Saturday, April 30, 2016

Career Goals

We close out April with another Rhymes with Orange gag written by yours truly.
RWO's creator, Hilary Price, retained the dialog from my sketch, but changed the setting. 
As always, working with Hilary is a delightful break from the solitary labor of cartoonery, and I look forward to more chances to aid and abet her.

Please feel free to review our many collaborations here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Draw Blood

Here's my latest collaboration with Hilary Price.
This one grew out of a very simplistic spin on a cartoon trope, shown in my submission sketch, below.
We both thought the gag as submitted wasn't quite satisfying, though we liked the idea of the wolfboy's father being the culprit, and agreed to see if we could come up with a better comic. 

We hit a dead end, but, two weeks later, Hilary told me that she had woken up with the idea that resulted in the published comic. Oftentimes, the cartoonist's brain continues to churn, even while sleeping, with the goal of salvaging a gag. This one worked beautifully.

You are encouraged to view all of our previous joint efforts here.

Finally, I feel obligated to share the earworm I'm experiencing as I compose this post. Please enjoy the words and music of the late Warren Zevon.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Office Space

Here's my latest contribution to Hilary Price's Rhymes With Orange.
Click for larger view
For cartoon scholars, here's my original sketch.
Hilary reversed the reader's point of view, deleted one criminal, and edited the dialog, all of which improved the gag.

In my own webcomic, I present gags in a vertical panel, so working in a strip layout, a wide landscape space, feels very different. 

Hilary's version of this gag took advantage of those dimensions, and it reads very smoothly left to right, without any unnecessary elements. The story unfolds with a very particular choreography. First, the sight of the distressed victim and musclebound enforcer creates tension. A third character appears at the door, and we wonder why he's there -- more questions. Finally, we read the cordial explanation setting the lost traveler on his way.

I have two more gags in RWO this month, so keep checking in. All of the earlier ones are archived here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

In addition to my webcomic, WaynoVision, from time to time I collaborate with my pal Hilary Price on her daily panel, Rhymes With Orange. Over the next week and a half, she'll run four of our joint efforts.

Here's today's comic.
Click for larger view
As is often the case when we work together, the published cartoon bears little resemblance to my initial idea.
My sketch toyed with the similarity of the words "stalemates" and "soulmates." We thought it might be interesting to show pigeons sharing a crumb of stale bread, which added a layer to the gag, but then Hilary came up with the very funny comic we see today.

This process of revision and reinvention happens all the time when a cartoonist is working on a gag, with an early sketch or phrase serving as a seed that sprouts in unexpected ways, if it survives at all. Going through a few iterations of a gag with a collaborator can be more productive, generating something that neither artist might have come up with alone.

Our earlier collaborations are archived in this blog's Rhymes With Orange Crate. Feel free to poke around.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Peanut Bummer

My latest collaboration with Hilary Price appears today.
The published comic looks very much like my submission sketch, although Hilary's revised dialog has a more natural rhythm, and delivers the punchline more effectively.
RWO is, I believe, the only daily strip that includes a title block. Hilary always makes excellent use of the extra flexibility it provides to her comic, which is somewhere between a strip and a panel. In today's edition, the title ("The Estate Plan") sets up the gag without giving it away, and also adds an extra beat before the reader puts the joke together.

To see another side of Hilary's personality and humor, check out her recent appearance as a Moth storyteller.

All of my previous RWO gags are viewable in this blog's Orange Crate.

I've also got a new WaynoVision cartoon online, so my fingerprints are spread around the web today.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tonsorial Tinsel

Today, I'm happy so share my latest collaboration with the mighty Hilary Price:
Cartooning is mostly a solitary pursuit, so it's a treat to toss ideas around with someone else whose work you admire as much as I do Hilary's. 

Here's the sketch I sent for her to review:
When I pitch gags to Hilary, I like to present them in the strip format she uses, to see how I can make it work in that layout.

The idea here is simple. We're exploiting two different meanings of the word "trim." Trimming a beard normally means to cut some of it away, but we applied the seasonal definition of adding decorations. Hilary capped the drawing with the title "Hipster Christmas," which adds a festive touch.

All of our previous collaborations can be viewed in this blog's Rhymes With Orange crate.

Thanks for checking in, and Happy Hipster Holidays to you and yours.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Small Platelets

This comic generated quite a few comments, ranging from "Horribly funny!" to "You're a sick puppy!" to "I had to Google it, then I laughed for quite a while."

The fact that it got some attention was gratifying, because I'd pursued this idea for a few months before the gag took its final form.

The first sketches featured vampire bats. I reasoned that if a human provided them with a meal, perhaps mosquitoes would serve as appetizers. Here, we see a pair of bats and a sleeping man, in two attempts at a satisfying gag.
These fell flat, but the idea kept stewing. I tried another approach.
This turned out to be worse than the earlier sketches. My intent was to show the advice-dispensing vampire feeding on a smaller victim. Why I drew a Disney-style dwarf is anybody's guess, but it didn't work at all.

Both the dwarf and the maiden look like they're dead, which is disturbing as well as distracting. The only part I liked was the tension created by putting mundane dialog on an unexpected drawing, but this sketch was more confusing than funny.

A few days later, something reminded me of the familiar cartoon image of parents looking at an array of bassinets in a hospital nursery. I thought that would be a perfect setting for this undeveloped vampire gag, and the sketch almost drew itself.
The finished cartoon follows the rough very closely, requiring only a few tweaks and a little cleanup. Finally, the gag made me smile—it uses a common setup in an unexpected way, and it requires almost no dialog.

A cartoon may take only a second or two to read, but it's a safe bet that the artist worked obsessively to edit the drawing and the text, deleted many failed attempts, fretted and agonized over it, and then worried whether the final product would connect with readers.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Now We Are One

Exactly one year ago, my cartoon panel, WaynoVision, launched on the GoComics site. Today, we celebrate with a rare Tuesday installment.
This gag has been rattling around in my head for a few years now. I originally pitched it to Dan Piraro as a potential Bizarro gag back in December of 2012.
The cartoon was too late to make it into the pipeline, as daily comics are actually finished weeks or even months ahead of the publication date. We both liked it, and filed it away, though we fervently hoped that Trump would be long forgotten by the following December

How wrong we were.

This year, the blowhard billionaire is even more visible than he was during the last Presidential election pre-season. So, I dusted off the gag and swapped out the "birther" dialog for a more current anti-immigration line.

Three years after doing the initial sketch, it was fun to draw it for publication, particularly after deciding to dress the character in a full-blown Little Lord Fauntleroy get-up, which is more in line with his personality than the business suit he wore in the earlier version. The drawing was also based on the late Joe Besser's portrayal of Stinky, the overgrown brat of the old Abbot & Costello show.
Joe Besser, Lou Costello, and Bud Abbott
Actually, Trump is more petulant than Stinky ever was.
• • •
As I sit back and look over the stack of cartoons I've drawn for Year One of this feature, I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone who's read, shared, and commented on the comic. My deep gratitude also goes out to John Glynn and the fine folks at Universal Uclick/GoComics, for inviting me to join them on the virtual funny pages. I plan to keep doing it for many years to come.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Real Stuff: Dennis P. Eichhorn, 1945-2015

Dennis P. (Denny) Eichhorn died yesterday.

Denny was a prolific comics writer, who collaborated with dozens and dozens of alternative comics artists over a long career. He usually wrote about events from his own life, and he had a seemingly endless backlog of wild and memorable tales of sex, drugs, rock & roll, alcohol, violence, pranks, and general mayhem. 

Through my good friend J.R. Williams, I met Denny at one of my first San Diego Comics Conventions, and saw him there every year from the late 80s through the early 2000s. Denny was a sweet, generous, and funny guy, but based on his work, I kept thinking "This can't be Denny Eichhorn. He's too calm and nice!"

Denny and J.R. collaborated on several hilarious stories about the notorious outsider musician Larry "Wild Man" Fischer, who was a regular at Comic-Con back in the old days. One year in particular, Wildman
was upset about one of these comics. I can't recall if he was angry about the way he was portrayed, or that he wasn't receiving payment for being the subject of a cartoon. Maybe a little of both.

I shared a booth with several other cartoonists, and during the Con, an agitated Wild Man leaned across our table, and snarled, "Tell Denny Eichhorn I'm looking for him!"

Denny returned to the convention later that day, after an overnight visit to Tijuana. I told him that Wild Man was after him, and looking for trouble. Denny just smiled, and pulled a long switchblade out of his back pocket. As he flicked it open he said, "Let me tell you something about Wild Man Fischer. Wild Man Fischer is AFRAID OF KNIVES!"

I smiled and thought, "Now, that's Denny Eichhorn!"

Denny was a true larger than life character, and a great friend to many fellow cartoonists. He died at age 70, and left us with much more than a lifetime's worth of stories.
• • •

I illustrated one of Denny's stories, which appeared in Real Stuff #16, in December 1993.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green

Here's my third gag to appear in Hilary Price's multiple-award-winning Rhymes With Orange over the past month.

And, for those interested in the process, here's my submission sketch.
Hilary's version is pretty close to mine, though she changed the dialog from normal English to Hulk-speak. I like that revision, as well as the expression she put on his face.

I find comic book superheroes to be absolutely ridiculous, and have no interest in them other than as fodder for gags. The Hulk is a particularly tempting subject, in no small part because "The Incredible" is part of his name. 

And let's not forget the fact that when he makes the transformation from skinny twerp Bruce Banner, quadrupling in size, his white shirt and purple pants stretch, but never to the point of shredding and falling away. They just enlarge right along with him.

Earlier this year, I commented on this character in my comics feature, WaynoVision.

I've been contributing the occasional gag to Rhymes With Orange since 2011. They can all be viewed in this blog's Orange Crate.