When we think of gardening, we always think of our friends Arlo and Janis, who can often be found planting flowers, pruning plants and tending to their garden.  


To celebrate National Garden Month, we’re giving away a signed Arlo and Janis print!


To enter, comment on this blog post and include your FIRST and LAST names. Limit one entry per person. This contest will end on Thurs,, May 1 at 10 a.m. CT. The winner will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to all readers worldwide.

Meet Your Creator: Dave Kellett (Stripped Film)

Today, we hear from Dave Kellett, co-director of the recently debuted STRIPPED film. Considered a love letter to comics, Dave explains how the film got its roots.


As a cartoonist, I never would’ve guessed that the best thing I’d ever do in my cartooning would be … in film.  But, sometimes life leads you down interesting paths.


STRIPPED is a documentary on comic strips that I’ve been working on for four years – and debuted on iTunes in April (…as the No. 1 doc, no less! Which was cool!).


As a professional cartoonist, the project has been a dream come true. I got to travel around the U.S. and Canada with my friend and co-director Fred Schroeder, interviewing cartooning heroes from our childhood. We gathered more than 300 hours of interviews, including the first-ever recorded words from Bill Watterson, who also generously created the poster for the film.




STRIPPED sits down with everyone from Jim Davis of Garfield, Cathy Guisewite of Cathy, Mort Walker of Beetle Bailey, Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant, Matt Inman of The Oatmeal, Mike and Jerry of Penny Arcade and well over 60 more. We talked comics, daily deadlines, creativity and how the art form can be so powerful in the right hands. We also talked about the future of comics: where this art form goes in the painful switch from newsprint to pixels.


More than anything else, though, the conversations – and the movie itself – ended up being a giant love-letter to comics.


Which is appropriate … because, like so many of you, I have always loved comics. I love how these carefully crafted little panels can be so immersive and powerful. And I love how one person – a single, solitary person – can create and populate these worlds on a daily basis, for decades on end.


I’ve always known I wanted to be a cartoonist. And like so many cartoonists my age (I’m 40), I always assumed that my career would find its footing on the newspaper page. That was the brass ring of comic strips: The shining outlet where my heroes Schulz and Watterson and Breathed and Larson produced amazing work.



 My path ended up being different, though.  


After college, two stints in grad school, and an eight-year run working in the toy industry, I ended up finding my cartooning career in webcomics. Specifically, with two strips – SHELDON, a daily gag-a-day strip, and DRIVE, a long-form sci-fi strip. 


Like every good parent, I love both my children equally: Sheldon allows for all sorts of jokes on pop culture, literature, history, pets, coffee and more. It can be single-panel, stand-alone goofiness … or long, emotional, character-based storylines that go on for weeks. And Sheldon allows for changes in art styles, too: Over the years I’ve used inks, watercolors, washes, digital painting, you name it.  It’s a really fun strip to draw.



DRIVE, on the other hand, is more the storyteller’s strip, and channels my inner sci-fi nerd. I’m really enjoying writing the seven-year arc it’ll take me to finish the story. Drive combines my love for dark, serious sci-fi like Frank Herbert’s Dune, with goofy characters and stories, like Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide series. 




With both these strips, I have no editor, no distributor, no layers between myself and my audience. Which is both the greatest thing ever, and a tricky balancing act. Because, ultimately, I have to wear all the hats in my career: I have to handle the accounting, the legal, the business minutiae, manage an office employee – and still have time for the creative stuff I live for.


Which in part is why STRIPPED got made: I wanted to talk about how cartooning is both flourishing during this time of change, but also changing drastically. Something fundamental is changing about comics: There are more voices, speaking to more people, about more topics – but we no longer have the four or five “water cooler” comics that folks can talk about at the office. It’s a fragmented world for comics, with more cartoonists making a living from their art, but speaking to far smaller audiences – and that’s both good and bad.


But ultimately, STRIPPED is my chance to sort of … give back … to an art form that’s given me so much in my life. Comics taught me to read, kept me company as a shy kid, helped me learn joke construction and art composition, and lifted me up through good times and bad. And if this film can channel even a tiny slice of the joy I’ve gotten from comics over the years – both as a reader and as a cartoonist – then I’ll consider it a success.



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.



Adventures of Mike & Simon  4-18-14


Adventures of Mike & Simon



Adventures of Marty and Turkey  4-20-14


 Adventures of Marty and Turkey











Don't Pick the Flowers




Green Pieces  4-20-14


Green Pieces





Funday Morning


Girth  4-21-14













Kate the Great

A complete list of all the Sherpa features can be found here.


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.







My Guardian Grandpa 4-15-14










Bushy Tales  4-16-14









Chasing Unicorns  4-16-14




 Neighborhood Zone  4-16-14





Berserk Alert!  4-17-14






Jillpoke Bohemia  4-17-14



Suburban Wilderness 4-17-14




A complete list of all the Sherpa features can be found here.

Nursery Rhymes and Bedtime Stories

I am constantly taken back to some of my greatest childhood memories when I read comics. Lately, I have noticed that there have been quite a few nursery rhyme and bedtime story-related comics that have been making me feel nostalgic. (Although these versions seem funnier than I remember!)


Thatababy by Paul Trap
Thatababy by Paul Trap
Sweet and Sour Pork by Robert Holt
Sweet and Sour Pork by Robert Holt

Goldilocks and The Three Bears was my all-time favorite, but I don’t remember the part where they went into a bar or I don’t remember Goldilocks having wi-fi issues.


Off the Mark by Mark Parisi
Off the Mark by Mark Parisi

I don’t remember Humpty Dumpty having a cell phone in the original rhyme. Technology is always progressing, even in comics! 

Half Full by Maria Scrivan
Half Full by Maria Scrivan
Sweet and Sour Pork by Robert Holt
Sweet and Sour Pork by Robert Holt

And we can’t forget about both The Three Little Pigs and “This little piggy went to the market”... I guess the pigs are now dealing with their issues from being tormented and “wee wee weeing” for all those years.


What other comics are making you feel nostalgic?



James Bond's Comics Royale

JB TitleCard


I'm not entirely sure what James Bond is supposed to be. Is he a man of action or reaction? Does his salary come out of the national defense budget, or the super-secret national offense budget, split between agents and the yearly fiscal allotment for new battering rams? Every single one of the Bond movies begins and ends in a haze for me-- most likely due to viewing them after being immobilized by various winter holiday meals-- so all I can say for sure is that he treats women poorly, feels fine about killing people (bad people), tends to smirk, and that extended credits sequences involving naked, silhouetted women doing gymnastic routines on gun barrels will never, ever be a comfortable thing to watch in the same room as my parents. Other than that, I think he works for Statler and Waldorf, the old men in the balcony from The Muppet Show. Pretty sure I'm right about that. 




While rooting around in the archives earlier, looking for something about which to write this week, I was at first shaken by the discovery of hundreds of daily James Bond comic strips, then later, stirred into writing about some of the weird bits I found within them. 


Since I didn't have a ton of time to really dig through them, I started with the first batch, a fairly faithful retelling of the first Bond adventure, "Casino Royale." Well, the original novel's version of the story, at least. These originally ran in the British newspaper The Daily Express, starting in 1957. For a variety of reasons, UK newspapers have always been a bit more forward-thinking and sensational than the more staid dailies in our country, so try to keep that in mind when reading the story's kickoff below to keep spit-takes to a minimum:



Smoldering, coiled violence in every panel!  




The story progresses along the lines of the various movie adaptations ("Bond, go gamble!" "Hello, I'm a pretty lady," "Oh, no! Gambling went wrong!" "Ack! Bad guys!" etc). Below, more highlights. 








The story concludes pretty nicely, with the loose ends tied up as you'd expect. True to form, the last words you see promise that James Bond Will Return, though I like to read this to the tune of the popular Wings song, winding its way through the cruel city, continuity be danged: 




Bond comics rolled on and on in British papers from 1958 until 1983, and we've apparently been syndicating them to various outlets for years. I didn't have time to do a thorough examination of all of them, but I managed to pry up some highlights taken from stories adapted from other Fleming novels as well as what appear to be monstrously bizarre flights of fancy conjured by Patrick Nagel and the writing staff of Penthouse Forum. 

Feel free to click on any of the images for a closer look. Just don't try and get too close. He'll never let you in. 


This mud bath thing goes on for, like, two full weeks. 




Besides sultry gun molls and international intrigue, another common trope seems to be "sleeve knives." 


Note: Much like the popular Nintendo 64 game "Goldeneye," the Bond comics also had a secret "Big Head Mode."



In case this is hard to make out, what happens here is James Bond bashes a man over the head with an entire lady.  


I barely scratched the surface of our archives, and due to concerns over length, still had to cut nearly a dozen other strips I think are worth sharing. As such, next week, James Bond will return in: You Only Post Twice.

Gifts for Moms, Dads and Grads

With Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations just around the corner, we wanted to share a few gift suggestions that will bring smiles to each and every person on your list!


Framed and Unframed Collectible Prints




Comic enthusiasts will delight in receiving an archive-quality framed or unframed collectible print of their favorite GoComics comic strip/panel. Perfect for decorating a dorm room or first adult apartment, spicing up a home or adding spirit to a man cave, the comic you choose will be printed beautifully on high-quality 11” x 17” paper. Best-selling collectible prints include Calvin and Hobbes, Doonesbury, Peanuts and Pearls Before Swine. For pricing information and to order, go here. To receive a framed or unframed print by Mother’s Day (May 11), orders must be placed by April 28 and May 5, respectively. To receive a framed or unframed print by Father’s Day (June 15), orders must be placed by June 2 and June 9, respectively. Available only in the United States.


"The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson




Calvin and Hobbes is unquestionably one of the most popular and beloved comic strips of all time. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" is the perfect addition to any spring gift list. Available in both hardback and softcover, you can purchase "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" here.



"The Complete Cul de Sac" by Richard Thompson


Complete Cul de Sac


Beloved by readers and cartoonists alike, every Cul de Sac cartoon has been carefully curated in a collectible, affordable paperback boxed set. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, "The Complete Cul de Sac" is available here.  


Consider these unique gifts when shopping for the moms, dads and grads in your life!


Don’t see what you’re looking for? Our sister company Andrews McMeel Publishing has tons of fun products that are perfect for every occasion! See them all here.


Armed, dangerous, helpless

In recent years, the Tyrant Lizard has met its comeuppance — at least in the comics pages. I'm not sure exactly when the "look at the dangerous dinosaur with the funny little arms!" meme started, but I've seen some doozies. Most of them have been on the Web, with the T-Rex facing difficulty with everything from push-ups to self-gratification. GoComics has seen some winners as well, like this Brevity from 2011




Mark Parisi of "Off The Mark" had a pretty good one here back in 2010. More recently, the opening week of WuMo (in syndicated form — the strip itself has been thriving for a decade online) saw T-Rex in one of his most pathetic poses yet. 




To me, this was really the gold standard of "T-Rex with tiny arms" gags, far surpassing any of the indie-t-shirt offerings that sprout like weeds on the sidebars of the junk news sites I visit each day. It requires no words, and the expression on his face and the motion blur of his little left arm make us feel sorry for him even as we laugh at his plight. It could have easily been the last word in the conversation, but for good measure, Comics Sherpa standout "Rogue Symmetry" recently dealt the meme another blow (while simultaneously scoring laughs) in this now-viral panel




Good stuff. And a good point. But I somehow doubt we've seen the last of the simultaneously fearsome and helpless tiny-armed dino. Why? Not just because it's funny, but because of what the fearsome T-Rex with the pitiful arms symbolizes: 




Humans can erect huge cities, fly all over the earth and into space, harness the power of the atom and instantaneously connect to people all over the globe. But when it comes to halting or reversing the effects of climate change, removing harmful chemicals from our food supply, or achieving peace between nations (or on our own streets), human beings are as helpless as a T-Rex reaching for a roll of toilet paper. 

Does that sound a little overly cynical? Perhaps. Surely there is plenty of laugh at about humanity that will eventually be parodied in hilarious detail by whatever life forms inherit the planet after it's done with us. But since that might take another 65 million years, I'll just keep on enjoying these T-Rex comics while we have them. 

GIVEAWAY: Three SIGNED "In the Bleachers" Comic Prints by Steve Moore!

To enter this contest, click the "Enter" button below, then follow the instructions. Good luck!

This contest is open to international fans!


FBOFW giveaway




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