stretching the comics canvas

If you've been reading GoComics for a few years, you've likely noticed an explosion in new offerings on our A to Z listing. While single-panel political cartoons and three or four panel funnies make up the majority of the offerings, some of the more recent additions require some serious scrolling and a bit of in-depth reading. While there will always be half-braindead lame-o's who type "TLDNR" on anything over 140 characters, many others (like me) are delighted to see artists stretch the form to include literature, inspirational quotes, history and storytelling.


Today I'd like to spotlight three examples of GoComics cartoonists who work on a wide canvas, but I'd welcome any other suggestions in the comments. Let's start with a peek at Zen Pencils, by Australian artist Gavin Aung Than.


There you have it... a scarily honest yet wonderfully poignant sentiment by Sylvia Plath captured in artwork. I love the arrangement of the words beside the falling figs. It's like concrete poetry in the middle of a graphic novel. Zen Pencils is as remarkable for its diversity of artistic styles as it is the wide range of source material, but it's consistently inspirational and always fun to read.


If you're headed to San Diego Comic Con this weekend, stop by the Andrews McMeel Publishing/GoComics booth (#1503) on Friday 3.30-4.30pm and on Sunday 12.30-1.30pm to meet Gavin and see some examples of his upcoming book.





Peter Mann, the artist and writer of The Quixote Syndrome, teaches in the Humanities program at Stanford University, where he uses these comics as teaching materials. The above illustration from last week presents a Franz Kafka parable in its entirety. You'll need to enlarge it to keep from squinting, but its well worth your while. Catch more Quixote Syndrome here.





Eleri Mai Harris, of Eleri Mai Harris Cartoons, has been doing a great series about American history and civic identity, including this strip from earlier in the year depicting the Solidarity Singers of Madison, Wisconsin. I visited Madison over the weekend, and though I didn't make it into the State House in time to hear the 11:00 a.m. singing protest, I did hear a couple of the Solidarity Singers sharing their message outside the State House at the weekly farmer's market. Check out more of her recent large-format cartoons on GoComics.

GoComics Staff Pick: Off the Mark by Mark Parisi

Off the Mark by Mark Parisi


This week's pick comes from our Director of Digital Content, David: Off the Mark's daily panels are like comic popcorn (or insert other bite size snack that you can’t seem to stop eating). 


Off the Mark by Mark Parisi


This comic has been a consistent favorite of George Takei and his massive following on facebook. Take a few seconds and treat yourself to a snack.


➜ Add Off the Mark to your GoComics homepage!


ABOUT: The off-the-wall humor of off the mark puts a refreshingly spin on the things we see everyday... from your favorite icons to your least favorite trends, from commercials to pets to computers. Slightly skewed and just a little twisted, off the mark scores a bull’s eye with readers looking for a laugh.



National Cartoonist coverNCSF prez Steve McGarry just announced the launch of The National Cartoonist:


"Published by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation, it is a free magazine celebrating the best in cartooning, past and present, with extensive interviews, in-depth features and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the world of cartooning and comics, as well as beautiful reproductions of rare and, in many cases, previously unseen original art from some of our greatest luminaries! We hope it is a publication that will be enjoyed by all cartooning fans, from the casual reader to the seasoned professional."


McGarry goes on to say free copies will be given out at the San Diego Comic-Con, at the NCS booth -- #1307. And you can read the 64-page magazine online here and subscribe. It's free!



National Cartoonist spread




We’re in San Diego this week representing GoComics at SDCC, and we couldn’t be more excited! We have a schedule full of creator interactions, and we’ll be handing out GoComics PRO memberships along with some awesome prizes, so if you’re attending, be sure to pop by booth 1503!


Because we can’t contain our excitement, we think it’s only appropriate to kick off the SDCC fun a little early. We’re giving away a set of special edition SDCC 2013 prints signed by GoComics creators!


The set includes:


-       9 Chickweed Lane

-       Adam@Home

-       Bloom County

-       FoxTrot

-       Heavenly Nostrils

-       Jane’s World

-       La Cucaracha

-       Last Kiss

-       Luann

-       Skin Horse

-       Too Much Coffee Man


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., July 29 at 10 a.m. CT. The winner will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to all readers worldwide.


If you can’t join us at SDCC this week, you can keep up with us the action through social media!


Twitter: @GoComics (#GoComics)
Instagram: GoComics            



GoComics on the Road


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


Thank you to all who entered to win the Calvin and Hobbes print! We loved hearing why you love the classic strip.


We have randomly selected a winner!


Congratulations to Todd Morris! Please email us at with your shipping information and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by Tuesday, July 29 or your prize will be forfeited. 


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.



Cleo and Company  7-18-14






Mort's Island  7-18-14






Pirate Mike  7-18-14




Boogerbrain  7-19-14





The Old Man & His Dog  7-19-14




Winding Roads  7-19-14










Kartoons By Kline  7-20-14















 Padded Cell 7-20-14


Padded Cell







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


Weekend Faves (July 20)

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

Yesterday morning, I got a text from my mom that said, "DBOTFL." I honestly thought it was an auto-correct error until she told me to read Pooch Cafe. Technically, this is my mom's Sunday favorite, but I'm claiming it as my own.



F Minus by Tony Carrillo
F Minus by Tony Carrillo

I'm going to live by this quote.



Truth Facts by Wulff & Morgenthaler
Truth Facts by Wulff & Morgenthaler

Anyone who says they taste the same is lying. Triangles are 10 times better.
-- Jessi


Luann by Greg Evans
Luann by Greg Evans

It's Comicon week and we couldn't be more excited! Are you attending? Check out our SDCC signing/event schedule here!



Heavenly Nostrils by Dana Simpson
Heavenly Nostrils by Dana Simpson

I can't decide what I'm going to do when I get home tonight: Pour Wine and play Nintendo … or look for my roommate's clarinet.


Frank & Ernest by Thaves
Frank & Ernest by Thaves

This Frank and Ernest Sunday is definitely in the running for my favorite Sunday strip of 2014. I've had several friends tour New Zealand, but not one has yet reported any Frodo-bombings. Leave it to F&E to achieve the impossible.





Clear Blue Water is a comic strip about a large, loving family. It’s a strip about stress and sarcasm and the ability to cope. It’s a strip about loathing everyone you live with and not being able to move away from them because they will follow you. It’s about joy, and silliness and marriage. It’s filled with minutiae and arguments and happiness and worry and too many kids, or maybe not enough kids, depending on the day. It’s about autism and really weird superheroes and religion and friendship and race. Oh, and it’s got politics. WAY too much politics. Man, it’s got politics for days. Eve and Manny Torres and their five children are the caramel nougat in the center of this sweet and sour strip. Come on in, the water’s fine!


Read Clear Blue Water here.

Meet Your Creator: Melissa Lomax (Doodle Town)

Today, we hear from Doodle Town creator Melissa Lomax!


I’ve been drawing, doodling and cartooning since I was a very little girl. I found that by being creative I could "make my own fun," and because of that, there would never be room for boredom!



As a child, when the Sunday comics arrived, I’d read them all… but my favorites were the ones that I’d skip to first. Among those were Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. I could relate to Calvin’s wild imagination and his soft spot for a stuffed animal best bud. I also really liked For Better of For Worse by Lynn Johnston. I thought it was so unique to see the Patterson family growing up and moving along in life.  


As an adult, when I saw my first graphic novel, I was super excited! The idea of telling an entire story for kids or adults with pictures was like a dream come true. I think that Craig Thompson does this brilliantly in his novels "Good-bye, Chunky Rice" and "Blankets."


My career as a cartoonist took flight when I discovered Doodle Town. It started as a Valentine’s Day gift for Christian aka Patch (my now-fiancé). I doodled myself as a cat, Patch as a dog and tried to capture some of our funniest and sweetest moments together. A year later, the gift sparked an idea for a handmade book called "Summer with You." Patch and I took the book to the Small Press Expo in Baltimore during 2013, where Shena Wolf (the Acquisitions Editor at GoComics) visited our table and took an interest in my work! I knew something "magical" was about to happen, but I wouldn’t fully realize the potential until I was posting weekly on the GoComics site!


Doodle Town by Melissa Lomax
Doodle Town by Melissa Lomax

I’m still inspired by many of the things that intrigued me during my childhood. My mom introduced me to artists who sparked my imagination and moved me to create worlds of my own. I grew up fascinated with Richard Scarry and the intricate workings of "Busytown," Mark Alan Stamaty and his elaborate drawings in books like "Yellow Yellow" and the magical artwork in "Jelly Beans for Breakfast," with pictures by Beverly Komoda. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Muppets -- I consider them be living and breathing and off on an adventure somewhere right now. Jim Henson made me feel like anything you could imagine was possible.  


The greatest source of inspiration in my life is my fiancé Christian Patchell (Patch). We have been together for nearly 15 years. He is an amazing illustrator and cartoonist, a constant source of creative energy to his art students and an extremely optimistic and humorous six-year cancer survivor. He’s one of my biggest supporters, and he’s the Pups to my Kitty Lo-Lo!



I’m a full-time greeting card artist at Kathy Davis Studios and have worked in the greeting card industry for nearly 15 years. My cards and product have been sold in stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Wegmans and in American Greetings locations.


Some of my work has been printed in children's publications. My proudest moment so far has been to see several of my "Hidden Pictures" in Highlights magazine!


I am a member of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. As a group, we have worked with and donated artwork to charities such as The Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness and The Children's Crisis Treatment Center.


As for my workspace, I like to think that I can draw just about anywhere on just about anything! But I will say that I love working alongside Patch in our art studio. When it comes to my workspace, I’m a bit of a neatnik, but I also like to surround myself with collections of things that inspire me. I have a clipboard where I keep all of my comic ideas and a folder where I gather all of my sketches. I ink the final artwork with a micron on tracing paper, scan it into the computer and color it on my iPad in a program called Procreate. I love that I can take my iPad outside and color my comic while relaxing on the lawn or in my favorite coffee shop!  



Currently, I have a book idea that’s in the very early stages, based on Kitty Lo-Lo and Patch the Pups. It’s geared more toward children -- or adults who are kids at heart -- and will be full of adventure and fun!


Read Doodle Town here or find Melissa on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and her blog.


Twitter Q&A with Fran Krause of Deep Dark Fears




This week we chatted with Deep Dark Fears creator Fran Krause. If you couldn't make the Q&A, catch up using the Twitter widget below! 




➜ Subscribe (free!) to Deep Dark Fears here!



About: Irrational fears, dark thoughts, and ghost stories submitted by readers from around the world. Deep Dark Fears tells stories about the creepy things that pop into people's heads and won't let them be.



Visit R.C. Harvey's Blog



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