right here on GoComics.

July 01, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 3: Pot-Shots



Feature: Pot-Shots
Creator: Ashleigh Brilliant
Format: single panel, no more than 17 words
Frequency: daily
Recommended if you like: epigrams, eCards, clip art, riddles, wordplay, brevity, brilliance

Although the punchy phrases, ironic, made-for-T-shirt humor and symbiosis of sarcasm and clip art look and feel very similar to the modern meme, these "Pot-Shots" date back to the 1960s and '70s, when Ashleigh Brilliant was giving daily public lectures in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, teaching history on a "Floating University" cruise ship, and publishing his clever epigrams by the dozen. According to Brilliant's own description for what constitutes a proper Pot-Shot: 


"...What is said must be really worth saying, but, as far as possible, never actually have been said before. There can be humor, profundity, poignancy, whimsy or a combination of all these. Another criterion is that the material should have lasting value and be capable of being appreciated in other times and other cultures. Because of this stricture, there can be no rhyme, no rhythm, no puns, no idioms – in fact, none of the conventional wordplay that makes writing short expressions fun and easy."


In a way, Brilliant's epigrams — no longer than 17 words in all but a few cases — are a forerunner to the modern use of Twitter for comedy and wit. They're lots of fun to read, look at and think about, and a perfect combination of a sharp British wit steeped in popular American humor. Think Oscar Wilde meets Mark Twain with a dash of sixties San Francisco whimsy, and that will put you somewhere close to the mark.




Read more Pot-Shots right here on!

June 24, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 2: Lay Lines Comics

In this weekly series, editor Lucas Wetzel spotlights new and unusual comic features from the GoComics A-Z listing.




Feature: Lay Lines Comics
Creator: Carol Lay
Format: six panels
Frequency: daily
Recommended if you like: Whimsical storytelling, '90s alt-weekly flashbacks, out-of-body experiences, Russian roulette

If you look at the state of comics today, you can divide things up fairly neatly into two camps: print newspaper funnies, and online-only features (i.e. webcomics). But bridging that gap for toward the end of the 20th century was a series of alt-weekly cartoons — colorful, counter-cultural, large-format comics with considerably more attitude than you would find in traditional print features. One of that era's pioneers is Carol Lay, who began publishing comics in the LA Weekly in 1990 after working for Hanna-Barbera comics, Western Publishing, DC and Marvel Comics. Her first mini-feature, "The Thing Under The Futon," also kicked off her arrival on GoComics earlier this year. Since then, she's been running other classic story lines such as "Now, Endsville" (which starts here) and "Invisible City," (which starts here), both of which were harvested from now out-of-print print collections. Reading Lay Lines Comics on GoComics should offer an interesting view at how Lay's style evolved over the years, from the early '90s "big teeth" look of her characters to potentially some of the alt-weekly work she did in the decades that followed. Lay Lines Comics also includes Lay's occasional contextual notes and special new illustrations. An excerpt from "The Thing Under The Futon" is below.



Read more Lay Lines comics right here on GoComics.

June 17, 2015

GoComics A to Z, Vol 1: Foolish Mortals

Remember how when you were a kid you would spin a globe, close your eyes, hold out your finger, and wherever you wound up pointing to was where you were going to live? I've been doing a similar exercise lately with GoComics A to Z listing to figure out what to read next. With so many great features on the site, it can be hard to keep up with them all, so I wanted to start spotlighting a few that I've recently stumbled upon and enjoyed. Since my job mostly involves proofreading features that are syndicated for print, I'm looking forward to digging further into the GoComics A to Z (and everywhere in between). Look for a new blog post in this series each Wednesday morning. The first installment is below. — Lucas



Feature: Foolish Mortals
Creator: Tom Horacek
Format: single panel
Frequency: 1x a week
Recommended if you like: F Minus, WuMo, Buni

"Foolish Mortals" is an apt summation of the poor, unfortunate souls that populate this weekly single panel strip. "Foolish Mortals" has a simplistic, computer-generated look that gives a playful, wacky flavor to its otherwise dark-edged humor. The fact that the characters look a little like Fisher-Price "Little People" figures makes their often reckless, troubled, bizarre behavior that much easier to laugh at. "Foolish Mortals" only uploads one new strip a week, but the quality level makes it worth the wait. Here are a few recent favorites:





Read more "Foolish Mortals" here on GoComics.

May 21, 2015

Top 10 David Letterman cartoons on

The night has finally arrived when incomparable late-night television host David Letterman is no longer on the air. Let's take a look at some GoComics classics mentioning Dave and his show, as well as a few recent tributes. Here they are, in no particular order. (Drumroll, please...)


10: Grand Avenue, 6/30/2004



Roughly a decade ago, Gabby applied to be an intern on "Letterman," but it didn't pan out. Check out this highly entertaining Grantland feature about what interning for Dave was actually like.


9. Ziggy, 4/7/1994




Among the many names floated in the last year for Dave's replacement, Ziggy's parrot, Josh, was not mentioned. I guess there are comics, and then there are comics.


8. Frazz, 7/7/2003




Growing up is hard. First you aren't old enough to stay up for late-night shows, and then when you do, the hosts retire. Fortunately, Stephen Colbert starts his "Late Show" run this September.


7. Stupid human/pet tricks medley


The Doozies, 5/13/2015



Drabble, 7/17/2000




Kit 'n' Carlyle, 3/17/2001




6. Reality Check, 10/18/2000




It may be a little rude, but the gap in Dave's teeth is part of his iconic figure. (Check out this "Off The Mark" for another view)


5. The Flying McCoys, 9/20/2006




The GoComics archives from the '90s and 2000s are full of these "Leno vs. Letterman" debates. The Flying McCoys get right to the heart of the matter in this classic strip.


4. The Doozies, 5/20/2015




Nobody does a tribute like Tom Gammill and "The Doozies."


3. Jeff Stahler, 5/19/2015




At first, things seem OK without Dave on TV...


2. Drabble, 5/15/2015



...then reality sets in.


1. Gary Varvel, 5/19/2015




Great strip from Gary to bring it all back home. Hope you enjoyed these strips, and congrats to Letterman and his team for an excellent run. #ThanksDave!


(Honorable mention goes to Big Top, for the sequence in which Wink went on Letterman to challenge Courtney Love to a cage-fighting contest)

May 05, 2015

Happy National Cartoonists Day!

I woke up this morning to find a bunch of confetti, sketch pads and empty champagne bottles littering my front yard. This is not an unusual site for a weekend night, but was a little odd for a Tuesday morning.

"Must be some kind of holiday," I said.

"Cinco de Mayo?" my wife asked.

"I don't think so," I said, scrolling through my social media feeds to find out what was up. Oh yeah! It's National Cartoonists Day. People around here take it pretty seriously.



Like so many others, I grew up wanting to be a cartoonist (or a doctor/NBA player as a backup). I sketched cartoons about a mad scientist named Sotdoly and also drew Simpsons characters on index cards which I would trade for either small change or Triscuits. It was an auspicious start. However, I wound up doing more writing/editing and less writing/cartooning, and after college I landed an internship writing marketing copy for Universal Press Syndicate, which eventually became a full-time editing job here at Universal Uclick. So if I wasn't going to be a cartoonist, I could at least work on their behalf.

Friends and family members will ask me what cartoonists are like, and I tell them it's impossible to make any sweeping generalizations. Every one of them has his/her own style, and that variety of talent and approach is what makes the comics page (and so interesting.

Some cartoonists work months in advance, and others can hardly bring themselves to write until the deadline is staring them in the face. Some sketch out roughs and send them in for feedback, while others use only tablets and computer screens. Some work early in the morning and others stay up all night. The thing these individuals have in common is that they all followed their dreams and worked incredibly hard to get where they are.



(read the full cartoon above over at Richard's blog)

Cartoonists can be strange individuals, or they can blend in seamlessly with the rest of society, but they're usually hyper-attentive to the world around them, always storing up material and generating ideas that could bring life to their characters and the worlds those characters inhabit. Being a cartoonist is often less a childhood fancy than a lifelong compulsion. Many of them will tell you that they never considered being anything else, even if they did have to work a variety of jobs to get where they are now. As Savage Chickens creator Doug Savage writes:

If you’re a creative person, you need a creative outlet only slightly less than you need food and water. Spend time doing something you love, every day, even if you can only spare a few minutes. You never know where it will lead!

Doug's quote above came from his "Meet Your Creator" blog post, which is an ongoing series we've been running for a couple years now. The series offers a fascinating, first-person glimpse into our cartoonists' studios and working methods. If you have any interest in getting a closer look at what being a cartoonist is like, I highly recommend checking it out.

So today we'd like to raise an extra large glass to cartoonists everywhere, and especially those we work with here at GoComics, whether they are Pulitzer-Prize winning veterans whose strips have been appearing in print for decades, or cartoonists who have other jobs but enjoy sharing their work and finding an audience online. It takes an incredible amount of work and focus to do this every day, and whether you're in 600 newspapers or have 16 followers online, the ability to use your artwork and writing to entertain others is a special, special thing.


March 23, 2015

Mad Dogs, Comics and Englishmen



British soul singer extraordinaire Joe Cocker died last December at the age of 70. I've been meaning to do a tribute post ever since he passed, but to borrow a phrase from Legolas, the grief was still too near.


A couple of GoComics cartoonists, however, didn't hesitate to pay homage to Joe. First came the Nancy strip above, lovingly rendered by Guy Gilchrist, a musician himself and an avowed Cocker fan. After that, Joe Cocker's Grammy-winning duet with Jennifer Warnes made a cameo in a pivotal school dance scene in Big Nate.



Let me just interrupt for a moment to say how strongly I agree with the DJ's selection here. This is a powerful song, a Platinum-certified carpe diem / love-conquers-all musical moment. With this song playing, there's no way Nate can lose...




Oh. Well, I guess it's not for everyone. And in retrospect, the Tall Girl's headband suggests she probably would have been more impressed by one of Cocker's famous Woodstock covers. Oh well. Or better yet, the Chipmunks cover of the song. Who knows what tomorrow brings...



March 08, 2015

The puddin's in the proofin'



Have you hugged your copy editor lately? Well maybe you should, because it's National Proofreading Day, an occasion dedicated to promoting mistake-free writing, and also one of the most festive holidays of the year after Arbor Day and International Tuba Day. But before you brake out the beer funnels, kazoos, and Wite-Out, lets all take a moment too apperciate hte impotence of proof-readers every were because, with out them we all all wood look like fools. (You see what I did there? Excellent. You're hired!)


When it comes to keeping errors and typos out of the funny pages, comics editors like me owe a lot to the people around us — our co-editors, production specialists, paginators and the newspaper editors who run our features — any of whom might point out a mistake before it makes it into print. And, of course, there's the readers themselves, who often aren't shy about pointing out our editorial shortcomings. One old guy in Tucson used to send us his own marked-up copies of the crossword puzzles. In one case, the published clue was "Mariachi wear" and the answer was "Serapes." He wrote: "Mariachis seldom — if ever — wear serapes!" Now I'm not one for tattoos, but that phrase seems as worthy of ink as any I've ever heard.


All jokes aside, proofreading can be a serious business. At best, errors are a distraction for the reader, and at worst they can create a skewed or false understanding of the news. Typos also make the writer, cartoonist or editor feel bad about themselves. To lighten things up, here's a series of classic GoComics features honoring the art and science of proofreading. Click on each image to view more from each strip. And have a fantabulous National Proofreading Day.   — Lucas



















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