20 Questions with Comic Artists: Peter Rasmussen from Fatherhood Badly Doodled

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We are back once again True Believers to bring you another entry into our ever popular segment 20 Questions with Comic Artists.  Today we are going all the way to Denmark to bring you a glimpse of fatherhood, badly doodled.

That’s right the Root Beer Party is a global phenomenon with members all over the world, the one thing the world has in common is root beer and comics and we are here to unite the world by our celebration of both.

You can check out Peter Rasmussen’s comic website here: http://badlydoodled.com/olympic-special-badminton-day-2768/

Now let’s meet Peter, the newest member of the Root Beer Party:

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?

It was a bit of a coincidence really. When my son, Oskar, was about three years old I started writing down the funny or cute little things he would come out with. However, I wasn’t sure what to do with all of these funny moments and I was afraid that someday I would get bored of noting them down or forget about it entirely – and then what was the point. Around the same timse I started getting fed up with not having a hobby and since I have always been a fairly creative person it really annoyed me that I wasn’t doing anything in my spare time. One day I was playing around on Paint with one of my son’s quotes and although it was ugly as hell I thought it had potential to be quite good fun. My comic was born. The only problem was that I hadn’t been drawing for what seemed like centuries so I would have to learn how to do that. A hobby was born! I was not very good at drawing when I started out so it has been a great creative journey for me. One where I have improved my drawing skills, refined my style and being able to see how I improve my work regularly which gives a huge sense of achievement. But best of all has been the journey I have had with my son. A journey that has made me more aware of what he says, his ideas and dreams and nutty observations. So, no Oskar, no comic. Luckily he finds them quite funny too.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?

With regards to content it’s my son. I would never have started making comics if it hadn’t been for him. In terms of style I don’t have a specific influence, but I have been reading comics my whole life and grew up with things like Calvin & Hobbes, Asterix, Spirou, Tintin, Mutts and so on. I also enjoy looking at black and white comics and graphic novels for inspiration.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

I have a confession. Before I found out about The Root Beer Party I didn’t even know this drink existed. After a bit of research I’ve found that it’s very difficult to track down here in the UK, so I haven’t tasted the stuff yet. Also, I don’t think they do non-alcoholic drinks in England.

(We need to fix this, to paraphrase his own son “But why can’t everyone be friends?  Just sit down with a mug of root beer and talk about it?” ) -Editor
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?

Mainly that people find it funny and relatable, but also that it is something my son will enjoy looking at when he’s older. Of course it would be great to make a teeny bit of money one day, but at the moment I don’t have the brainpower and/or time to think about things like that.

Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?

I used to do a lot of photography but it’s all about the comics now. I also like baking bread but not sure that is artistic.

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Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?

I do it for myself. As mentioned earlier, it would be great one day to make a bit of money on this but it’s not my end goal. On a very basic level it’s all about documenting my time with my son and to have something we can look back and laugh at further down the line. We do that already and I love it when the comic makes him laugh.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?

All the conversations in my comic are real chats we’ve had, but I would never draw anything that would make my son sad or embarrassed.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?

This has changed a bit over the years as I have learned more and more about what’s out there. I started out with pencils, a rubber and cartridge paper. Now I draw on Bristol board using non-photo blue pencil for my outlines and a variety of fine-liners for the final drawing. I do this on an A3 clipboard while I watch Netflix with my wife. If we watch a boring show I can finish a comic in one evening, but if we watch something like The Walking Dead it could take between 2-5 evenings. Finally, I correct my many mistakes in Photoshop and add the dialogue using my own font.
Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

I haven’t had any training and I was always fairly mediocre at drawing. Starting this comic has been a great journey in learning and improving my drawing skills. I get a real sense of achievement when I look at my old work compared to now.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

“Meeting” so many supportive, nice and funny comic creators online. I didn’t know what a webcomic was when I started out and certainly had no idea how many there were out there. I think the entire webcomic community online is amazing and it has blown me away how many talented creators there are and how generous everyone seem to be.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

I haven’t really had one yet but I am sure it will come. There are those days when all the drawings don’t look the way you want them to, but I wouldn’t class those as low points. More like “shouting in to the pillow”-points.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

Not yet, but I hope to start work on something in the near future. I have said that for a year now but life gets in the way. A lot.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

There are so many and it would be unfair to single out anyone because it means that many others will be left out. However, since you’re twisting my arm….Zombie Boy, Jay Unplugged, Ninja & Pirate, Julie Rau, Dogs, Ducks & Aliens, Sunny Side Up, Jon Esparza, Tut & Groan, Fat Bassist, Small Blue Yonder and DazzWorld (and sorry to all you talented people I haven’t mentioned!).
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

I dread the day I run out of material but luckily my son doesn’t seem to be running out of funny comments. I also have a huge backlog of notes so I can probably keep doing this till he’s 30. So no, I can’t see myself not doing this. It is the thing that keeps me sane after a long day in the office. It gives me a huge sense of achievement and it makes me feel closer to my son.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)

I haven’t been exposed to any yet but I don’t get them. I really don’t understand what they get out of harassing people online. They should just get a life and spend the energy on something more worthwhile. Like move to a desert island.

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Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?

I have enough deadlines at work so I don’t want any of that business when I do the fun stuff (i.e. comics). I try and draw at least two comics a week and keep a buffer of at least 3 comics but other than that I don’t have deadlines.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

I love coffee. I also like beer so if any of you are ever in London I’d love to buy you a drink
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

I am now. I think? Sorry.

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Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

To get what’s in my head down on paper. I’m still not able to make my characters look the same from panel to panel. I’d be great to do that one day but it’s not the end of the world.. I also wish I had more time to read all my favorite webcomics and interact with all the great creators.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?

I’d love to put a book together one day. That would be fun. I also thought I’d be fun to start an Etsy account and make greeting cards. Finally, the children’s charity I work for has started to ask me for illustrations, which is great. So hopefully I will do more of that soon. However, most importantly I hope I can keep improving my illustrations and keep having fun while I do it. That’s all that really matters.

And there you have it True Believers, what really divides us as a world?  Not enough root beer.  If everyone would sit down over a mug of root beer and talk it out, all the world’s problems would be solved.  I guess we’ll have to wait until Peter’s son becomes a world leader to sort it all out, but until then just be happy you can take time out of the day for a nice cold root beer.

We welcome peter into the Root Beer Party and raise our frosted mugs in his honor, may the UK finally realize what they are missing and begin brewing their own root beer for all to enjoy.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

The 3rd Root Beer Party Toon off

“It is a Comic
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

True Believers, it has happened again.  We have once again engaged in a world famous Root Beer Party toon off.

This toon off was once again a face off between me and Kim Belding of Picpak Dog Comics.  The comic category selections were made by John Esparza of Bubblefox and I demanded an impartial judge to be named, and we choose James Boyd of Sunny Side Up Comics.

You can check out their comics here:

Sunny Side Up: http://www.boydcomics.com/

Picpak Dog: http://www.picpak.net/

Bubblefox: http://bubblefox.thecomicseries.com/

 

Our first challenge was the old comic gag; slipping on a banana peel

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This was my entry into the first challenge

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This was Kim’s response.

Winner:  Me

All is going well so far True Believers, but now we come to when the conspiracy begins.

Round 2:  Handling live dynamite:

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Kim struck first with this entry, notice there is no dynamite or handling of dynamite in the comic, only an explosion which is attributed to chili.

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My entry a clever play on words as live dynamite becomes a Broadway play of Napoleon Dynamite and Mr. Blob can’t handle the excitement.

Winner:  Kim by Disqualification.

Our judge James claims that I am trying to influence him by having Sunny in the comic???  How is that influence???  Sunny doesn’t add anything to the gag, I also included Picpak, is that influencing Kim??  So Being egged on by Jon Esparza, James caved into peer pressure and awarded the round to Kim.

Round 3: A sharp object in the rear

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Kim once again struck first, but he should have spent more time on the gag.  This only works if you are familiar with a comic Kim did several years ago, as a stand alone gag to a impartial judge, it really doesn’t make sense.

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My gag works as a comic.  Even if you are unfamiliar with Picpak’s comic, it still works on it’s own.

Winner:  Tie for writing the same joke.  Clearly Jon is in James’s ear at this point.  My gag works on so many levels and fills in all the gaps to stand on it’s own.  Kim’s did not.

Round 4:  Large bolder

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Kim once again struck first and with a good gag.  He doubled down with the living under a rock pun, so good entry.

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Here I used Mr. Blob’s power of transforming into any shape to make him a bolder.  I like the gag, but Kim’s was a better strip.

Winner:  Kim Belding

Round 5: Inflation, inflate a secondary character

We can’t have a toon off without inflation.  Jon has some sort of helium addiction.  I think we might need to have an intervention.

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A good entry from Kim, he certainly picked up his game after losing the first 3 rounds.

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Now I did this to make a point.  Mr. Blob does not have a comic and therefore doesn’t have any secondary characters to inflate.  Jon picked this deliberately to fix the contest for Kim.  I choose Picpak and Wendy from Peppertown to inflate since they were both written by Kim and Jon who were obviously conspiring against me in this competition.

Winner: Kim Belding

So by their reasoning Kim tied or won 4 out of 5, but in reality he only won 2 out of 5 and had to have the Jon fix the final for him.  I called them on it and even found proof of their rigging the competition.  DSC04854

So the real winner of the 3rd toon off is Mr. Blob:

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But due to the collusion of the Co-Presidents and James giving into peer pressure Kim Belding was declared the official winner.  But this is not over True Believers.  Mr. Blob will still fight the good fight you can count on that.

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I’ll get you next time Belding!!!!!  Next Time!!!!!

20 Questions with Comic Artist: Madeline Holly-Rosing of Boston Metaphysical Society

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We are back once again True Believers, with our most popular segment here at The Root Beer Party.  It is time once again for 20 questions with comic artists.  Today we have the accomplished author of The Boston Metaphysical Society.  You can check it out here: http://bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com/

This is a continuity or graphic novel style comic set in a steampunk style universe.  Our heroes, the Boston Metaphysical Society, try to combat the evil of The Shifter, a man who can travel through space and time.

The comic has won multiple awards and is drawn by accomplished artists Emily Hu and colorists Gloria Caeli & Fahriza Kamaputra.  So lets get the low down from Madeline and welcome her to the Root Beer Party.

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I originally wrote the comic as a TV Pilot when I was in the MFA Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. It was received well, but then several friends suggested I redevelop it as a comic for marketing reasons. I thought it was a good idea and took a sequential art class to learn how to write a comic. Lucky me! I discovered I loved indie comics.
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
Probably my classmates and instructor from the sequential art classes I took. (Nunzio DeFillippe, Christina Weir, Christina Strain, Han-Yee Ling, George Wassil, James Wright and Josh Henaman. And of course, Dave Elliot.)
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
Sorry, but I hate root beer.
(Shocked silence fills the room.  The tension is audible!)  
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
The comic was originally designed to be a branding platform, but in the process I learned I loved writing comics!
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I can’t draw, but I used to play the flute in high school (jazz band and orchestra) and had a few piano and French Horn lessons. Does that count?

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Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?

Yes, there a digital special editions on DriveThruComics. Those include the complete chapter plus 30+ pages of extras in a pdf format. I also have them in print which you can purchase from me either at a Con or through my storenvy website.
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Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Absolutely. For strip type cartoons I’d include, Zombie Boy, Lunarbaboon, Pirate Mike, Ninja and Pirate and Sunny side Up, of course. For long form, there are too many to mention.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.) 
I’ve never been trolled… yet. I imagine it’s just a matter of time. I suspect it’s because the comic is alternate history and most trolls don’t read that.  If I were harassed, how I respond would depend on what they did. At Cons, I’ve had guys try to flirt, but they never crossed the line into harassment. I imagine that’s because I’m white, a little older (and taller) than other women working Cons and I have a very “take no prisoners” attitude.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I do set myself deadlines and I’m getting better at time management. Since I do so many Cons during the year, a lot of my time is spent organizing for those, i.e., travel arrangements, hotels, taxes, inventory, etc. Motivation has never been a problem for me. My husband calls me mono-polar manic.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Iced Tea.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
No, I am not. I’d love to join if I can drink another type of beverage.
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Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I hope to put together a trade next year of the six issues which will include something very special. (It’s a secret.). We are also working on funding 32 page one shots. And since the anthology (Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude) is complete, I’m writing the first ever Boston Metaphysical Society novel. I’ve also had fans want an RPG, but one thing at a time.
Wow!  This is cutting edge stuff here True Believers.  We have never had a member who didn’t like root beer.  Well, she still meets the love of comics criteria so we will let it pass with an honorary membership.  Welcome to the party Madeline, and try the Butterscotch Root Beer, you will be very surprised by that one.  So raise your glass to the Boston Metaphysical Society and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

 

20 Questions with Comic Artists: Chris Grabowski from Poorly Drawn Thoughts

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We are back once again True Believers with our world famous interview segment 20 Questions.   (Just when you thought it was safe to go back online.)  This time we bring you a new member of the Root Beer Party, Chris Grabowski from Poorly Drawn Thoughts, you can check out his site here: http://www.poorlydrawnthoughts.com/

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We give a special shout out to Fellow Root Beer Party Alum James Boyd of Sunny Side Up for inviting Chris to the party.  But enough about us let’s meet the man himself:

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I was sitting in a meeting one day at my day job and doodling on my notes. A friend and coworker saw what I was doing and said “Hey, those are pretty funny. You should do a webcomic.” So, without doing any research on the subject what so ever, I started drawing comic strips. After I felt I had something I liked I started publishing them.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
Probably R. Crumb. He has this really incredible mix of humor, eroticism and social commentary that I have never seen anywhere else. He’s pretty incredible.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I’m actually not much of a soda drinker. I mainly just stick to water and coffee. If I had to pick I would say Mug because I like the dog on the label.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I don’t know. Maybe earn some money off of it? I’m primarily a hobbyist when it comes to comics so I never really thought about things I could accomplish by doing this.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I’m actually a pretty skilled guitar/bass player. I’ve been playing for a little over fifteen years, now.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
This is definitely something I just do for myself.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I don’t care for anything that is too violent. Cartoony violence (like punching someone with your beard) is one thing, but nothing too realistic. Especially sexual violence. There’s just not anything funny or cool about that. I also don’t care for most racial humor. We’re in a position in our country where we need to take race relations seriously and I don’t feel like that sort of humor is really helping anything. Good humor to me is based on shared experiences and unfortunately a lot of experiences in regards to race are not shared between races and making jokes about these sorts of things lately seems like it’s doing more harm than good.

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Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I use an Intuos 2.0 drawpad/stylus by Wacom. Also my stuff is made using Clip Studio Paint Pro Edition. Before that I was using a Nintendo 3DS and a copy of Comic Workshop. As for style, I would say super minimalist. Also, I drew (ha, see what I did there) a lot of inspiration from old RPG style video games. I always liked there cut scenes.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I took a couple of drawing classes in college but that is pretty much it.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
I’ve gotten to know a lot of really great people because of cartooning and lately I’ve been using my comics to help raise money for Give Kids the World (go to GKTW.org for more information about them. They are an incredible organization). So if anything has been a highlight it is definitely the new friends and the charity work.

(Here is the link:  http://gktw.org/ )
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
This is a real cathartic experience for me so low points tend to be things like, ‘I don’t feel like I really got my point across with a comic,’ or if I look back at one and think ‘Wow I really could have done that better.’
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Nope. I’ve been putting together a photo album of all my stuff but I haven’t really put much thought towards a book or anything.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
James Boyd from “Sunny Side Up” has been really cool. Also Dave Rine from “Punks Against Punks” and Matthew Mewhorter from “Cancer Owl.” All three of those are all really incredible comics.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
It has definitely had a positive impact on me. Like I said earlier, this has been a cathartic experience and it really gives me a chance to work out those negative emotions (fear, anxiety, anger, etc.). I can definitely see myself keeping this up for the foreseeable future.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
People are just people. Sometimes people are awesome and encouraging and sometimes they’re just dicks. Just ignore them.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I have a self-imposed deadline of two comics by every Monday. Also I tend to write down ideas I have throughout the day and that actually keeps me motivated because there is always something to draw about.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Coffee. Black, dark roast coffee.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
No. I just found out about you guys. I’m not very internet savvy and I tend to not spend a lot of time online.
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Drawing things I’ve never drawn before. I’m the kind of person who really loves to be challenged, so I love to try and put things in to my comics that I just couldn’t before.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I have a couple of projects I’m working on that I can’t really say much about. I don’t want to be in a position where I tell you I’m doing something and year’s later people are like ‘Whatever happened to that thing you talked about?’ And I’m like ‘Well I guess it fell through.’ Although I am drawing informative comics about animals for the kids at my son’s preschool. I keep them black and white so the kids can color them. You can find them on my Facebook (Facebook.com/PoorlyDrawnThoughts) and Twitter (Twitter.com/PoorlyDrawnGuy) pages.

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And there you have it True Believers, Straight from the man himself, welcome to the party Chris.  So we offer up a toast of Mug root beer (yes, the one with the dog on the label.) to chris Grabowski.  Check out his web page for more great comics as well as the Give Kids the World project.  And as always True Believers, until next time, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

The Making of a Comic Part 6: In the Beginning…

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For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Blob was actually the creation of a 10 year old  Canadian boy named Kim Belding.  From an early age he knew he wanted to be a comic artist, he would read Garfield and US Acres (AKA Orson’s Farm in Canada) and long to make those comics his own.

After exhaustive research through the Picpak Dog Comic Archives we have unearthed the original Mr. Blob comic strips.  How is it possible that these still exist you ask?  Well, even back then Kim must have known on some subconscious level that he was really on to something with Mr. Blob.  So let’s meet this icon of modern comics as he first appeared decades ago:

9mEh4E8 This is the original moment when history was made, when Picpak First met Mr. Blob.  This iconic scene was recreated many years later during one of the many incarnations of Mr. Blob that you have all grown to love.

DSC04460This is the modern recreation of that historic event.  Kim wasn’t satisfied with Mr. Blob and began experimenting with ideas but nothing really seemed to land.  He didn’t understand the whimsical insanity that we all know and love about Mr. Blob, but even back then you could see Mr. Blob influencing little Kim’s pen and helping him to shape the future that we know today.

xdHq0qLEven then Mr. Blob showed off his amazing talent for music.  He would later refine that style and become known throughout the world for his musical gift.

DSC04817Just a few of his many incarnations from Mr. Blob the Musical, a Tony Award winning musical and the shortest running play in Broadway history.  But as we can see, from these small sparks of genius comes the amazing advancements to the history of comics as we know it today.

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Here is where we learn that Mr. Blob likes to eat records, although in this comic Little Kim thinks they are made of Polyester but he address’ that in the next comic.

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Although Kim has not mentioned that Mr. Blob is an alien, his exotic ways are clear for all to see.  His powers continue to manifest themselves in the following strips.

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Now how, do you ask, did Kim not know that he was on to something amazing here?  It really is a mystery.  I suppose it has something to do with the winters in Canada or something like that.  Maybe he was distracted by a hockey game or someone apologized and gave him a doughnut, we may never know the answer, but fortunately he saved the strips and after casually sharing them on his Peatron page, Mr. Blob was once again given a chance to live.

Kim continued to work with the character a bit more, but never seemed to fully grasp the infinite possibilities that Mr. Blob offered him.

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There were a lot of hungry jokes in this weeks strips and Jon Esparza might not be too happy to see Mr. Blob eating one of his favorite characters The Ant, but there are bound to be casualties in the creation of a comic icon.  We can really date the comic here with it’s reference to Ferby toys in the next strip.

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Kim even back then was known for his puns and wordplay gags.  but little did he know how much this last strip would play into his future.  It was probably for the best that he stopped here.  If he had continued he might have broken through the space-time continuum and changed the course of the universe forever.  The signs were clear, even then of what the future held in store for Mr. Blob:

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Mr. Blob tried his first taste of Helium.  It would not be his last.  Was this comic a secret message like the Da Vinci Code?  Did time traveling Root Beer Party members tell a young Kim Belding to draw this strip to insure that he would be prepared for the future as a Co-Founder of the Root Beer Party?  Did Skynet send Terminators back in time to try to stop Kim from making this comic and try to defeat the resistance before it even began?  Did the Mr. Blob comic become self aware and ensure it’s survival through foreshadowing a gag it glimpsed through some temporary dimensional portal?

We may never know the answers, but the stars did align and Mr. Blob was preserved for the moment in time when we would all need him the most.  And now True Believers, you know the truth about the creation of Mr. Blob.  There are still many questions to be answered, but that is the way with knowledge, the more we think we know about…  the greater the unknown.

Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

 

 

20 Questions with Comic Artists: James Florence of Jay Unplugged

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We are back once again with our world famous segment here at the Root Beer Party, It’s time for 20 Questions.  (Crowd goes wild)  Yes, that’s right, you demanded it and once again, we deliver.  Today we bring you the embodiment of the Evil Dead himself James Florence of Jay Unplugged which you can check out here:

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Here we have a man who has serious issues with his computer so we’ll get right down to business:

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Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
I’ve been interested in doing comics for pretty much my whole life; as a kid, I used to daydream about having my own little studio with the drawing table and everything. Alas, by age 30, that dream had still not come to fruition. It wasn’t until a couple years ago, when my wife took me to see a special screening of the documentary “Stripped,” that I realized I needed to buckle down and make it happen. I had these characters I’d conceived of a couple years prior—a guy, his laptop and radio—so I picked them back up and the rest is history.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
Without a doubt, my number one influence was and still is “Calvin and Hobbes”. I spent countless hours reading it during my childhood, and still revisit it regularly. In particular, I admire how Bill Watterson uses the comic medium to express not just humor but deep emotion and profound truth. His depth, versatility and tonal balance are what I strive to replicate in my own work.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
Usually, I go for good old Mug root beer. I also remember Henry Weinhard’s being really good, but it’s been a while since I’ve had it.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
My goal is to build an audience and get as many people as possible to read my stuff. Heck, I’d like to one day do it for a living, of course. However, in the end, I think my personal satisfaction in my work is the most important thing.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I love music and movies. Before I got into comics, my main artistic outlet was music: I’ve played both guitar and drums in several bands and even produced my own solo album. I still enjoy jamming with friends and hope to do more recording in the future.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
Definitely not a professional. Maybe when someone offers me a large sum of money to do this, I’ll consider myself a pro.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
None, really. I generally keep my strip pretty clean, just because I prefer it that way, but I also don’t mind pushing the envelope if the joke is there.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I draw on a large 14”x17” pad, starting with non-photo blue lead and ending with black ink. I use two pens for inking: a 0.8mm Uni-Ball Vision Elite (I like the hard tip) and a Micron 0.25mm for finer lines. I draw my boxes with a 1.0mm pen. I also use an Ames guide for lettering, so the lines are straight. I do all my coloring in Photoshop.
Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
None whatsoever.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
Recently, I had the opportunity to be featured at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in my hometown of Santa Rosa. While I was there, Jeannie Schulz (Charles’ window) stopped by to say hi and asked me for the lowdown on the world of webcomics. It was quite a treat for me; I even got to give her a signed print.
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
About 3 or 4 months after I started “Jay Unplugged,” I hit a dry spell. I thought it was all over, and I moped and whined about having no good ideas and how I was doomed to fail at everything I attempted, blah, blah, blah. About a week later, I was back on the upswing, working on an inspired three-part arc. This taught me a crucial lesson about creating art: there will always be ups and downs, floods of inspiration and dry spells. The key is to hold on and ride through the tough times. Never give up.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Currently, no, but I’d love to do a print collection one of these days.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Oh yeah, a bunch, too many to name. Some of the stand-outs would be Poorly Drawn Lines, Lunarbaboon, Awkward Yeti, Fatherhood. Badly Doodled., Fat Bassist Comics, and Dogs, Ducks & Aliens.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
After dreaming for years about being a cartoonist, it’s very fulfilling for me to actually be doing it. Can I see myself not doing it? Sure. Would I be happy? I doubt it. While it’s often challenging and frustrating, in the end, making comics just makes me feel good – like I’m doing something, you know?
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Go find something you love.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
Keeping a regular update schedule is helpful, but I don’t give myself a hard time if I miss. The fact is, I’m not getting paid to do this and I have a lot of other responsibilities, so I’m not going to make a big deal about staying on schedule. One of the best motivators for me is having a continuing story arc, because the story kind of propels itself. Other than that, I just do my best to put out content regularly, whether once or twice each week.
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Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Regular beer—preferably a craft-brewed IPA.
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I think this questionnaire is my initiation. So… yes, yes, I am. I would’ve gotten to it sooner, but hey, I’m a busy guy.
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Well, I’m not much of an artist, so it’s probably just drawing in general. Especially if I have to veer outside of conventional motif of Jay standing in front of a counter.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’m just gonna keep at it, and we’ll see what happens next.
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So there you have it True Believers, you heard it here first.  We have introduced you to the newest member of the Root Beer Party, so check out his comic and make him famous so he can work harder and make more comics and possibly afford more root beer.  We here at the Root Beer Party know that nothing pairs better with root beer than comics, both are things that make us all happy, so thanks to James for this introduction and welcome to the party.  And as always True Believers, May your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

20 Questions with Comic Artists: Neil Brun of Fat Bassist Comics

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We are back once again True Believers with another legendary 20 questions segment.  Today we have none other than Neil Brun of Fat Bassist Comics. You can check out his site here.  http://fatbassist.com/

Neil Hails to us from our friendly neighbor to the north, O’ Canada, much like our highly esteemed Co-President Kim Belding of Picpak Dog Comics.  Those guys up there are putting out some first rate comics so do yourself a favor and check out some of our international comic artists from here at the Root Beer Party.

Neil at won the famous dance off against our fellow Root Beer Party member James Boyd of Sunny Side Up comics by making what has become one of my favorite comics of all time.

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The execution of this gag is just perfect.  Well done Neil and now let’s get on with what you came here for, the interview with Neil Brun.

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
One fateful day while caring for my son back in April 2015, he jabbed my in the eye with a plastic giraffe. Being the modern parent that I am, my first thought was to make a post about it on Facebook, when it occurred to me that it would be much funnier if I had an illustration to go with it. That’s basically where it all began. By Xmas that year, I had made around 25 strips, and so I decided to start up a website and started doing 5 strips a week (spoiler alert: I no longer do 5 strips a week).
Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?
My favourite comic has always been Calvin & Hobbes. I also loved The Far Side and Herman. That being said, my older brother, who goes by the handle Electric Gecko and does the webcomic Puck, has definitely been my biggest influence. Watching his humour and characters develop over the years has been very inspirational.
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I’d probably go with Dad’s root beer. It isn’t easy to find up here in Western Canada, so whenever I do see it in a store I have to buy it because it’s such a rarity… like a frothy, malt-flavoured unicorn.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I’d love to eventually have enough strips to self-publish a collection. I just think it would be a cool thing to have and to be able to give away as gifts to my family and friends that have supported the comic. Until then, I just hope to make a few people laugh and form some friendships with other like-minded cartoonists.
Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I work for a small architectural firm which is fun, creative work. I also (as the name suggests) play bass in a number of bands, and have been performing all kinds of music for over 20 years. Fat Bassist originally was going to be a music-based website (which would have made more sense, really) and I parked the domain with that intention. I ultimately gave up the idea and started making stop-motion cartoons on Youtube (most of which I’ve taken down because they’re terrible) and eventually started drawing comics under the handle “Fat Bassist” and it just kind of stuck.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I’m just a hobbyist. I’m far from a professional anything.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
I decided when I started out that I would love for my son to one day be able to read my comics so I try to keep it pretty PG-rated for the most part. I basically avoid content that I wouldn’t want a child to be reading (even though most people not born in the 1980’s or earlier probably wouldn’t get most of my jokes anyway).

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Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I draw everything on my old iPad Mini using an app called “Sketch Club”. I originally downloaded it just to have something to doodle on to teach my son numbers, colors, etc. but I’ve actually found it to be more than adequate for my simple, cartoony style.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
Apart from reading a lot of comic strips and taking the odd cartooning class as a kid, I don’t really have any training to speak of.
Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
This one time I did a strip about Hawkins Cheezies (a Canadian version of Cheetos that I love dearly) and I emailed it to their head office. A week or so later they sent a reply email which could be paraphrased as “Um, yeah… thanks for that. We’re, um… glad you like our product enough to make a weird comic about it.” I also just recently did a comic about Reading Rainbow and the official Reading Rainbow Twitter account actually liked it. These are the moments I live for.

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Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I started out doing 5 strips a week plus a bonus voting incentive comic for Top Web Comics, so really 6 strips plus working full time, playing in a bunch of bands and raising a family. After 4 straight months of trying to keep that up, I had completely burned out and almost quit altogether. Thankfully, I ended up just taking a couple weeks off, and since then I’ve slowed down my update schedule to around two strips a week, and I’m happier and healthier for it.
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If so, where?
None so far.
Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
Too many to list here… if you visit my website (shameless plug) I have links to a bunch that I really enjoy. My very favourite webcomic is Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand.
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Architecture and music, while big parts of my life, mostly involve working with others. I love making comics because they are a reflection of myself as an individual. In that sense, the webcomic gives me a unique feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment I don’t get from my other pursuits. I have no plans to stop anytime soon.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
In the immortal words of Matthew Wilder, “Nobody gonna break-a my stride. Nobody gonna slooowww meeee dowwwwnn… OH NO… I got to keep on mooooovin”. I’m pretty sure Mr, Wilder had web comic trolls in mind when he wrote that song.

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Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
After burning out a couple months ago I’ve been hesitant to commit to a fixed update schedule. My day job provides me with plenty of stress and deadlines so I don’t feel the need to inject such things into my webcomic – I want it to remain something I do for fun and only for fun. I find the best motivation for me is just reading comics that are way funnier than mine, which is great because there are literally thousands to choose from.
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
When you live in Canada, something you learn to get used to is falling in love with American food and beverages, only to have them suddenly discontinued and taken from you in a sudden, traumatic fashion. The worst case of this I’ve ever experienced was with Tahiti Treat. Growing up there was a vending machine at the art school my brother and I went to that had Tahiti Treat, and I have strong, fond memories of drinking it while playing with clay and watching National Film Board cartoons***. Then, one day…. it was gone. Just… torn from my life. I’ve been trying to to fill that void with inferior fizzy beverages ever since.
***Note to American readers: I highly recommend checking out the NFB as a hub of great Canadian animators and cartoonists. Richard Condie is one of my favorites.

 

(You can check it out here: https://www.nfb.ca/  – Editor)
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
I am happy to say that I am indeed a member of the root beer party! In fact The Old Man in my Stomach now makes a appearance on the latest version of the party collage! Thank-you for welcoming me!

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Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
For me it’s my own limitations when it comes to drawing. I’m particularly bad at drawing facial expressions and often feel like the words coming out of my character’s mouths don’t match their faces. It can be frustrating when I have an great idea for a gag, but the punchline is visual in nature and I know before I even start that the end product will be disappointing. Simply look at my brother’s comic (www.puckcomics.com) and then mine… it doesn’t take a genius to see who got all the artistic talent in our family.
Question 20: What are your future plans involving webcomics or anything else going on in your life?
I feel like the gag-a-day format works well for me right now, as it gives me the freedom to try tackling different subjects and scenarios to see what clicks with my sense of humor. Eventually, though, I’d like to work towards trying a story-based humor strip with a cast of characters to explore.

And there you have it True Believers, another 20 questions interview, the Root Beer Party brings you all the information that you want to know.  You demanded it and we deliver.  Check out Neil Brun’s webcomic as well as his brother’s comic Puck http://www.puckcomics.com/

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So until next time True Believer’s may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Big News: Zombie Boy Comics

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One of our own members here at the Root Beer Party has been nominated for a Harvey Award.  That’s right none other than Mark Stokes of Zombie Boy Comics.

Now we have known for years what everyone else is just finding out, Zombie Boy is one great comic.  Mark began doing this comic back in the 1980’s before there even was a world wide web for web comics to be on, and has been tirelessly forging ahead with one of the best comics out there.  I would put his work among any of the classic syndicated cartoonists and he would surpass most of them with his improving quality and consistency.

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He has garnered tributes from all of us here at the Root Beer Party for years, this one from our Co-President Kim Belding of Picpak Dog Comics.  Mark has been a constant source of inspiration both directly and indirectly to just about every comic artist on the web today.  He takes time out to encourage people just starting out and offer any advice, he was more than generous with me when I was starting out, and it speaks to the quality of his work that we all turn to him for advice.

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A tribute from our other Co-President Jon Esparza from a few years ago.  But like any group, our admiration was not one sided.  To show the generosity of spirit from the man himself we need only look to his involvement with other members of the Root Beer Party.

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This is Mark’s contribution to one of Jon Esparza’s CRAZY cartoon experiments.

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This was a clever gag done for a webcomic chat podcast with Daniel Barton of Goober & Cindy fame.

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And here we have a classic gag from Tim Green from his world famous Vinnie the Vampire comic.

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These are just a few of the memories and interactions we have had with Mark over the years and sometimes it takes an achievement like this to make us look back and realize how lucky we are.  We are all supporting you here Mark and we hope you finally get some of the recognition you deserve.

Our admiration of Mark Stokes and Zombie Boy Comics was here long before the Harvey Award people recognized him and here at the Root Beer Party he will always have a home away from home.  Best of Luck Mark, we will all be voting for you.  Check out Zombie Boy Comics for yourself here: http://www.zombieboycomics.com/

You can vote on the Harvey Awards ballet here:  http://www.harveyawards.org/

We will reserve a bottle of Jon Esparza’s special home-made root beer just for you Mark, and as always, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

The Making of a Comic Part 5: False Starts

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I was still looking for an identity for Mr. Blob when I was doing this one.  I figured that maybe I would take him in a different direction than I had done before.  I was happy with the last series of cartoons, but I hadn’t really thought about scripting a comic at that point and it fell kind of flat towards the end.  So this time I decided to work from a writer’s point of view first and then work out the comic, but to differentiate it from all the others, this would be a more serious take in the form of a graphic novel style storyline.

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I wanted to introduce more of a philosophical idea into the comic, this is something I have been wanting to do since the Why Ask Why comic I first did, so I began working on sort a dystopian concept of a conflict between the heart and mind, or science and religion.

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I am still trying to work out how to make movement feel natural in a comic, again, I still have a painter’s eye for composition.

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I repurposed some of the characters from the previous strip and the idea of making Mr. Blob as a recurring character in all kinds of strips came to mind.  He would be a sort of actor playing different parts in different comics.

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Here we have the technocrat verses the primitive.  A classic confrontation of simplicity verses complexity.

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An idea for a character was taken directly from the drawing mannequin on my shelf.  What a cool idea this would be though.

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a repressive government’s ideal is a world made up of non-human soldiers that do their bidding unquestionably.  I attempted a sort of noir style with this scene, but it still feels a little stilted.  The figure should have more action in it’s movement.

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Mr. Blob is a badass!  Who knew?  He can really hold his own in a fight.  I felt really good about the poses on this page.

DSC04808The technocrats ultimate weapon, propaganda.  I like to think of Mr. Blob as the new face of terror.

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A poorly executed painting is what I would call this, the scale is completely out of proportion and you can’t even make out the oil rig or the boat with any definition.  Not a good drawing.  This is where I kind of lost interest in the series.  It has a good premise, but it didn’t feel right for Mr. Blob.  He is a humorous character and didn’t really fit with the style or atmosphere of this comic.  There are many roads you follow in the quest to make a comic and this was yet another false start.

 

The Making of a Comic Part 4: Origin

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Where does it all come from?  Mr. Blob sort of had an origin in his short run of Picpak comics, but at 10 years old Kim Belding really didn’t add much back story to the character during his brief appearance.  So I set out to fill in the blanks using Picpaks comics as a sort of starting point and adding my own details from there.

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Here we have the famous introduction meeting between Picpak & Mr. Blob.  This is the original Batman V. Superman moment that the fans have been waiting years to see play out and unlike Zach Snyder, it delivers.

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Except for the first panel, this was taken directly from Kim Belding’s original drawings.  If the gag seems a little rough, you must remember that he was 10 at the time it was written.  It is still more comprehensible than Batman v. Superman though.

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I took over again on this strip as Mr. Blob meets the rest of the gang at Picpak comics.  Why are all these people standing on a wall you might ask, well, I messed up the perspective that’s why, it was supposed to open up on the street, but it didn’t work out.  Epic fail.  This is where I stopped posting this series, I was a little disappointed that after 2 weeks I didn’t get a single view on the site, so I abandoned posting them at this point, but the story does go on and you are about to see the rare unpublished Mr. Blob strips right here.

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This is where Mr. Blob meets Emoji.  This is actually the series that I am using as the basis for the new Mr. Blob Mysteries series, so you will see some of the same characters there, but I have added some new stuff as well as taken him out of Picpak’s world completely.  I also redesigned some of the characters.  so It will be an all new comic.

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This is the coffee course which will be the base of operations for the Mr. Blob’s Mysteries gang, with a new redesign of course.  It’s got everything you could want out of life, at a huge mark up that is.

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Never challenge Mr. Blob to a sing off.  You will lose.

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Mr. Blob breaks out his gags from the famous Mr. Blob the Musical

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And this was the last in the series that I finished but I had stopped posting them back on Page 4 so you get to see the exclusive “lost” 5 pages of this brief start tot he Mr. Blob series.  there were some really good ideas in it, but I wasn’t yet ready to put it all together and make a strip out of it.  Mark Stokes of Zombie Boy comics had given me advice on building up a backlog of comics before you begin, so you don’t fizzle out when you find how hard it is to keep up with a twice daily publication deadline.  I started with a month’s worth of strips, but stopped halfway through when I realized that no one was looking at them.

It caused me to question if this was really the right thing for me to do, so I began trying something different with Mr. Blob, but that is for the next story.