From various interviews of late, philosophy and life lessons with the cartoonists. Bonus question: spot the thematic thread connecting photos of cartoonists.
(Yes this is a Kibbles ‘n’ Bits spin-off!)
§ Matthew Loux talks about finishing his Salt Water Taffy’s series of GNs for kids:
I figure it’s that endless summer kinda of thing. Not particularly realistic, I know, but these are fantastical stories about the summer vacation. I don’t really have any plans to change the seasons or age the kids. If I did, I’d have to introduce school, maybe a new setting and things like that. Not really a direction I’m interested in going. Just fun adventures in summery Chowder Bay for me.
His “Homer” work goes in the big sketchbook, but the thousands of thoughts, jottings and strange visions? Woodring puts them in a 3.5-by-5.5-inch Moleskine sketchbook, one sketch to a page.
“If you have a pencil and pen and one of these sketchbooks, you have a studio,” Woodring said. “A studio you can put in your pocket.”
Back then, people typed out letters using typewriters and signed them with personal handwritten signature. “But then this rejection letter came and my immediate reaction was that of relief. Relief that I wouldn’t have to quit school. Later, I realized hey, it looks like I’m not good enough yet. Later, I got the sinking feeling that I might not be good at all,” he added. The rejection phase lasted a good seven years, but he persevered, undaunted.
§ Sam Henderson talks about how perception changes from youth to maturity as seen through the work of Andre LeBlanc:
I had Andre LeBlanc as a teacher back at SVA, alternating every other week with Will Eisner. At the time, I didn’t realize he did any more than assisting on The Spirit. He was always bringing in panels from The Picture Bible in another language. In retrospect, I regret not asking him more about the comics world of the 40’s. I was too blinded by my iconoclastic ways as a young college student and mocking him behind his back for how out of touch he was. I didn’t appreciate “old school” comics like I do now, and he was representative of that chapter of comics. One of the features he did in his day was Intellectual Amos. It was also one of the back-up strips in The Spirit. Though Spirit stories have been reprinted ad infinitum since they were originally printed (mostly because of Eisner’s business savvy), the contents of the other eight pages have fallen through the cracks.
§ Tony Millionaire talks of being a cartoonist and putting the kids through college:
“Being a cartoonist is a great way to make a living — it’s a lot of fun, but it doesn’t pay for college,” says Millionaire, 56, thinking ahead for his two daughters, both still in grade school. “I can’t save. I have to strike gold. Soon.”
It’s early afternoon in the garage, and he’s eating a healthy breakfast of blueberries and cream cheese on toast. Work for him starts at about 10 p.m. Other cartoonists depend on cigarettes, coffee or some other ingredient to anchor themselves to the desk. For Millionaire, it’s Budweiser, and without it he can feel every pen stroke, every squeak of his chair, and the sound of the gears in his head.
§ Finally, Faith Erin Hicks reinterprets ALIEN as a saga of the proleteriat.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.