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


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.


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.


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.






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.






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.




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:


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


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:


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


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.
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.
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


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.

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.


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).

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.

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.

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:  – 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!

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 ( 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


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

Big News: Zombie Boy Comics


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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:

You can vote on the Harvey Awards ballet here:

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.



The Making of a Comic Part 3: Learning from the Masters


During this time, I was still very much the student learning from reading lots of comics and seeing how they put their strips together, I also had the masterclass in comic artists who offered advice and constructive criticism in the form of what would turn out to become The Root Beer Party.

This led to a bunch of sketches where I sort of redefined Mr. Blob’s look and started to define his quirky – childish personality.  Being a shapeless alien blob, Mr. Blob can morph himself into just about any character or shape he wants and these sort of one panel gags were in their own way defining who Mr. Blob would become in the future.  I began to see him as more than just a foil for gags and his personality began to show through a lot more.

In many of these comics, he took any song with Mr. in the title and made it about himself.  Mr. Blob would not be shy about going all out to make a gag work.

Here I was directly working off of another artist in Kim Belding.  He ran a series of strips in Picpak where Picpak is hanging out with the Grim Reaper.  After the first 2 strips that Kim did, I then expanded the idea and brought in some back up from the Root Beer Party to fill out the story.  This was during the imitation phase of my comic drawing development and I still fall back on this from time to time when I need a quick reference to a character.  But now I try to freestyle it a little more and might only use a facial expression rather than trying to copy the character in it’s entirety.

Doing this allowed me to learn composition and physical expression by directly copying more accomplished artists.  I had to add my own style in reference to Mr. Blob but I could learn more about the art form by learning directly from others.  Fortunately, no one considered my stylistic plagiarism as anything other than the learning experience that it was.

For all that I had added to Mr. Blob over the years, It was really a collaborative effort, especially from Kim Belding and Jon Esparza who offered a great deal of valuable time to offer advice and encouragement to the development of Mr. Blob and my artistic development as well.


The making of a comic Part 2: Mr. Blob


It was during this time that Kim Belding posted some old comics that he did when he was 10 years old, where he introduced a new character, Mr. Blob.  He had a short lifespan in Picpak comics and only stopped by for a few strips, but myself and Jon Esparza saw great potential in the character.

What followed was my effort to convince Kim to bring Mr. Blob back to the world of Picpak comics.


I began playing around with the idea of bringing in another of Picpak’s much forgotten characters and have them go on a road trip adventure.  So I enlisted Picpak’s brother Scraps to join Mr. Blob on this adventure and show Kim that there was life in these characters.  Still influenced by my literary background, I wanted to make Mr. Blob seem alien by quoting classic literature,  here he is quoting from Finnegan’s Wake.


I also wanted to show that Mr. Blob would not be phased by anything that happens in the strip.  He is an alien after all and would have seen things much weirder than a spooky old house.  One of the recurring themes is that all the classic cars they use always break down.


There were several references in this comic to comic horror and I was beginning to experiment with backgrounds and adding details to the comic.  I wanted to experiment with something more than just a talking heads comic strip.  This series is also when I began using the Prismacolor markers as well as sketching in blue pencil before inking.  Unlike the last series, I was learning the tricks of the trade and starting to apply my own ideas.


I was still having issues drawing in details and facial expressions, in many cases I had worked with models from Kim Belding’s web page, but now I was having to go off of the models and began adding my own details and expressions.  I also introduced Suzanne from Don’t Pick the flowers and the idea of special guests came to mind as well as having the crazy pop culture cars.


It’s still very amateurish but the process of learning to draw comics and show motion was beginning to show some signs of improvement.  Every panel was like a little challenge and I had to figure out how to solve the problem.  It was beginning to be a challenging process, but at the same time it was also fun.


Mr. Blob was still based on Kim’s original drawings from his 10 year old self and it was long before I gave him a more modern makeover and made him my own, so his features were still quite undefined here and I was relying on Backgrounds to bring out the detail in the comic rather than the characters.


I threw in a bunch of references to Jon Esparza’s comic Bubblefox and Mike & Mindy and of course the whole CRAZY concept of the place names is based on his CRAZY-world.  The canvas paper I was using for this still had the same issues as before where the grain of the paper interferes with the comic.  I like the gag’s but the execution was still a little awkward.


Picpak finally shows up and he brings his singing car and trees from his animated short “Feelin’ Groovy” that he did from his college day.  Again, the canvas paper was not a good choice for drawing comics, but as these were only done for the amusement of friends, I wanted to use it up.  Mr. Blob is once again quoting James Joyce.


At this point, Kim Belding’s sister Jenna was also getting into the comic and I threw a few references her way with the whole Dr. Who angle.  The van at the end is of course the famous Winnebago from SpaceBalls the movie.  Picpak’s jalopy is based upon the famous jalopy from Archie comics as well.


We have some more science fiction references in this one.  I was heavily influenced by my admiration of the background details in Joe Flander’s comic Ninja & Pirate.  I loved the simple style of drawing he used juxtaposed with the detailed backgrounds and thought that it might also work for me.  I don’t really see any comparison to his work except in the concept though.  He was and is still light years ahead of me in skill level.  DSC04292

Finally everyone makes it to CRAZY-world.  I thought of doing a crazy montage scene with everyone dancing to “Jailhouse Rock” or something like at the end of the Blues Brothers, but instead just finished it here.  Mr. Blob was still dropping philosophical quotes and I tried to tie the whole thing together.  None of this comic was scripted, I just drew it panel by panel and went along with it letting the comic take me where it wanted to go.  I also finally used up all the canvas paper at this point, (thank God) so I called it an ending.

It was from this that I got another surprise:

untitled (2)

Kim officially signed Mr. Blob’s character over to me Root Beer Party style.  He was inflated and sent over the border where we celebrated with Mug Root Beer and Victory Pudding which turned out to be Thrills flavored.  Thrills gum is sort of a novelty gum that Kim sent to me and Jon from Canada.  It tastes like soap.  It is not a joke gum, it even says on the package that it tastes like soap, this was their marketing campaign??!!  That stuff was awful, but Mr. Blob was now mine and I would put him to good use as mascot of the Root beer Party.

The Making of a Comic Part 1 (Why ask Why?)

How it all began? 

It all started with the Root Beer Party.  Watching Jon Esparza and Kim Belding come up with all sorts of crazy cartoons.  It peaked my interest in doing some fan art and then fan art turned into ideas, but like any form of art, ideas don’t just hit you one day and then you start making comics, there is a process which dates back several years after I first got the original idea to try to do a comic strip.

Where do you begin? 

If you want to do a comic, you’ve got to have characters, so I began with the old writer’s quote of “write what you know.”  I was a painter, so my main character would be a painter, I loved old time lore and history of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, so I put my comic on one of the islands of the Chesapeake.  So far, so good.  I began working out a few sketches of characters.





As you can see they were very rough and my knowledge of cartooning was nil, but still I persevered and began working on a few strips.






I was using colored pencils at this time and working on some old canvas paper that was useless for painting, so I used it for the comics, but the grain of the paper really interferes with the drawing.  I was still composing comics the same way I would compose a painting, one frame at a time.  Looking back it is easy to see some good ideas as well as some really bad execution.  My reach still far exceeded my grasp at this point.




I tried bringing in local dialects as well as artistic and philosophical references, but I just didn’t feel like the strip was really going anywhere, it seemed more like a statement rather than a gag a day strip or a continuity strip.  I approached each strip individually and composed them as I would a painting, it was a pose, there didn’t seem to be any life or movement in the comic and it always seemed to leave me feeling flat.  I still think some of the ideas are good, but this strip soon fizzled in my attention and the sheets were archived away in the filing cabinet.  This comic just wasn’t me.

There are many hits and misses when trying to develop ideas for comic strips.  This was my first attempt and might have been my last had I not shared them on Twitter and gotten some feedback and great advice from some of the best comic artists in the world today.  This comic may have been a failure as a strip, but it did introduce me and gain me admittance into the comic community at large on the internet and from these little sketches there was much more to come.