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Here’s my attempt at doing a single panel gag cartoon. When I was 16 I got it into my head that I would be a single panel gag cartoonist. I figured that getting paid for doing one drawing was much better than getting the same pay for for a multi-panel comic strip (and would take less time). I learned real fast how difficult doing a single panel cartoon really was. I mean, doing one that’s truly funny. I admired B. Kliban and Sam Gross’ cartoons so much that I wanted to be a part of this art form. So from time to time I take a crack at it. Here’s a cartoon that just came to me while sitting in a bar but I could never find a line to go with it and just decided to have no line. But having no line still seems unfinished. Who should be talking here? Maybe I’ll find the right line on my deathbed.
Here’s a page out of one of my sketchbooks. I use drawing in my sketchbooks for many different reasons. I might be looking for a new cartoon character, copying another artist’s work to explore how she does it, as a preliminary for a larger drawing or painting. Some of these figures were taken from other cartoons and tweaked by me. I found a website where people drew their favorite cartoon characters with their eyes closed. Some of the misfired results looked amazingly original (and so wrong) to me that I copied them and tweaked them until I got some of the weird characters on this page. The character with the crown and striped shirt made it into the background of some of my comics.
In the course of finding a cover for my Underworld comics collection, UNDERWORLD from Hoboken to Hollywood, I went through a lot of sketches. I even got creatively stuck and ripped off my cover for Ink Punk Underworld 3 in this sketch – which of course I didn’t follow through with (thank my better judgement). I often wind up loving my pencil sketches for their energy. And I love the dumb sloppy power of this one.
This detail is of an illustration I originally did for R. Crumb’s Weirdo back in the mid 80’s. It depicts a hapless knucklehead digging in the trash for a tossed out winning lottery ticket. The background is of a Lower East Side fantasia including a piece of graffiti of Rosie the Robot by 80’s East Village painter, Kenny Scharf. Like a lot of other fools, I bought lottery tickets when I lived in Hoboken and was a poor starving cartoonist. This version was from a limited edition print by Rotland Press. Sorry folks, these are all sold out. But if you want prints for sale check out this page.
Order “The Underworld: From Hoboken to Hollywood” the omnibus collection of the very best of the strip’s 23-year run, with annotations, photos, and other surprises from the author (along with a foreword by Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell).