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April Fools in the Uncanny Valley

Today continues a grand tradition of me taking the day off.  I asked my friend Reid (known for his renderings of possibly fictitious animals) to lend his drawing hand for today’s strip.  He took Falling Rock someplace it’s never been before: the Uncanny Valley.  I’ve written about my distaste for this particular valley, so I was thrilled when Reid came up with this joke.  He pulled it off better than I ever would have been able to do.

When he first showed me the strip he told me the difficulty was in determining what kind of lizard and what kind of owl are Ernesto and Carver.  Ernesto, it turns out, is a cross between a horned lizard and a gila monster (one that wears a baseball jersey and walks on his hind legs, at that).  Carver is a pygmy burrowing owl.  Here you can see his process drawings:
I love Reid’s contribution.  I want to ask him to draw all my animal characters in this realistic style.  What will Pam and Melissa look like?

Why not take a trip down memory lane?  Here are previous years’ April Fool strips:

2011 – Kenan Rubenstein
2010 – Ian Kennedy
2009 – Easter Island statues (me)
2008 – Partner blogger McBone

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happy april fools day!

Today’s Falling Rock was not drawn by me.  It was drawn by a team of highly-skilled covert operatives known collectively as “Kenan Rubenstein.”

2011-04-01-falling-rock-national-parkMy favorite April Fool’s tradition has been to have a friend draw this day’s episode of Falling Rock.  Kenan is my first cartoonist friend to draw the comic.
(Faithful readers may remember him as the inventor of the Foldy Comic.)

The April Fool’s episode has classically been the best drawn and written Falling Rock of the year, and Kenan has raised the bar even higher for future April Foolers.

Does anyone else think I resemble Ernesto?

Blog comic The Family Monster

un-april fool’s day

You’ve all heard of Un-birthdays, right?  It’s the date six months away from your real, actual birthday.  Some people, weirdos mainly, use it as an excuse to celebrate what would be an otherwise boring and forgettable day.  Two days ago was the Un-Birthday of April Fool’s Day.  What I’m not going to do is play a trick on you.  What I am going to do is show you the memorable (and always fun to create) April Fool’s comics that I’ve run over the years.

As many of you know, I drew a comic strip before Welcome to Falling Rock National Park called The Family Monster.  In 2004, my then-girlfriend Isis filled in for me on this installment:


Much inspired by Sex and the City (a feminist literary journal, I’m told), this episode set the tone for future April Fool’s Day comics.

The next year, my friend (and underground pop sensation) Andy K produced this masterpiece.


I hadn’t realized it until this was made, but my four main characters fit the archetypes of the four Beatles.  Who would’ve thought I had unconsciously re-created my favorite band in comic form?  Well, probably everybody who knows me.

2006 marked my brother’s debut as a cartoonist.


He decided to go meta and introduce me as a character in the strip.  I asked my collaborators to make April Fool’s Day strips mention the oddness of the occasion, to let the reader know that, beyond the different drawing style, something was afoot.  My brother took this concept to its very limit.

A few years later, I was drawing Falling Rock.  My friend and partner blogger Nate stepped in.  He really knocked it out of the park.  Featuring Nixon as a disembodied head was a stroke of genius, to be sure, and it made me wish I could have included it during the strip’s regular run.


I flaked out in 2009 and didn’t find anybody in time, so I drew this April Fool’s comic myself.  Since I don’t often draw one long panel, I did that.  And since I love those Easter Island heads (moai), I drew them.


My most recent April Fool’s Day entry was done by my friend Ian.  Since his dad started an ad agency, and since his dad told all his kids to never go into the advertising business, we naturally came up with this:


Modeled after old newspaper ads, and featuring the name of an old building downtown, it was nice to see how my characters would fare if I ever get the chance to sell out.  Believe me, I can’t wait to sell out.  I hear snake oil is big business.

Happy Un-April Fool’s Day, everybody!  I’ve already had some requests for 2011’s episode, so stay tuned…

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falling rock sells out for april fools!

ian-april-foolMy good friend Ian Kennedy took over Falling Rock for April Fool’s Day. This continues a longstanding trend in which I ask a different friend to draw the April Fool strip each year. Past honorees have included Andy K, my brother, my wife Isis, and Nate.

Ian went for the olde timey newspaper advertisement style. I think he nailed the look of those old ads, especially the hand-drawn type. I’m also happy Falling Rock finally has a sponsor. It feels good to sell out.

For those of you who don’t live in Portland, “Semler” is the name of an old building in downtown. I used to see it every day when walking to the MAX train after work.

Enjoy the break from my oppressive worldview today! I don’t think Ernesto has ever looked better!

Blog comic

April Fools!

nate bowler
For those of you who are regulars to my website, today’s comic may look a bit different to you. That’s because my good friend Nate is the artist responsible for the Special Limited April Fool’s Day Edition of Falling Rock National Park.

Nate’s blog, Stabbone and McGraw, has its own brand of anti-mayonnaise, pro-moustache humor. Today he set that aside to give Falling Rock readers something new.

There are three firsts in today’s strip. This marks Nate’s first foray into published cartooning (via MCT Campus, all copyrights held by the artist). This is also Richard Nixon’s first appearance in a Falling Rock comic. We have mentioned him numerous times in the past, but today he appears in all his body-less glory. Finally, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Pam light her cigarette. I never figured out where she’d keep the lighter once she was done using it. I also assumed that she’d just always light the next cigarette from the used one before it. Here Nate has left his indelible mark on the world of Falling Rock. I doubt it will ever be the same.

Happy April 1st, everybody.