Cell Phone Addiction PSA

There are many common pet peeves that we share, like people who scrape their teeth on their forks while eating, or people who don’t use their blinkers when driving. There is a new pet peeve that I have acquired. After seeing this common theme in many comics, I think many people share this one—people who are addicted to their cell phones!


Half Full by Maria Scrivan
Half Full by Maria Scrivan

Earlier this year, I was at a KU basketball game and I sat next to a girl who was playing Candy Crush the entire game. She only looked up when she heard cheers from the crowd. Waste of a ticket!


Stone Soup by Jan Eliot
Stone Soup by Jan Eliot

The great thing about comics is that even though they make you laugh, there is so much truth behind the punch line. Cell phones aren't going anywhere, so hopefully, face-to-face communication doesn’t become a thing of the past.


Speed Bump by Dave Coverly
Speed Bump by Dave Coverly

Although—I know I have been guilty of this—I challenge you to look up and notice your surroundings--or else you might be the subject of yet another hilarious viral video!


Reality Check by Dave Whamond
Reality Check by Dave Whamond
F Minus by Tony Carrillo
F Minus by Tony Carrillo

What are some of your pet peeves?



The Great Escape of Sports

Here in the States, it's the time of year when four of our five major sports are in season: the start of Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, along with the end of the regular season for the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. More important to many fans is the Final Four in college basketball with its constant surprises and upsets.

If you're a golfer, it's time for The Masters. Ratings may end up lower because Eldrick/Tiger is out with a bad back, but there's always a great race for the green jacket. 

This time of year is not ignored by cartoonists, thankfully. I'm a big sports fan (pro and college football especially) and love seeing the marriage of humor, good art and crisp pop culture observations. Here are a few that you might currently love or can pay attention to during the spring and summer. 


Tank McNamara - celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, but still as relevant as ever: 



, like Tank McNamara, is also by Bill Hinds. It's family-oriented and reminds us of orange slices and Capri Suns after youth practices. 




Drew Litton's Win, Lose or Drew combines the bright insight of an editorial cartoon with the sports business world. 


In The Bleachers by Steve Moore takes a whimsical perspective to how we prioritze sports in our lives:



Classicly drawn lines, storylines and images make up Gil Thorp, by Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham.



What is your favorite sports season? Is there a special comic that reminds you of a vivid sports event? Does Charlie Brown or Big Nate playing baseball make you smile? Or, are you a Calvinball fan? We'd love to hear from you. 


- Gene 

Twitter Q&A with Dave Kellett, Co-director of the New Comic Strip Documentary "Stripped"




Did you miss our Q&A with Dave Kellett, co-director of the new comic strip documentary Stripped? Catch up on the conversation below!  





Watch the official Stripped trailer here!



About Stripped

STRIPPED  brings together the world’s best cartoonists to talk about the art form they love, and what happens to it as newspapers die. Over 70 interviews were conducted, including the first-ever audio interview with Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), as well as Jim Davis (Garfield), Cathy Guisewite(Cathy), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Mike & Jerry (Penny Arcade), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), Lynn Johnston (FBOFW), Zach Weiner (SMBC), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Scott McCloud(Understanding Comics), Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac), Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) and more. Set to a gorgeous original score by Stefan Lessard of Dave Matthews Band, STRIPPED explores comic strips in depth, why they’re so loved, and how they’re navigating this dicey period between print and pixels.



Join our Q&A next Friday at 1:30 pm CT with caroonist Brian Basset of Red and Rover! Use #AskBrianBasset to follow along and ask questions. 


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.



Cartertoons  4-1-14










Courageous Man Adventures  4-2-14









Rogue Symmetry 4-2-14





Ron Warren  4-2-14





Tomversation  4-2-14




0-60  4-3-14









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

April 2014 GoComics Twitter Q&A Schedule





Join us on Twitter every Friday at 1:30pm CT for live Q&A sessions with our talented GoComics creators! During these one-hour sessions, we invite a cartoonist to answer a set of core questions, then field queries from the public on Twitter and tweet their responses. We encourage our fans to take part in these fun sessions! 

To join our Q&As, simply tweet to @GoComics, or use the designated event hashtag, seen below after each comic. And without further ado, guys and gals, it's time to mark your calendars!


• 4/4 - Dave Kellett (co-director of the new comic strip documentary Stripped)
• 4/11 - Brian Basset of Red and Rover
• 4/18 - Alex Hallatt of Human Cull
• 4/25 - Scott Meyer of Basic Instructions

You're on Your Own, Kids



Charlie Brown's father is a barber. Possibly an invisible barber. I realized after typing "invisible barber" that such a thing is a concept I apparently find really unsettling. I'll revisit this newfound fear on my own time, and instead speculate that, judging by how infrequently the elder Mr. Brown seems to be home, he is instead a very, very busy barber. Other than his father's profession and his implied corporeal legitimacy, no further details about Charlie Brown's parents are ever stated. The following strip is the only instance in which his mother ever directly appears. She might be a Ghost Mom, it's impossible to say. 


Pe510316 momsvoice



Aside from ghosts being very scary, it's never of much actual concern that adults are nowhere to be found in PeanutsThe strip is constructed in such a way that they aren't necessary. The scope of the world is kid-sized and free of any real threats, if you set aside the entire world's constant, subtle nudging of Charlie Brown towards suicide.


Like everyone else, I started reading Peanuts pretty deeply into its run. After having the basics explained and figuring out the rest through context and by not being really stupid, I followed it for a few decades until it concluded. It's a really good strip to hand to a kid-- the lines are soft and sparse, the threats are all existential and open-ended, so there's always hope for a happy outcome, and no one's sarcastic. It's incredibly, miraculously thoughtful, which is a pretty great example to provide your average grubby, pre-moral kid. I don't have the data handy at the moment, but there's a disturbing correlation between juvenile diabetes and kids whose first comic was Family Circus


Still, one thing always nagged at me, due largely to the expectation of safety that comes from being fortunate enough to grow up in a stable, loving household: where are all the adults? 




Not that I thought adults needed to be regular fixtures-- I still can't really imagine how an adult's face would look in the Peanuts universe. But everyone's always so mean to poor Chuck, and it'd be nice to see that he had a reliably safe place to go where someone loved him. Snoopy's love seems conditional, at best, and sure, that beanbag chair is probably warm, but it's no substitute for a hug. 


The strips shown here are literally the only ones in the entire run of Peanuts where adults show up. I'm glad to see that the kids do indeed have actual, tangible elders to whom they could turn instead of just spooky, translucent ghost-parents. I guess the adults in these strips could all actually have monster faces, but that seems like a pessimistic assumption to make, so I'll assume they don't.




Even though Charles Schulz was talented enough to keep the cast from ever acting like child-shaped adults, they really acted like genuine little kids for the first few years. It's for the best he edged them forward a bit, developmentally, to not only give them more to do, say and think, but also to allow for enough autonomy that they could inhabit a world custom-built for them, instead of peeking around the corners of a world where they were new arrivals


It's fun to muck around in the early years of the strip to see Schulz build out his characters and watch his illustration style loosen up. The lines he draws gradually go from uniformly even and neat to nervous and loose within the first decade as he gets to know the cast. His backgrounds start off as expertly detailed and subtly imposing, staged with just the right things that someone three feet high would find noteworthy. Within the first ten years, things recede into arid landscapes that serve to best frame the day's activity: here's where we are, here are the props we'll be using. He starts off as an amazing illustrator, and almost immediately grows into a masterful storyteller. While I would've really liked to see more of the early years' tight, precise linework, the strip grows into the quiet, mannered masterpiece for which it's remembered once Schulz softens the edges on his panels. 




What I'm saying here is: Peanuts is pretty good. I guess he knew what he was doing.


It's only after sitting here for a long time, trying to type something worthwhile about adults' cameos in this strip that I think I've figured out how Peanuts could possibly work so well when its ridiculously sympathetic protagonist seems so utterly alone and unloved. Peanuts is so adored and admired because it pulled off something almost no other cartoon ever could, bringing the reader in to fill a role so notably absent in the strip.


Turns out, Charlie Brown has plenty of adults around who love him: us. 



"Stripped," pre-visited

I'm excited to see the new documentary, "Stripped," and will probably purchase it on iTunes unless I can wait until the showing at the Kansas City Film Festival next week. I can tell just by looking at the trailer that the film is going to prompt some interesting discussion.

Take, for example, the remark by Chris Hastings that "it's actually about independent artists vs. artists working for a corporation."

(Hastings draws the enormously popular and original Dr. McNinja, which combines the visual impact of a classic action comic book with the offbeat humor and quirky sensibility of a webcomic. I have a signed copy of "The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Vol. 1" and am a big fan.)

Chris's statement places cartoonists into two camps, print/syndication vs. web/self-syndication, and hints at a struggle between old and new; aka the little guy vs. the "big corporation." A rousing and familiar narrative, to be sure, but is it really that cut and dry? Do all newspaper cartoonists sit in an office building and slave away at their comics while smug guys in suits siphen away the proceeds, while on the other side of town hip, young dudes and ladies kick back in a loft space, draw their strip whenever they please, upload to the web and watch the money roll in?

Not exactly...

In both cases, the artists operate as individuals, working from home, a studio, or on the road, and keeping their own schedule. The difference between a syndicated cartoonist and a web cartoonist is that the syndicated cartoonist makes a business arrangement with the syndicate, hiring them to create sales kits and marketing materials, personally present it to newspaper editors and publishers with whom they have relationships, bill clients for their costs, promote the strip, negotiate book and calendar deals, identify licensing possibilities, handle permissions queries, introduce the strip to international clients/partners, handle processing and distribution of the files themselves, and answer client questions, sales queries, media requests, etc.


The cartoonist, meanwhile, is (ideally) able to focus on writing and drawing the strip itself, though of course they do have input and awareness of the other aspects as well.

Web cartoonists, on the other hand, are responsible for all aspects of their property, including writing/illustrating/publishing the strip, marketing and promoting it, and creating products such as books, prints, t-shirts or other merch to create revenue. While it sounds like a wonderfully simple and direct model of doing business, any successful web cartoonist will tell you that it's not as easy as it looks. You have to invent a unique, entertaining, successful feature to attract an audience, create a system for creating, selling and shipping merchandise, be your own communications rep / brand ambassador / director of marketing, and probably lots of other important things that I'm leaving out.

People like Chris Hastings, the creators of PvP, Questionable Content, Penny Arcade, Hark! A Vagrant and other successful webcomics demonstrate a crazy amount of discipline and hard-work, wearing many different hats in order to run what amount to successful, multi-faceted businesses. But not every cartoonist is interested in or capable of running that kind of an operation, especially when they've got daily deadlines to meet.

When I talked with former Universal Uclick president Lee Salem, editor of Doonesbury, Calvin & Hobbes and others, about how cartooning has changed in his career, he said he believed gatekeepers still have a role to play. The Web is wide open to anyone with a unique voice and a specific concept, but when it comes to identifying the kinds of features that might resonate with a wide audience, syndicates are in an extraordinarily good position to help the cartoonist reach those audiences. If Calvin was just starting out today, Salem said, he believes Bill Watterson would still work with a syndicate.

As for what the future holds for cartooning, I certainly don't have any more answers than the next guy. Newspapers look like they'll be around for a while yet, yet it's undeniable that most of the new, interesting, fun stuff to read is found exclusively on the web — free of the language, content and space restrictions of traditional newspaper strips.

Our flagship site, GoComics, manages to merge the best of both worlds, with syndicated strips running alongside independent creators who benefit from GoComics' visiblity and reach in order to develop their own voices, audiences and brands. It's a great starting point (and daily destination) for someone who wants to get started exploring comics on the web. But of course there's an abundance of comics worth exploring all over the web.

So, that's a bit of initial rhapsodizing heading into my first viewing of "Stripped" ... The only thing I know for sure is that syndicates wouldn't be here if it weren't for the incredible gifts and talents of our cartoonists. I also believe that truly unique writing paired with original art will always manage to find an audience, whether online or in print. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess what the future of cartooning holds.


I commend the directors of "Stripped" for their efforts in presenting such a well-researched conversation about the comics biz, and I look forward to hearing others' experiences and ideas as well.


 — Lucas

(More an informative preview of the film and its content, check out this write-up on boingboing)

Stripped Comics Documentary - Win A DVD or The Movie Poster Drawn By Bill Watterson

It's no April Fool's Day joke: we have a giveaway that could be considered legendary (RIP Barney Stinson, HIMYM). 




Today, a new comic strip documentary was released on iTunes - Stripped. The film focuses on the history and future of the comics industry and talks with many of the top cartoonists in the world. From the GoComics family, the credits reads like a "who's who" of comics. This includes: 



Take a look at the trailer:






The film was so highly regarded that the notoriously private Bill Watterson came out of retirement to draw the movie poster - his first public cartoon since retiring from Calvin and Hobbes. 


To celebrate this day with you and our cartoonists, we've partnered with the film's directors on a giveaway. You will have a chance to win our grand prize (the Stripped movie poster with artwork drawn by Watterson) or one of three second-place prizes (a DVD copy of the film). 

Enter the contest by commenting below and answering the following two-part question: What is your favorite newspaper comic strip AND what is your favorite webcomic? 

The contest will end at noon CT on Wednesday, April 9. This contest is open worldwide to all comics fans. If  you have won a GoComics prize in the past week, you are not eligible. By entering, you are open to your entry being used by Universal Uclick/GoComics and the Stripped filmmakers in promoting the film and its outreach. 

Visit the Stripped website, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Also, support their efforts by buying a digital copy of the film here. Also, co-director Dave Kellett will be on a live tweet session with @gocomics on Friday at 1:30PM CT! Write in to ask him about the film, working with Bill Watterson and other great cartoonists and more, by tweeting to us using the hashtag #strippedfilm

Good luck! 


GoComics Staff Pick: Diamond Lil by Brett Koth

This week's pick comes from from our PageCaptain Pagination Manager, Sarah: Lil Bilious doesn't mince words when it comes to just about any opinion worth having. She is everything you would expect from a seen-it-all, know-it-all old lady. Sometimes she is everything you wouldn't expect. I loved the snowman series from this past winter. (Hannibal Lector snowman?! What's not to love?)



Diamond Lil by Brett Koth2



Lil is not to be crossed in the grocery store. Stay out of her way and keep your mouth shut.



Diamond Lil by Brett Koth3


Lil makes me laugh. I'm not quite 75, but I hope I'm as sassy as she is when I get there. But maybe a little more tech savvy.



Diamond Lil by Brett Koth


For Corn's Sake!" I'm totally stealing that. Thanks, Lil.
About Diamond Lil:

Diamond Lil is a feisty 75-year-old widow living in Turkey Knuckle, Indiana, who doesn't suffer fools, or anyone else for that matter, gladly. Her interests include telling people what she really thinks, hot bingo and cold Schlitz. She also has a thing for Pat Sajak's butt.


March was an exciting month for GoComics! We added four new features and two returning comics! Check ‘em out below!


Clay Jones Editorial Cartoons



For more than 20 years, Clay Jones’ editorial cartoons have been pointing out the absurdity in the already absurd. From a left to moderate viewpoint, Jones tackles topics relating to politics, society and pop culture and is returning to GoComics after a short hiatus.


Jones began his career as an editorial cartoonist in 1990 by self-syndicating his work to more than 40 newspapers. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, Newsweek, CSPAN and The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Jones is the recipient of editorial and press awards from Hawaii, Mississippi and Virginia, and a collection of his work is archived at Mississippi State University.


Read Clay Jones editorial cartoons here.



Francis by Patrick J. Marrin

Cartoonist Pat Marrin celebrates the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis in his comic strip. Francis follows the adventures of an unlikely pope whose humorous and compassionate words and actions offer hope. 


A lifelong cartoonist, 20-year veteran of a Catholic religious order and an editor with the National Catholic Reporter, Marrin brings an insider’s view to his comic strip. Marrin graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1985 and has experience as a newsroom illustrator at the Topeka Capital-Journal and as chair of the Journalism Department at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. Originally a native of Minneapolis, Minn., Marrin currently resides in Kansas City, Mo.


Read Francis here.


Oh, Brother!


The sibling duo Bud and Lily are the stars of Oh, Brother!, a comic strip set in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood. The older and more sensible sibling, Lily takes it upon herself to look after her uninhibited, prank-loving younger brother, Bud. While Lily wins the occasional battle with her cool-headed maturity, Bud is intent on winning the war with his brazen brand of mischief. Despite their obvious differences, Bud and Lily love each other deeply and have a strong sibling bond.


Oh, Brother! co-creator Jay Stephens is known for his comic creations Chick & Dee, Jetcat and Arrowhead, as well as several “How-to-Draw” books for children, which earned him a National Cartoonists Society award nomination in 2007. In addition, he is the creator the animated series “Secret Saturdays” and Emmy Award-winning “Tutenstein.” Stephens resides in Guelph, Ontario, Canada where he teaches cartooning classes and manages an art store. 


Stephens’ partner in crime, Bob Weber Jr., is the award-winning creator of Slylock Fox and Comics for Kids, a popular children’s activity comic strip that entertains readers worldwide with puzzles, games and fun facts. Weber frequently visits schools and libraries, teaching and inspiring students to create their own comic strips. His website KidCartoonists.com hosts a gallery of cartoons drawn by children throughout the world.

Read Oh, Brother! here



  Scurvyville by Marc Shank

Scurvyville is an ongoing series that immerses visitors in the day-to-day lives of the oddball residents of a small, fictional town. Piece by piece, the series walks viewers through a fly-on-the-wall tour of the town’s streets, alleyways and sordid hangouts, revealing the quirky inner lives of Scurvyville’s residents. Complete with backstories and biographies for the ever-growing community of characters, each painting exists as a location on the town’s expansive handmade map, showcasing the broad, evolving scope of Scurvyville and its story.


Scurvyville creator Marc Shank is a Kansas City, Mo., artist whose work consists of large-scale acrylic and ink paintings, as well as small portraits and silk-screen prints. His work has been showcased at various galleries throughout the Midwest, and was recently the focus of a two-month, one-man exhibition at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Mo. Shank has been featured in publications/outlets such as MSNBC, The Kansas City Star, The Pitch and INK Magazine.


Read Scurvyville here


Sweet & Sour Pork

  Sweet and Sour Pork by Robert Holt

A comic panel home to talking bananas, turtles with tummies and pun-filled panels, Sweet & Sour Pork returned to GoComics in March.


“Sweet & Sour Pork is like a little diner with a chef that likes to try new things,” creator Bob Holt said of his comic. “You never know what he’s going to put on the menu. You might not like every dish, but if you visit enough, you'll find something you like.”


Holt has been drawing since childhood and is grateful that his passion has turned into a career. As an employee of famed greeting card and ornament creator Hallmark for 30 years, Holt is grateful for the experiences and lessons throughout the years, which he looks to when creating his comic. A resident of the Kansas City, Mo. metropolitan area, he is a co-creator of “hoops&yoyo,” a pair of animated characters featured on Hallmark cards. Holt continues to work with the duo, and is the voice behind yoyo. 

Read Sweet & Sour Pork here.


The Quixote Syndrome


Cartoonist Peter Mann describes The Quixote Syndrome as “a chronic graphic condition characterized by inflammation of the bookish imagination. Untreated, leads to errant sallies in history, literature, and thought. In late stages, it manifests itself in pathological tendencies toward the sublime and grotesque.”


A graphic artist and historian, Mann creates prints and drawings in addition to his comic strip. A doctor of modern European history, Mann teaches in a freshman humanities program at Stanford University, and resides in San Francisco.


Read The Quixote Syndrome here.




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