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…

Blog friday robot

friday robots

Here’s your Friday Robots for this week!friday-robots-9-24-10

Wait, that doesn’t look much like a robot.  It looks more architectural.  To distract you, here’s a sketch of Richard Nixon I made while doing research for this episode of Falling Rock:nixon-sketchHappy Friday everybody!

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.

Blog history

My Obsession with Certain Presidents

I’ve long had a penchant for writing about certain past presidents. Thanks to They Might Be Giants, as well as a certain high school Government skit that proved highly successful with my classmates, I will always have an affinity for James K. Polk. However, it is the duo of Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon, perhaps the most and least successful of the Republican presidents, that I find myself writing about the most.
lincoln_battlefieldNixon and Elvis

Nixon and Elvis

Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. He guided the country through its most destructive war. He was extraordinarily tall, he wore hats, and he had a fantastic beard. He was a good public speaker and debater. He came from Illinois, “Land of Lincoln” (coincidence? I think not.) I’ve seen his house in Springfield, the offices where he practiced law, the State Legislature where he got his start politically, and his final resting place. What do I like so much about Lincoln? He was a humble man. He dealt with depression, and many of the pictures of him betray a deep melancholy. He was, in short, the absolute opposite of certain “stay the course” presidents of more recent memory. I get the feeling that he would never have made it in today’s information-gorged society. Had his every utterance been recorded, had his every motive been questioned by others, I doubt he would have been able to keep the focus on what mattered to him most: serving the country that elected him. Lincoln was a flawed, interesting character.

Richard Nixon hated the Jews. Let’s be honest here. They have tapes of him saying as much. He was a paranoid man, somehow always the underdog in his own mind even after being elected twice to the highest position in government. Sure, he went to China. Sure, he signed the Clean Air Act of 1970. But a little war halfway around the world that was the undoing of his Democrat predecessor would also drag him through one of the most troubled presidencies in history. That and a criminal investigation. As for his personality, Nixon just gave off an air of being a bad man. You’d think he could have relaxed a little; it might have helped his public image. He seemed to be constantly fighting. I heard a good phrase recently: “I’m not kicking against anything, I’m just kicking in midair.” That, to me, seems to sum up Richard Nixon.

Both Lincoln and Nixon had their personal troubles, but it was how they dealt with them that makes them different. That, and their policies. Kind of strange that they share the same party, isn’t it?