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comic strip superstar: complete failure

Apparently the fine folks at Amazon and Universal Press Syndicate never received my envelope full of cash: I did not reach the Top 10 finalists in the Comic Strip Superstar contest. Making the top 50 (out of thousands of entries) is nothing to sneeze at; I’m happy with the recognition. It says something that I reached that summit after creating a comic strip on two weeks’ notice. Not bad for a rush job.

As promised, I’m making my entry, Tortilla Flat, available for you to read.

Tortilla Flat is a completely new strip. It stars fraternal twins, a brother and sister, living with their grandmother in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. The twist (known in writers’ circles as deus ex machina) is, the grandmother spends much of her time visiting a moa bird who lives in her backyard. Moe can speak perfect English, yet he refuses to help Grandma out with her daily crossword puzzle. I can almost hear Garry Trudeau giggling from here!

I hope you enjoy this complete failure of a comic strip. I’m thinking about reworking the premise a bit and making a formal submission to syndicates. Suggestions will be taken in the order in which they are received. (Unless it’s a right hook; I always duck those.)
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willamette week

I always wanted to be published in the Willamette Week, a weekly free newspaper here in Portland, and now I am. It isn’t my comic; rather, a blurb about my comic.ww-oct-21-2009Will my comic make it to the next round?
We’ll have to wait until next week to find out!
Tune in here (or for the spine-tingling conclusion.*

*This post has nothing to do with Halloween, yet I find myself trying to make the connection regardless.


comic strip superstar: the semi-finals

Today I received word that I am one of the 50 Semi-Finalists in Amazon & Universal Press Syndicate‘s Comic Strip Superstar contest. It truly is an honor to be in the running.

I can’t yet reveal the name of my strip, but I can tell you that it is not Falling Rock. I created a whole new strip for the contest. I wrote new words, I drew new drawings, and I even made a little offering to the Comic Strip Gods.

Now my work will be read by four titans of the comic industry:
-Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury.
-Mark Tatulli, creator of Lio and Heart of the City.
-Lynn Johnston, the grande dame of the comic community, creator of For Better or For Worse.
-Scott Hilburn, creator of the single-panel comic The Argyle Sweater.

On October 28 the ten finalists will be announced on Amazon. Readers will vote for their favorite, which will determine the winner. If I’m selected, you can bet you’ll hear from me. Look forward to a lot of begging and cajoling on this blog if I am one of the lucky ten.

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comic strip superstar

ryan_seacrestSince the beginning of American Idol, cartoonists across this great country of ours have been pining away at our drawing tables for a similar contest to come along. Why couldn’t there be an American Cartoonist? Aren’t we “hip” to the “jive”?*

We wanted the chance to go on live television and draw funny pictures in little boxes.

Finally, we got this chance.** Comic Strip Superstar is a contest put on by Andrews McMeel Publishing and In it, you create a totally new comic strip, draw 10 dailies and two Sundays, and send it through a series of tubes to the good people at Universal Press Syndicate. The overworked, malnourished Universal Press Syndicate editors, as well as a panel of All-Star judges, will read all submissions and narrow them down to the top ten. Those ten will be posted on and the ultimate winner will be chosen by reader vote. Jimmy Carter will be on hand to make sure the election is fair and untainted.

As winner, you’ll be crowned Comic Strip Superstar and given gobs of money, a book deal, and a chance to draw comics for the rest of your natural life. I think you also get to meet Garfield.

Naturally, I entered the contest. Who knows, right now some Universal editor could be pouring over my scribbles and thinking “the kid has talent!”

My submission is called “Blavin and Blobbes,” about a young girl and her best friend, a living blob of nuclear waste. Together they start a club: Boys Are Really aFul (BARF). It is both original and fun for the whole family; I am certain I’ve got a winner.

Seriously, I can’t reveal my real submission because I don’t want to get disqualified. But I will keep you updated with any news or information I glean in the next couple months. If I’m one of the lucky ten, you can be sure to read about it here. If I’m dumped after the first round, you can bet I’ll be bitter until the end of my days, drinking myself to death while muttering obscenities under the Hawthorne Bridge. Maybe I’ll meet some other cartoonists down there!

Kid Shay out.

**Sort of.