Thank you to all who entered to win an archive-quality Calvin and Hobbes Sunday comic print!
Congratulations to Sonya Deberte! You are the winner of this giveaway! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by 11/28/13 or your prize will be forfeited.
Not a winner? Get your own archive-quality, framed or unframed Calvin and Hobbes print here!
The comic strip Dixie Drive has a new name – Wide Open. Creator Rich Powell describes the name change this way, “We’re flying a ‘57 Bel Air down the highways and byways of this great land in a cheeseburger-fueled quest for the essence of the American Animal! The stereo is cranked, the windows are wide open, the throttle is wide open, our eyes are wide open… the possibilities are WIDE OPEN!!” Makes you curious to read the strip, doesn’t it?
Here’s a funny one to introduce you to Rich’s talent:
Wide Open originally joined GoComics as Dixie Drive in October 2012. Based out of Asheboro, N.C., Rich Powell created a comic strip that was influenced by his surroundings. As Dixie Drive became more popular, Rich decided to broaden his focus beyond the Southeast. In a recent interview with the Asheboro Courier Tribune, he said, “I’m just expanding the scope of the cartoon to poke fun at everyone in these great United States, not just my Southern brethren.”
Sounds like he wants to give all Americans an equal opportunity to laugh at ourselves. Rich may be turning his humor your way in the near future. Don’t miss it! If you are a GoComics PRO Member, add Wide Open to your My Comics Page, and read it every day .
-- The Intern
Red and Rover has grown to be one of the most popular features on GoComics. What's not to like about a well-drawn comic about a boy and his dog? It's often commented on as being endearing, thoughtful and sweet, while remaining funny. Did you know that Brian was also the creator of syndicated comic Adam@Home? Cartoonist Brian Basset talks about his roots and inspiration in this segment of "Meet Your Creator".
Four things to know about me.
1) My father was a cartoonist. (2) I was an adorable redheaded, freckled little boy. (3) I love dogs. (4) My last name is Basset. So there you have it. There was no denying my destiny -- I was born to do a cartoon about a boy and a dog, though not necessarily a basset hound.
Growing up in a household where my father was a cartoonist was a wonderful twist on reality. It was always somewhat difficult for my father to get overly upset when I brought home poor grades that were also accompanied with references to my constant doodling in class.
Being the youngest of three allowed me a certain degree of latitude. Since I seemed to be a pretty good kid (I had all my digits and the neighborhood adults waved to me), I was, for the most part, left to my own devices. At home, I viewed just enough television (TV shows are a visual art form not unlike comic strips) to understand how to construct story lines, appreciate and understand “camera angles” and, most importantly, emphasize good character development. At school, I often used my teacher’s voice during lessons as white noise, which is extremely suitable for daydreaming and its close cousin, doodling. To this day I take my writing outside of my studio to a local coffee shop so I can be surrounded by multiple conversations and activities that I channel into “white noise.” Others need music to create; I use “white noise.”
By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a professional cartoonist -- a political cartoonist like my father, to be specific. As staff cartoonist for my high school paper I drew editorial cartoons, a sports comic strip called Stars and Studs and a variety of illustrations. During my senior year, I applied to a number of colleges and universities primarily for their journalism and art programs. In September 1975, I walked onto the campus of The Ohio State University as a freshman fine arts major and became the staff cartoonist for The Ohio State Lantern.
My Ohio State experience was filled with growth, both as an individual and cartoonist. I drew three editorial cartoons a week for the Lantern for three years. During that time, I also served two summer internships with the Detroit Free-Press, drawing five editorial cartoons per week. In late August 1978, after my second stint in Detroit, I decided to strike out on my own with the hope of securing a full-time position somewhere as an editorial cartoonist for a daily newspaper. Riding the rails, I slipped into Seattle one drizzly, foggy night -- Sept. 13 to be exact -- and found myself a $20 hotel room. The following morning I dropped in unannounced, first, at the now-defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer, followed an hour later by The Seattle Times, where I asked to see the editorial page editor for each paper. My impromptu interviews couldn’t have lasted more than 10 minutes. Catching both editors off guard was an understatement. At least I would be dinner conversation that evening.
Friends of a friend at Ohio State living in Seattle ended up housing me for the next few weeks while I followed the local political scene intensely. I subsequently drew up a dozen or so cartoons to take back to the editors I had met with earlier. Herb Robinson, then the editorial page editor for the Seattle Times, proposed a six-month tryout. At the end of the six months, my performance would be evaluated and the decision to hire me full-time would be made. I began my tryout on Oct. 23, 1978. Six months later, I was a full-time employee of The Seattle Times.
Fast-forward nearly five years to the summer of 1983. At the time, a number of editorial cartoonists, first led by Jeff MacNelly with Shoe, were trying their hands at doing a comic strip. Whereas a reporter could strive to become an editor and an editor an officer in the company or even publisher one day, an editorial cartoonist could strive to become, well, an older editorial cartoonist. Except for syndication, there weren’t many ways to supplement one’s salary if you happened to be an editorial cartoonist. So I gave comic strips a try. A year later, my first comic strip, Adam, debuted with Universal Press Syndicate.
Adam focused around a stay-at-home dad with two small children (eventually I would add a third) and a wife who worked at an office. Traditional household roles at the time were slowly changing. Even Hollywood tapped into this phenomenon that same year with “Mr. Mom,” starring Michael Keaton.
In hindsight, my daytime job as an editorial cartoonist had honed my artistic skills, but when it came to writing a comic strip, it was truly on-the-job training. That said, my tenure doing Adam, later changed to Adam@Home, would be relatively successful. Ten years after starting Adam, I lost my job at the Seattle Times during a period of downsizing. I was now a full-time comic strip cartoonist.
With two small children at home, I was very grateful to still have an income coming in. This period obviously gave me significantly more time to devote to Adam, as well as understanding its shortcomings. For the first time, it really hit me as to what was required to create and sustain a successful comic strip. First and foremost, a strip needs interesting characters that readers care about, followed by consistently good writing and stronger self-editing, along with storylines readers could identify with, attention to pacing and timing of panels, economy of line, strong design work and more attention to my inking.
Starting in the mid-1990s I began drawing invitation covers for the Seattle Humane Society’s annual fundraiser, Tuxes & Tails. It was during this time that I drew many dogs of varying breeds, shapes and sizes, yet I consistently showcased an unnamed lab-mix each year that I was drawn to drawing (bad pun). Then, in about 1998, I pondered a simple question: If I were to start an entirely new strip with all the knowledge and perspective I had obtained doing Adam, just how much better would that feature be and would I enjoy doing it even more than Adam? I suppose one of the greatest realizations I had come to after my years doing Adam was that if I was going to commit the additional time and energy to a new feature, it had better be extremely close to my heart. It was going to have to be something I could not imagine not doing -- something that not even a high fever could keep me away from my drawing table.
After 18 months of development, Red and Rover first appeared in newspapers on May 7, 2000. On May 26, 2013, it was awarded the highest honor a newspaper comic strip can achieve, the Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society for Best Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year.
Since day one I have so thoroughly enjoyed bringing Red and Rover to comic strip readers both online and in print that I cannot imagine not doing it -- and yes, Red, and his faithful canine companion Rover, truly are that close to my heart.
-- Brian Basset
(Brian will blog in greater detail about Red and Rover in a future posting, to be announced.)
There were a lot of write-ups I tried to pair with these, but they all seemed superfluous, as the following strips pretty much tell you everything you need to know. Granted, the only possible reaction anyone could have to these would be a few hard blinks as the word "Why?" struggles free of one's throat, but I have no answers to give you, and Mr. Schulz is unavailable for comment, as his days are now spent "up there," jammin' with Jimi.
(In an impressive display of my coding prowess, clicking on these strips will make them appear larger in a separate window.)
As I'm unencumbered by any insight whatsoever, please enjoy the following Peanuts strips about the time Charlie Brown got a rash on his head that looked like the stitching on a baseball, then hallucinated that the sun was a baseball, then went to camp wearing a bag on his head to hide the rash. It's as weird or weirder than the week Garfield became all about a giant dog for no reason whatsoever. I like to think about a person who hadn't read the funny pages in a few weeks opening the paper to the final strip in the story arc, and how much it would mess up the rest of his day. Even with a little context, the ending to this saga is as inscrutable as hieroglyphics were before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Godspeed.
Chilling. It brings to mind something novelist and role model F. Scott Fitzgerald said regarding his time in Hollywood, "Wear a mask long enough, it becomes your face." Not that it's a relevant quote beyond it being about a mask, but it's pretty tricky for me to drop references if I have to ensure they're more than tangentially germane.
"Mr. Sack" is a pretty menacing nom de guerre-- if Charlie Brown hadn't so clearly entered a fugue state at the end of these strips and disconnected completely from reality, he could've harnessed his innate leadership ability and charisma to set up a sort of camp-based Keyser Soze persona.
Hey, also, I just realized that Charlie wearing a cruddy bag on his head at summer camp is eerily similar to the idea behind Jason Vorhees, especially in the first "Friday the 13th" sequel. Jason wasn't as helpful, though.
I think we all remember what happened after these strips, when Peanuts became an odd precursor to DePalma's "Dressed to Kill" and all the Sundays were drawn by Peter Max for a few years. Thankfully, not drawing Sundays freed up Schulz's schedule enough that he took up tennis, and used his enthusiasm to get the strip back on track by 1978. Ever seen a bird play mixed doubles with a dog? It's crazy!
While Candorville, and to a lesser extent, Rudy Park, often include wry political commentary and socially conscious dialogue, it's fun to see Bell's acerbic wit compressed into one-panel statements and observations.
Bell's editorial cartoons are colorful, detailed and unconventional. They're a welcome addition to a roster that includes much of the top op/ed cartoon talent in the country.
Read more of Bell's editorial cartoons each week right here on GoComics.
This week's pick comes from our Marketing/Publicity Coordinator, Julie: I'm a sucker for comic panels, and Reality Check is no exception. I'm always amazed at Dave Whamond's ability to make me laugh using so few words and space. The jokes are quick, yet clever at the same time. Each panel is full of bright, detailed art, and it's clear that Dave puts effort and thought into both his writing and his artwork. Plus, a witty little squirrel makes a cameo in each panel. Look for him!
About Reality Check
A wacky vision of the world that exposes the hidden hilarity in ordinary circumstances.
Cartoonist Dave Whamond offers an offbeat view of the world in Reality Check, his daily and Sunday comic panel that exposes the hidden hilarity in everyday situations. A thoroughly wacky look at life, Whamond explains, "I just frame some of the silliness of everyday life in the comic and invite people to take a double-take -- to look at life from another angle.
Reality Check is more a state of mind than anything else. The characters could be people you know -- maybe even a bit of yourself -- but the names have been changed to protect the innocent." Whamond was born in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up in the small northern Canadian town of Whitecourt where, he says, "there was nothing to do but draw cartoons." He discovered doodling at an early age, practiced through many math classes and attended the Alberta College of Art, where he studied visual communications and discovered his true passion -- cartooning and illustration.
Whamond freelanced at The Calgary Herald as an editorial cartoonist, sharing duties with the paper's staff cartoonist and publishing three cartoons a week while still in college. He honed his skills at the Herald for five years before devoting himself full-time to freelance illustration for magazines. Whamond's illustrations have been published in Sports Illustrated, National Geographic World, Financial Times, Owl Magazine, Psychology Today and T.V. Times, among others. He also illustrates a monthly feature for Sesame Street magazine. In 2013, Whamond won the prestigious Reuben Award in the Best Newspaper Illustration division.
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 anythng; 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.
Berserk Alert! 11-15-13
My Guardian Grandpa 11-15-13
Granny Anny 11-18-13
A complete list of all the Sherpa features can be found here .
If there's going to be an elephant in the room, this is a good one to have.
I like to think that this was inspired by Scrooge McDuck swimming through his money bin on DuckTales.
Crossover and beer! What's not to like?
With all the new comics debuting on GoComics recently, my homepage is getting increasingly longer as I find myself adding them to my “must-reads.” No complaints here, though! It’s fun to discover new comics and embrace the creativity of our content.
One new comic that I find particularly amusing is Human Cull. You need a bit of background information to enjoy this comic, but once you understand, it provides a quick and easy laugh.
Each Human Cull panel features an alien seeking to make the world a better place by removing the most annoying people. Litter-droppers, bad drivers and lousy boyfriends are all painlessly vaporized by ray gun, making the world easier to enjoy.
Scrolling through Human Cull comic panels, I find myself rolling my eyes at others’ quirks and nodding in agreement that the world could use a little tidying up.
Occasionally, I expect that if a co-worker were to walk by my desk, I would look a bit wide-eyed, realizing I’m guilty of the behavior depicted. Apparently, promising not to tell anyone doesn’t mean I can still tell my best friend. Who knew?
What are your culls? Tell us in the comments or send 'em in to email@example.com!