This topical piece from 2004 was my first job with The Portland Monthly– the trigger event being The Oregonian‘s controversial decision to drop Hi and Lois from its comics page after 50 years (it was displaced by Berkeley Breathed’s brief revival of Opus; Cathy was dropped at the same time). Think about this for a moment. Imagine that in 2004, Frank Sinatra’s Swing Easy (released in 1954) had just dropped off the charts, The Pajama Game was finishing a 50 year run on Broadway,and a local television affiliate was catching flack for dropping Father Knows Best, which first appeared the same month as Hi And Lois, from its lineup (Cathy, a relative stripling, made its debut in 1976, the same year as Frampton Comes Alive! the musical Annie and Charlie’s Angels.). On the other hand, The Tonight Show and Face The Nation started that same year and are still going strong, so network television is hardly a paragon of dynamic change.
Most of the work I do on commission is illustration, but occasionally a client who knows about my comics will hire me to draw a strip for publication. This strip for The Portland Monthly was the client’s concept all the way, and if the result looks unusually stiff, it’s because I was dealing with a sport I know nothing about- basketball- and an athlete I’d never heard of- Rasheed Wallace ( I believe he used to play for a team called the Trailblazers). With the thorny matter of race added to the mix, I wasn’t about to attempt anything too caricatural. Basically this piece is a straight photocollage with a light layer of drawing- using photographs I found of Wallace online, I put together a layout with added captions and balloons in Indesign, then used Photoshop to convert it to a dithered dot pattern which I printed onto coquille board and then pencilled over. Continue reading Comics For Hire #1: A Fresh Start.