Posts Tagged ‘comic strip’


falling rock comic strip: super villains

meeting-supervillains-falling-rock


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.


Cul de Sac week, part 2 of 6


Cul de Sac, part 3 of 6


Cul de Sac, part 4 of 6


Cul de Sac, part 5 of 6


Cul de Sac, part 6 of 6

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little homage to Richard Thompson. He was (and still is) a cartoonist who deeply inspires me. The fact he is no longer around to make new work doesn’t lessen the impact he had on me, or really, the industry as a whole.

This was a unique Inktober for me. Instead of making one drawing per day, I made six strips (the equivalent of one week of newspaper strips). I drew them entirely digitally, making the “pencil” sketches on my iPad then using Photoshop and my Cintiq tablet for the finished, “inked” strips. It was a useful experiment, and I find the finished product fairly close to my traditionally inked pages. Maybe you can tell me if you find this approach appealing.

I hope to make more new work soon. In the meantime, this has been a fun diversion.


Lee Salem 1946-2019

The first famous person I ever saw at ComicCon was Lee Salem. It was my first year attending that convention, before I even had a table. One of my early stops was to the Universal Press Syndicate booth. To my complete shock I saw the man himself, talking with a few other editors. I approached him with the awe appropriate to kings and religious figures, and I think he was baffled by this young man’s recognition. I shook his hand, mumbled something about how great it was to meet him, then moved on. That moment stands as one of my all-time ComicCon highlights (and I’ve met the voice of SpongeBob).

As longtime readers of this here blog know, I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist since I was a kid. Calvin and Hobbes has been my guiding light since around age 10. Through that strip, I’ve learned just about everything I know about making good comics. Of course there have been others, but Watterson’s work has become so ingrained I believe you can see some of the jokes written in my DNA.

At some point I learned that Lee Salem was Bill Watterson’s editor. I later learned he edited many of the greatest comics to ever grace the pages of newspapers. This was a man I needed to know. As any good writer knows, they are only as good as their editor (Salem’s suggestion on an early submission from Watterson, to focus on the younger brother of the main character, led to the creation of Calvin and Hobbes). When I was old enough to submit comics to syndicates, my first letter was always addressed to Mr. Lee Salem.

Though I never got to work with him (he was promoted to President of Universal Press Syndicate before his retirement) his legacy left a lasting impression on me.

Bill Watterson’s retirement gift to Lee Salem

It feels strange to miss a man whose work was, for the most part, invisible. He helped innumerable cartoonists be funnier. He led the industry to give creators more rights. He was president of a comics syndicate during a time of great uncertainty and change. He did all these things well. I am sorry to hear that he is no longer with us. I am grateful for the good work he did.