Click it to read it. Available as a poster here.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Over the past thirteen years I've made several attempts at newspaper syndication. For those unfamiliar with the process, a syndicate is a company that sells and promotes comic strips (and other features) to newspapers, and splits the profits with the creator.
Syndicates typically receive thousands of unsolicited comic strips each year and can usually only afford to pick up and promote a few. Here's a sampling of my additions to their slush piles since 1994, in semi-chronological order. (Any of the images in this post can be clicked on to view a larger version)
The story of a college dormitory full of young men and their exploits as brand new freshmen. (I don't have samples of the earliest ones, they're probably in a box somewhere and I'll be sure to post them if and when they are recovered.)
Similar to Q-Hall, but focusing on two recently graduated roommates and their attempts to make it in the real world. Zag was the name of the less-responsible, Oscar Madison-esque one.
Jim the Wonder Dog
This strip focused on a mad scientist and his dog-brained creation. There was also a love triangle involving the scientist's lab assistant. Jim also had ears like a dog.
The Further Adventures...
Captain Adventuresome, part-time superhero, part-time HMO claims adjuster. His boss is his former arch-enemy, his managers are demons from another dimension. This one was submitted around 1997, and one editor made sure to tell me he didn't see much of a future for the superhero genre among the general population.
My Evil Twin
Two high school-aged twin brothers: one's popular, one not so much.
Something about a zoo (I forget the title)
A comic strip about a zookeeper and her animals.
(Some of these were rejected for good reason, though all of them certainly had more potential than the stack of generic form letter rejections* gave me credit for.)
Bob's Honest Truth
A question & answer strip, in a larger format like you see in weekly alternative papers.
Something about a bunch of high school teachers
The art teacher's name was Mr. Crayon and the principal looked like a gorilla. That's all I remember.
A one-panel cartoon with no recurring characters, about childhood and kid stuff.
A semi-autobiographical strip about a stay at home dad and his infant son.
Suitable for Framing
Another large format strip, this one was completely miscellaneous, though it did have a couple of recurring characters like Ace Poorman: Poverty Stricken Detective.
The story of a sherpa exchange student and his adventures in America. A surprisingly shallow concept when it comes to attempting to wrap a comic strip around it, though the characters had potential.
A hapless bus rider and his travails. This one was actually published for a few months in a corporate newspaper.
This one focused on an elementary school and had a rather ambitiously large cast: an elderly school teacher who'd returned from retirement, a handful of kids, a sprinkling of other teachers, and a hamster. Watson Elementary was by far my favorite to write and draw up to that point. However, once the syndicates tell you no, there's really not much for a cartoonist to do but retool it or move on. Most of these were created in the days before I was very internet savvy, so the notion of producing them for an online audience wasn't even a consideration.
Words to Live By
A daily word definition followed by it being used in a situation.
Something about a 32 year old who returns to live at his parents house
This one didn't make it much further than the concept, some writing, and a few roughs. Before I ever begin to draw a strip, I typically write around 200 samples, and then winnow those down to the best 24 to drawn and submit for consideration.
Something about a tortoise and hare
They're roommates. The hare is dumb, the tortoise is a community college professor. The hare works for a robot at a fast food restaurant called Taco Village. Also there's a girl involved somehow.
The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats
I actually inherited this one and now offer it directly to the public through the wonders of paypal. And, despite accusations of "cashing in on the meme", I've immensely enjoyed producing it and have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
Several more samples of my rejected strips can be seen here, and I'll update it as I come across them in the archives.
*Not to sound bitter, I know the syndicates receive a deluge each year, so it's not very realistic to expect much. The one shining exception to this was King Features' Jay Kennedy. A true gentleman and fan of comics, he tragically passed away earlier this year. His rejection letters always included a hand-written note with insightful comments. He was always encouraging when 99% of the other syndicates were satisfied to send a form letter. Sometimes even a photocopy of a form letter.
at 3:44 PM
Maybe today, maybe not:
A detailed list of my failed attempts at comic strip syndication, featuring the characters above and many, many others.
A Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sunday strip recovered from the archives! Learn how Kitteh and Pip first met!
And much more.
at 9:23 AM
Friday, July 27, 2007
There will be a couple more installments of teh cats later this evening, once a certain big screen triumph is attended to.
It looks like the cat color poll is leaning heavily towards orange. I wonder if Jim Davis has been voting multiple times.
at 6:09 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Someone has ordered a color version of the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats through the newest project. I guess they technically are varmints, so I can't say no. I would, however, like to know what color you think they should be. Vote here:
They don't really have to both be the same color, though that's how I originally envisioned them. If you feel strongly either way, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.
at 9:03 PM
Ordered by the same kind soul who ordered Jackhammer Jill as a hobo a few months back.
This is the first in my new custom-named-postcard-art-project-dealie entitled "Critters, Creatures and Assorted Varmints" going on now.
The stream of Laugh-Out-Loud Cats will resume shortly, as well as a few monkeys, a vole, and more!
If you are unfamiliar with the real Jackhammer Jill, visit BoingBoing.net. She'll be there to greet you.
at 8:02 PM
When I met John and John of They Migh Be Giants in 2000, I gave them a differently colored version of this picture.
Also, a new flickr group has been created where you can share your drawings and photos inspired by tmbg.
at 9:59 AM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Here's a music video based on the movie I'm watching while I draw today's batch of Laugh-Out-Loud Cats (to be posted later).
If you haven't seen the film, don't watch this affectionate tribute. There's a spoiler or two.
Also, the soundtrack by Ennio Morricone (in the movie, not in this video) will stick with you forever.
at 11:41 AM
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I'm about to hit the hay for the evening, so how's this for a deal: two-for-one on either of the projects listed. Two Laugh-Out-Loud Cats for the price of one! Or, if you'd prefer, two critters for the price of one (color or black & white)---indicate the second name in the box for additional info on paypal.
This offer will last until I roll out of bed.
Also, the picture above is from my life drawing set on flickr. If there is any advice I would offer someone who wants to learn to draw, it's this: life drawing. Lots of it.
Also, did I fail to mention the interview posted on the Zazzle Blog yesterday? Here's a link.
at 11:54 PM
What about my monkey?
If you have ordered a monkey, it will be posted here and in the mail within 24 hours. Or so.
What about the cats?
The remaining cats will be in the mail by the end of the week. I do not currently have plans to end the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats project, contrary to the wishes of some.
What about the Neatorama Monkey Caption Contest?
If you win the contest, I will still gladly draw a monkey for you. I am just as willing to do some other critter for you. Winners can be choosers.
Yes, that URL now forwards here. Either way, thanks for visiting.
at 3:16 PM
Here are 6 of the remaining 8 monkeys currently in progress. They'll be finished and posted tomorrow.
Also tomorrow! A price increase* and a slight expansion to the scope of this project.
As always, thank you all so very much.
*Due to repeated questioning of my mental coherence. If you've been waiting to order a monkey, the time is now before the price jumps.
at 12:27 AM
Monday, July 23, 2007
A resourceful youtuber named Zouyan has created (using the audio from John Hodgman's "The Areas of My Expertise" and one whole photograph) a primer for those of you who may still be unaware of the rise and fall of hoboes in the United States.
Watch and/or learn.
Zouyan, don't be surprised if Ken Burns gives you a call.
at 2:13 PM
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Click on the comic to view it in a larger, readable size.
All of the comics seen in this set have been sold to people just like you. If you have questions about the project, feel free to comment here or contact me directly through my homepage (or flickr too, whatever's easiest).
Thanks for visiting!
at 11:10 AM
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Over the next several days (or maybe weeks, I'm not sure yet) I'll be posting the steps in my process of creating a poster.
I'll try try to give a bit of a description as I go along as well.
This is the finished sketch phase, which you can click on to see it larger.
at 11:27 PM