Sunday, March 30, 2008

Autographed comic books for sale

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Help this college student out and bid on these two autographed comic books that I'm selling on eBay.

That's right. I'm selling my autographed copies of two Melonpool comic books. Click here to bid.

EDIT: Auction ended. Thanks for bidding.


Having a cameo appearance in a comic is a neat thing if you think about it. It means you've made it in one way or another. Whether in another comic strip or through an internet.

I've appeared in a comic once, back in 2005 in a webcomic called Breakpoint City. That's me with glasses in the 3rd panel.

I used to do webcomics from 2003 to 2005. Let's just say it's best that I don't repost these old strips (I don't even have copies/originals anymore).

But I remember feeling psyched when I appeared in that comic. I know I've made it when I did. Too bad it was due to my crappy comic. Oh well, maybe I'll make a better comic in the future.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dog eat Doug

Thought I take the opportunity to plug one of my favorite strips - Dog eat Doug by Brian Anderson.

It's a fun comic about a love/hate relationship between a new-born baby (the "Doug" in the title) and a dog, a chocolate lab named Sophie.

You can read it on and also at the cartoonist's website (it has a two week delay, but the comics are posted bigger). It also runs in over 50 newspapers nationwide.

There's a book collection coming out in September. You can pre-order it from a link below:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Original: Heaven's Love Thrift Shop

Here's a latest addition to my originals collection: "Heaven's Love Thrift Shop," a faith-based Sunday-only comic by Kevin Frank. It's syndicated by King Features Syndicate.

Drawn on 11x17 glossy paper with a felt-tip marker. Actual strip size 7.5x16; panel borders and dialogues are pre-printed.

Published in newspapers on February 24, 2008.

Here's the colored, published version (scanned from Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Baitu

Yes, I'm still doing the strip. See it here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More originals...

I'm still collecting originals, in case you're wondering. Here are two of the latest.

Here's an editorial cartoon by Detroit News cartoonist Henry Payne, published in December 2008.

Drawn on Bristol Board, size 11"x14".

Jeff Danziger, syndicated editorial cartoonist, sent me this. It just came in the mail today.

Drawn on xerox paper, size 11"x17". The published version is different; you can see it here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Plugging some stuff...

Hey readers. Since I'm getting visitors from my Asay interview below, I felt that now would be a good time to plug some awesome comic-related stuff.

The K Chronicles is one of the best comics published in the altie-press. Witty, subversive, and hilarious drawings, too. So I'm pleased to announce that there's a new book out: I Left My Arse in San Francisco.

There are many reasons to buy this book:

* - This book is NOT available in stores
* - Only 1,000 copies are printed (I got #157)
* - Keef will autograph your copy with no extra charge.

Oh, and he and his wife are havin' a baby. So go support them, huh? You can get it at this site.

Meanwhile, there's a new magazine devoted to cartooning. Stay Tooned, started by John Read, has been in the works for months now, and I finally got it today.

The goal is to fill the void left by Cartoonists PROfiles when its founder and editor, Jud Hurd, passed on years ago. I think John did a great job in the premier issue. Contains great interviews from cartoonists such as Steve Kelley, Marshall Ramsey, Scott Stantis and others. It also has columns on cartooning and comic strips from the likes of R.C. Harvey, Norm Feuti, and more. Go get your copy here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Interview with Chuck Asay

Chuck Asay, 65, is an editorial cartoonist based in Colorado Springs. He drew for the The Gazette newspaper until his retirement in 2007. However, he continues to draw cartoons through his syndicate.

I recently conducted an email interview with him. My questions are in bold.

Let's start from the beginning. When and where were you born? Who were some of your early cartooning influences?

I was born in Alamosa, Colorado in 1942. I was raised on a farm with one brother and two sisters. Everyone drew for entertainment, including my mother and father. My whole family was close. We talked about religion and politics all the time and we all thought everyone was entitled you our opinions. Even though we argued sometimes it never seemed to affect our relationships. I think that is why, to this day, I can deal with people who seem to hate me. I figure they don’t hate me, this just don’t care for my ideas.
I grew up reading the papers and comic sections. Al Capp made a big impression on me in the early years and I was a real fan (as is every editorial cartoonist I know) of MAD Magazine. Pat Oliphant was the cartoonist for the Denver Post when I was in college. I showed him some of my cartoons. He said I should use a brush. He handed me one of his. From that point on I’ve used brush and ink to do my cartoons.

What were some of your first published works?

The Taos News published my first cartoons. I have a degree from Adams State College in Art and Education. I taught school in Aspen and in Taos. I moved to Taos from Aspen to see if I could break into the editorial cartooning racket. I took a job as the ad manager in Taos and offered the cartoons for free. I did that for a number of years.

When we moved to Colorado Springs in 1978, there were two competing papers…both needed (although they didn’t know it at the time) a cartoonist to give their readers local opinions. That, I believed, should be me. I offered my services, saying I could provide them with 3 local cartoons a week on a speculative basis. They would pay me $15 for any cartoon of mine they published. This was a win, win situation for the Colorado Springs Sun which was in fierce competition with the Gazette. A few months later, they asked me to come aboard doing editorial cartoons news illustration and advertising art. I would recommend to any cartoonist just breaking into the field to ask not what papers can do for you, but ask what you can do for papers. Later on, the Gazette bought and closed down the Sun. A year later, they hired me to do cartoons for them.

Your cartoons are unusual in that you usually construct a small story in order to make your point, a format similar to those used in comic strips, so I was pretty surprised when I learned that you never had a daily strip in your life. Have you ever submitted any ideas to syndicates? If given an opportunity, would you start one?

I think I have gone to the many-paneled format because it is easier for me to convey my ideas about the issues. I like to teach people about the issues as well as inflict my opinions on them. I like to take people from things they may know and bring them to new ideas that I believe they should know. It allows me to get deeper into the issues. I'd love to be able to one -panel cartoons like great cartoonists like Jeff MacNelly and Mike Ramirez, but my mind doesn’t seem to work that way. I have no interest in doing a comic strip. I like to change styles and have wrestle with ideas that have the capacity to kill us. "We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood but with powers and principalities of the air," the apostle said.

Would you say that comic strips that focus on politics have bigger readership than standard editorial cartoons? Lalo Alcaraz draws regular one panel editorials through syndication, but most people attibute him for his comic strip "La Cucaracha." The same thing with Scott Stantis; most people think of him for the conservative-themed "Prickly City," even though he's been political cartooning for almost 30 years.

Comics obviously enjoy greater readership. Readers come to know the characters and give a fan base that makes it tough for newspaper editors to drop the cartoonist. Editorial cartoonists can be dropped in a moment and nobody misses them because they are in competition with other editorial cartoonists for the same slot on the editorial page. When a newspaper drops Dilbert, people notice and cancel their subscriptions. When newspapers drop Asay, well…

I don’t like to think in terms of success being driven by popularity. I like to think in terms of being blessed to participate in the marketplace of ideas. I know there are many people who can do the things I do better than me. They may have better numbers and more recognition. That’s the way it is. I’m happy for them and I’m happy I’ve been able to raise my family doing a job I love and perhaps make a small difference along the way. Again, the apostle Paul said, “Warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak and be patient with everyone.” That is what I consider to be my job description.

What materials (pen, paper, etc.) do you use for your cartoons? Do you alter them in photoshop?

I use brush and ink. Sometimes I use Grafix paper for halftones.

Michael Ramirez is probably the most successful of the conservative cartoonists, winning almost every major cartooning awards in the US, including the Pulitzer Prize, which are rarely given to conservative cartoonists. What do you think of his work?

I really like his work. Not only is he a great cartoonist, he is a great human being. He also can play a mean guitar.

Is it common for editorial cartoonists to appreciate their colleagues' work, even if they disagree with their politics? I remember Ted Rall telling me that he's a fan of your work, and we all know what his politics are!

I also like and respect Ted Rall. He is a very thoughtful person with incredible gifts. He writes well and is passionate about ideas. We may disagree about ideas from time to time but I can think of no other person who I’d like to be locked up with if we should wind up in jail somewhere.

With newspapers losing readers and editorial cartoonists getting laid off one by one, will the internet eventually replace newspapers altogether? Can cartoonists make a living off it?

It's a tough time for cartoonists...but I do believe the marketplace will allow some creative, hard working cartoonists a place to ply their trade. We provide a service that is still in demand, perhaps even more nowadays when people aren't reading papers. The internet is the place to be to have your views seen by large numbers of people, so the marketplace is more open than it has ever been. Whether a cartoonist can earn a living by his wits or not is another matter. Daryl Cagel seems to do OK. Walt Handlesman is doing well with his animated cartoons being passed around the internet. I'm just entering the digital world, so I'm not a good person to a good answer to your question. I figure good editorial cartoonists will keep inflicting their views on others even if it calls for them to support their habit by doing other things to make money.

Which topic (abortion, gay marriage, or gun control) generate more hate mail to cartoonists, regardless of their stance?

I suppose gay marriage is the the hot issue now that you have listed. People are tired of fighting over abortion and gun issues. Much of my mail seemed to come from the War in Iraq, however, and religion issues. Many folks don't understand how I, as a follower of Christ can support the war in Iraq or criticize Muslim extremists.

Many "alternative" editorial cartoonists are decrying the use of symbols, such as Uncle Sam, Democratic donkeys, and Republican elephants, as tiring and cliched. What is your take on it?

Being a geezer, I automatically go for the symbols. It's shorthand for me. Of course they are a bit tired and overused, but still useful in communicating ideas. Most of the cartoonists who don't like using symbols use Leno-type jokes. That has become just as cliche as using symbols. I figure in today's PC world, symbols have passed the taste test. If I depict a feminist with hair on her legs, people get mad at my rendering and miss the point I'm trying to make. If I use my own "Lara Liberal" to make the same point, people generally like her and go quicker to the idea I'm using her to present. My elephants and donkeys are usually friendly conveyors of ideas also.

Interview © 2008 Charles Brubaker
Cartoons © Creators Syndicate

Friday, March 7, 2008

Couple items of interest

Just some notes

1. I'm conducting an interview with an editorial cartoonist. It should be posted here next week.

2. I put up a paypal donation button on the right side of the screen.

Why not? It's not like I bring you cartoon related stuff, like the aformentioned interview, on this site for free. Oh wait.

Seriously, though, any donations made are appreciated.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"Imagine This"

The success of Shoe by Jeff MacNelly led to syndicates launching many, many comic strips created by editorial cartoonists in the '80s and '90s. Most of them ended with failure, as evidenced by what happened to strips by John Sherffius, Jeff Danziger, Wayne Stayskal, Dave Horsey, and Pat Oliphant (yes, Oliphant did a strip). Mike Peters and Jim Borgman were among the few editoonists who succeeded.

While this doesn't happen as often anymore, you do still come across new strips by editoonists, with latest examples being "Family Tree" by Signe Wilkinson and "Dad's Home," co-created by Gary Markstein.

San Diego-based editorial cartoonist Lucas Turnbloom is the latest in the list of "double dippers." Just recently, he began a webcomic called Imagine This, about a grown man re-living with his childhood toys, who comes to life in his imagination.

The strip is only four-days old and I'm already hooked, and I'd think you guys would be, too. I'm hoping that this will be one of the successful strips.

So go take a look, why don't ya'?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bill Watterson's editorial cartoons

One of the little known facts about the reclusive cartoonist behind "Calvin and Hobbes" is that he used to be an editorial cartoonist. In addition to his 6-months stint at Cincinnati Post, he also drew for the Sun Newspapers chain.

Bill's editorial cartoons are hard to find, except for two posted here. However, fairly recently, blogger Matt Tauber is posting some of his editorials. It came from microfilm, but these are probably the best we have for now. See one here and here.