20 More Questions with Comic Artists: Jon Esparza of Bubblefox

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Greetings True Believers! Today we have a treat for you, as your Co-President Kim Belding conducts a second interview with the one and only President of the Root Beer Party himself, the great Jon Esparza. Across the Internet and towards the Twitterverse, you will find no one more dedicated to the craft of cartooning than Jon. In all of his creations you will see the result of hard work, passion and a love for all things CRAZY. His current project is Bubble Fox, which you can read at http://bubblefox.thecomicseries.com, and his past comics include Mike & Mindy, Mushrooms, and Peppertown, which can be read at http://jonscrazystuff.blogspot.com, and http://peppertown.thecomicseries.com respectively. It can’t be stressed enough that without Jon, the community we’ve created today would be non-existent. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the questions!

Question 1: During your last interview, most people in the Root Beer Party knew who you were. However, the Party has grown substantially since, and those reading this may not be familiar with your work. Could you quickly tell us a little bit about yourself?

 

But of course! I’m Jon and I draw! Hope that explains things.

 

Just kidding, I am in fact Jon though and I created the web comics Mike & Mindy, Mushrooms, Bubble Fox and Peppertown. I also do the CRAZY Toons found on my blog. Outside of that, I was born and raised in San Diego and work as a stagehand when I’m not drawing.

Question 2: Continuing with the Party’s growth, I’m sure many readers are unfamiliar with its origins, such as the tweets that started the Root Beer Wars, and the formation of the Party with you as President and I as Co-President. Would you be willing to give us a brief history?

 

Yes, as the history is indeed very brief. You and I were arguing about root beer, which led to a hilarious series of drawings I penciled and you inked that somehow led to a peace between us and then the formation of the root beer party. And oddly enough, everybody got a kick out of it and wanted in too!

 

Okay, that was a bit longer than brief, but you get the idea!

 

Question 3: The collection of all your works past and present (Bubble Fox, Mike & Mindy, Peppertown, Mushrooms) is referred to as the CRAZYVERSE. What made you decide that your comics should be…CRAZY?

 

When I was creating my blog, someone had already taken the name “Jon’s Stuff.” So, I decided to make it “Jon’s CRAZY Stuff” to set me apart! There’s the big reveal. I picked a word at random and it actually worked!

 

As far as the “CRAZYVERSE” name, my dear pal Mark Stokes had taken a look at my toons one day and said “Gee Jon, you got your own little crazy universe here! A CRAZYVERSE if you will!” Mark knows best, so I ran with it!

 

Question 4: What was the inspiration for Bubble Fox? What inspires you today?

 

Bubble Fox came about by chance. I had already planned on ending Mushrooms and M&M to launch Peppertown. One day, my friend Erika Meza had said she was bored with an assignment and wanted to draw foxes and bubbles instead. I told her why not a fox IN a bubble? Then we both started spouting off ideas for bubbles and foxes and drew them all! The reaction my art got was amazing! I took it as a sign from God that this fox was meant to be, so I created a comic!

It helped that ideas just kept coming to me for more things this goofy fox could get into! The CRAZY fans kinda named him. All the replies from the initial art I posted usually said “That Bubble Fox” or “The Bubble Fox,” so I just let it stick. I think the name has worked out for him so far.

 

Question 5: You and I go back several years, but one of the most defining moments between the two of us is the comic I submitted for your very first “Crazy Cartoon Experiment”. In it, my character Picpak inflates himself with helium and accidentally flies to Cactus World. Since then helium has become an institution of the CRAZYVERSE. Where does your love for helium jokes come from?

 

Aw, good old helium. The one thing that keeps the CRAZYVERSE afloat. All cartoonists seem to have trademark gags, although I didn’t actively try to have one at first. I will admit, the old Balloon gag is the funniest of all cartoon gags because it’s the most surreal. As for as how it became my trademark, much like everything else in my career, totally happened by chance! The first couple M&M strips didn’t really get much traction. Then I did one where Mike inflates, and my views, no pun intended, blew up! People really seemed to dig it, so I just kept throwing them in there!

 

Of course, this leads to the downside of having a trademark gag: Everybody wants it all the time! Fan demand has to win out in the end, but if something’s used so much that it’s no longer funny, then why bother? That’s why I keep bathroom humor to a minimum. Has nothing to do with morals. A fart joke should never feel stale! You probably even noticed I’ve cut down on certain gags in the last two years, including Helium. I never want the funniest bits to get old!

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Question 6: Expanding on that (no pun intended), where do you get your ideas? Do you look for ideas or do ideas come to you?

 

Ideas just hit me. I wish I could say there’s a process, but more times than not, a situation will just present itself and I’ll say “Hey! This’d be great for Bubble Fox!” With M&M, it was usually a punchline that would come to me and I’d just work back to the setup, same with Mushrooms. Peppertown is a little more personal. I had no social life as a teen, so I was always the babysitter. A lot of Peppertown is just gross exaggerations of my encounters with my cousins when they were little.

 

Question 7: One of the best qualities of your work, in my opinion, is the heart of it. It always feels genuine and not saccharine. Where do you feel the heart of your stories comes from? How do you maintain its integrity?

 

I think it’s because I just keep things simple. A lot of comic characters today always seem to wanna benefit. Mine just wanna go about their business. Then things happen. They’re victims of circumstance, which, really, is a lot of us.

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Question 8: What can you tell us about the creation process of your strip? Panels, characters, lettering, etc.?

 

All analog! I pencil, ink, scan, correct and post! Very little digital work is done! I do trace my pencils during inks using a light box because I was fed up with my pencils gumming up my pens and not erasing. It’s really streamlined things!

 

Question 9: You’ve long since been an advocate for traditionally drawn work. What advantages do you feel it has over modern techniques?

 

It just looks better, especially on colored work. When I see a comic at the comic shop, I can tell that every last pixel was done on computer because no human being can paint like that. It all looks so manufactured. Traditional art has so much more heart to it. It’s sad to see so many abandoning it. And I know time plays a big role too, but it’s still a bummer.

 

Question 10: Which products would you recommend for cartooning? Why?

 

I like the Staedtler pens I’ve been using since 2014. Great pens. Honestly, it really is a matter of personal choice. What feels right to me, may not feel right to others.

Question 11: Do you feel you have progressed as an artist over the years? If so, how?

I do actually. If you look at those early M&M and Mushrooms strips, they had a very angular look to them. Over time, I think my art has gotten a rounder feel to it, almost like 30’s and 40’s animation, which I love. Think my line work has also gotten more fluid over time.

 

Question 12: Have you thought of releasing Bubble Fox in color? Do you feel it would add or distract to the strip?

 

I think about it everyday! M&M and Mushrooms were in color, but they were also monthly. BF’s in black and white because I just don’t have the time to color them. Once Peppertown returns, I’ll be dropping the gray tones for the same reason sadly. I suppose if cartooning were my actual job, I’d be willing to reconsider. Having grown up on old school MAD Magazine and manga, I really dig B&W comics. They leave a lot to the readers’ imagination!
Question 13: Smaller artists like us have to “go on their own” and self-produce much of our content, such as books, merchandise, etc. What is the hardest part of self-publishing? What is the best part? Hardest part is primarily promoting your work. Too much promotion, you look like spam. Not enough promotion, you look like you don’t care. It’s a tricky balance to find. It’s also hard convincing folks to give your art a shot, especially at cons and shows. To the casual reader, if there’s no affiliation, i.e., no Marvel/DC/Hollywood tie in, it must not be special. That isn’t to say nobody will take a look. It’s happened to me and several pals many times where a kid will walk up to our tables showing interest, and their parent will grab them and say “Oh no son, you don’t want that. Come over here, this guy draws Batman.” Its crushing and frankly, kinda rude. It is what it is though. Those that have taken the time to read our work appreciate it, and that matters the most. The best part really is being your own boss. You set your own deadlines, take your own time and just plain have fun with it. POD services make self-publishing so much more affordable. I like that I don’t have to print 1,000 copies. If someone wants it, it’s on Amazon! I also like the creative freedom that comes with self-publishing. I don’t deal with an editor breathing down my neck demanding things. I work on my terms and that’s pretty damn rewarding to be honest. As cool as it would be to see BF or M&M go mainstream, I fear what would happen to them if they got picked up by a major network. For now, I’ll enjoy my freedom to create.

 

Question 14: Let’s talk about conventions. How many do you attend in a year? Do you feel they help gain you fans? Why or why not? I used to table at three shows a year, but now I only do one, which is San Diego Comic Fest (SDCF). I still attend WonderCon, San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and Long Beach Comic Con (LBCC) as a pro. But I just walk around at those. They’ve helped me gain some fans, but overall, not a ton. Cons can be great but soul crushing for a small timer like me. As I said earlier, not having any connections to a big publisher is almost like a repellent to some attendees. But sometimes, you do get some traction. In the last three years, my sketch cards have become a huge seller for me. They’ve also killed book sales! But hey, income is income!

Question 15: Bubble Fox is currently your breakout strip, but many of your old-school fans love and remember Mike & Mindy. Lately the two have been creeping into more and more of your sketches. Are there any plans in the future to give them another full-fledged strip? Are there other works of yours you wish to bring back?

Aw Mike & Mindy. It’s fun to toss them in every now and again, but for now, they’re gonna stay retired. Trust me, they enjoy not being trampled! As far as other works, I do plan on bringing Peppertown back at some point in the very near future. With PT being a long form comic, it’s tougher to find the time to work on full pages. But I have MANY stories already scripted, including the next five chapters. Just need the time! I also have a couple projects on the back burner, including a picture story using Warren Frantz’s Green 3 characters that I promised him years ago! I haven’t forgotten Warren, I swear! I also plan to do a graphic novel based on Jack and the Beanstalk, CRAZY-style! Outside of that, there’s a few other projects in development including animation and live action films!

 

Question 16: You’ve gained a reputation as one of the nicest and most active people on Twitter, sharing other artists’ work, leaving compliments and organizing some amazing collaborations and fan art. Unfortunately, Chris migrated the Root Beer Party over to Facebook, which you aren’t a member of. How has this affected you? Have you considered joining because of it? I was very hurt by this move. Twitter deserves its RBP representative! I will not be joining FB. Not a fan of its policies. Besides, I spend enough time on Twitter as it is! Chris can always just come back where he will clearly be welcomed back by all!

 

Question 17: What does cartooning mean to you in 2017, versus decades past? (Laughs) I’ve only been a cartoonist for a decade, so I don’t really have any experience to go off of with this one! If anything, it means a path with less obstacles because you can do it all yourself now.

 

Question 18: In what ways have webcomics changed your life for the better, or worse?

 

Web comics opened up a whole new world to me! Made me realize that Indy comics doesn’t mean “Adult” or mature comics. It also opened up new avenues. That I have a following in the U.K. and Holland is mind blowing! Seem to have a lot of fans up in Canada too, which is a huge thrill! Web comics gave me friends! Despite being a comic Mecca, the San Diego comic scene isn’t all that inclusive if you don’t have any accolades. In web comics, we accept everyone.

 

Question 19: What has been the biggest change in your life since your last interview? What plans do you have in the future for your comics, or for anything going on in your life?

 

Well, sadly, my dad passed away at the end of August, so that’s a pretty big change. Seen a lot more action at the day job which takes away time to work on other things, but hey, bills gotta be paid! Biggest thing for me right now is to just stay the course for now and keep BF going for as long as I can. I also hope to get Peppertown back on track soon. I just need the time to work on it.

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Question 20: Sorry for your loss, Jon. One final question: are there any webcomics you really enjoy and would recommend for our readers? How do I only name a few? There are hundreds! Zombie Boy, Crunchy Bunches, Lunarbaboon, Picpak Dog and Galactic Dragons are my top 5, just best of the best! Don’t Pick The Flowers, Pirate Mike, Snarty, Tales Of Absurdity, Red’s Planet, Off Season, Max Overacts, Oops, Untold Tales Of Bigfoot and Mister & Me are also incredible reads! These comics ended their runs, but I’m always happy to go back and read Zorphbert & Fred, Gracieland, Tales Of The Brothers Three and Caaats! Vinnie The Vampire, Skitter and L’il Lety are also amazing web comics! Why they aren’t syndicated is anyone’s guess. And one more shout out is in order here for Bug Pudding creator, JP Keslensky. He tirelessly promotes so many other comics and since the start of Bubble Fox has posted an original poem for almost every strip in the comments box! He’s an amazing guy and I admire him to death! There are so many more out there though. I feel so bad for not being able to list them all, but my list is literally in the hundreds! Eh, I guess one more wouldn’t hurt! Austin’s Inferno is a hilarious strip put out by the Crown Prince of Web Comics, Austin Verburg. He’s the future of Web Comics! To all my pals I couldn’t get to, know that I love all your comics and I urge readers to give all Web Comics a chance! You never know when you’ll find a hidden gem!

 

That’s it from me, folks. I’d like to thank Chris for giving me the opportunity to conduct this interview, and to thank Jon for taking the time to answer these questions. It was great chatting with you and we are honored to have you as our faithful President. While the rest of you fill your mug with your favorite root beer, I recommend you buy Jon’s Bubble Fox comic book at http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Gas-Bubble-Fox-1/dp/1508525668/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465255320&sr=8-1&keywords=jon+esparza, and Mike & Mindy’s collections at http://www.amazon.com/Fork-Road-Crazy-Collection-1/dp/1479148032/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1465255320&sr=8-2&keywords=jon+esparza, http://www.amazon.com/Bird-Bush-Crazy-Collection-Vol/dp/1482552523/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1465255320&sr=8-3&keywords=jon+esparza, and http://www.amazon.com/Blame-Dog-Crazy-Collection-Vol/dp/1495459306/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1465255320&sr=8-5&keywords=jon+esparza. As for me, you can check out my comic Picpak Dog at http://picpak.net. Until next time, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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Comic Collection Review -Gasoline Alley Daily Comics 1964-1966 by Frank King & Dick Moores

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We are back once again True Believers, Once more we travel down into the inky black abyss.  Hundreds of hand carved stones beneath our feet are worn from the an age since time immemorial, when the first Root Beer Party Monks first carved this path.  At the bottom we come to a vast labyrinth of tunnels branching off in every direction.  Through the hand hewn tunnels we wander ever deeper into the womb of the earth.  Finally we arrive at monolithic armored doors which open before us, the steady pace of slowness of their opening betraying their antiquity and mass.

Contained within is a chamber so vast it’s dimensions seem beyond the scale of the earth to contain.  There is a seeming infinity of shelves extending beyond the field of vision in every direction.  Even glancing upwards we can’t make out where the shelves end and the earth begins.  Each bookcase is lined to bursting with the greatest treasures in the history of mankind.  This is the repository for the sum of all human knowledge and achievement.  Over in the corner are the lost papyrus from the library of Alexandria, to the left are the scrolls from the Xianyang Palace and State Archives.  All of humanities greatest accomplishments reside here, for this is The Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.

Today we are to review one of the more modern classics of comic history, the Root Beer Party Monks have already fetched the requested volume and reposed it upon one of the study tables.  Today we will look at Gasoline Alley:  The daily comics from 1964 – 1966 by Frank King and Dick Moores.

It was at this time that Dick Moores first took over as the primary writer and artist of Gasoline Alley, a comic started by Frank King in 1918.  What started as a one panel strip which focused mainly on cars soon became one of the most successful and longest running comics in history.

The unique aspect of Gasoline Alley is that there is a passage of time in the continuity of the comic.  The characters get older and life passes along in real time.  There are a few characters which defy this concept, but for the most part the main characters, the Wallet family is seen in a generational sense now.  The main focus of the comic has passed from one generation to the next as life in small town America becomes more modern with every passing year.

This is the main point and charm of Gasoline alley, it is a representation of life in small town America, There is a suburban charm to the strip which permeates through the years.  It’s closest comic would be For Better or For Worse, another strip which borrowed the same concept and shows the life of a family and town trough time.

These comics represent an interesting glimpse into life during the 20th century, or at least what the ideal of life in the 20th century was like.  It is sort of an idyllic outgrowth of life in the 1950’s with the nuclear family, but in reality this mythos extends much further back than the 1950’s as expressed in this comic.  We can see that ultimately it is the family unit which is the center of the universe in this comic, a relationship which has become much more strained and vague in the modern world with the passage of time.

During Moores run in this volume we are introduced to many comic adventures and an ever growing cast of characters as each person must define what is right and wrong in their own way.  It is definitely a morality play of sorts in which the good guys are often challenged and win at least a moral victory in the end.  During these two years many of the secondary characters are brought into the foreground and better defined as the cast extends beyond the main family and begins to include the rest of the townsfolk as main characters.  What were originally almost props to the main storyline and characters soon took on dimension and depth as the world of Gasoline Alley was fleshed out into a community.

Even at this point we see the social dynamic of the family unit changing as it stretches to include a much larger world view.  Gasoline Alley has a soft, gentle humor to the strip which invites the readers in to invest in the complexity and depth of the characters, the storylines are used as ways of furthering the development of the characters and are almost situational comedy in simplicity.  This is a comic that you come to for the characters not for imaginative plotlines.  Much like an Archie comic, it is the interaction between the characters which is the drive of the story.  They are people you would want as your neighbors and your friends.  This is a comforting world where even strangers can rely on a good Samaritan.

It is a rare thing for a comic to shift from original creator to a new author and still be relevant, Frank King choose wisely in choosing Dick Moores, who not only took up the comic, but made it even better.  I would highly recommend this book for any serious collector of comics.  The pages will fly by as you witness the passage of time for the Wallets and the whole gang.

We now return the volume to the Root Beer Party Monks who will take it back to the preservation room to be returned to it’s spot in the vast collection.  Frank King & Dick Moores may rest assured that their creation will reside forever in The Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.  They can be assured a place in the history of humanities greatest endeavor, comics.  So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

20 Questions with Comic Creators: Charles Brubaker of The Fuzzy Princess & Ask a Cat

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It is a bit unseasonably warm here today at the vast Root Beer Party Estates, we are nestled away in an undisclosed location in an uncarted region of and undiscovered country, and today I am meeting to talk with one of our most esteemed members Charles Brubaker of The Fuzzy Princess comic: http://fuzzy-princess.com/   as well as Ask a Cat comic http://www.gocomics.com/ask-a-cat/ 

As we sit out on the veranda overlooking the Root Beer Monks hard at work harvesting the last of the Sarsaparilla roots from the old growth forest, while others harvest the vanilla beans and Fennel from the fields, we can catch their combined scent in the air anticipating the root beer that is to come from all their hard, dedicated work.  Inside The Official Root Beer Party Bartender draws us two more frosty mugs of the elixir of life, a thick stable foam rests like a pillow atop the raw umber hue behind the icy panels of the mug upon his tray.  

But enough of our reminiscing, you the True Believers, have come here to meet the man behind the legendary works of sequential art, to get a glimpse behind the curtain of the genius that is the art of cartooning, so without further delay, let us meet the man behind the legend: Charles Brubaker.  

Question 1: What got you started in doing a comic series?
As a kid, I would dig in and read a lot of comics, whether it was in Sunday newspapers, MAD Magazine, or even manga. As I got older, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Question 2: Who was you greatest influence?
Waaaay too many to list! Cartooning-wise, some of them include the Looney Tunes guys, Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, Bud Grace, Bill Amend, Keith Knight, Fujio Akatsuka, Fujiko Fujio, and many more!
Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?
I’ll probably get a lot of flack for this, but I don’t drink root beer. If I do, it’s because it just happened to be available! But they’re alright.
Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
This is a long-shot, but I’d love to get my comics animated someday, especially “The Fuzzy Princess”. I think there’s potential for them in the medium, and would be nice to explore the possibilities I can do there.
Right now, though, I’m more focused on expanding my audience for both of my comics, which would be nice.
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Question 5: Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
I majored in Graphic Design, and those are fun to do at times, although I haven’t primarily focused on it in years.
Question 6: Do you see yourself as a professional cartoonist, or is this just something you do for yourself?
I definitely see myself as a professional cartoonist. I’ve done freelance work for clients, and I take my update schedules seriously to the point that I draw months ahead. I even joined the National Cartoonists Society this year.
Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?
It depends on what comic. “The Fuzzy Princess” is aimed at younger audience, for example, so there are a few things I would never do on that comic while I might be more forgiving on “Ask a Cat”, which is primarily read by older people. Even then, however, I try to keep both within PG-range.
I might do occasional “wink and nod” type of humor, though, which happens in a lot of cartoons aimed at kids anyway.
Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I do all the roughs on Photoshop using a tablet. After that’s finished, I print it off, tape it to the back of a sheet of 8.5×14″ Bristol cardstock, and ink on my lightbox using a LAMY Safari fountain pen filled with Rapidograph ink. I then scan it in and do clean-ups on Photoshop.
For “The Fuzzy Princess”, I would also add letters (using a font made from my handwriting) and colors on Photoshop as well. “Ask a Cat” is lettered by hand and is published in black and white.
Question 9: what sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
The only real art training I got was for Graphic Design in college, although I took still-life and ceramics class as well. The Graphic Design classes were very helpful, as I learned to use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, which helped me prepare for my own work.
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Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
When I sold my first gag to MAD Magazine. Getting published in MAD was my goal for a long time, and to this day I still can’t believe I succeeded in becoming an “Usual Gang of Idiot”.
Other highlights include when people walk up to me in conventions and recognize my work from elsewhere. One time, I even had someone remember me from a really old webcomic I used to do years ago. That took me by surprise.
 
Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?
I can get insecure, so there are times where I go into a funk, such as thinking my cartoons aren’t good enough, or I’m wasting away chasing an impossible dream. Luckily, I have enough friends snap me out of it, although it’s hard sometimes.
 
Question 12: Are collections of your work available beyond the web? If So where?
Yep! In 2017 I published first volumes of both “Ask a Cat” and “The Fuzzy Princess”! You can buy them directly from me at my store (http://smallbug.storenvy.com/).
In addition, I have books available for sale at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Charles-Brubaker/e/B071XBVN57/)
I’m working on releasing the second “Fuzzy” book in early 2018. The next “Ask a Cat” book will hopefully come out in 2019.
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Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?
I always admire webcartoonists who keep doing their work and posting them online. It takes guts to keep them going no matter what. To name a few specific individuals, I enjoy Crispin Wood (Small Blue Yonder), Adam Huber (Bug Martini), Severin Piehl (Tove), Brandon Santiago (Erma), Dana Atnip (Galactic Dragons), Dan Collins (Looks Good on Paper), Jason Payne (Princezz), Bea R. (In-Security), and many others!
Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Cartooning really changed the way I draw and think about storytelling. I don’t think I can see myself doing anything else.
Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (no need to keep this answer clean.)
Not sure what to say, since I haven’t had any problem with trolls. Although if I have to say anything to them, it’s that there are more fulfilling things you can do in your life aside from bugging creators.
Question 16: Do you set yourself any deadlines or other tricks to keep yourself motivated?
I take my updates seriously, and try to keep months-long backlog in order to ensure I’m never late. I’m about a year ahead with “The Fuzzy Princess” (seriously), and about 6 months ahead with “Ask a Cat”.
 
Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?
Chocolate milk is nice. I’m big on chocolates.
 
Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?
If they would have me in, I wouldn’t mind joining.  (You are already a member in good standing.  -editor)
 
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
Trying to make sure that my ideas are coherent. This is why I have people check and make sure they get it before I commit to drawing it.
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Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?
I’m hoping to keep going to conventions and pushing my books out to people. I would also like to do a full-length graphic novel as well.
And there you have it True Believers, another great interview with the people who engage in the greatest of all human endeavors, cartooning.  We drain our mugs and the icy frost of the mugs have pooled down onto the wrought iron table, taking with it the memory of yet another unforgettable root beer.  I motion to the bartender to summon the driver, for Charles must now return to the world of cartooning, the Official Root Beer Party Helicopter awaits to take up over the mountains and back to civilization.  Check out Charles’ great comics and add them to your must read list, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

 

Official Root Beer Party Portrait Gallery #4 Saad Azim

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We are back once again True Believers in the newly built Official Portrait Gallery of the Root Beer Party and our resident artist Kim Belding has created another masterpiece.  In this new masterpiece we capture the man, the genius, the legend that is Saad Azim.  It must be said that Saad joined the party due to his great admiration and respect for fellow comic artist James Boyd, (who he can never stop praising, a more modest man than James would be embarrassed by the constant adulation, but James seems OK with it.), Saad has defined himself as the very ideal of what a Root Beer Party Member should be.  Above and beyond the realms of comics, Saad Azim has is not only half of the great team who make Sunny Side Up Comics, but with grace and humility, he has also unburdened the Root Beer Party Monks of many of their tedious chores, by teaching them how to domesticate llama’s for farm work.  So Today we honor Saad Azim with an official portrait in the hallowed halls of root beer.  Welcome to immortality Saad.

The Official Root Beer Party Portrait Gallery #3

Finally we have the third portrait in our grand opening of The Official Root Beer Party Portrait Gallery.  Once again our resident artist and Co-President Kim Belding has painstakingly crafted a new masterwork which will hang in our gallery as a marker for one of the greatest influences on the modern age of the Root Beer Party.  Here we have the portrait of our Chief Ambassador James Boyd of Sunny Side Up Comics.  James has single handedly expanded the reach of the root beer party literally around the globe.  Here we have a Pop Art representation of one of the true masters of the webcomic scene as well as one of the greatest diplomats to ever grace the planet.  No stone is unturned in James’ quest to unearth the greatest comics of the modern era and bring them here to the Root Beer Party where they belong.  While it was Esparza, Belding and myself which fought in the trenches of the Great Root Beer War, it was James who has built the party and taken it from the a battle weary rag tag war veterans to the heights of civilized refinement and prosperity.  James we salute you:

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The Official Root Beer Party Portrait Gallery #2

As construction begins here at the Root Beer Party Compound for our Official Root Beer Party Members Portrait Gallery, we bring you the second masterwork from our resident artist and Co-President Kim Belding.  Today we have received our second commissioned work, a portrait of our illustrious Co-President Jon Esparza.  Jon is the master artist and writer behind such works as Mushrooms, Mike & Mindy as well as the world renowned Bubblefox comic strips.  Kim has sought to capture the essence of his brilliant genius in the subtle inferences and bold color of the composition.  Notice the use of the triangular perspective used in this work, a composition style used often by other artists such as Frank Frazetta in his masterworks.

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Root Beer Party Official Portrait #1

Our illustrious Co-President Kim Belding has taken it upon himself to make an Official Portrait Gallery for all of the Root Beer Party Members.  The Actual gallery is located in the main building of The Root Beer Party Compound in an undisclosed location in an unexplored region of an unknown land.  Only Official members of the Root Beer Party have access and can visit the gallery, but we here at the Root Beer Party want to give you a virtual tour as it is being constructed.  Here we have the first official self-portrait of our illustrious Co-President Kim Belding himself with the crew from Picpak comics hogging the spotlight:

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Comic Collection Review: Wallace The Brave by Will Henry

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Once again we travel down into the inky darkness of the stairway.  Below us is a dark abyss of blackness which fights with the inept flame from the torch in my hand.  All along the stone walls are etched with fine tool marks from the billions of hammer strokes which forged this passageway.  The hand carved stone steps beneath my feet are well worn from the countless generations since time immortal which have sunken down this path, carefully trekking their way ever downwards towards their ultimate goal.  Only the blind faith and the magnitude of the task stilling their nerves and pushing them ever downward into the ever growing abyss.  

Today I too, follow this path to uphold my sacred mission and bestow into The Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives a new entry into the history of comics.  Today I induct Wallace the Brave by Will Henry into the chronicles of history’s greatest repository of comics, mankind’s greatest endeavor.  

Wallace the Brave Is the first collection of Will Henry’s great new comic, many of his previous collections of his former series Ordinary Bill already are among the infinite treasures held in the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.  Where ordinary Bill chronicled the life of Will Henry, Wallace the Brave shows a vast improvement and a maturing of the skill of Will Henry as a comic artist and writer.

Wallace the Brave is a comic centering around a child growing up in Snug Harbor.  It is almost cliché to compare a comic to Calvin & Hobbes, but this comic will resonate with people who really like that comic.  It is a world seen through the eyes of an imaginative child.  Snug Harbor is a wonderland of sorts to Wallace, in which the mundane is seen as almost magical.  It portrays a childish innocence which is all but lost in the cynical world of today.  The world is seen as a magical place of infinite possibilities, some scary, some weird, but all very real to our protagonist.  There are flashes of intellectual brilliance mixed with the wondrous ignorance of youth.  A world where pigeons  debate Aristotle in one panel and steal your hot dog in the next.  It is a masterful dance of childhood exuberance and philosophical enlightenment.

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Wallace is joined in his world by a colorful cast of characters.  He has his best friend Spud and the sarcastic Amelia who is the perfect counterfoil for Wallace’s optimistic ego.  She gives him the reality check he needs to keep him grounded.

Wallace’s mother and father are actually featured predominately in the strip.  His father is a fisherman, who often aligns with Wallace’s imaginative world.  He is a man who has grown up, but not forgotten what it is to be a child.  His mother is the typical mother figure in many ways, but she often shows glimpses of depth such as when Wallace discovers her love of comic books.

Wallace also has a younger brother named Sterling.  Sterling is very much in his own world of wonder, much like Wallace is in his and every now and again, their worlds collide.  He makes for a perfect counter for Wallace, but in this first volume he has not been used as a regular character much yet.  There is a great deal of depth in this cast of characters and so much that Will Henry can do to explore and enrich these back stories and interactions.

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I see Wallace the Brave as a masterstroke from Will Henry and the culmination of a comic career which he began many years ago with Ordinary Bill.  There is a lot to take from this strip, it has the depth of characters like Ordinary Bill had, but here we also see the imaginative and philosophical levels which were mostly absent from his first series.  Ordinary Bill was a coming of age tale and Wallace the Brave is the tale of a mature artist as seen through the eyes of a child.  I look forward to following the adventures of Wallace the Brave for a long time to come.  A great collection and highly recommended.

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I entrust the coveted volume with the Order of Root Beer Monks which will care for the volume and preserve it for the future members of the Root Beer Party, who will themselves one day walk down these ancient stairs and navigate the seemingly infinite catacombs of tunnels which lead to the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.  They will sit and ponder the significance of the spiraling bookcases which seem to reach upwards into infinity.  They will peruse the works of the masters of sequential art from the dawn of man to the distant future in the library which inspired Borges’ masterpiece Ficciones.  Now I return up the stairs to the world having completed my sacred duty, to once again look upon the fields of vanilla and sassafras and imbue my spirit once more in the elixir of life that is root beer.  So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

20 Questions with Comic Artists: Erin Gillespie of Erin Gillespie Cartoons

Welcome back True Believers to another entry into our world famous segment: 20 Questions with comic artists.  Today we have flown in Erin Gillespie and we sit perched over the flowing fields of sassafras, fennel and vanilla sipping on a vintage 2015 root beer from our emblazoned Root Beer Party frosted mugs.  As August comes to an end, the Root Beer Monks are silently toiling away in the fields harvesting this years crop for the elixir of life that is root beer.  I can see the look of wonder on my guests face as he takes in the wonders of the Root Beer Party estates.  Very few are privy to these sights, secluded away in a hidden valley in a timeless, yet undisclosed location.  

But we have come here today for Erin Gillespie  and to learn of our newest member and not to extoll on the many splendors of the Root Beer Party estate.  So let’s get to business and greet our most esteemed guest.  You can locate and find him on many social media sites and learn more about this amazing talent here: 

https://eringillespiecartoons.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/ErinZGillespie

https://www.instagram.com/ezgillespie/

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

Well, in my case I’m in my 40’s and I just made my first “serious” attempt at a regular comic back in late March of this year (2017).  So we’re not going back very far in time.  Ha!  But getting to the point of taking a run at this has been a long time coming.   

I’m a full time insurance professional and so all this is done completely in my spare time.  For years, I wanted to do a comic, start a website, and so on, but it all seemed so impractical and time consuming, when my schedule was already so busy but eventually over time it seemed doable.  I started finding guys and gals more and more often that were doing comics as a sideline and not only finding the time to do it, but really THRIVING.  At some point, I felt like I didn’t have an excuse any more.  Technology has made it much easier to manage.  About ten to twelve years ago, I made a pretty good run at a Christian comic called EZG Toons.  I was only managing one update per week, at times every two weeks.  I had to do everything after work, which eventually wasn’t sustainable for our family.  Now people pass cartoons around through social media like crazy at all hours of the day and update their blogs and social media accounts from their smart phones as they’re walking down the street.  It’s crazy the technology we have access to.  

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Question 2: Who was your greatest influence?

But if I had to name one, I’d probably go with Dan Piraro, just because the guy does everything so dang well.  The ideas are there, the humor is spot on, and the drawings are brilliant.  He also does coloring and lettering at a level that I don’t see people achieving very often.  The lettering style adds a lot of strength to the look and brand also.  Piraro is the consummate single panel guy.

Another big recent influence is Doug Savage, but I’ll speak to that a little later. 

Since people are often interested in other influences, I’ll list a few more: Hilary Price, Oliver Christianson, Bernard Kliban, Glen Baxter, Mark Parisi, John McPherson, Dave Coverly, and a lot of New Yorker cartoonists, especially Matthew Diffee, Charlie Hankin, Zach Kanin, Tom Chaney, Leo Cullum, Drew Dernavitch, Liza Donnelly, and so on…  I also enjoy Liz Climo’s stuff, but she’s more of a “2-panel” cartoonist.

Aside from cartoons though, I love humor in any form.  I love stand-up comedy and funny movies and humorous writings.  I’m far more concerned with the story-telling and humor in my comics than I am in how good or bad my drawings are.

Question 3: What is your favorite root beer and why?

I like A&W or Barq’s, but I wouldn’t call myself a root beer connoisseur, so I’m sure there’s better stuff out there.  Maybe you can provide some recommendations!   

Question 4: What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?  

 -Lift people’s spirits in a bizarre but “family friendly” way

-Make friends throughout the industry

-Inspire others to follow their creative passions

-Inspire my kids to never give up on their dreams

-Build a family legacy of creativity

-Provide additional income for my family

-Stay sane

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

 I love all kinds of music and I can play around 8 instruments with varying levels of competence.  By far my favorite and best instrument is the guitar. I’m about an intermediate level guitar player when I practice.  I love a host of guitar-driven bands and acoustic solo guitarists.  For a long time I wanted to be a musician, but was never really able to make the sacrifices necessary to be a professional. I’ve come to realize that there is something wired into me that makes it difficult to keep playing the same songs over and over again. The memorization requirement in music is just excruciating. In order to be a musician, this is the price and I could never pay it.  To be a musician, you’ve got to not only have the guts to do it, but you’ve got to enjoy (or maybe put up with) the incredible amounts of repetition.  In short, you’ve got to really love it, and eventually I figured out that I really didn’t, at least not enough.

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The beauty of drawing comics is that you do one and then you’re on to the next one before the ink dries on the other, before you have a chance to get bored.  It’s always somewhat fresh.  Plus nobody is going to make me stand up in front of a bunch of people and draw these things over and over again to shouts of “draw that one that I like,” or “draw me a pony,” or whatever.  This thing lives or dies at my decision.  That’s the level of control that I enjoy.  

 Other than that, I love a good unique TV show or movie with my wife and/or family.  TV and movies have obviously become so much better than they were 20 years ago.    

  

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

 I think of myself as a professional cartoonist who supplements his income as an insurance professional.  That may seem laughable to the people that know me well enough to know that most if not all the income I presently produce typically comes from the insurance industry, but the reality on a very real and deep level is that I was designed by God to create things in a unique and often bizarre way.  That’s who I am, what I’m wired to do, what energizes me.  Once I’ve done the things I’m blessed to do, if the world decides that’s not worthy of any money, or recognition or I get my tires slit, well then I don’t have much control over that—as long as I’m doing everything I can do on the business side of things to remain viable.  

 For me it’s also important to think of myself as a career cartoonist, since it helps my confidence.  If I thought of this as a “side gig” or whatever, then mentally it would seem “less important” to me.  

 I read a very interesting book once called The Artist in the Office and the author tells the story of how one day she realized that regardless of how much time she spent or how much money she made in her artistic endeavors, it didn’t change the reality of who she was.  This story really resonated with me and that’s a big part of why I’ve begun to think of myself as a professional, no matter what.  Thinking this way has brought me tremendous peace.  

Question 7: What type of subject or humor do you consider out of bounds for your strips and why?  

 

I try not to do anything excessively mean-spirited, profane, or blasphemous.  I don’t do anything political.  Also, I would never draw a donkey ruining a garden while riding an all-terrain vehicle. Wait, actually I did do that one. Scratch that.

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Question 8: What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?

 

More often than not, I complete the cartoons – start to finish – on my hour long lunch break at my day job.

 I sketch out the idea on regular old typing paper, using a mechanical pencil and big pink eraser.  There is lots and lots of erasing.  Then, using a laptop for power and a USB light pad, I trace over the pencil in ink, on a new piece of paper. This is usually done with a number 5 Pigma Micron technical pen.  I also have a Tombow paint marker, and some sort of Shutake Asian lettering pan that I use occasionally.  The comic frame is drawn by hand with a Pigma Micron number 8. Then I scan the inked drawing using a USB scanner.  I use an old version of Paint Shop Pro to clean up mistakes, and do some retouching.  I then do several things to the black lines including running a series of filters.   I save raw, print, and optimized web versions of the cartoons, and then email them to myself so that I can send them out to various sites using my phone, whenever I have time.

 The style is a single panel, in a minimal style, with a premium placed on simple line work with very little tones or crosshatching.  Basically, whatever is reasonable for me to complete in an hour, start to finish.  In today’s world, everyone wants information quickly and easily and so I’m trying to create something that can be “digested” instantly.

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Question 9: What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?

 I’m entirely self-taught.  I have a pretty good eye for finding educational materials on whatever topic I happen to become interested in.  And I feel like I’ve read some of the best books out there on drawing, cartooning, and so on.  But really, there’s no substitute for just working it out, through trial and error and finding your own process.  The process has never really changed much.  I just attempt to draw something and if it doesn’t look right, I erase it and change something about it.  Then lather, rinse, repeat, until it looks right or I run out of time and make whatever compromise necessary to get the cartoon finished. 

 

Question 10: What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?

 The implication with this question is usually that I’m going to give you a big success story, but I’ll tell you a story that on the surface seems much smaller, but in its own way was a big success for me.  A big highlight was around March 27th of this past year, when I sat in my car on a lunch break and drew a couple of squirrels in a single panel cartoon, scanned them, touched them up in a paint program, and then uploaded them to a blog, all in less than about 45 minutes.  This was my first attempt at creating a cartoon start to finish in a short amount of time.  That day I realized that it was really possible, that I could do a cartoon every day if I wanted to.  100 weekdays later, I had drawn 100 cartoons.  It’s crazy.  

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 Other big highlights have been the many amazing creative people that I’ve met on this journey and all the conversation opportunities that have opened up since I’ve put this “nuttier” side of myself out into the world.  

 

Question 11: What has been the lowest point in your cartooning career?

The many years I spent not drawing cartoons were the low points to an extent.  But I wasn’t living on the streets or anything.  And I wasn’t necessarily unhappy.  It just didn’t seem like the right move at the time and maybe I should have started doing this sooner.   Hard to say for sure.  It was never 100% clear to me what if any artistic endeavor was right.  

 

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

I’m way too early in the process on this particular project to already have collections of my stuff out in the world. But I’ve been blessed to be able to create far more content at this point than I thought possible.  So we will see what happens.  At the rate I’m going, it’s not completely unreasonable to think that in a few more years I could be looking at book deals, or regular and varied exposure in print media. Not to get ahead of myself or to think too highly of the effort, but there are fairly well established business models for cartoonists, that work well enough, as long as you put in the time, and find your audience.

Question 13: Are there any other web comic artists that you really admire?

There are many.  A few big standouts would be John Sutton (The Petri Dish), Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles), Aaron Caycedo-Kimura (Aka INFJoe), Koen Saelemaekers (Zainy Island) and Sarah Cooper (The Cooper Review).

 I’m ravenous about finding new inspiration, even though it’s hard to find the time to just read comics.  I’ve had a great time meeting people on Instagram.  Instagram is tailor made for finding good artwork, meeting cool people, and getting your stuff out there in front of a lot of eyeballs quickly.

But by far, my biggest inspiration in the past couple of years has been Doug Savage (Savage Chickens).  Doug was one of the first guys I encountered in many years that made me think, “Hey, wait a second…  His stuff is excellent, he’s doing varied and really hilarious material, he’s successful in terms of exposure and income, and I’ll bet it’s not taking him tons and tons of time out of every day to accomplish this either.”   I’ve read interviews he’s done in which he mentions that he could quit his day job, but doesn’t because he likes working both gigs.  I’m not sure if that is still true or not.  I love his stuff.  He gets across this brilliant humor out of such a minimal style; he’s massively prolific, and has consistently kept his material at that same high level for years.   

Question 14: What kind of impact has cartooning had on your life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?

Drawing cartoons has made me feel more mentally engaged and peaceful, more authentic, and more balanced than I have felt in a long time.  I’ve had some confusion in my life, admittedly, about what creative outlets are the best for me and for the people who experience the results of the work. At this particular time, this is what makes a lot of sense to me to do. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. But as I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve gone for years without doing an organized cartoon project.  If circumstances change significantly, I can imagine I’ll find some other creative outlet.  I’m not really the guy that grew up obsessed with comic books.  I do have a fair share of cartoon collections, for sure, but it was never the solitary obsession that I notice a lot of cartoonists have.  

 

Question 15: Do you have any advice for the Trolls out there who harass content creators? (No need to keep this answer clean.)

Wow, this is where my inexperience shows itself.  I don’t think I’ve encountered these trolls much yet.  But they sound like pesky little creatures.  All I can do is my absolute best to create great content.  I have nearly zero control over what people do with or say about what I do.  Maybe I could offer to buy them a root beer?   🙂

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

I’m trying to build a significant amount of content, and I already feel like I’m way behind a lot of guys who’ve been doing this for years.  So that’s part of what motivates me, the feeling that I’m behind.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but I have to be consistent if it’s going to ever get done. 

 I suppose I just keep coming back to the reasons (see above) that I started this endeavor in the first place and that helps me to stay focused. 

 Then there’s “streak mentality” or the notion that I’ve got a streak going (of drawing one cartoon every weekday) and I absolutely can’t break streak.  Nobody likes to break a streak. 

 In general though, I typically draw these at lunch.  I have one hour to complete a cartoon.  That’s the deadline.  When one hour is over, I stop messing with the drawing.  For me, since I like a more minimal style, and I don’t have a lot of spare time, one hour is the right amount of time.  It’s rewarding to complete something quickly and move on to the next idea.  I can also easily overwork an idea if I’m given unlimited time.       

 

Question 17: Apart from root beer, what is your favorite drink?

I like a little green tea in the morning. And I like a drink called Triple Berry Oat at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

 

Question 18: Are you already a member of the root beer party and if not, what is the matter with you?

At this point I’ve been a member for about a week or two and I’m so thrilled to continue to get to know everybody!  Thanks for facilitating such a great group.  
Question 19: What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?

By far the most difficult part is coming up with the ideas, keeping it fresh, and keeping it interesting.  I’ve heard so many cartoonists admit this.  Matthew Diffee says drawing the cartoons is like the “end zone dance” of cartooning.  The difficult part is the ideas.  I go entire days or even a week sometimes without coming up with a single idea. Then, the next thing I know I’m coming up with 10 a day.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it.  No matter how many times I think I’ve come up with the absolute perfect formula for how to keep getting the ideas, it never works and it remains a mystery, and I think it’s supposed to be that way.  

It’s also very challenging to get noticed in the “sea of information” we live in.  It can be challenging to drive traffic to the website.  Tons of people draw comics these days, from guys who’ve been doing it for years and years to guys that started posting them in their spare time.  It’s hard to get noticed.   

 

Question 20: What are your future plans involving web comics or anything else going on in your life?   

 

At this point, since I’m still in the early stages, my plan is to keep doing what I’m doing, draw five cartoons a week, make a few updates to the website here and there, keep building an audience and meeting people, keep improving the craft, keep learning the industry, and just keep having fun with it.  I’m excited about the future and just grateful to be doing this at all! 

 So there you have it True Believers, as we finish off our frosty mugs of root beer, the sun ebbs it’s way down the western sky, casting a golden hue over the fields as the Root Beer Monks return to the mansion for their evening meal.  The helicopter pilot makes his way to the launching pad to return Erin Gillespie back into the real world.  I signal to The Official Root Beer Sommelier for two more frosty mugs of the elixir of life.  One more for the road before Erin Gillespie makes his way back home.  I encourage you to join us and raise a frosty mug to the two things that matter most in life:  Comics and Root Beer, and as always True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  

 

 

 

 

 

Comic Collection Review – Marvin Explains the Facts of Life by Tom Armstrong

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Down the treacherous tunnels we travel once again.  The dim light of the candelabra casting dancing shadows along the granite steps hand carved by centuries of Root Beer Monks.  Only the initiated know the way to disarm the many hazardous traps set to deter any infidel who may wander along this path.  We sink ever lower into the bowels of the earth.  The temperature seems to rise as if we are coming upon the very core of the planet itself.

This path could have been the inspiration for Jules Verne’s mad tale and like his famous protagonists, we too seek a prehistory of sorts, for at the end of this long treacherous path lies the repository of humanities greatest endeavors.   At the end of this path…  lies the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.

A vast cavern opens up before us as the light of the candelabra is now just an insignificant glow among the enormity of the space before us.  Even the powerful lights which illuminate the library are too feeble to penetrate the darkened corners of the upper reaches where shadows hide the greatest treasures of humanity.

Upon my reading table is the book I have requested.  The Root Beer Monks have preselected it from the seemingly infinite spiraling bookcases which fill the cavern.  No one could ever experience the mass of comic literature which is housed in this temple in a single lifetime.  It is beyond human comprehension, and why it must be preserved in fear that it would be lost forever.

I sit to look upon my selected work and begin my mortal attempt to understand all that is contained in this vast collection.

Marvin is a comic that is both ubiquitous, yet easily overlooked.  He has had his share of popularity in the world at large and has even seen a significant reboot in both style and storyline.  Many people compare him to Garfield and there is a similarity in the self centered nature of the primary character, but Marvin and by association,  Tom Armstrong, have a unique voice all his own.

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In the comic, we not only have the classic dynamic of family in the form of the father (Jeff) and the mother (Jenny) and later the addition of a dog (Bitsy) but we also have the extended family of The grandparents (Bea & Roy) and their dog (Junior).  The comic has taken more of serious tone after it’s reboot, including the extended family moving in with Marvin and his parents.  It is now called Marvin & Family.

However, this volume was before all of those changes as it was released in 1983.  This is the second volume released, so it is still early in the comics history.  The comic centers exclusively around Marvin and while there are many references to food and bathroom humor, there are also snapshots of the societal hierarchy included in these works.

While Marvin is not quite the ideal nuclear family unit of the 1980’s with it’s 2.5 kids, it does follow the established pattern of societal expectations of the family unit during this era.  While Garfield is the poster child of the “Me Generation” of the 80’s, Marvin is very much from the same philosophical mold.  The characters are often backdrops to Marvin’s wit, but we can see them develop and begin to take on a personality of their own.  Just as Garfield has changed with the times, so has Marvin, only more so.  The newer comics have come to represent the evolution of the extended family unit while in these older volumes we see the more traditional model.

Marvin is very much a product of it’s time and unlike a lot of popular comics, it has evolved with the times.  So if you want to take a look back in time to a different world, then this comic is the perfect glimpse into the nostalgic view of societal evolution.  Marvin may not be as popular as many of the great comic strips, but it is very much a reflection of the world we live in through the eyes of our families and the center of that universe has never changed, it is always the next generation which takes center stage and whether in 1983 or 2017, Marvin is the center of attention.

fdd8c1542035e33f228eb54301f72b56So I return this historical marker to the care of the Root Beer Monks and make my way back up to the world of today.  Only through the understanding of the past can we truly appreciate the world of today.  All the dramas and dilemma’s of day to day life are nothing more than footnotes in our history.  What is of immense magnitude today, is tomorrows quaint anecdote.  So never be afraid to look at the old classic cartoons and see them not for the faux pas, but rather as a reminder of how much things have changed.  The old volumes remind us of a simpler time, a time when our generation was the center of the world.

And there you have it True Believers, another look into the great library of The Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives.  Now come and join me in a cold draft from the elixir of life that is root beer, and as always, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.