Giveaway: The Art of Richard Thompson

ArtofRT1

 

 

We’re giving away a very special prize: “The Art of Richard Thompson!”

 

  ArtOfRT

 

 

Just released today by our sister company Andrews McMeel Publishing, this brand-new, incredible book presents Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson’s work and has contributions from Universal Uclick and GoComics creators Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and Nick Galifianakis (Nick and Zuzu), as well as Team Cul de Sac leader Chris Sparks and author Mike Rhode.  

 

 

  ArtOfRT2

 

 

To enter, comment on this blog post and include your FIRST and LAST names. Limit one entry per person. This contest will end on Tues., Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. CT. The winner will be announced that day on this blog.

 

Can’t wait to get your hands on it? Get your very own copy here.

 

*Open to U.S. and Canada residents only. (Sorry!)





Giveaway: Calvin and Hobbes Sunday Comic Prints – Winners Announced

Chgiveaway

 

Thank you to all who entered to win an archive-quality Calvin and Hobbes comic strip print! We’ve randomly selected FOUR winners!

 

Congratulations to Bridget Herbig, Scott Curtis, Patrick Henry and Ian Barker!Please email us at rewards@gocomics.com with your shipping address and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by 12/2/14 or your prize will be forfeited.

 

 





Peanuts Holiday Countdown by Charles Schulz

 

Pehol121125

 

What began in the funny pages in 1950 has developed into an enduring classic. Whether you're a fussbudget like Lucy, a philosopher like Linus, a Flying Ace like Snoopy, or a lovable loser like Charlie Brown, there is something to touch your heart or make you laugh in Peanuts. Countdown to Christmas with the Peanuts gang in this special seasonal feature!

 

Add Peanuts Holiday Countdown to your GoComics hompeage!





INSPIRING R. CRUMB

 

Fans of R. Crumb's work know that old-time and early recorded music, inluding the Blues, have always been a key area of interest for him. (Witness his book Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country.)

 

Here's a fascinating article about one important influence -- The Amazing Old Paramount Records Ads That Inspired R.Crumb.

 

Paramount Ad Blind Lemon Jefferson

 

 

This video, which runs with the article, has some of his amazing bleues drawings:

 

 

 

 





Comics Sherpa: Editor's Picks

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 anything; 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.

 

 

 Don't Pick the Flowers  11-21-14

 

 

 

 

Bazoobee  11-22-14

 

 

 

 

 

11-22-14

 

 

 

 

11-23-14

 

 

 

 

Mid-Life w/Alan  11-23-14

 

 

 

 

11-24-14

 

 

 

 

11-24-14

 

 

 

 

Onion & Pea  11-24-14

 

 

 

 

11-24-14

 

 


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

 

 





Clementine Fox Holiday Series Begins Today!

  Leigh Luna Comics by Leigh Luna

A special, holiday-related series of Clementine Fox begins running today on GoComics!

 

“I'm really excited to do a short bit of Clementine Fox revolving around the holidays,” creator Leigh Luna said. “It will give readers some backstory into the characters' families and friendships before they went on their amazing adventure.”

 

Spreading six weeks of holiday cheer, the special series begins on Nov. 24 and concludes Dec. 26.

 

Follow the Clementine Fox Holiday Series here!





Weekend Faves (Novemember 23)

 

Lio by Mark Tatulli
Lio by Mark Tatulli

That squid is so basic.
--Elizabeth

 

 

F Minus by Tony Carrillo
F Minus by Tony Carrillo

Who says print is dead?
--Lucas

 

 

Ginger Meggs by Jason Chatfield
Ginger Meggs by Jason Chatfield

Don't act like you're not impressed.

--Julie

 

 

Speed Bump by Dave Coverly
Speed Bump by Dave Coverly

I wouldn't eat that if I were you.
--Lauren

 

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

AH! One of my many favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. Those faces!
--Lindsay





New Comic Alert! Brain Squirts by Frank Cummings

 

Brs141124

 

Combine a whole lot of fun with a little bit of wisdom, and you’ve got Brain Squirts! Brain Squirts comes from the wonderful mind of Frank Cummings. An accomplished cartoonist, Frank worked as an assistant on King Features’ Blondie for many years as well as being a regular contributor to Cracked magazine. We here at GoComics are delighted to honor Frank’s memory by showing off just one of the many beautiful projects he created during his career. 

 

Read Brain Squirts here.





Red and Rover Spreads Awareness of Animal Abuse

RarChainedDog

 

While normally a lighthearted comic strip, today's emotionally charged Red and Rover installment serves as a reminder of the countless animals suffering from abuse and homelessness.

 

“To stop the abuse of animals or to bring to light the plight of countless dogs and other pets needing good homes is a cause I strongly believe in,” creator Brian Basset said. “I am quite humbled that I not only get the opportunity to entertain readers on a daily basis, but to also enlighten them when given the chance.”

 

Read Red and Rover here.





Meet Your Creator: Rohan Chakravarty (Green Humour)

Today we hear from Green Humour creator Rohan Chakravarty!

 

How did you begin your career as a cartoonist? When did you start cartooning?

 

Circa 1995: A brand-new TV channel is launched on Indian television and takes the kids of the country by storm. Everyone looked forward to the final ring of the school bell to rush home, but 1995 onward, there was this TV channel to rush home to! It may not have impacted the lives of my schoolmates as much, but it was well on its way to changing my life forever (the first “forever”. I’ll come to the second “forever” in a bit). I found myself not only engrossed in its shows, but also creating little stories of my own and adapting the characters of the TV shows I watched into my plots. Cartoon Network was here, and with it, cartooning had entered my life.

 

Fast forward to 2003: A friend of my dad brainwashes a 16-year-old me into believing that drawing cartoons is not a career option and that “grown-ups” must have “real jobs” like medicine, engineering and law. Dejected, I join the rat-race while cartooning is shut in a box locked up in the attic. Eventually, I make my way into a dental college, start filling and extracting teeth aimlessly and lifelessly, often secretly venting my frustration out on the dentures of my poor patients (fake teeth are real fun to punch!).

 

Moving on to 2005: I am on my first serious safari in Nagzira Tiger Reserve, Central India, and within twenty minutes of entering the gate, I behold a sight that would change my life forever (now this is the second “forever”) — a gorgeous tigress bathing in a waterhole. Females in bathtubs have changed the courses of many a plot in movies (remember Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Kubrick’s “The Shining”?) and my life was no exception, just that the female in this case was a different species and this was no movie. This tigress had introduced me to a whole new, magical world that I had felt a sudden urge to represent on my canvas- wildlife.

 

It was after that trip that I started reading extensively about wild animals, their ways of life and the threats they face, and attempted to narrate them as cartoons and comic strips.  Living in Central India — the land of the tiger — was an added advantage, as I had wildlife right at my doorstep (often literally!). Within a few months, the strips started getting noticed and debuted in the print as a part of Sanctuary Asia, a leading wildlife magazine published from Mumbai, India. In 2009, my brother (now a wildlife biologist) suggested that these cartoons needed a platform online, which led to the birth of my website www.greenhumour.com. In 2010, I finished my dentistry degree and the day I stepped out of college, I swore never to look back at it again! Over time, while I served as an animation designer for a multimedia firm in Bangalore (South India), I wrote and drew Green Humour in all my free time, which had started amassing a readership both online and in the print, finding itself a part of publications, magazines, journals and one newspaper as well. In December 2013, GoComics chose to syndicate Green Humour online, making it the first series of comic strips from India to be taken up by a major syndicate. This gave me the push and encouragement I needed to quit that darn day job and put all my time into drawing what I loved to draw the most: wildlife.

 

Drawing wildlife had given me a sense of creative contentment I had never experienced before and I realized that I, an introvert by all means, related better with animals than people. Green Humour also served a dual purpose — while I was having the time of my life drawing wildlife cartoons, it started getting the message of conservation across. Several readers got introduced to issues like poaching, habitat loss and climate change through my cartoons. The experience and the response so far have been gratifying.

 

 

RC1

 

What inspires you?

 

Obviously, wild animals. But inspiration is like a spam phone call that rings when you are least expecting it. Anything from a frog I meet on a trek to a puffin I read about on the Web could inspire a Green Humour panel or comic strip. Also, my late pet dog, Naughty, is responsible for giving me a sense of humour in the first place.

 

RC2

 

 

What are some of your achievements and accomplishments?

 

In March 2012, a cartoon from Green Humour won the first place in the UNDP and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ cartoon contest on climate change in the Asia-Pacific. In November 2012, I was awarded the Sanctuary Asia Young Naturalist Award for my cartoons on conservation. Other than these, I have stood second in a national level cartoon contest organized by a leading Indian daily, and an international cartoon contest on the impacts of social media on people.

RC3

 

What were your favorite childhood comics? What comics do you read today?

 

Initial inspiration was drawn from cartoons on television, and comics happened a bit later. Watching cartoons on Cartoon Network felt like being tutored personally by the masters themselves — Hanna Barbera, Fred Quimby, Chuck Jones, and later Genndy Tartakovsky and Craig McCracken. I feel that if laughter had an SI unit, it would be Chuck Jones. E.g. “The other night I was watching Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, and I ended up chuckling 120 KiloJones.”

 

Comics came into my life with Maurice de Bevere’s Lucky Luke and the series that has inspired so many cartoonists the world over — Gary Larson’s The Far Side. Bill Watterson, of course, is Bible, and the artwork in Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts is, to me, a masterclass in itself. I also thoroughly enjoy and am inspired by the work of Sergio Aragones, Mark Parisi’s Off the Mark and the cartoons of The New Yorker.

 

RC4

Do you have any upcoming projects or appearances?

 

I have always been fascinated by the world of animation, having worked as a pre-production artist myself for three years, and have been looking to combine the principles of character design with wildlife. This has led to the creation of a new sub-series that I call “Wildlife the Toonie Way,” which includes exaggerated and delightful representations of wild animals. I have recently had my first solo exhibition in Bangalore, India, where I displayed 70 of these caricatures, and the event was a bumper success. My upcoming projects include creating merchandise out of these caricatures and introducing them to newer avenues. I also have some interesting collaborations lined up with wildlife and conservation organizations from both India and abroad, to create awareness material with cartoons. Also, there are lots and lots of new comics on wild animals from all around the world coming up on the series.

 

RC5

 

What’s your studio/workspace like?

 

I’ve been on the run of late, so I’m just operating out of a shabby little desk. It has a window to the right, where crows, wagtails and barbets often perch in the mornings and narrate the scripts for my comics to me!

 

RC6

 

Read Green Humour here.





Twitter Q&A with Alexis E. Fajardo

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This week, we chatted with artist and writer Alexis Fajardo of the graphic novel series "Kid Beowulf." If you missed the chat, catch up below!

 

 

 

Add "Kid Beowulf" to your GoComics homepage!

 

 

Join us on the first Friday in December for another cartoonist Q&A!





Sherpa Review: Suburban Fairy Tales (Part Five)

 

Today's review: David Stanford, aide de sherpa

 

I thank Francis Bonnet for volunteering for this public week-long editorial review of his strip Suburban Fairy Tales -- which concludes with today's installment. (If you've been snowed in, sans internet, you can quickly catch up by going here, here, here, and here.)

 

I admire that Francis has been creating this comic strip with such discipline for so long. It is no small thing. He has been posting his work on Sherpa for most of Sherpa's existence -- and for a good portion of his own.

 

I've often found that reading a book collection (or binge-reading online) can deepen your appreciation of a strip. In this case it's helped me see things more clearly. I always enjoy reading Suburban Fairy Tales, but I have also felt that I want something more. So what follows is me focusing on what I like, pointing out things that seem not as strong, and overall trying to figure out what that "more" might be.

 

***

 

Your premise: fairy tale figures living in suburbia, most of them younger versions of themselves and hence in school. In committing to this concept you took a huge shortcut, one which pays off but also exacts a price. The payoff: You immediately assembled a huge cast of characters that readers are already familiar with, whose personalities and traits and backstories are, to varying degrees, known. The price: Although you get to create your own versions of these characters you are limited by their familiarity, and have to stay within the general boundaries of who they already are, and the expectations of readers.

 

So you have traded some of your classic cartoonist freedom -- to create characters and a world of your own -- and thereby took possession of a very deep body of material with which to work, rich in reference points and options and opportunities.

 

You have a lot of characters, and only in binge-reading did I sort them all out. Goldilocks and Rapunzel I confuse, and sometimes I don't recognize Pinocchio until he lies. Some of your characters seem more solid and filled out, others more like sketches.

 

For me the biggest plus of the school setting is the teacher/witch Mrs. Hagatha (bonus: she evokes, for me, the witch in Little Lulu). And I like Little Pig 3, who is diarmingly self-aware. I enjoy their interactions:

 

5-7-12

 Suburban Fairy Tales

 

2-11-11

 Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

I am also particularly fond of The Gingerbread Man. He's so lucky that he has a theme song which you can endlessly riff off of.

 

2-25-09

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

His strips are often full of action, which livens things up.

 

 

4-17-09

 Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

Humpty-Dumpty I like because you've put him in exactly the place he shouldn't be. A seemingly fragile fellow living the reckless life with confidence; that has archetypal resonance.

 

 

11-19-12

 Suburban Fairy Tales

 

3-7-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

The Pied Piper and his mice-followers I like because, again, they are usually moving. There may be more to explore here beyond the occasional run-by, but whenever they show up it's fun.

 

 

5-13-09

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

Frog Prince (aka Prince Charming One) is the character I worry about the most. I think he's meant to be the hub of the whole thing; the Charlie Brown, if you will. Sometimes he successfully evokes my sympathy, like here, with Hagatha:

 

9-5-12

 Suburban Fairy Tales

 

But I often feel his cluelessness annoying. With the ur-loser, Charlie Brown, there is always wit and insight even in his dark moments: "I only dread one day at a time." As if what he mainly lacks is confidence or an appreciative audience, but somehow knows inside that he is seeing things clearly. With Frog Prince I get more a sense of, yeah, this guy is a loser. As if not even his creator sees his strengths. So I don't care about what happens to him the way I would like to. Especially if he's the Main Guy.

 

 

3-30-12

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

2-28-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

6-16-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

5-16-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

I mean, who would ever think "How about a date?" is a good conversation starter? There's no excuse; he's not even trying. If he is simply unlikeable, where does the reader go with that? How do you root for him, let alone identify?

 

 

One of the drawing conventions you created is that when the wolf eats people (or anything) he does it like this:

 

6-30-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

It's an act of consumption that exists outside the rules of reality -- how would that waiter go down the wolf's little neck? Why is the wolf bending over from the waist? It is jarring. And yet I've come to see it a twist on a fairy-tale tradition -- in Peter and the Wolf the duck goes in whole, and later comes back out unscathed. "Eating" is a concept, not an actual process. So I'm getting used to it. But it still is jarring!

 

 

I agree with comments made earlier this week about facial expressions. With many of your characters, when they are not speaking their mouth is where it belongs. But when they speak, suddenly their mouth begins at their chin. Sometimes when a character is not speaking, their mouth disappears altogether. Add this to the fact that in some of the various eye-styles, the eye is very compressed, almost hemmed in, and I feel like you have limited your characters' ability to express emotion -- which I think of as a core value.

 

 

5-16-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

5-23-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

In the strip above, there are eight mouths, but only four options. Left to right: Talking A; Hassled; Talking A; Blank; Blank; Blank; Talking B; Talking B. The dominant visual element clear across is Pinocchio's hair, bold and black and unchanging. In comparison all the eyes are small and you have to seek them out. This strip is about their relationship, and everything really happens between their faces. But the key information we need to see is locked up in a relatively tight amount of space. I feel like I'm being kept at an emotional distance.

 

Both Talking A mouth and Talking B mouth are very common in the strip, as if everybody is part nutcracker. I know you can play with the shape to flavor it to a degree -- there's quite a difference between mouth 3 and mouth 7 in the strip above. So maybe I am way off base here. But I wonder if it's limiting.

 

The other mouth that distracts me is that of Rumpelstiltskin. He's a dangerous guy, and it's fine that he has chompers; it's not that. But they seem only half drawn. In fact his whole self sometimes seems a little sketchy, as in the strip below -- helmet of hair, hand, face and suggestion of teeth:

 

5-26-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

I think he is one of the more dynamic characters, with real menace and energy, and I would focus on really developing him. Both as a drawing and as a being. I really liked the step you took in that direction with this storyline (and all his teeth are filled in!):

 

2-4-13

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

Most strips evolve over time, both in writing and drawing. I wonder if Suburban Fairy Tales will get looser in some sense. For me there is still stiffness in it. Sometimes it seems like too much white, not enough line texture, not enough personality and energy in the lines. Too much formatting (hair helmets, etc).

 

One of the most helpful things Charles Schulz ever said, and I think he said it often, is that it's important to draw funny. Some people's work looks like they a) thought up the gag/strip/drawing, and then b) filled it in. My interpretation of Sparky's advice is that the drawing itself (in the verb sense) is where you put the real content in. Like the lines have to carry emotion and information, not just be in the right place.

 

What brought that to mind is that I really like the strips where the visual is everything, where the gag is the drawing. Like this one:

 

5-2-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

And this one:

 

2-27-13

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

2-25-13

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

I have no idea what happened there, but I like it. Some mystery is good (though in this instance I may be the only one who is mystified).

 

 

Sometimes the fairy tale context is not really a factor. The characters are just characters who happen to be famous fairy tale figures, interacting in the modern world:

 

5-14-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

3-1-13

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

But sometimes in those their fairy tale identities enrich, and add a twist (even if an improbable one) as here:

 

 

2-18-11

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

In the summer of 2012 you really took a step up and out with the big series in which being hit in the head altered Frog Prince's sense of reality:

 

 

8-1-12

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

8-8-12

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

8-10-12

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

Getting back to menace and darkness, there's a fair amount of death in the strip, though it's kept light:

 

4-4-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

6-7-13

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

And there's the die-and-die-again-later tradition, ala Roadrunner, The Simpsons, et al:

 

10-24-11

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 2-20-13

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

(I wonder if it would have been better to leave off the dialogue in the second panel, or shortened it to "Or mine.")

 

 

I look forward to seeing your drawing continue to evolve. You have so many venues and characters and opportunities, it will be interesting to see which parts you choose to focus on. I wonder if you could make the community hang together more completely somehow, while maintaining the diversity of tone, and of storytelling and humor. Whatever else you do, go for funny.

 

I'll end my review by going back to what I said up top. You get to create your own versions of characters who have had many lives, from the originals gathered by the Brothers Grimm and others, on down through the ages to Golden Books and Disney and Fractured Fairy Tales and James Thurber, whose Red Riding Hood killed the wolf with a .45 -- "Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be." These stories can be told lightly and for fun, but the originals bear ancient insights into human nature, and tap deep into the human psyche. I personally would love to see the strip get more serious in a sense, by using that -- even while it gets more funny. Once upon a time there was an editor who threw his two cents out there.

 

Thank you for the ride so far, Mr. Bonnet. Onward!





Comics Sherpa: Editor's Picks

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 anything; 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.

 

 

Candace 'n' Company  11-18-14

 

 

Courageous Man Adventures  11-18-14

 

 

 

Regular Creatures  11-18-14

 

    

 

 

Spectickles  11-18-14

 

 

 

11-18-14

 

 

 

 

Mustard and Boloney  11-19-14

 

 

 

Spectickles  11-20-14

 


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

 





Sherpa Review: Suburban Fairy Tales (Part Four)

This is the fourth post in our week-long editorial review of the Sherpa feature Suburban Fairy Tales. In case you are just tuning in, you can catch up by going here, here, and here.

 

 

Today's review is by John Glynn, the president of Universal Uclick:

 

I started at the June 2, 2014 comic. Overall it’s sorta cute. However as far as the LOLQ (laugh out loud quotient) it scored pretty low. LOLQ is a made-up term of course. But imagine if it wasn't? My goodness those would be splendid days indeed!

 

I did think a few gags were cute, a couple clever, but most were stock and predictable. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Not to hurt feelings, just one man's opinion, of course.


PROS: 

 

-- I like that you move the camera around.

 

-- For the most part, the characters are likable.

 

I like the 7-14-14 strip. The last panel is strong, and the repeat of the facial expression and body language is good:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

7-16-14 is a good gag too. Pearls-like:

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

7-18-14 has a good set up (though I'm not sure how it fits into Fairy Tales) but the last panel is a bit overwritten; the woman’s line (is that Goldilocks?) should be tighter:

Suburban Fairy Tales

-

 

CONS:

 

-- The premise locks the creator into a Shrek-like world, which is a tough thing to live up to or break away from, from a creative standpoint.

 

-- There are lots of characters, making it hard to get a feel for complexity or nuance in any one of them.

 

-- The characters, setups, and payoffs are a little too sitcom-like (this feels more Charles in Charge than Seinfeld or The Office). And that's the rub; there's just not enough that I can see that differentiates the strip. Because that is what it has to be -- familiar enough the editors will understand it without too much explanation (which I think this is) but also different enough that it's distinguishable from the other strips that may have the same types of talking animal characters on the comics page. And it has to be funny too. It's really not an easy thing to come up with.

 

-- The art is not bad, but it’s simple almost to its detriment. Simple is fine, but you have to be careful about balancing simple and backgrounds. If you want to be simple, mirror Pearls Before Swine and Dilbert (in both of which you’ll note the lack of environmental details that are not essential to the gag, and character placement as almost always in the forefront).

 

-- Sometimes the backgrounds can distract from the main characters. Example -- panel one of 6-9-14:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

And the last panel of 6-20-14:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

-- I'm not crazy about the facial features on the characters. The mouths are odd, and seem stuck in one or two talking poses. The eyes do not do enough to convey emotions. I suggest you play around with expressions and eye placement more. 

 

Some strips are too wordy. You could have cut the dialogue in 7-30-14 by 50%:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

8-1-14 is also too wordy:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

In 8-8-14 the joke doesn’t work -- marbles are vegan, aren't they?

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

10-17-14 counts on too many aberrations in the logic to be a strong joke:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

1. The clerk who wrote the sign doesn’t know how to spell BOWL

2. The clerk thinks A BOWL OF is spelled EBOLA even though the clerk wrote A CUP OF SOUP directly above. Should have written ECUPA SOUP then, no? 

3.  The caption in the upper left should be left out. If the reader can't recognize a typo they won’t get it anyway.

4. Wouldn’t the pig panic, rather than stand in careful contemplation?

5. More criticism of the caption in the upper left: Mass panic? No one else is there. 

 

Anyway, Francis, I hope you take this in the spirit in which it's sent, which is to help you improve. This is not an easy exercise or career. Writing for three-panel and four-panel comic strips is super specialized and difficult. You don't have the benefits that the screenwriter does: actors, sound effects, and musical cues. You don't have the benefits that a novelist does: plenty of room and 300-500 pages to write at length and set up characters and settings for complexity and depth and nuance. You have no benefit of research groups or marketing studies to see what an audience likes. It is a difficult gig.

 

Cartoonists are usually alone in their studios or rooms drawing by themselves. And for you to take the leap and open your work to the public for feedback takes courage. I also think/hope it is an acknowledgement of wanting to get better. Because in my experience all the best cartoonists are their own harshest critics and have a very hard time being satisfied with their own work.

 

You definitely have some comic talent, so don't let this critique or the overall experience derail you. Keep working and pushing yourself. Keep drawing. Some very smart person said, "Your art will never get worse the more you draw," and I wish I could remember their name but I can't, so I'll just leave it there. I will also say, for anyone who wants to do a memorable strip, that specific personalities are so very important. They distinguih your characters by making them different. See Peanuts, Calvin, Foxtrot, and Cul de Sac among many others for examples how how character differentiation matters.

 

Good luck, Francis.

 

Tomorrow: David Stanford, aide de Sherpa

 





Kickstartin' It

872f0cc6654f5df805b8687b33d94aac_large

 

I have an obsession with Kickstarter.

 

I have no idea why, but I love the crowd-funding website SO MUCH. Sometimes I find myself clicking from one project to another, marveling at the epic creativity on the site.

 

I've donated to several funds, from big ("The Veronica Mars Movie") to small (a friend's quest to transcribe her grandparents' love letters).

 

And now I've found the next perfect project to help fund!

 

"The Folks Behind the Funnies" by Sari Armington is a documentary about the comics and creators you encounter every day here at GoComics.

 

From the Kickstarter page:

"Twenty-One of the most famous North American cartoonists talk candidly about themselves, each other and what inspires them. The artists of Beetle Bailey, Dilbert, The Family Circus, Hagar the Horrible, For Better or For Worse, Dennis the Menace, Zits, and Cathy — just to name a few — give us an intimate glimpse into their unique perspective on life and The Funnies. "

 

 

 

In the movie, you'll see an esteemed list of GoComics creators, including Scott Adams (Dilbert), Darby Conley (Get Fuzzy), 

Mell Lazarus (Momma), Steve McGarry (Badlands),  Rick Stromoski (Soup to Nutz).
  •  You'll also see John McMeel and plenty of other cartoonists.

 

 

The campaign ends Nov. 29. To help fund the film, visit the Kickstarter page. 

 

—EAP





GoComics Staff Pick: The Born Loser by Chip Sansom

The Born Loser is a comic strip that I look forward to reading every single day! You never know what Brutus Thornapple's wife, Gladys, or boss, Rancid, is going to throw at him next. Brutus seems to stumble his way through life, but always has an upbeat attitude to push through and do his best.

 

I think everyone can relate to the relationships he has with his bickering wife and demanding boss. The storylines, sarcasm and humor are a surefire way to make me smile. It’s no wonder The Born Loser, is a two-time winner of the National Cartoonist Society's "Best Humor Strip of the Year" award.

 

Here's a recent strip that really made me laugh. His boss sent him out for two cappuccinos. I love the humor in the strip below.

 

—Kelly, International Sales Administrator

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.26.23 AM

 

 

Add The Born Loser to your GoComics homepage!





Sherpa Review: Suburban Fairy Tales (Part Three)

 

1-8-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

1-17-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

2-19-14

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

I wanted to start this post with a few Suburban Fairy Tales strips, just to get us back into that world; the strips above aren't referred to in the critique below, which is the second installment in our four-part editorial review. The first installment was yesterday, and I introduced the feature on Monday.    --DS

 

 

Today's comments are by Universal Uclick editor Lucas Wetzel:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales is a great title and a fun concept, but too often it reads like a simplistic soap opera instead of a strip in which the characters' unusual talents and identities are put to use to help them deal with the challenges of modern living. When the strip does do this (the Pied Piper employing rats to fetch him pizza, for example) it's good for a chuckle.

 

12-17-08

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

Most of the time, however, the characters are one-dimensional — selfish, insecure or annoyed — with the interaction rarely more complex than the plot of an average "Saved By The Bell" episode.

 

The 4/8/9 strip felt a little homophobic, perhaps unintentionally:

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

 

Others, like the 4/30/12 strip where the pig interacts with his spelling tutor, are more amusing. 

 

Suburban Fairy Tales

 

In general I just didn't feel like this was an actual comic strip as much as a collection of familiar tropes of fairy tale characters' most recognizable traits. These traits should be used to add a little extra intrigue and character to the strip, but shouldn't be used as a substitute for actual events and dialogue. 

 

I would recommend narrowing down the characters and trying to write some punchlines that don't depend on Humpty Dumpty being an egg or the Frog Prince being worried about looking like a frog. Then see what kinds of identities emerge, and take some time to identify and create a web of relationships from which more nuanced exchanges, misunderstandings and humorous interactions can occur. 

 

The art and line work are nice and clean, with good facial expressions and visual balance. But the strip needs to break new ground, tell new stories and breathe new life into these characters. rather than just retell fairy tale episodes like the Gingerbread Man who doesn’t think he can be caught. 





Confessions of an Introvert

 

A great part about working at GoComics is the opportunity to learn about our cartoonists. It’s fascinating to see how a person’s experiences and upbringing can influence them to start cartooning. By reading Lela Lee’s “Meet Your Creator” post, I learned more about her past and how it brought her to where she is today. Reading Khalid Birdsong’s Q&A session, I was intrigued to see that living overseas was his inspiration for the Little Fried Chicken and Sushi storyline and characters. I can empathize with him as I read the comic. 

Littl Fried Chicken and Sushi by Khalid Birdsong
I grew up in Germany, so I know what this feels like.

 

Doing some of my own self-reflection, I took the Myer Briggs personality test last week (not that anyone asked me to, but because I was curious). It turns out learning more about yourself is helpful in many ways.  Professionally, it helps me to articulate my strengths and weaknesses, and on a personal level, it helps me understand my relationships better. My results were ISTJ, which stands for introvert, sensing, thinking and judging. This comic from Four Eyes accurately depicts a map of the introvert’s heart.

Four Eyes by Gemma Correll

I’ve learned from the “Meet Your Creator” interviews that many cartoonists are introverts. I wonder if we have any other things in common? I am a type A personality. For those of you who don’t know, this describes someone who is highly organized, concerned with time management, and proactive.

 

Cornered by Mike Baldwin

 

 

Real Life Adventures by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich

 

With the seasons changing, more of my introverted side will be coming out. When it’s cold, I don’t want to leave the house for anything. It takes so much effort to put on all the layers of clothes that I need to keep me warm. By the time I get all of the clothes on, I start to break a sweat. Then I have to go outside and possibly scrape ice and snow off of my car.  Finally, I warm my car up and drive to the party or event. This process is played in slow motion in my head while I think about going out, and it seems daunting. Needless to say, I would rather be called a party-pooper than put myself through all of the trouble to go someplace where I’m not guaranteed a good time. I’m actually looking forward to the cold weather because it gives a legitimate excuse to not go out.

 

--Lauren





The Art of Richard Thompson [Video]

The beautiful and incredible book "The Art of Richard Thompson" debuts next week! Learn more about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson in the moving video below.

 

 

  

 

 

"Losing myself in his work is akin to walking into a magnificent cathedral that doubles as an amusement park funhouse. It’s a holy experience that is humbling, hilarious, inspiring, crushing and uplifting, all at once.” -- Carter Goodrich, award-winning freelance illustrator, "The Art of Richard Thompson"





Giveaway: Calvin and Hobbes Sunday Comic Prints

Chgiveaway

 

In celebration of the 29th birthday (November 18) of our favorite boy and tiger duo, we’re giving away FOUR archive-quality Calvin and Hobbes comic strip prints!

 

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post and include your FIRST and LAST names. This contest will end Tues., Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. CT. Four winners will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to all readers worldwide.

 

Feeling nostalgic? Read the entire Calvin and Hobbes archive starting here!






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