Sunday, August 30, 2009

20 QUESTIONS WITH SANDRA BELL-LUNDY

Sandra Bell-Lundy is the creator of BETWEEN FRIENDS, syndicated by King Features.

Read all about Sandra and her comic at her blog.



1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?

I didn't have any aspirations of cartooning as a career when I was a kid but I loved to draw and cartoon for fun. My uncle worked at the local paper mill and always brought me bundles of left-over coloured cardboard paper sheets because he knew I was always drawing on something.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

When I was about 12 or 13 I sent some cartoons to a syndicated feature called THE CARTOON BUG. If they selected your cartoon they would print it in their feature with your photo, name and age and then give you a little critique. They paid me ten dollars.

3. Describe the process you went through to get BETWEEN FRIENDS syndicated.

Long story short: I spent four years (off and on) refining my strip and visiting with the local editor of my hometown newspaper. After he finally agreed to publish BF on a daily basis, I managed to sell it to three more southern Ontario dailies. I self-syndicated to these dailies for a few years and sent the strips out to the syndicates every once in a while. I was just about ready to give up on syndication and try to get a book collection published when I got a call from Jay Kennedy at King Features. Within two weeks of signing a development deal with King, I had a letter from Universal Press asking me to send them more samples. The development deal lasted about 8 months and in August 1993, King picked up my option to syndicate. BETWEEN FRIENDS launched in February 1994. If you really want all the juicy little details, visit my blog and look under the Category section labeled "Syndication Story."

4. What’s more important, talent or perseverance?

Without talent, I don't think anyone will have long term success. That said, there are a lot of talented people out there who don't find success because they lack perseverance.

5. What’s your favorite rejected strip or gag?

I've only had one strip that was outright rejected and it's not my favourite because it was actually a stupid gag. My favourite edited strip was one about my characters, Susan and Harv visiting a fertility specialist and Harv was freaking out because he had to give a sperm sample. My editor called me because I had used the word "sperm." He sounded kind of uncomfortable . . . but he asked me if I could find a way to make my point without actually using the word "sperm". If I couldn't work around it, they said they'd let it go. I found a way to change it and still make it obvious as to what I was talking about. This was about ten years ago. If the same thing happened today, I would wait for an hour and call back and tell my editor I tried and tried to rework it but I really needed to say "s"-word.


6. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. web comics debate?


I think the web cartoonists who are having success are entrepreneurs and I congratulate them. I actively read or listen to anything I can find from the ones who are making a go of it to see if there is something I can learn that can be twisted to fit my business. It seems to me, though, that the online comics that are making money right now mostly appeal to a gaming audience and their particular road wouldn't work for a lot of print comics features. I don't think print is dead by any means but there's a lot of muddling around to be done in the coming years. I really don't believe there's a "one size fits all" solution or game plan that we can all follow.

7. Newspaper comics are considered pretty tame compared to TV and other media. Do you find this limiting or is it a welcome challenge?

I'm comfortable working within newspaper parameters. I can't say that I've felt that restricted...I've written about a lot of sensitive subjects from infertility to domestic abuse without any major censorship problems. ( I do a lot of self-editing though.) It's more about how you say it or show it than what you actually say. Maeve is a single woman and she has a sex life that's implied in the strip. I don't show her frolicking under the covers but she will go away for "lost weekends" with a boyfriend for example.

8. Name five of your favorite comic strips or cartoonists.

It's tough to narrow it down to just five...Kim Warp, Kieran Meehan, Richard Thompson, Marjane Satrapi, Jerry Scott...there are so many more than that!

9. Is there any truth to the rumor that SNUFFY SMITH will be guest-starring in BETWEEN FRIENDS for a week of very special strips?

No, but the APARTMENT 3-G gals are meeting up with us for Martinis and sushi and Margo is buying.

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

Words come first. I brainstorm in a spiral notebook and pick out the gags I like best and develop those.

11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

Not really. Some weeks are tougher than others though.

12. Who do you want to play Maeve in the BETWEEN FRIENDS live-action movie?

Catherine Zeta-Jones or Angelina Jolie.

13. What kind of editor do you prefer, hands-on or laissez-faire?

When I signed with King I worked with Jay Kennedy very closely until about 18 months after I launched. Being so new to the business, I was very glad to have a hands-on editor at that point and I enjoyed working with him. I think I prefer working on my own now although it's great knowing I can call Brendan (Burford) if I have a problem. or something unusual comes up.

14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

Books...To Kill a Mockingbird, Day of the Triffids, Random Passage, I like reading biographies and historical stuff

TV...Lost, House and I've become a fan of Bones lately

Films...To Kill a Mockingbird, In the Heat of the Night, Iron Man, Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, Shirley Valentine, Lord of the Rings

Songs...I'm not into music in a big way but I like Sheryl Crowe, Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert's rendition of "Mad World."

15. What are your tools of the trade?


Right now I'm using Bienfang 2-ply Bristol. I prefer Canson but they've discontinued the pad sizes I work with...paper is getting harder to find...a sign of the times?? Pentel brush pen for large body work, rapidiograph pens for borders and fine work, microns for lettering, Photoshop for cleaning up and screening.

16. What’s the best part about being a cartoonist?

Doing your own thing and scheduling your own time.

17. Have you met any of your cartoonist idols? Under what circumstances?

I've met a lot of them at NCS meetings, the Reubens and the Festival of Cartoon Art in Ohio.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

Draw a lot, experiment with different tools, study the work of cartoonists in the area of cartooning you aspire to, be willing to keep editing your writing and ideally get some advice from a variety of people in the business.

19. How important are awards?

I think it's nice to be acknowledged for your work. I've received recognition from various associations for several storylines I've done in BF but I haven't won any major awards.

20. What’s something that nobody knows about you?

I took the Art Instructions course (through the mail...you know, "Draw Binky" or whatever it was) ...but I didn't finish because I took off to backpack through Europe with a friend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

20 Questions with Dan Piraro

For 24 years, Dan Piraro has been bringing to the comics page his unusual, irreverent, and, yes, sometimes bizarre, view of the world.

BIZARRO, Dan’s single-panel feature, launched in 1985 in the wake of Gary Larson’s FAR SIDE. But Dan soon distinguished himself from the comics pack with a fresh and individual voice.

A humorist without peer, Dan Piraro is also an amazing artist. I marvel at each daily panel and at how much detail Dan manages to pack in. I also look for the the little “Easter Eggs” Dan includes: the Eyeball of Observation, the Pie of Opportunity, the Bunny of Exuberance, the Flying Saucer of Possibility, the letters "K2,” the Crown of Power, the Dynamite of Unintended Consequences, the Lost Loafer, the Arrow of Vulnerability, the Fish of Humility, and the Inverted Bird.

Read BIZARRO in your favorite newspaper, online at the Daily Ink, or one of the fine newspaper websites using King Features’ Comic Kingdom, like the S.F. Gate.

I’d like to thank Dan for squeezing in these 20 questions amidst daily deadlines and comedy shows, and I don’t even mind that he called me “Kyle” in his email. (Kyle?).



1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?

I drew constantly from the time I was a toddler and my parents recognized I had a lot of talent. I grew up thinking I would be a fine artist and became a cartoonist in my early 20s as I looked for a way to make a living as an artist.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

I sent cartoons off to syndicates for a couple of years, then got signed with BIZARRO. It was my first paying gig.

3. Describe the process you went through to get BIZARRO syndicated.

Just drawing as many cartoons as I could, showing them to friends, sending the best ones off to newspaper syndicates. This took a couple of years and probably 20 separate submissions before I got a call from Chronicle Features in S.F., wanting to develop my work over a period of months in hopes of syndicating it.

4. What’s your favorite rejected strip or gag?

Hard to say. Since I know what will get by and what will get turned down, I rarely draw cartoons that will get rejected. I have some adult cartoons that I like that have never been published. There is one in my blue book, Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro called "Medusa at a Nude Beach," which I think is great.

5. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. web comics debate?

Print comics make more money; web comics have great leeway in terms of topic and imagery. If I could make as good a living on the web, I'd drop the newspapers and go for the freedom of the Internet. Many of the best comics are Internet only.


6. You also do stand-up comedy. Tell us about that.

I used to get asked to speak to groups interested in what life is like for a cartoonist. I got good at it and made people laugh, so I decided to put together a stand-up comedy show with visuals. I started doing that in 2001 and have been doing it now and then ever since. I've done a few small tours but have sworn that off. Now I just do single shows when asked and if the money is good.

7. Newspaper comics are considered pretty tame compared to TV and other media. Do you find this limiting or is it a welcome challenge?

It's very limiting but I've learned to live within the guidelines. See # 5 above.

8. Name five of your favorite comic strips or cartoonists.

Revilo, Kliban, GET FUZZY, TOM THE DANCING BUG, many of The New Yorker guys.

9. Who looks sexier with the bald head, Daddy Warbucks or Ziggy?

I'm straight, so I don't find men sexy. Even cartoon men. Ziggy is cooler; Warbucks is less creepy.

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

The concept comes first, then I come up with words and a pic to express it. I don't know how I "develop" ideas, I just surf the web looking for something that stirs up an unusual idea and go from there.

11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

I used to, but after consistently making daily deadlines for 25 years, through death, sickness, divorce, adultery -- you name it -- I don't worry any more. I figure I'll make it somehow.

12. You’ve done several vegan-themed BIZARRO strips. How long have you been a vegan?

I went from meat-eater to vegan in the summer of 2002 after reading about factory farming and visiting a farm animal sanctuary.

13. What kind of editor do you prefer, hands-on or laissez-faire?

A hands-on editor is good if you agree with their opinions. I trust my editor, Brendan Burford at King Features, implicitly, so I always get a lot out of his suggestions and advice. But he is very hands-off 90% of the time.

14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

Book: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Going Native by Steven Wright (not the comedian).

TV shows: (current) Weeds, 30 Rock, Flight of the Conchords, Michael and Michael Have Issues, Damages, Lost, True Blood, Dexter... yes, I'm sort of a junky.

Films: The Big Lebowski

15. What are your tools of the trade?

I draw with a mechanical pencil, ink with brush and India ink (even the lettering), scan it into Photoshop and do all the changes and coloring there.

16. What’s the best part about being a cartoonist?

It sure as hell isn't the groupies, they're all teenage boys. I'd say being my own boss, doing what I like and actually making a living, travel opportunities. (speaking engagements, book signings, etc.).

17. Have you met any of your cartoonist idols? Under what circumstances?

I've met a number through the NCS (National Cartoonists Society). We have a convention once a year and I've been able to become friends with people like David Silverman (Simpsons director), Sergio Aragones, Arnold Roth, Al Jaffee, etc.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

Practice. That's the only way to learn to draw and write in ways that interest readers. Create comics you would like to read; don't try to predict what others might like.

19. How important are awards?

They are meaningless to anything other than your ego. They don't help your career a bit.

20. What’s something that nobody knows about you?

I killed Jimmy Hoffa.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MAD #501

Checked out the latest issue, which features one my cartoons in the Fundalini Pages.

I noticed Todd Clark has a strip in the Strip Club. Good stuff. Todd and I used to do TRIPLE TAKE for King Features.









Thursday, August 13, 2009

20 Questions with Scott Hilburn

Scott Hilburn’s fast track to the funny pages is a true Cinderella story.

Forced to scrub the floors while his ugly stepsisters went to the ball, he — oh, wait. That's not right.

I’ll let Scott tell it.

I first came upon THE ARGYLE SWEATER at GoComics and have been a fan ever since.

Scott is funny, talented, generous, modest — and he draws great piñatas.

THE ARGYLE SWEATER has also launched a slew of licensed products – calendars, greeting cards, books — who does this guy think he is, Gary Larson?

Be sure to read THE ARGYLE SWEATER in your daily newspaper or online at GoComics.


1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?

From the tender age of 7, I wanted to be a hand model. I was, unfortunately, told by a talent scout that I had unattractive cuticles. Since that day I looked for ways to hide my embarrassing digits. Holding a pen seemed to be simplest method for distracting people. It helped to avert eyes away from my hideous cuticles and onto my writing instrument. However, after a while, holding a pen for no apparent reason became somewhat of a sideshow in and of itself. I began to feel like Bob Dole...So, to keep my pen busy, I began cartooning.

At least that's what my Mom told me.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

GoComics, believe it or not, was my first paying cartoon gig. Exciting times indeed.

3. Yours is a real Cinderella story. Describe the process you went through to get THE ARGYLE SWEATER syndicated.

September 2006 - Launched my own website/sent off my submission packet to the syndicates.

Mid September 2006 - Began showing my work on Comics Sherpa.

Mid October 2006 - Was invited to move over to GoComics.

End of November 2006 - After receiving, looking over, signing and returning the contract, I launched on GoComics.

End of December 2006 - I receive an e-mail from John Glynn expressing Universal's interest in my panel. He said he would be in touch to discuss further after the holidays.

Early January 2007 - I'm offered a full-scale print syndication contract by Universal.

February 2007 - Contract negotiations/contract signed.

March 2007 - Development begins.

December 2007 - Development ends.

March 2008 (I think) - Offered a calendar deal with Borders.

April 2008 - The launch (I think they said I launched with something like 130 clients).

4. You draw great piñatas. Why aren’t there more piñata gags in the strip?

Thanks. I'm contractually prohibited from doing more than one pinata gag per year.

5. What’s your favorite rejected strip or gag? I have a ton of rejected gags already.

Some are too risque. Some have dated references. Some too gross. Not sure which is my favorite, but what am sure of is that after talking to my publisher, it's pretty likely that, at some point, we'll have a book of my rejected gags.

6. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. web comics debate?

I started on the web, but I don't have the time, stamina, salesmanship, marketing savvy or desire to do all of the work that it requires to be a successful web comic. I'm in awe of the guys that can find the time to wear all of those hats and make a good living while putting out a great comic - unfortunately, that's just not me. I couldn't function without my syndicate.

They edit my work, promote my work, distribute my work and find other ways (outside of traditional newsprint) to make us both money.

I guess I'm not even sure what the debate is about... For me, the bottom line is, if you're making a living doing what you love, who gives a damn which avenue you employ to do it? On April 15th, I'm guessing none of us are "web" cartoonists or "print" cartoonists. We're just cartoonists.

I know, I know. I'm very profound.

7. Newspaper comics are considered pretty tame compared to TV and other media. Do you find this limiting or do you welcome the challenge?

It's VERY limiting. My humor tends to be pretty edgy. What I usually find funny is stuff that toes the line between what the rest of the world will think is hilarious and what might get me kicked out of newspapers. Again, I have to thank my syndicate (or more specifically, my editors).

As stifling as it feels at times having certain jokes censored, and as much as it pisses me off that some of my funniest stuff can't actually be seen by my general readership, I know that my editors have my best interests in mind and have saved my ass on countless occasions. Seriously.

Fortunately, being part of the Andrews McMeel family, In addition to newspapers, I've been afforded the opportunity to showcase my humor through some less conservative outlets. My syndicate is kind of an "all-under-one-roof" conglomeration, and as such, they have a hand in book and calendar publishing, greeting cards, online distribution, animation and miscellaneous licensing. As I said, I'm pretty sure at some point we'll do a rejection collection, I've been working (off and on) on a treatment for an animated series and Recycled Paper Greetings has already provided me an avenue to show some of my edgier work through a greeting card line.

8. Name five of your favorite comic strips or cartoonists.

PEARLS. Who the hell doesn't like PEARLS?

CUL DE SAC. Syndicated for less than two years and I already feel pretty confident in saying that Thompson is quite possibly one of the 5 most talented cartoonists in the last 30 years. I predict Reuben within another 5 years. I think he's that good.

POOCH CAFE. Paul is one of the funniest cartoonists working today.

LIO. Has another comic character risen to the near iconic status Lio has in such a short time?

BAD REPORTER. Don Asmussen is effing genius.

HOME AND AWAY. Yes, Steve's a friend of mine, and yes, I know that's actually 6 and not 5, but he's a great guy, and his humor and writing doesn't get the recognition it deserves.

9. Who’s more likely to cheat on his taxes, Dagwood or Rex Morgan, MD?

Rex Morgan. He just seems shady to me.

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

Concepts, which are kind of a combination of the two, come first. But after the concept is worked out, I refine the wording and then comes the drawing.

11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

I worry more about running out of time. Deadlines are my worst enemy. I know my editors hate me. Not kidding.

12. THE ARGYLE SWEATER has been a licensing success. Are there any products you WON’T do?

I draw the line at personal lubricants. Call me old-fashioned.

13. What kind of editor do you prefer, hands-on or laissez-faire?

Depends. Do I want to draw whatever I want? Or do I want to make money? Ha.

Actually, the easy answer for me, is hands-on. There's not a day-to-day dialogue that goes on between me and my editors (I know they have a lot of other things always going on and I always feel like I'm being a nuisance when I have to call or e-mail them, so I try to keep contact to a minimum), but where the rubber meets the road, they've been invaluable. Like I said, I couldn't function without them.

14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

TV Shows: Family Guy, The Office, Rules of Engagement, Real Time with Bill Maher, Jeopardy

Music: Too many artists to name, but here's a few I like: John Legend, The Fray, G Love and Special Sauce, still love my old Rage Against the Machine CDs, Al Green, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Ben Folds, Theory of a Deadman, Ben Harper

Film: Anchorman is one of my all-time favorites, Castaway, 300, Pusuit of Happyness, The Godfather, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Fight Club, Office Space

15. What are your tools of the trade?

Strathmore Bristol Smooth, various sizes of Rotring Rapidograph pens and a lightbox. I grayscale my dailies and colorize my Sundays in photoshop. Oh, and for sketching and concepting, I use plain pens and typing paper. Lots and lots of typing paper.

16. What’s the best part about being a cartoonist?

The best part about being a cartoonist, is giving back to the community and making readers' dreams come true. For example, a few weeks ago, the sun was setting and I had just finished a long arduous day at the drawing table... I hadn't eaten anything all day, so I decided to head over to a local restaurant for a quick bite.

Leaving my home, tired and exhausted, a kid approached me to tell me how much he liked my work. I thanked him and continued walking. As I shuffled over to my car, he called out to me again and offered me his Coke. I hestitantly accepted his gift, and in return, to show my appreciation, I threw him my cartooning jersey.

We both smiled, gave each other the "thumbs up," and then I'm pretty sure some upbeat music started playing. That's gotta be the best part of being a cartoonist.

Either that or working in my underwear.

17. Have you met any of your cartoonist idols? Under what circumstances?

I was recently lucky enough to meet Lynn Johnston at her home. However, I have to admit it was brief. Local law enforcement escorted me away pretty quickly. Apparently, Canada had some kind of ridiculous "breaking and entering" law. Not being a citizen, how was I supposed to know?? Do I look like a Canadian legislator?

Seriously, though, I did meet and had dinner and drinks with Lynn, Mark Tatulli, Mark's wife Donna, Tom Wilson and Bob Mankoff aweek or two ago in New York. It was both fun and surreal at the same time. I can't wait for the chance to meet up again. They were all incredibly kind.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

Don't draw in the rain.

19. How important are awards?

Not important at all. At least not until I'm nominated for one.

20. What’s something that nobody knows about you?

I've never tried Norwegian food.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

20 Questions with Mark Parisi

“Mark Parisi is an outstanding creative actor with unlimited talent and abilities.”
—Arts & Entertainment, Miami Herald

Wait! Wrong Mark Parisi.

Mark Parisi is the wonderfully twisted cartoonist behind the syndicated panel OFF THE MARK.

Mark’s work can be found on greeting cards, T-shirts, mugs, calendars, magazines, books, newsletters and scrawled on the bathroom wall of a McDonald’s on Route 66.

Go to Mark’s website for the full scoop and be sure to read OFF THE MARK in your local paper or online.













1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?

Yes and yes. It seemed like the best, most fun job. My mother tells me I was drawing early.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

While attending college in Salem, MA, a guy in the area contacted me to help him create a parody of The Salem Evening News. He called it Not the Salem Evening News. My main responsibility was to make off-color versions of all the cartoons on the comics page. What a dream job. The parody paper looked great but was expensive to produce. Therefore it was overpriced and didn't sell well. But it was fun!

3. Describe the process you went through to get OFF THE MARK syndicated.

My wife, Lynn, and I started self-syndicating OFF THE MARK in 1987. Basically, we sent cartoon packages to weekly papers and followed up with a phone call. After getting a client list, I sent samples to syndicates and the feature was eventually signed to Creators. That immediately pushed me from weekly to daily, plus I needed to get over a month ahead. It was a tough adjustment and maybe the quality was initially diluted. Then, just when I was in a groove, I was dropped. Ouch.

My wife and I then redoubled our efforts and built up the client list again. In 2002, we started chatting with Amy Lago (then at United Media) at a Reubens weekend and it turned out she was looking for a single-panel comic. In a few months we worked out a contract and I've been there ever since.

4. What’s your favorite subject to cartoon about? Least favorite?

Favorite would probably be pets. Least favorite would be Bulgarian trapeze repairmen.

5. What’s your favorite rejected strip or gag?

Here's a cartoon. See if you can guess what the problem was.




















Answer: I was asked to remove the cigarette.

6. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. web comics debate?

Off to the left where I won't get hurt.

7. Newspaper comics are considered pretty tame compared to TV and other media. Do you find this limiting or is it a welcome challenge?

At first I found it limiting, but now I find it a fun challenge. You'd be amazed at the filthy stuff you can slip in if it's done with a little finesse.

8. Name five of your favorite comic strips or cartoonists.

My five favorite cartoonists are: Jim Meddick, Sergio Aragones, Gary Larson, Charles Schulz, Gary Trudeau, Paul Gilligan, Richard Thompson. Did I mention I'm lousy with numbers?

9. Who would win a hot dog eating contest, Hagar the Horrible or Cathy?

This sounds like a set up. I have to go with Hagar.

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

Words, almost always. Or at least situations. I write and draw things in my sketchbook all the time, good ideas and bad. The hope is I can eventually massage the bad ideas into good ones.

11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

Every day. Right now, for example.

12. What’s more important, talent or perseverance?

Tough question. A talented person might submit their work once and be lucky enough to hit it big immediately. Perseverance can be key, but is the most determined person going to make it if they have no talent? For the most part, one's no good without the other.

13. What kind of editor do you prefer, hands-on or laissez-faire?

I like an editor that gives me a lot of freedom but will pull my ass out of the fire if I'm about to make a dumb mistake. Luckily, I've had those types of editors.

14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

Yikes. Well, I enjoy books by Douglas Adams, David Sedaris, Dave Barry. I'm trying to catch up on the classics. I just finished and enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye and Oliver Twist. And, yes, I got into all the Harry Potter books.

A few TV shows I've enjoyed include Seinfeld, All in the Family, Soap, The Office, The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 30 Rock.

Music, (or rather musicians) I enjoy: The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Pixies, CAKE, The Breeders, The Replacements, Spoon ... I could go on and on.

Films: Pulp Fiction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Taxi Driver, Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Jaws, Slap Shot, Life of Brian.

Of course, this could all change tomorrow.


15. What are your tools of the trade?

Rotring Rapidograph pens, Micron markers, 2H pencils, kneaded erasers, Bristol board and Photoshop.

16. What’s the best part about being a cartoonist?

Being able to do something rewarding and not having to deal with all the things that come with a real job, like commuting, office politics, and working on someone else's schedule.

17. Have you met any of your cartoonist idols? Under what circumstances?

I've met so many, it's hard to keep track. In most cases, it's been at the NCS Reuben weekends. Charles Schulz even invited my wife and I to visit. I wish I had more substantial conversations with him, but I was a bit intimidated. Also got to meet Sergio, Trudeau, Meddick, Jaffee, Adams and many more.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

Do it because you love it and hope it works out. If it doesn't, at least you were doing something you love. And write what you know. And stay away from single panels.

19. How important are awards?

I'm answering this question shortly after winning the "Best in Newspaper Panels" plaque from the NCS, my first cartooning award, so I'd have to say they are the most important thing ever invented ever.

20. What’s something that nobody knows about you?

I'm taller than George Clooney.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

EEK! of the Week




It's back!


Rated M for Mature











Another unused gag.

What's the project?

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

20 Questions with Corey Pandolph

Corey Pandolph is certifiably insane.

Who else but a madman would take on four comic strips?

It started with BARKEATER LAKE. Then Corey took over THE ELDERBERRIES. Then came TOBY . Now he’s launching GREENE WITH ENVY.

He’s ether nuts or a strange cartooning robot sent from another dimension to make the rest of us look bad.

But he’s also funny. Corey Pandolph is a very funny cartoonist. My favorite Corey strip is the darkly humorous TOBY; but they’re all funny.

Partake of all things Pandolph at his website, but don’t stay too long. They say insanity is contagious.


1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?

I always wanted to be a cartoonist from the earliest age, however, I did
stray from that dream in my adolescence, only to rediscover it in my early
20s.

2. What was your first paying cartoon job?

Good Lord. Uh…when I was 12, a crazy women on my paper route had me draw
her dog for money. I think she wanted realistic, but it came out cartoony.
She paid me anyway.

3. How did you end up working on THE ELDERBERRIES?

Soon after BARKEATER LAKE left United Media and online only, I was working
on a new idea with the help of John Glynn at UPS. I mentioned I missed
working in print and he asked if I'd like to take over the art duties on THE
ELDERBERRIES. When Phil's health declined further, I ended up taking it over
completely.









4. You also do the BARKEATER LAKE strip and TOBY (a fave!). With three strips, how do you find time to eat, sleep, and Twitter?

I'm starting a forth called GREENE WITH ENVY on June 15th. I could tell
you how I do it, but then I'd have to kill you and all of your readers...
And their extended families and pets. Not even my wife knows my secret... Or
else she'd be DEAD.

5. What's your favorite rejected strip or gag?

Ummmm... I once wrote a gag where Dusty's (ELDERBERRIES) horse, Esmerelda,
breaks into Miss Overdunne's office to surf the web for oates, but gets
frustrated when all that comes up is “Hall and Oates.”

I write very late at night.

6. Where do you stand in the print comics vs. web comics debate?

Comics are comics, man. I've stopped caring about how and where they get
published. I think the majority of the webcomics guys have a good idea, but
a shitty attitude and I think a lot of the print guys are narrow-minded and
selfish. (Imagine that... selfish artists)

Personally, my preference is for whoever's gonna pay me to draw and write
comics, while handling the merchandizing and promotion so I don't have to.
I'm not a salesman, I don't have a business degree. I'm a drunken creative
with good ideas and a love of bacon, women and rock and roll.

And just because you have a business degree, doesn't mean you can be
funny. Actually, I think it means you're boring. You may be able to draw and
sell T-shirts, though. So that's something.

Anyway, whatever. I find I'm equally hated on both sides, so I'll just keep
doing what I do until I can invent some media that's both print and interweb
combined.

The Interpulp" sounds fun.













7. Newspaper comics are considered pretty tame compared to TV and other media. Do you find this limiting or is it a welcome challenge?

I dunno... I'm not one to find a whole lot of instances where I need to be
too vulgar in comics. I've seen very few examples where it works as well as
it might in TV or movies. Sometimes I think using expletives and toilet
jokes are the easy way out. Yes, farts are funny... in my living room at 11
at night. In comics, not so much.

Isn't it more fun to actually write a joke that no one's written? Or find a way
to cleverly add an innuendo?

Am I alone on this?

Probably.

8. Name five of your favorite comic strips or cartoonists.

All three (soon to be four) of mine are head and shoulders above the rest, so
that leaves one of some other hack... I'll close my eyes and blindly point
to... CUL DE SAC. Sure, that's a quaint slice of life. Ugly characters,
though... And who drives a car that small, really?

9. What does Ziggy wear underneath that smock: boxers, briefs, a thong, or is he going commando?

Ziggy?

10. How do you develop ideas? Which comes first, words or pictures?

I have a “hot chicks” room, which I visit before each cartooning session.
After that, I have no idea what happens. I just know there's a stack of
comics on my desk by 5 pm.









11. Do you ever worry about running out of ideas?

No, I worry about running out of beer. ALL THE TIME.

12. Who do you want to play Morris in the TOBY live-action movie?

Zack Galifianakis, hands down.

13. What kind of editor do you prefer, hands-on or laissez-faire?

I once visited the UPS offices in KC, where John Glynn took me to a baseball
game and proceeded to get what he still refers to as “handsy” with me.

I've been told I enjoyed it, so I guess my answer is “hands on.”

14. What are your favorite books, TV shows, songs and films? (Yes, that counts as one question.)

Books are for losers with bald heads and the word "jejune" in their
vocabulary. TV is Venture Bros., Rescue Me, and the MLB. Film is anything
with Clint Eastwood and/or Jennifer Connelly.

15. What are your tools of the trade?

Blood and parchment, blessed by a defrocked catholic priest.

16. What's the best part about being a cartoonist?

Getting to answer 20 questions after 11 1/2 Miller High Lifes.

17. Have you met any of your cartoonist idols? Under what circumstances?

Nope. I have breakfast with Lincoln Peirce once in a while, though... Oh wait,
I take that back... I got to meet Sergio Aragones at the MAD Xmas party a
few years back, so that was cool. I think.

18. What advice would you give aspiring cartoonists?

Go to school for something else, like marketing and sales, upload a
wordpress-themed comic to the web and proceed to rake in the cash on books,
shirts and mind-numbing speaking engagements about the future of the
“industry.”

Be sure to have a LOT of XXL and XXXL shirts in stock.

Or, if you want a more “PC”generic (but unrealistic) answer: Keep drawing
and writing! The cream always rises to the top! Dreams really do come true!
Unicorns and rainbow stickers will appear on everything you touch!

19. How important are awards?

Not nearly as important as REwards, like a black-and-white cookie or a beer
at the back of the fridge when you thought your bastard neighbor just drank
the last one.

20. What’s something that nobody knows about you?

I have a miniature Superman lunchbox on my desk, for that fateful day when
I wake 1/8th my original size.