I can't remember if I've ever put this cartoon up on the blog before or not. In any case, here it is again. It's a Sunday that I revamped proportionally to use in a presentation I gave last fall.
I'm on my way to Toronto shortly to a meeting of the Canada chapter of the National Cartoonist Society. We're judging the Newspaper Comic Panel division for the upcoming Reuben Awards Weekend in May. Patricia Storms is our current chapter president and has opened up her lovely home to us for the afternoon. (as she always does...Patricia, you are wunderbar!) We have great bunch of members and it's always a fun afternoon.
One of my favourite readers sent me this photo of herself with her "Between Friends" mug. She's at work in her office...note how clean and tidy it is! I'm so impressed. Truly. You should see my studio...well, no, you shouldn't. It's a disaster. I need cupboards and shelving and an assistant and an office-cleaning service and... *ahem*...I digress.
Thanks, Rosanne for sending that great photo! I got a kick out of it! And thanks for buying the mug! I hope you enjoy your coffee breaks between friends. :)
(Roseanne requested a particular strip for her mug and I was happy to colour it and have it uploaded to my online Between Friends store so she could order it. If you have a favourite strip or see a BF drawing you like, let me know and I'll be happy to do the same for you. Any image can be printed on a variety of items such as tote bags, coffee mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, clocks, pillows and more! Visit my BF online store here.)
Mannnnn...do I ever feel like Susan in the above cartoon today. I didn't sleep at all last night...and today is a writing day. I have to actually THINK.
I do have a few things on my mind that have me a bit preoccupied...but the real reason I didn't get any sleep was because of a cup of tea.
Yeah, that's right...tea.
Quite a few years ago, my doctor told me I needed to get off caffeine. I had been complaining to her that I was having monster mood swings...no patience...edgy...the whole nine yards. She asked me if drank a lot of coffee. ( Was she kidding? It's a prerequisite for cartoonists...ask anyone. ) If I had a soft drink, it was a cola...if I had a dessert, it was chocolate. I was caffeinated to the hilt.
She told me caffeine was my problem and I had to give it up. ( A friend later asked me if it couldn't have been the fact that I had a career with deadlines, a home to look after and two kids under the age of 5...hmmmm)
Anyway, I did give it up. And it did help quite a bit.
Gradually, over the years I've let caffeine slip back into my life. I'm careful about when and how much. If I have a cola, it's caffeine-free and I only drink caffeinated coffee until 12 in the afternoon...well...sometimes I let it slide until 3...it helps with my writing, I swear.
If I want something hot to drink at night while I'm watching a movie or reading...I'll have some chamomile tea. Except last night. I made a cup of tea for my son and absent-mindedly made myself one at the same time. The real stuff...not the wussy herbal stuff.
About 2 AM, it hit me why I was just lying in bed awake.
Yesterday I played hooky. Well, not totally...I answered a questionaire for a cartoonist survey (which I'll let you know about when it's posted) and I had a telephone interview with a reporter for a new paper that's picking up BF. I'll tell you which one on Monday.
Then I met the amicable Mike Cope for lunch. He was teaching a cartooning class at the local high school in the morning so we met up afterwards. It was so great to get out of the house and have some cartoon shop talk with a like-minded colleague. He showed me the presentation he gave the class (grade ten English class...they are studying graphic novels right now) on his little Mac computer. It was THE coolest thing. Part of his presentation showed a page of a comic book that he illustrated. It started with the frames...then morphed into the loose pencils...then they sharpened...then they were inked...colour was added. There were more stages than I'm mentioning and I'm not sure if it was a very fancy powerpoint or if he used flash...I meant to ask but got sidetracked while watching.
I asked him if the kids in the class oohed and aahed...he smiled and said yes. It WAS amazing to see.
I think we spent almost three hours chatting...the time just flew. Mike may have wanted to leave earlier but I was free and out of the house and I wasn't giving that time up too quickly.
Anyway, it was fun...Mike's a very talented cartoonist and I made him promise to meet me for lunch if he comes back this way to teach again. Okay, I didn't make him promise...I'm not that pathetic...maybe a little stir crazy...but I did say I'm up for lunch anytime he's in the area. Hear that, Mike? :)
I received a little Q&A survey from someone who's interviewing cartoonists for their blog. I don't have time to answer all the questions right this minute, but took a quick look at what he was asking.
One of the questions is: Which comics did you read as a kid?
Aside from Archie comic books, I always read the comics page in my local paper, The St. Catharines Standard. Where else could you read comics? (Oh wait...I remember finding those little paperback Peanuts collections... 60 cents at Towers department store. Does that date me or what?)
Here's the line-up as I remember it...and this would probably be early 70's...maybe very late 60's...
Winthrop ( this strip was about a bunch of kids...Winthrop was the main character and he wore a baseball cap that sat on the back of his head. There was a mean kid named Nasty McNarf...I think that was it...he turned over a new leaf and became a nice kid, although he struggled with it...and I never liked that. I was always waiting for the him to explode and go back to his true self. I wonder if the nice kid thing was an editor's suggestion...if they thought the feature would sell better if there were no mean kids in it. Personally, it never rang true to me, even as a kid)
Tizzy (this was about a teenaged girl who wore these black glasses and the frame of the cartoon was a curly phone cord...I thought that was pretty cool...this was a panel, not a strip)
Pogo ( I didn't get the humour but I loved the character art, the gorgeous background art and even the different fonts that Walt Kelly used and I'd study every panel of the strip. )
The Heart of Juliet Jones (I always like her sister, Eve)
They'll Do it Everytime ( The joke in this panel was about the lame, ironic things that people do and I got the gag but I was more attracted to the art )
Short Ribs (As I recall, this replaced Winthrop which really ticked me off but I didn't have any idea that a phone call to the editor might get Winthrop reinstated...it's not that I didn't like Short Ribs, it's just that I DID like Winthrop...hmm...maybe Winthrop's sales were slipping and that's why he changed Nasty McNarf to a nice kid instead of a bully but it didn't help and the strip ended...maybe THAT'S why Short Ribs replaced it...)
B.C. (it was at the top of the page...I remember a series that Johnny Hart did about clams talking to each other "Life's a bitter pearl, Shirl" ( actually, now that I've thought about it, I think the line was "Life's a bitter pill, Shirl"...but pearl would have been funnier coming from a clam, don't you think?)...and I always liked it when the ants talked to each other...I don't know why, it just struck me as funny.)
There had to be more strips than this but I can't remember them. I'm sure there were a few soap opera strips...and I'm just guessing but I vaguely remember Mary Worth and perhaps Rex Morgan.
Update: The Born Loser was in the line-up too...I thought that was a funny strip.
I also remember the Wizard of Id, which I really, really enjoyed...but I think that came a bit later. Spider-Man was also on the page at some point but I didn't read that feature.
Here's a note on Spider-Man...when the Standard started publishing Between Friends (four years before I was syndicated with King Features), it replaced Spider-Man. One of my friends complained to me that they had discontinued Spider-Man right in the middle of a story line and she was ticked about that.
"Why didn't they wait for the story line to finish and then start your strip?", she complained to me. A completely legitimate and reasonable request to which I replied,