10 Comics For Surviving the Holidays

It's the most wonderfuuul tiiime of the yeaaar. Oh, besides all of the crippling stress that comes from gift purchasing, compulsory event attendance and over-interaction with family. Other than that, it's a bellowing Andy Williams lyric celebrating humanity's higher nature in this, the season of giving!


To help you deal with all the trimmings of this annual holiday feast for the soul, we've rounded up 10 comics that ought to get you through the new year. Whether it's setting groundrules, surrendering to cravings, suppressing rage or simply embracing indifference, there's a (not necessarily recommended, but nonetheless entertaining) coping comic for everyone. Scroll on to enjoy the lot of them.


Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis Sunday, December 13, 2015




Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller Wednesday, December 23, 2015




The Awkward Yeti by Nick Seluk Tuesday, December 29, 2015




Questionable Quotebook by Sam Hepburn Sunday, September 11, 2016




The Bent Pinky by Scott Metzger Monday, December 23, 2013




The Flying McCoys by Glenn McCoy and Gary McCoy Monday, December 14, 2009




Adam@Home by Rob Harrell Friday, December 26, 2003




Medium Large by Francesco Marciuliano Thursday, December 10, 2015 




Real Life Adventures by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich Thursday, December 20, 2001




The Flying McCoys by Glenn McCoy and Gary McCoy December 12, 2008


'Luann' Debuts Winning Fan-Submitted Dress Design in Brad and Toni's Wedding



When Luann's brother Brad Degroot became engaged to his fellow firefighter Toni Daytona in 2013, fans knew they were in for a saga that would surge through the strip's 30th anniversary and beyond into 2016. They've faced their share of awkward obstacles since meeting in 2002, but over the past two years Brad and Toni had to balance bigger stresses such as planning a wedding with the dangers of fighting fires. Fortunately, they didn't have to worry about one key detail -- they left Toni's wedding dress to the fans.


The results of a contest at Luannfan.com -- and the wedding dress -- are in. Out of 600 submissions, Philip Gust of Redwood, Calif. took home the majority of 46,183 fan votes to see his wedding dress design used by Luann creator Greg Evans in Brad and Toni's wedding. The dress debuted as the bride and groom had their first look on their wedding day on Sunday, December 4. Readers got an even closer look on Monday, December 5 and will be seeing plenty of it throughout the weeks to come as the couple celebrates their wedding day with their friends and family (and fans).


Luann by Greg Evans December 04, 2016

Luann by Greg Evans December 04, 2016


Luann by Greg Evans December 05, 2016

  Luann by Greg Evans December 05, 2016


Evans, who plots Luann with his daughter Karen, had this to say about the contest and its results at thecelebritycafe.com:


When we decided it was time for Brad and Toni to tie the knot, we were both excited and uncertain: how do you make a wedding interesting and fun for readers? Karen suggested we do a modern version of a contest I ran for a fashion show storyline in 1995 where readers mailed in over 16,000 designs for characters to wear. With the internet, we could invite fans to submit a design for Toni’s wedding dress and then allow readers to vote. We created LuannFan.com to host the contest as well as collections of Brad & Toni’s long and complex dating saga for fans who may not have been reading all those years or who wanted to relive their story.


Philip Gust dress design submission:

  Phillip gust luann toni wedding dress design


An editor by trade and a costumer with his wife by hobby, Gust is a first-time wedding dress designer, as he explained at Luannfan.com:


I’m a computer scientist by training, but my wife and I are hobbyist costumers and enjoy creating and wearing both sci-fi/fantasy and historical costumes. I also edit The Virtual Costumer, a quarterly online costuming magazine, published by a chapter of the International Costumers’ Guild. Most costumers recreate existing designs from movies, TV, or history, so the chance to do an original design was very exciting and a little intimidating. My first reaction to Greg’s interpretation was pretty much like Brad’s: WOW!


Readers can see more designs, and sign Brad and Toni's fan guest book at Luannfan.com.


Mayonnaise Monday: The 2016 GoComics Naughty List!

Jg santa 2

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that this time of year brings out the best in almost everyone!


Today, I'd like to talk about those other people. And since yesterday was "Santa's Wish List Day," I thought I'd recognize those wonderful folks that have been placed on the GoComics' Naughty List. 


In the interest of not being too negative, I'll try to balance out the naughty list with a nice one as well. 



1. GoComics readers who open every new comment with "Don't make me slap your donkey"

2. Those coxcombs who trample on the burgeoning spirit of young and often confused artists

3. Claus Conspiracists

4. Mistletoe with the gout symptoms (painful!) 

5. Nog Naysayers

6. Reindeer Games -- need to be more inclusive

7. The rapscallion who's stealing my snack pickles out of the fridge at work.

8. Ugly Christmas Uncles Parties



1. Jan Eliot

2. Sarah's Scribbles

3. Wiley's Sundays

4. My love of a nice tumbler full of nog (any of the following flavors: egg, walnut, forest lime, mountain prawn) 

5. Steve Moore (heckuva guy)

6. Bill Amend's "Bored Napkins" comic Instagram

7. Charlie Brown Christmas special

8. Tom the Dancing Bug's "The Year Santa Hated Christmas, But Only for a Moment." 

9. Doug Savage's "Laser Moose"

10. Lincoln Peirce's Epic Big Nate


Well, this blog is past the space limit, but do keep in mind that you were likely to fall somewhere between 11-18. 

Happy (Long) December Feat. Sluggo



Every December 1st, as I wake to meet the dawn, a dreadlocked earworm inches its way into my soul with its poppy brand of quiet optimism. Seconds later, I conflate its lyrics with that of "Mr. Jones."


That's right, 20 years after the Counting Crows' second single from the band's second LP, Recovering The Satelites hit the radio, I still can't seem to escape the winter jam that is "Long December." Do you know what you do to me, Adam Duritz?


And I'm not alone! I looked into it, and even Nancy's pal Sluggo is afflicted. He even seems* to have done a book report about the band in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of "Long December" in this strip from 2006!


Nancy by Guy Gilchrist December 02, 2006


Duritz told Rolling Stone that the song is "...about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening, and for once me, looking forward and thinking, 'Ya know, things are gonna change for the better -- 'maybe this year will be better than the last.'"


That sounds about right given, y'know, the song's actual lyrics. But for me? For me it's about listening to metal to purge this particular earworm from my databanks for an entire month or risk annoying my friends and family by ceaselessly mumbling it.


Happy (Long) December!



*Sluggo is almost certainly talking about something I'm too busy to Google, but the fact remains that this synchronicity is too magical to ignore



The 2016 GoComics Holiday Gift Guide: Comic Collections, Books, Calendars and Prints

GoComics Holiday Gift Guide 2016


'Tis the season for managing expectations and decking the halls with carefully considered gifts for people who have everything. No pressure, right? Actually, right! Allow us to answer that rhetorical question we just posed, because we've got nearly a score of righteous gift ideas for everyone on your list. Read on for our recommended comic collections, books, graphic novels and prints.


Comic Collections


Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts



Nick Seluk has created a fine body of work in his comic The Awkward Yeti. Literally. It's full of strips starring the personifications of body parts navigating the challenges of daily life while expressing their not-always-congrous points of view! Why do you think this collection is called "Heart and Brain"? Surely you had a gut instinct!


Starring anatomically incorrect anatomy characters, Gut Instincts may just help you listen to your own body. Like right now as your own heart and brain make a unanimous decision to buy this hilarious collection. 


Epic Big Nate


Lincoln Peirce has been making fans laugh with the schoolyard mirth of Big Nate going on 25 years, so a collection worthy of a quarter of a decade could only be captured in this epic collection. At 472 pages, it's not technically the "Longest Nate" but it certainly remains the "Biggest Nate," and one any giftee's shelves will proudly support.


100 Tricks to Appear Smarter in Meetings


We could supply you a list of actionable best practices to optimize your gifting, but all we really need to do to sell you on Sarah Cooper's illustrated corporate survival guide is to admit that we use it on each other here at the office when sanity demands it. No meeting required. Enjoy your lunch. You're welcome.


Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection


They say that the holidays are a time for children, as only pure hearts are capable of absorbing their wintery wonders. In that case, it's a good thing Adulthood is a Myth. Sarah Andersen's collection of Sarah's Scribbles comics is a jolly reminder that there's no firm start date when it comes to having your life perfectly together. As you face the daunting demands of this gift giving season, this is one collection primed to help with you and your giftee of choice's pre and post-holiday self care.


Phoebe and Her Unicorn



Dana Simpson introduced Phoebe to a Unicorn four years ago and the duo's world has never been the same since. The duo's adventures blend wonder and wryness. It's downright majestic. The collected series translates the original comic strip's magic into a digest-sized delight, packing hundreds of pages of Unipower into each full-color volume. The series begins with Phoebe and Her Unicorn and gallops on in Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure, Unicorn vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure and the latest volume, Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure. Did we mention it fits great in stockings?


Breaking Cat News



These days most don't have a kind word to say about "The Media," but public sentiment would surely skew more positive if more people tuned into the ever-adorable Breaking Cat News. Based on creator Georgia Dunn's real life cats Lupin, Puck and Elvis, the CN news crew focuses on the issues that matter most with an unbiased look at making messes, investigative reports into birds flying into windows and getting cozy between a human's feet. Rest assured, this collection is not your average newscast.


The Complete Calvin and Hobbes


Available in both hardcover and paperback versions, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes is the ultimate resource for C&H completionists and brand new fans alike. Containing each of Bill Watterson's beloved strips, book illustrations and more, these box sets will get any reader well through the winter (with sledding breaks aplenty, we suspect).


The Complete Far Side


A decade of Far Side strips awaits in this handsome cow-patterned box set, which vaults readers into the furtherest recesses of Gary Larson's creativity banks and back. We could brag about its three volumes amassing 1278 total pages of comics, but in the case of this cartooning behemoth, it's equally impressive to note its weight of 11.6 lbs. You now have a unit of measurement for mirth: Complete Far Sides. A pug, for example, weighs about 1.2 Complete Far Sides. Not bad.


Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting


For many adults, the holidays are a time to cherish with the youngest members of the family. Kids love presents! Kids love to play! But thank goodness kids are taken away by their parents after a few hours so you can get back to higher pursuits like Netflix and sleeping in until noon. For parents, such selfish catharsis is discouraged, however. It's so unfair. Find refuge from the suffocating demands of parental perfection instead with Brian Gordon's latest Fowl Language collection, which joyously sheds the suffocating sentimentality of parenting in favor of a wittier reality. Get it for the parents in your life.


The Best of FoxTrot


When Bill Amend decided to release a collection of 20+ years of his FoxTrot strip, he didn't leave the curation to just anybody, he picked the comics himself! This season, you can return the favor by picking The Best of FoxTrot for your curated list of best gifts. It's not exactly a balanced comparison. You likely only have a few dozen gifts to buy, while Bill had to dig through thousands of strips spanning 1988-2010 for a book with nearly 1,600 selections on 248 pages across two volumes in one box set. See how easy it is to do right by Bill? Get somebody who likes funny family goodness The Best of FoxTrot.




Over 30 years of Doonesbury comics, Gary Trudeau crafted a fictional narrative that saw Donald Trump rise to the highest office in the United States of America. It turned out to be nothing short of prescient. It makes you want to buy a copy to see just what else he foretold... And no, we cannot confirm that the pages are loaded with subliminals hinting at winning lottery numbers for the year 2046.


Man, I Hate Cursive: Cartoons for People and Advanced Bears



Jim Benton's collection of hilarious strips work to understand the nature of reality. That's probably why the full title of this tome clarifies its intended audience of people and advanced bears. Reality is heady stuff. A lot of people can't quite wrap their heads around it. Bears are smart and all, but it should be obvious to anyone who has ever watched cartoons that they're generally better for stealing picnic baskets and mauling things than questioning their universe. What were we saying? This is a cool collection. Get it for the advanced bears on your list. 


Graphic Novels


Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy


Best known for his Savage Chickens, cartoonist Doug Savage broke out this year to draw a moose and a rabbit -- a Laser Moose and a Rabbit Boy, to be precise. What's a moose to do with a sunny pal and laser vision? Battle aliens, chimeras, cyborgs and robots, of course. Evildoers likely will not enjoy all that this present has to offer. Everyone else, though? You're in fine, laser-y shape.





Being a Girl



When Gemma Correll isn't busy making our day with her Four Eyes comic, awesome calendars and pug art, she's... making even more goodness! This year the artist teamed with writer Hayley Long for Being a Girl, an illustrated guide -- well, more of a celebration -- to coming of age for young women. Funny, inspiring and full of practical, confidence-building information, Being a Girl is an empowering gift for the younger generation (and their parents).




Heart and Brain 2017 Wall Calendar


Can't get enough Heart and Brain? Love the skin their in year-round with this 2017 wall calendar full of The Awkward Yeti's disembodied organs. They'll treat you right.


Pearls Before Swine 2017 Day-to-Day Calendar


The PBS 2017 Day-to-Day calendar doesn't just give you a daily dose of hilarious, hand-selected Pearls Before Swine weekly and weekend comic strips by creator Stephan Pastis -- it goes the extra mile to deliver bonus content on the back of every page. There's puzzles, jokes, lists, quotes, plus tips and trivia. You can also fold the tearable 5.5 x 6.2" pages into paper airplanes and throw them at family, friends, coworkers and other deserving humans in your life. Now there's a bonus!


Business Cat 2017 Wall Calendar: The Adventures of Business Cat


Tom Fonder's The Adventures of Business Cat comic has a strange power. It plays on the corporate world's many frustrations -- complete with incompetent corporate leadership -- but somehow instead of fostering work-related PTSD, it makes you laugh. It may have something to do with the fact that the titular lead is an anthropomorphic cat in a suit and tie, but we're hardly doctors, let alone veterinarians. Buy it for your home. Or business. Or scratching post.


The Worrier’s Guide to Live 2017 Wall Calendar


If you enjoy Gemma Correll's spin on the coming-of-age anxiety of early adulthood in her comic Four Eyes or her book The Worrier's Guide to Life, you'll find plenty to appreciate each month in this 2017 calendar. Plus it's guaranteed to help stop one particular worry in your life: whether or not you have a calendar. Don't say we never did anything for you!



Comic Art Prints



Did you know you can order high-resolution prints of most comics on GoComics.com? You can even choose between five classy framing options! Most strips even have the option to be printed in black and white line art, or in full color. Not only do these prints on 11x17" archival paper look amazing and hold up better than snipping a strip from a newspaper and sticking it to your refrigerator, ordering one is also easier. Yes, really! All you have to do is click the shopping cart icon beneath your comic of choice, select "Buy Comic Art Prints" and make your art and framing choices. Just be sure to order framed prints by December 9 and plain prints by December 16 to make sure they're your way by December 25.


Happy holiday shopping from GoComics!


Giving Tuesday 2016: How GoComics Creators Gave Through the Year

Whether you've been following trending topics or simply flicking through your personal social media feeds today, you may have noticed the #GivingTuesday hashtag. Giving Tuesday started back in 2012 through a joint effort by 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation to inject a spirit of giving during a season that's become more associated with consumerism. The official GT website explains how people can get involved and donate their time and money to activities taking place today, and it got us thinking about the spirit of giving embodied by so many of our GoComics creators. Here's some of the charitable work this community has carried out in 2016.



Cartoonists United for St. Jude Kids


This past May, 23 cartoonists traveled to Memphis to participate in the annual Cartoonists United for St. Jude Kids event. A ticketed fundraiser for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, this year's event included a VIP meet and greet, access to a Memphis-themed art silent auction, plus dinner and cartoonist entertainment. Nearly a dozen GoComics creators participated, including Lynn Johnston (For Better Or For Worse), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Robb Armstrong (JumpStart), Greg Evans (Luann), Mike Luckovich, Rick Stromoski (Soup to Nutz), Maria Scrivan (Half Full), Lincoln Pierce (Big Nate), Greg Cravens (The Buckets), Michael Ramirez and Jason Chatfield (Ginger Meggs). And even better than the already important fundraiser, the creators shared their time and talents with young hospital patients.



Richard Thompson


This year the world lost beloved Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson to complications with Parkinson's disease. At his memorial in August, where friends, colleagues and loved ones gathered, his family asked those wishing to donate flowers to instead consider making a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. This request followed the gift of proceeds from Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s, which had already raised tens of thousands of dollars for the charity and its mission to support research for a Parkinson's cure.



 University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Collage


Last month Pajama Diaries creator Terri Libenson and her family finished corralling 36 character sketches into one massive 41-by-58 inch framed collage for display at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Libenson lent her pen to the project and received art from GoComics creators including Jim Allen (The Beauforts), Mark Anderson (Andertoons), Charles Brubaker (Ask a Cat), Jenny Campbell (Flo and Friends), Dave Coverly (Speed Bump), Brian Crane (Pickles), Graham Harrop (Ten Cats), Jef Mallett (Frazz), Mark Parisi (Off the Mark), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Pat Sandy (Next Door Neighbors),Maria Scrivan (Half Full), Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Wayno (WaynoVision) and Jan Elliot (Stone Soup). It now hangs where visitors of all ages can easily access the comfort of cartooning.


We're proud of our GoComics creators for embodying the spirit of #GivingTuesday earlier in the year and look forward to hearing from users who participate in the event directly today in the comments.

14 Comics to Help You Survive Black Friday

Black Friday, the annual retail tradition of luring Thanksgiving gluttons from their sloth to compete for door-buster deals at unholy hours, is upon us. We can't blame anyone for participating in the cultural curiosity -- some of those deals are pretty solid -- but should you intend to brave the most notorious shopping day of the year, we must recommend bracing for impact... with comics.

Whether you're gearing up to get inside your store(s) of choice first, or simply need a comics comedown just thinking about it, we invite you to scroll on down to enjoy 14 Comics to Help You Survive Black Friday.



Real Life Adventures by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich Friday, November 29, 2013




Off the Mark by Mark Parisi Thursday, November 27, 2008




The Duplex by Glenn McCoy and Gary McCoy Friday, November 25, 2011



View the complete collection here!


This Thanksgiving We're Thankful For YOU

Thanksgiving Blog Post Beta


When we launched the new GoComics beta last month, we were that special kind of nervous you get watching your favorite people opening a present. The site was designed with our creators, their work, and your experience in mind, after all. We wanted you to enjoy it and our unblinking eyes needed to see how we did.


Here a month later, we have a strong impression of your strong impression. We've heard what you love, what you... less than love, what you'd like to see and what you can do without altogether. Many of our predictions were validated, some ongoing challenges were underscored, and more than a few unanticipated opportunities arose. In short, it's a great place to be during a beta testing phase.


Your comments, e-mails, social media reactions and survey responses have been essential, shaping our strategy for every corner of the site. There's more work to be done before we launch in early 2017 -- and well into the life of the new site -- but thanks to your feedback, we're confident that we'll deliver a beautiful, intuitive user experience that's a pleasure to come back to every day.


So thank you, thank you, thank you.


2017 is going to be an amazing year.


And in the meantime, don't forget to take the GoComics beta survey if you haven't yet, to make sure we hear your thoughts.


- The GoComics Team


Meet Your Creator: Megan McKay of 'Doodle for Food'

This week Doodle for Food made its GoComics debut, bringing you the latest and weirdest from creator Megan McKay. Published on the Tumblr-powered Doodleforfood.com since 2013, DFF on GoComics is the most curated presentation of McKay's material to-date, containing a mix of creator-picked comics that best reflect the strip’s humor. It's a special kind of strong start that will have you asking which comics gym McKay's been working out at.


We didn't ask (although we should have), instead using our chance to interview the recent college graduate about her cartooning. That would've been so cool. What were we thinking?


Don't answer that! Instead, read our McKay Q&A to learn about how she began creating, how she's making the most of a digital world, and where she draws her inspiration.


GoComics: You have a secret origin story of sorts in your comic about how you got started drawing, but what made comics the right place for you to express yourself as you got older?

Megan McKay: Oh, yes! People have given me a hard time about that origin story, but it’s absolutely true. I only started drawing because my sister came home one day in third grade and showed my parents a drawing she made. It was very impressive and I was instantly jealous. Younger me thought, I could do that too, probably, and so I started drawing as well.

I’ve always been a bit of a goofball, and I enjoy making people laugh. When I got older, I would draw cute and funny doodles to see how much of a response I could get from my friends. It slowly morphed into adding descriptions and dialogues and finally evolved into the comics I make today.


GC: Who are some artists that inspire you, story-wise or visually?

MM: I love Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand. They feel effortlessly funny. The writing never seems forced or over-worked, and I continue to strive for the same feel in my comics. Same thing with Jeff Wysaski, who made Pleated Jeans and now makes Obvious Plant. He’s great at delivering absurd jokes in the most dead-pan way, so it catches people off guard. I also have to mention Extra Fabulous Comics, because they make me laugh all the time.



GC: From reading DFF, it's pretty clear that you consider the consequences of pun use very carefully. Are you a serial pun abuser IRL or do you get it out of your system in your comics?

MM: I’m probably one of the worst offenders of pun use in real life. I like pointing out to people when they unintentionally make a pun more than I like making puns myself. Everyone’s punny whether they like it or not.

GC: You've done a few strips about anticipating video game releases. Are games still a temptation or have you achieved something closer to a state of creation/consumption balance?

MM: When I was in school or working I didn’t play many games because my free time was so limited. I always chose to draw comics instead. Now that I’ve started cartooning full-time I’m trying to ease myself back into gaming. It’s tough because I can get obsessed with a game pretty easily and sink in a ton of hours. That’s not necessarily bad, but I try to make sure I go out and do things more over staying inside. Maybe one day I’ll be better at managing my time!



GC: Over time your pop culture references have become a little less specific and more universal. Was that a conscious decision or is it just an indicator of your evolving inclinations as a creator?

MM: I think my references have become more generalized mainly because I don’t know what the heck is going on anymore! I’m pretty removed from the current going ons of pop culture.


GC: You use digital technology to create comics that are likewise primarily consumed on screens. What's made this the right method of creation and distribution for you?

MM: The greatest appeal to posting online is there’s no barrier of entry. If you have something you’ve created and you want to share it, you can. I submitted my comics to my university’s newspaper multiple times, and they were rejected. Instead of packing it up and calling it a day, I decided to start a Tumblr blog for free and post my work there. 

As for creating digitally, I happened to take classes for digital art, so I have more experience with it and can create comics faster. However, I like challenging myself to try different techniques every now and then, including traditionally inking a comic.



GC: You've regularly participated in the time-honored tradition of webcomics employing guest creators while you're away or otherwise too busy with other things to post new material. You've also filled in for others. What do you like about this practice and how do you think it adds to the reader experience?

MM: It’s great! I’m so grateful that other artists are willing to step in and help when life gets a little crazy. As a reader, guest strips were one of the best ways for me to find new webcomics to follow. It’s a win/win situation for everyone. The original creator gets a break, the guest artist gets cross-promotion, and the readers are exposed to new and awesome comics.

GC: How do you think you've changed as a person since you started and how do you think that change is reflected in your comics? Will DFF follow you through future life stages? Or is she an eternal avatar of your youth?

MM: Doodle at first was used to distance myself from awkward or uncomfortable situations. She was a bit of a coping mechanism. Lately she’s taken on more facets of my own personality. I think she’ll slowly evolve with me as I get older, but from time-to-time she’ll dip back into her more childish tendencies.


FoxTrot Makes Laughs and Hurts Feelings: When Bill Amend Teased Stephan Pastis

Due to passionate and overwhelmingly positive reader reaction, Mayonnaise Monday (c) goes on holiday hiatus this week. Instead, we'll talk about how one cartoonist used his forum to hurt the feelings of another. 


The guilty: Foxtrot's Bill Amend.


The wounded: Pearls Before Swine's Stephan Pastis.


FoxTrot by Bill Amend March 20, 2016

FoxTrot by Bill Amend March 20, 2016

How it all shook down: Stephan was just minding his own business. Bill was the man with something hurtful to say. The venerable and award-winning Foxtrot comic was the weapon of choice. And seeing as Foxtrot runs in hundreds of newspapers, Stephan would be humiliated in front of millions of newspaper and internet readers that day. Stephan publicly said that it didn't bother him but the next time I saw him you could see he just seemed a little sad... and no matter how many times I hugged him, he didn't seem to break out of it. 


So I figured one last pitch for Stephan's new book might help cheer him up. It's out today and I've read it and it's great. 


Pearls web book


Buy it today and you can help one cartoonist recover from a devastating blow to his self-esteem.


New Comic Alert: 'Doodle for Food'

Doodle for food new comic alert


If you've ever wanted to disassociate during your most awkward moments, only to remain trapped in your corporeal form, there is safety (and guffaws) in Doodle for Food.


Launching today on GoComics, Megan McKay's gag strips tame the raw power of comedic timing with lines clean so clean, you could eat off of them. Well, metaphorically. We can't recommend eating off of whatever screen you're reading this new comic alert on and we refuse to accept responsibility should you be so bold.


These skills shine through on comic-after-comic capturing the absurdity of everyday life and socking it in the jaw with resilient silliness. It won't change all of the times you've said the wrong thing on a date, left the house with a shirt on backwards or were helplessly hypnotized by a pet's cuteness, but it will make you feel less alone in your failures to navigate the mundane without incident. DFF may just prepare you to embrace such moments!


Hungry for hilarity? Hungry in general? Click here to get your Doodle for Food fix now! It will literally satisfy at least one of those cravings!*


*Doodle for Food is not actual food that you can eat - Ed.

Calvin and Hobbes is 31



Happy Birthday, Calvin and Hobbes. Thirty-one years? Good gravy. When I first started in my role at Universal as acquisitions editor, people gave me a lot of good advice. 


1. You should try and find the next Calvin and Hobbes.


2. If you found the next Calvin and Hobbes, we'd appreciate it.


3. Another Calvin and Hobbes would be a good thing for you to do and soon.


4. Get me a cheese danish, a small black coffee and the next Calvin and Hobbes, dammit!


5. Écoutez-moi votre sale morceau de poisson, si vous ne me trouvez pas le prochain Calvin et Hobbes par la prochaine super lune Je vais vous faire haché et mis dans un ragoût à la crème.


6. Maybe you should go a size larger on your tank tops?


What they (nor I) didn't realize at the time was that there will NEVER be another Calvin and Hobbes. It is a singular, genius creation. Like the best comics, Calvin and Hobbes made you laugh, it made you think and it made your jaw drop with its art. And like the best art, it is better appreciated each time you return to it. 


And return you should. HBD, C&H!

Meet The Great Amanda Behind 'Amanda The Great'

Amanda The Great Interview


This week marked the official launch of Amanda the Great on GoComics.com, bringing with it four years of strips chornicling artist Amanda El-Dweek's adventures in life, art, marriage and more in North Dakota. Though El-Dweek humbly jokes about the title of her strip, after getting to catch up with the latest GC creator over e-mail, we can assure you that Amanda is, indeed, great. Unlike Alexander, the expression of her greatness doesn't stem from conquering your homeland -- only your heart.


Read our full interview with El-Dweek below:


GoComics: Your series is something of a fictionalized bio comic, incorporating magical realism and other devices to give readers a look inside your head. How did you decide on this approach and how do you feel it's changed over the course of your series?


Amanda El-Dweek: I never really had a plan for Amanda the Great until the last couple of years - but I actually had the monster ("Angermemnon") around since college. I used to draw the monster in my sketchbooks in order to give a face to my anger. Back then it was college angst and anger, but it kind of evolved into regular life anger because life is largely unfair and our minds want to remedy unfairness, and sometimes they cannot, and I guess that is kind of how I deal with it. It seems less awful than throwing a tantrum...maybe?  Haha!


I think both Young Amanda and Angermemnon have evolved since I first introduced them. Sometimes I draw Angermemnon as timid and thoughtful - anger is none of these things, but I kind of like that the character is that way. I feel like they both can have more than one attribute, but they both serve as vehicles for me to figure myself out, and hopefully have some comedic value as well. I like to poke fun of myself, and they sometimes serve to aid that purpose as well.


CG: Comics is a big medium. How did you decide that drawing serial comic strips was right for you?


AE-D:I started out young (maybe 6 years old?) drawing comic strips. Someone had bought me a Garfield comic book one Christmas, and I think that was my first true love - the comic strip. I read a ton of Archie comics, too, which were a few pages of story, but I always preferred the succinctness and snappy humor of the comic strip. I really admire cartoonists that can do one-panel comics, as it is really challenging to convey a story in one panel. I like to tell a story. And character development - I really enjoy how different people's personalities are, and how that can play out in a three or four-panel strip.




GC: The Dakotas aren't represented in many comics. Do you consider yourself something of an ambassador for your neck of the woods?


AE-D: Absolutely - I love this place!


I was born and raised in the northeastern-most corner of North Dakota, and we now live in western North Dakota. My husband, Dan, is from Minnesota, and has lived and worked in the tri-state area (MN, ND, and SD), so he has more Midwest street credentials than I do.


North Dakota is a beautiful state - the western side is more rugged (Theodore Roosevelt National Park is gorgeous), and the eastern side is a lush river valley, which is great for agriculture. I'm proud to be from here, and to live here (for as long as life allows, of course, as things can change). My family is from here, and it's a good place to be from.


GC: Drawing material from your own life means constantly evaluating how much or how little you feel comfortable revealing to the reader. How conscious of this are you as you work? And have you ever pulled or reconfigured a strip idea that you thought showed too much or too little?


AE-D: Oh yeah - I've done strips up and then ended up pulling them because they were just too personal. I'm VERY conscious of it - I have to be especially respectful to Dan, as he is in my life full-time, but maybe doesn't want everyone knowing his business. I probably am more aware of it for his sake rather than my own, because he is a real person who has a professional career, and I don't want to affect that too much. I am willing to maybe put more out there about myself because I can control how much I let out. I don't put a ton of my family stuff in it - just some light stuff now and then. My grandpa is good for a one-liner fairly often, so I feature him, and I'm close to my parents so they are not exempt from the comic strip.


I have about three strips dealing with the loss of Dan's uncle, and I had drawn some stuff up that I later vetoed. I felt that the fact that it happened ought to be mentioned in the comic strip, as that is what happened in real life, but I wanted to handle it respectfully. It's a little tricky with real life stuff - I want to keep it real, but not everything has to make it into the strip.


GC: You take the time to interact with your readers online and on social media. How important is that exchange to you as a person and how, if at all, does it shape how you approach your work?


AE-D: It is manageable to maintain contact with people who comment on my comic, and on social media. I really enjoy it, because whether they are other cartoonists or strictly just readers, they are taking the time to read something I made. I don't want to take that for granted. And it's all been friendly so far!  I enjoy it when other cartoonists take the time to talk to me when I comment on their work, so I like to be able to reciprocate. And I understand that some cannot do that, as they receive a lot of feedback! 


I am not sure if it shapes my work or not - I do what I do, and it's not a controversial strip (that I'm aware of), so I don't hem and haw too much about how it will be received by the masses.


GC: A recurring theme in your work is song lyrics, particularly when you show yourself singing in your car. Are you referencing your day-to-day life, or do you try to use songs that best fit the narrative of a given strip?


AE-D: It's mostly just mimicking what I do in real life. I sometimes will just start singing something - sometimes it's triggered by what's happening, and sometimes it's just a song that is in my head. I sing a lot in the car, which I show in my strip - I can't help myself. I've always listened to music while drawing, so it makes sense to combine the two.




GC: Another recurring theme is you having conversations with your younger self. Have you found these a helpful form of self-examination? Would you recommend it to others?


AE-D: The Young Amanda character kind of helps me give a voice to the nagging old messages that I have in my head from the past. A lot of how I think can sometimes be traced back to how I was as a child, working out some things that maybe I still carry around with me. I have a specific strip that shows me carrying around figurative old baggage as actual baggage, explaining to Young Amanda that I really don't know why I'm doing that, since it's heavy and not at all helpful. Being an adult can be paradoxical, in my experience.


I find that it is helpful with self-examination. I have found that I can kind of get an answer from drawing things out. Sounds strange, I know. But it works. I recommend it, and you don't even have to draw if you don't want to - just write it out, or talk it out. You'll figure it out, I know it.


GC: You work in traditional media, using markers and washes and more to fill your line art. Who are some creators who have influenced your style and creation methods?


AE-D: My style seems old school compared to a lot of the comics out there - I use ink and ink wash, a brush, and a Kuretake pen in which to letter. (I draw it first in pencil, though, because I'm not a wizard.)  I like the ink wash look that the fancy magazine comics have - though, I know I do not duplicate it like they do! I just like it to look hand-drawn, and not too sleek. As a kid, I pored over Bill Watterson's comics and drawings and I loved his brush-like style, but I also really loved how tight and precise Bill Amend did FoxTrot. Later on in life, I loved Richard Thompson's scratchy-beautiful line work. I don't want to duplicate those, but I sure admire (envy?) them.




GC: Working on comics or other creative work when you also have a day job requires a certain amount of discipline. What motivates you and keeps you creating as you balance everything else in your life?


AE-D: I don't currently have a day job - other than drawing comics, which is a day and night job sometimes - but when I did, it was difficult. My comic strip starts with me back in late 2012, working in healthcare, which is why you see me in office settings and so forth. I worked until a little over a year ago in real life, only stopping because Dan's work took us in a different direction. That suited me fine - and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to concentrate just on my comics. It worked - here I am!


Having to think about stuff that wasn't funny all day, and then come home and try and draw and think of funny stuff was a challenging switch. Of course, when I did work a "real" job (haha), I did daydream a fair amount, because I couldn't be serious 100% of the time.


I had a few years where I didn't really draw much, because I worked nights, and I slept a lot of the day. When I worked days, I was too tired to draw. Shame, right? But a couple of years ago, I really seriously committed to drawing comics almost every day (thanks to Dan, who is very encouraging and supportive), and I was still working full-time. I was focused, and once I made myself do it for a while, it became second nature to come home and draw.


Dan told me to mention that I balance drawing comics and keeping the house, and I laughed because our house is, um... well, it looks like we actually live here and not so much like a museum. But if my mom and dad ask, it's super clean and organized.


I have no cross words for National Puzzle Week!



If you are booing after reading that wonderful headline, please send your notes to comics editor Reed Jackson, he came up with it. If you are cheering wildly after reading that headline, please accept my sincere thanks and know that I try my best.


In honor of National Puzzle Week, I'd like to ask you a few questions. 


1) Did you know comics can also be puzzles? 

2) Why isn't corduroy used more in swimwear? 

3) Did you know there are at least five (5) puzzle/comics on GoComics right this minute? (see below)

4) Have you heard Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis cover of Mazzy Star's "Fade into You"? My ears are loving it. 


Dan Thompson's KIDSPOT




Steve McGarry's TRIVQUIZ


















Guinness World Record Day: Looking Back at the Longest 'Big Nate'



Today would-be-record-breakers of all stripes will work to achieve feats never before chronicled by the authoritative Guinness World Records. Or, at least people are supposed to, anyway. Otherwise what's this novelty holiday for?


Whatever the case, we're proud to report that we know a guy who successfully did that very thing! In 2014 Big Nate creator Lincoln Peirce teamed up with school kids, librarians, teachers and more from all over America to set a Guinness World Record for the longest comic strip in the world (by a team) on NBC's Today show. How long was it? Try 1,214.07 meters (approximately 3,983' 2"). That's longer than 11 football fields! As GWR's own motto goes, that's "Officially Amazing." With the average comic strip drawn at a scale of around 5 x 17" it's a pretty huge feat.


A team of art students from France and Spain set an initial record in 2011 with a 1,200-meter long comic strip and actually worked to dethrone Big Nate's place in GWR this past spring with a 1,600-meter long comic. All's fair in love, war and extremely long comics, after all. Guinness hasn't quite updated its official website's records confirming the new strip, however, so we're going to revel in our current association with the BN crew.


That's not to say there haven't been other huge feats in massive comic creation, though. Indian artist Suhas Palimkar holds the individual record for longest cartoon strip with a work 191.31 meters long in 2013. In Tokyo in 2010 the Adidas Japan K.K. and Sky Comic project team created GWR's official "Largest Comic Strip," which contained 3785.35 square meters of soccer manga.


Relive the making of the strip, along with its officiated confirmation below to set a record for "Most Immediate Satisfaction in Watching a Rad Comics Thing Happen":





Mayonnaise Monday: The Analytics Edition!


Welcome to this week's "Mayonnaise Monday" (c). Today I wanted to talk frankly about something that I love almost as much as mayonnaise. It's website analytics, ladies and gentlemen! 


If you didn't know, website analytics are the incredibly deep and specific way you can measure website readership. And you can sort and combine the data to drill down to see things that humans never thought they would be able to see! Like a sequel to the film The NeverEnding Story.* **


For example, I could set the analytics DATE RANGE to the last 12 months, the LOCATION to County Mayo, Ireland (wink!) and the FEATURE to Two Cows and a Chicken (TCAAC) and Voila! I could see that there have been 554 page views of TCAAC in County Mayo over the last year.


In the above video, I am looking at the GLOBAL LOCATION for data related to the amount of page views per session that people from any individual country will spend on GoComics when they visit. Way to go, Togo (28.8)! Loved you in Lord of the Rings, Suriname (27.32)! I am not sure you're a real country, Eritrea (19.43)! 


It really is astounding how much information is available. But all this information can be incredibly helpful. It helps us analyze trends, monitor features, pick book covers, optimize social media sharing, and even consider comic features for books or for syndication. 


*h/t to "The Simpsons" (see below)



** Okay, there were two -- but we don't want to talk about them


New Comic Alert: Amanda the Great

New Comics Alert Amanda The Great


We have good news and we have great news.


The good news? A new comic launches today! The great news? Its title even has the word "great" in it! That's a bonefied bonus!


Today we welcome Amanda the Great by Amanda El-Dweek, a semi-autobiographical romp through adulthood in North Dakota starring Amanda and several personifications of her mental and emotional states. And no, North Dakota is a normal state, not a particularly emotional one. Amanda tells us it's beautiful, though. So stoic, that North Dakota.


Amanda the great new comic alert


Regular Sherpa users will recognize AtG, which kicked off in 2012 and has been running steadily since. Now that it's launching on GoComics proper, you can dive in from the beginning and get caught up as the strip sallies forth into 2016 and beyond.


Each strip is handcrafted from scratch by Amanda, with a little help from her rage monster, her paper sack-headed irrational fears, her cats, her younger self and more. It's a team effort, but with her leadership, pen and ink wash render an evolving portrait of humanity.


So no need to wait, click through to get started reading Amanda the Great.


The Classic 'Peanuts' Comics Commemorating Veterans Day

Between 1969 and 2000, Charles Schulz dedicated 19 Peanuts strips to Veterans Day, making him perhaps the most decorated creator to commemorate the United States holiday on all of GoComics.


Schulz was 20 years old when he was drafted into the United States Army in 1943 to fight in World War II. He served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe until he was discharged in late 1945. After returning home, Schulz worked a number of art, illustration and comics jobs, including drawing his first serialized strip Li'l Folks starting in 1947 for St. Paul Pioneer Press. In October of 1950 Schulz's second and most famous work, Peanuts, debuted in a host of newspapers through United Feature Syndicate. 


As Peanuts fans have been privy to for years, Snoopy is prone to a World War 1 Flying Ace fantasy. In Schulz's Veterans Day strips, however, Snoopy lives out a fantasy in line with his creator's World War II experience. He often hangs out with Schulz's fellow WWII veteran and cartoonist Bill Mauldin of war comic Willie and Joe and quaffs a root beer (or several). Other honored veterans include Ernie Pyle, an American journalist who was killed in WWII's Battle of Okinawa, and WWII vet Audie Murphy, who survied the war to become a movie and TV star. The Charles M. Schulz Museum website explains that Snoopy's Veteran's Day tradition is just one of many that honor the US armed services, as Schulz commemorated veterans on D-Day, Memorial Day and other non-holidays throughout his strip's 60-year history.


Many of these strips have returned to run in full color since Schulz concluded Peanuts and passed on in 2000.


Quaff the original 19 Peanuts Veterans Day comic strips below:


Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1969




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1970




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1971




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1979




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1980



Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1981




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1983




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1985




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1986




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1987




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1988




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1989




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1991




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1992




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1993




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1996




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1997




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1998




Peanuts by Charles Schulz November 11, 1999



Heal the Nation's Soul With 'Pearls'


Now I know a lot of you are unhappy with some shocking recent results in one the most important competitions in America ... but don't blame me, I hate the Cubs too. (Zing!)


If you are feeling down, I'd insist that the only way through it is through laughter. You know that kind of laughter I'm talking about: like when a flying fish crashes into a window, or a child wears a hat that's too big or maybe a donkey bites someone who was being real bossy to you all the time. 


But stay tuned for me to tell you that there's an even better way to laughter! It's the newest collection from Pearls Before Swine and the comics literally (not literally) jump off the page and into your heart. Sometimes it's humor that is lowest-common denominator, but I happen to love those sort of laughs.


It's available for pre-order over at the Amazon and comes out on November 22. Stephan always gives "value add" to his collections by writing great introductory stories and this book is no different. I've taken the liberty of titling it "The Day the Children's Laughter Died."  It's amazing. Go get the book! Do it now!


Pearls web book

Keith Knight Discusses His Political Cartooning on PRI's 'The World'

Keith Knight


Political cartoonist Keith Knight, creator of GoComics staple The K Chronicles, is known for bringing conversations about race and social justice to the forefront of American discourse with his work. His comics range from single-panel commentary to sequential stories that address everything from police brutality to white privelage and the importance of acknowledging history. His comics also discuss David Bowie, moving, snacks, family and all of the other connective tissue that reminds readers that at the heart of every social issue aren't talking heads, but actual human beings.


PRI's The World recently interviewed Knight, who discussed how the contrast between American and global cultures has shaped his point of view, why he chose cartooning for his profession, and how he thinks things may be moving forward. In true cartoonist fashion, he also discusses how essential communicating ideas through art is.


"It really is a way for me to express myself and to keep me from going crazy," Knight told PRI.


You can read PRI's full interview with Knight here, and watch a video segment by ConnectEd Studios below:



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