I always loved cartoons: Looney Tunes, Disney classics, Don Bluth films, Tom and Jerry, The Simpsons, and Ren & Stimpy. Though I watched tons of crap in my youth, the quality cartoons stuck with me. In my opinion, two-dimensional cell animation has a unique charm that can’t be matched by computer animation, though companies like Pixar still do tremendous work.
Mad Magazine and weekly comic strips like Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side helped shape my humor and style. I wanted to be an artist like my heroes. Little did I know how difficult and time-consuming it is to draw comics, let alone thousands of pictures of animation for minutes of action. Hats off to all the animators out there.
Like many kids, I spent a lot of my time drawing in school when I was bored. My comics were crude, violent, and juvenile, but they offered some kind of cathartic release to the daily drudgery of class. My most prolific work during this time was called “Kermit’s World,” involving a homicidal Kermit the Frog wrecking havoc onto the set of his Muppet Show. There was also a demented Uncle Scrooge, whose search for a missing dollar from his money bin led to a murderous rampage. Such comics were derivative, but they did present an element of absurd mayhem that I think was prevalent in the classic cartoons I grew up with.
In high school, I discovered legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson’s early splatter films, including his dark-comedy puppet movie Meet the Feebles (1989). When I first read about it in Fangoria Magazine, I couldn’t believe that such a movie existed. It was explicit, daring, and everything I was trying to do with my own gross-out notebook comics. I always thought I had understood good satire through Monty Python, SCTV, Saturday Night Live, and Kids in the Hall, for starters, but this movie represented to me the epitome of what satire was supposed to be.
In pre-Internet days, I couldn’t find the movie anywhere. I later ordered the VHS tape from some magazine for $60. I was envied by friends for acquiring what seemed like back then to be a rare find. I loved it. It was a work of genius; crude, grotesque, and extremely well made. That, of course, was my impression of the film at the time. What really struck me was how eerily similar it was to my own comics about the Muppets. I learned that you could make anything that you wanted to, just don’t get sued in the process. It’s no surprise that Peter Jackson would go on to make The Lord of the Rings trilogy and all that other stuff.
There’s nothing I’d love more than to have volumes of published comics to my name. Unfortunately, life often doesn’t mirror fantasy. I do, however, have plenty of work on the horizon that will hit the Internet blog stratosphere when time permits. Here’s some characters:
The name is pretty self-explanatory. He’s a ghost who isn’t happy in the afterlife, and all his attempts to end things fail. But his story is only beginning, and we’ll see where it goes. He also makes an appearance in my book, Super Sassy Headlines for the New Millennium!
Frank is a temperamental earthworm who just wants his beer and favorite cigar after a long day at the office. He lives in the suburbs with his wife Beverly and teenage son. His neighbor is an industrious ant who he doesn’t get along with. One year, he didn’t pay his taxes and almost went to jail, but that’s another story.
Quackman is a masked crime-fighter who must balance his desire to clean up the streets with his seemingly normal running his own security company. His rabbit friend and martial-arts guru joins his nightly escapades as the enigmatic Masked Hare. Together, they fight the city’s most wanted criminals, from one thrilling episode to the next, in the most awesome adventures of Quackman!
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