I began drawing comic strips when I was a boy. I loved to laugh, so my favorite movies and television shows were comedies, and my favorite books were joke books. MAD was my favorite magazine, and The Dr. Demento Show was my favorite radio program, so zany situations and play on words made their way into my strips.
Matchstick Men was a strip I drew in high school. Its name came from the song “Pictures of Matchstick Men” by Status Quo. I have two strips that survived. In both, the main character speaks with the text placed above their head. The author—me—speaks to them underneath, at the bottom of the panels. Thus, I formed a dialogue between my creations and me.
I drew my Matchstick cartoons in pencil and only recently added ink to them, replaced my scribbled text with a legible computer font, and corrected some of the syntax.
I’ve always preferred the longer strips and many of my old cartoons consisted of nine or more panels. As I grew and learned to draw with India ink, my drawings became more technical and sophisticated looking. I loved to crosshatch shadows and use lots of black in areas to punch up the drama. However, when I drew for one of my local newspapers, they asked that I keep my drawings simple to reduce production costs. I was unaware that the more ink I used in a drawing, the more it cost to print. They also asked that I keep my strips at a certain size and gave me some templates to use. The strip below is formatted within their six-panel template.
The strip is called Louie and Bruce. I posted earlier about its creation and the characters in it. The main characters worked at a sawmill where all sorts of mishaps happened. The three characters below are (by order of appearance): Leroy, a worker at the mill; his talking dog Ernie; and Leroy’s twin brother Louie, a supervisor at the mill. The strip was printed in 1989 but drawn six years earlier in a sketchbook I kept for ideas.
The newspaper continued cutting costs and the majority of my strips became three panels and less. Conroy’s Corner was a popular three-panel strip I drew at college, so it saw life again between periods when I was busy doing other things. The strip below is based on a conversation I overheard between a student and the school’s starting quarterback.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.
This post “Being Funny Again” copyright © 2022 Steven Leo Campbell at stevecampbellcreations.com – All rights reserved.