Doug Bratton with son, Caden
How did you begin your career as a cartoonist? When did you start cartooning?
I started drawing superhero comics when I was 7 years old with my older brother, Dave. As fate would have it, we lived in the town next to the Kubert School, and I took Saturday morning classes taught by Joe Kubert and Mike Chen. I couldn’t have found better teachers anywhere in the world if I tried!
As I got older, I became interested in newspaper comics, thanks to Bloom County, The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes. Later, I became a fan of other gag/magazine cartoonists including Leo Cullum, John Callahan, Charles Addams, B. Kliban, Arnold Roth and Al Jaffee.
In my early 20s, I started developing different strips and submitted them to the syndicates. I made it to the final cut of the Washington Post Writers' Group's Fine Toon Fellowship program in its last year with Pop Culture Shock Therapy, but that program was discontinued. I received some very kind and positive encouragement for the feature from Suzanne Whelton, who was the Post's comics editor at the time. College students started responding to Pop Culture Shock Therapy when I put it online at popculturecomics.com.
I received some requests to print it in college papers, so I began self-syndicating the feature to college papers in response to that feedback. Yay for the Internet!
What inspires you?
I love reading humor books, particularly those made up of short essays. Absurdist humor is my favorite. It really gets my mind working. My favorite humor writers are Steve Martin, Jack Handy, Dmitri Martin, Jim Gaffigan and Simon Rich among many, many others. I enjoy reading McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. I also enjoy going to comedy clubs in the city (New York, for those who don’t live near me).
Can you share some of your achievements/accomplishments?
I was accepted as a member of the National Cartoonists Society in 2008, and served as the Manhattan chapter chairman for four years. I was nominated for a Reuben Division Award for Best Newspaper Comic Panel in 2010, definitely a huge honor. Later that year, Andrews McMeel Publishing put out a hybrid humor book/comic collection of my work – The Deranged Stalker’s Journal of Pop Culture Shock Therapy.
Feel free to buy a copy or five on Amazon! I was able to pick up over 50 newspaper clients independently, which was also no small feat. (He writes as he pats himself on the back.)
What are your favorite comics that you read today?
I read lots of different kinds of comics today. In longer form, I’m a big fan of Brian Fies’ work. My favorite comics, though, are still humor comics. I enjoy Bizarro and Lio, as well as Perry Bible Fellowship, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Poorly Drawn Lines.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or appearances?
I have a new book coming out in the fall titled “Pop Culture Shock Therapy: Comics Re-Mix” and will be signing at New York Comic Con. I am also contributing some humor writing to an online humor collective Happyfunshow.com, and appearing at my son Caden’s Little League and travel baseball teams' games multiple nights each week in Rockaway, New Jersey. I’m the good-looking guy coaching 3rd base.
What is your studio/workspace like?
I share a home office with my wife, Pam, which forces me to keep my workspace way neater than I would prefer (although not nearly neat enough for her). I basically have a couple of desks for my Macbook Pro and scanner, papers and loads and loads of books – mostly cartoon collections. I do most of my pencil and inking (the old-fashioned way, which does allow me to sell original art) on a lapboard in my bedroom or living room. I have some cool little sketches, notes, and signed books displayed that I’ve picked up from fellow creators over the years.
The two best things about being a cartoonist: 1. Getting to create on a regular basis and (hopefully) make people laugh, and 2. Meeting and building friendships with really talented people whose work I admire. I am now, and will always be, a fan of comics and cartoonists!
Read Pop Culture Shock Therapy here.