Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Spring Breakup"

Raining again this morning, and rummaging through the archives for yet another show & tell when this old nugget was dug up from the mulch-pile. Man, talk about airing your dirty, old cartoon laundry. But then again, as I've said many a time, I have no sense of shame, or much pride, apparently. The top panel is, miracle of miracles, actually dated (in more ways than one): 1986 - that would be the year after my assuming residency in Alaska. This was one of a set of cartoons that ran in a now-defunct magazine by the name of "Alaska Today," a product of the Journalism department majors at UAF.

Dating this second take on the same dumb joke is more problematic - looks like 1991, five years after the original version. Unfortunately back then I was a slacker on such details: the "©1988" underneath "Freeze•Frame" is actually misleading because since the lettering was a Letraset font (the ancient technique of a hand-burnished transfer). As it was somewhat of a pain in the butt to redo each year, I just kept recycling the old template - a piece of cardstock with the new panel taped up onto the masthead, which was then used to make xerox copies which were in turn sent off to the respective publications. I remember thinking it was so high-tech to not have to rely on those wood engravings and carrier pigeons anymore. Actually, even digital is still not quite the silver bullet, as scanning with the halftones makes for some moire patterns popping up (yep, still blaming the tools). Nothing to blame for the really tired, cliched gags, as opposed to the more mature and sophisticated humor these days.

1988 was also the very first year my single-panel gag cartoon started running in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and this panel also appeared in 1991 in my first self-published book (now out of print), creatively titled "Freeze•Frame - A Collection of Alaskan Cartoons." Humbling to cast a jaundiced eye over what I thought was so amazing back then - gives one pause to reconsider how proud you should really be at anything done today: what will it look like ten years hence? This in turn becomes today's valuable advise to aspiring talents in the classroom, which is "Don't worry about it, just draw something." That said, I'm glad my mom saved my refrigerator drawings from when I was four, gives me something to strive for.

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist 
once he grows up.” - Pablo Picasso


  1. Interesting contrast between the two versions and it's a clever cartoon