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Cul de Sac, part 5 of 6

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Cul de Sac, part 4 of 6

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Cul de Sac, part 3 of 6

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Cul de Sac week, part 2 of 6

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Cul de Sac tribute week

I’ve been a fan of Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac since even before it was first syndicated. I found his blog and, with it, early versions of the characters we all came to know as the Otterloops. His sense of humor was loopy and filled with kid logic, and his art was at once messy and incredibly precise. There has been no cartoonist like him before or since. If there is a comic strip royalty lineage, it could easily be argued that it goes Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Richard Thompson.

With Richard’s death in 2016 Cul de Sac’s (way, way too premature) end was certain. Comics had lost a truly great artist and a really good guy, too.

Ernesto Lacuna is one of my favorite characters from the strip. I have been curious for a long time what it might be like to write a story about Richard’s Ernesto meeting my Ernesto. And so, this being Inktober, I decided to finally scratch that itch. I wrote a weeklong (6 strips) story about Ernesto L.’s journey to Falling Rock. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making it. Below is part one.

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falling rock comic strip: super villains

meeting-supervillains-falling-rock

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Comikka

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Recently I’ve had the distinct honor of joining a new kind of comics page. COMIKKA is a way to easily read comic strips on your mobile device (like your iPhone, or if your cat gets wifi). Up to now, you could only read my comic strip Welcome to Falling Rock National Park here on this website. It’s a tad clunky. Comikka has solved that problem. You read comics one panel at a time. Each panel is clear and easy to read, and you simply tap to move forward or back. I’ve tapped through the first 100 panels of Falling Rock and I can attest, this is the best way to read comics online.

To read, simply follow this link via your mobile device.

So for those of you who picked up Falling Rock with the relatively recent comic books and want to see how these characters developed over time, or if you are a fan from back in the Aughts and want to relive the glory days of Falling Rock as a comic strip, Comikka is for you!

Please, let me know what you think of this new service. I’m very excited to be a part of it, and I hope you have a pleasant read.

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Blog comic

new falling rock comic strip

For the fans of Falling Rock’s original iteration as a comic strip, here’s a brand new installment.

The inspiration came from watching Ex Machina, a movie I highly recommend. Makes a good double feature with Frankenstein.
falling-rock-strip-7-26-15

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Bill Watterson STRIPPED

This is not a cheap ploy to increase my web traffic. Bill Watterson is not involved in anything untoward. Stripped refers to comic strips, as in newspaper funnies, as in the only part of the paper I read as a kid.
Bill Watterson Stripped
Yesterday I received an email from the makers of a film I backed on Kickstarter. Stripped is a documentary about comic strips and the anonymous elves who make them. The two filmmakers, Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder, interviewed over 70 of those elves (“cartoonists”), Bill Watterson included. Bill must’ve liked talking to Dave and Fred, because he agreed to draw the poster art.

WHAAAAAAAAAT

Should we begin calling Bill Watterson formerly reclusive? In the past few years we’ve heard more and more from him.

Let me begin by saying, I love the poster. It’s nice to see Watterson draw something that isn’t Calvin and Hobbes. There are so few examples of his art before the comic strip (many of them cataloged here), and even fewer post-Calvin. The drawing is obviously his – the style is so familiar. It is full of life, with details that make you want to linger in the theater lobby (or, in my case, the iPad screen). Is it the best poster that I’ve ever seen? Yes, I think so.

Hyperbole aside, this poster is kind of a tease. If Bill is doing these little one-off projects, does this mean there’s more to come? I hate to think after verifying that he’s still very capable of wielding a brush that he’ll re-submerge in Ohio for another twenty years. He clearly cares about comics, and I imagine he has more to say.

I’ll make this plea once more, in case Bill scours the internet late at night in search of himself: Please come back. You don’t have to do Calvin and Hobbes. Write a graphic novel about dueling stamp collectors. Write a sci-fi cookbook. Make a foldy comic! The format and characters don’t matter to me. Reading new material from a master does.

I haven’t seen Stripped yet – it will be released soon on iTunes – so you can expect a lengthy and highly digressive review on this here blog just as soon as I do.

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Blog comic reviews

Bill Watterson at Angouleme

Good news came Sunday morning with this tweet from The Comics Reporter:
comicsreportertweetI had to wait a little while for an article to confirm, and when it did come, it came in French.

Then, later, in English.

Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, huge inspiration to this here blogger, first cartoonist to win the Tour de France, received the prestigious Grand Prix at one of the biggest comics festivals in the world.

It seems as less of a surprise than it would have been a few years ago. Lately it seems ol Bill’s work is getting more of the attention it deserves. In 2005 we got The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a hardbound three volume set that collects the run of the strip in its entirety. Better still, it included a preface by the author. Clocking in at about 20 pages, it was the most autobiography I’d ever seen from Watterson.

In 2009, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes popped up as a sort of meta-article on the elusive cartoonist. Although Nevin Martell interviewed just about everyone associated with Watterson, he was unable to speak with the man himself. On the record, at least.

Last year came Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary on the lasting legacy of Calvin and Hobbes. This was not another biography of the man but a love letter to his work. I am proud to have been included in such a nice tribute to my favorite work of art.

With all these publications, Bill Watterson has been thrust once again into the spotlight. Let us hope he is not too angry at us for loving him so much. I doubt he is too bothered by it, as he has voluntarily taken part in two projects of late: one, a book called The Art of Richard Thompson, will feature an interview between Watterson and Thompson. In March, an exhibit of both Thompson and Watterson’s art will go up at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University.

Amid all this renewed interest, it makes sense that the judges at Angouleme to award Watterson their highest honor.
billwatterson-grandprix

Everyone wants to know: will Bill Watterson attend Angouleme next year? According to his editor Lee Salem (a superstar of the comics scene himself), “I’ll try to talk him into it.” I don’t know about you, but if I was in Ohio in late January a trip to France would sound pretty darn good.