2017-02-22 – “collect ’em all (2)”

(2017-02-22) S & M's
Yikes!

Another parody from last month’s Wacky Packages-inspired afternoon of drawing. This time I colored it in the old-fashioned way, with magic markers. And I mean really old fashioned, because some of these markers date back from when I was Maia’s age.

I like the color of markers better (though brown sure isn’t easy to work with). I don’t like how the delicate line work exposes the fact that I need stronger glasses (so I have them). I used my drawing program’s text feature to add the text at the bottom. Partially this was because I wanted to see how it would work, and partially it was because I knew it would be almost impossible to color around white text (look at the text at the top to see what I mean). I don’t feel like this is cheating; I read an interview with one of the Topps artists who worked on the original Wacky Packages (Jay Lynch), and he said that they used rub-on lettering all the time.

From this entry, we see clearly that I’m combining an 8-year-old boy’s sense of humor with a 50-year-old man’s perversion. Best of both worlds!

So I think I’m going to work toward drawing a full 30-product series of these parodies this year. I have three done (well, one’s only in the pencil sketch stage), and…I don’t know that I have any more ideas. (Beth, this is right in your wheelhouse. If you wander back this way and read this, feel free to offer suggestions.).

1994-10-04 – “…with his pony pal Pokey, too…”

Gumby & Pokey (Nance letter 10-4-94)
I never did understand why Pokey was so tolerant of Gumby’s jackassery.

Back before email, I was a prolific letter writer. I am fortunate enough to have several friends who were—again before email—both great writers and dedicated correspondents.

One of these friends was (and still is) Nance E. Her letters were so unbelievably great that I kept all of them. Whenever I’d receive one, I’d try to think of new ways to make my replies creative (or at least interesting).

Don’t ask me how I came up with the idea, but I gave one of my letters to Nance a “notable duos” theme and included a drawing of some random, silly pair of characters on each page. Nance was good enough to give me access to this letter, and I was able to scan these drawings (removing the actual letter part was difficult, as I had written the words right up to, and in some cases through, the drawings).

Here’s one of the drawings from that letter.

2011-02-27 – “break out the cooking sherry for the old colonel!”

2011-02-27-the-old-colonel
Canton, CT (circa alternate 2011)

In 2011 I resolved to draw a cartoon every week. The resolution didn’t last very deep into the year—hopefully I’ll do better this time around. One of the cartoons I DID complete is this one.

Perhaps my greatest regret is that Maia and Mom never got to meet: they would have adored each other. This drawing was my attempt to open a window into an alternate present where I could close that unhappy gap.

Hard to believe I drew this six years ago. Maia would be 6 in this picture (I still remember the flowery fleece she’s wearing here), and it would have been Marts’s 79th birthday.

Today would have been Marts’s 85th birthday, which doesn’t seem as old as it once did.

Ah, crap.

2017-02-22 – collect ’em all!

2017-02-22-poop-tarts-crop
Eat your heart out, Topps!

Like so many others my age, I had the Wacky Packages monkey on my back something fierce back in the 70s.

When Topps resurrected Wacky Packages a few years ago, I was compelled to buy a few packs. But I was disappointed with the gags and the art. I’m not quite sure why—it’s certainly not an issue of my sense of humor becoming any more refined. I think it’s just that none of the parodies seemed very clever. I remember my mom loving the old Wackies, so much so that she would often refer to products by their Wackified names (Log Cave In syrup is one I remember her using a lot). None of these new ones seemed like they’d have been Marty-worthy.

Anyway, I recently dug out my old collection, and it got me to thinking about all the ideas early-70s Jon had for new Wackies. I think you can see where this is heading.

OK, so this may not be especially clever. Fair enough. I came up with this particular idea a few years ago, while cat sitting for friends. I actually did a mock-up of this design and slapped it on the Pop Tarts box in their cabinet. My idea had been to replace several other products in their house (the only other one I remember was Adam Ant’s in Your Pants for the game Ants in the Pants), but it was too much work.

This is one of three Wacky-esque sketches I dashed off a couple of days ago. I used a computer art program to color it, which was not easy. I don’t think Topps ever came up with a Wacky for Pop Tarts. Seems like it would have been pretty low-hanging fruit.

2012-02-15 – “unh enh-enh”

2012-02-12-new-frosty-frog
Weekend at Pastor Bob’s

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of my first visit to Koinonia, a Lutheran retreat center, former camp, and frozen deer carcass burial ground in Highland Lake, New York. It’s a tradition that dear friends of ours have followed for years and years, and it’s a tradition that I am touched, flattered, and honored to have been invited to share.

It’s also a tradition with which I have something of a love-hate relationship.

I love it because I love the people we go with, I love the peacefulness and closeness to nature of the setting, and I love how much Maia (and the other next-generation kids) looks forward to and enjoys the weekend. Those are powerful forces. And they need to be, because pretty much everything else falls…elsewhere…on the love-hate relationship-o-meter.

Well, I’m being a bit unfair here. Within the tradition of Koinonia weekend, there are many, many “subtraditions”—subditions, if you will—that are fun and funny and comforting and all the rest of it. Things like rocket launches; games of Balderdash, WhooNu, and Taboo (which hasn’t been played since Eric and I used our telepathic link to lap the field many times over)(for me, one of the goals of these games is to come up with answers that get Rafi to snarf whatever he’s drinking); gorging on cookies; making hourly treks to the local grocery store (Peck’s); and on and on.

But there is one Koinonia subdition that stands alone in importance and majesty. Well, importance. OK, maybe just longevity. I think it would be a violation of something or other if I explained any details of this rite. Suffice to say, it’s called Frosty Frog. It doesn’t look exactly like what’s depicted here, but it’s close enough.

2017-01-27 – “best laid plans”

2017-01-25-best-laid-plans-f0001
Play ball!

A couple of years into my BIOSIS employment, I put together a co-ed softball team. The problem here was that finding fields to play on and leagues to play in was a bit harder in Center City Philadelphia than it was back in Connecticut…which is what I was used to.

The good news is that I was eventually able to find a league that would take our team. The bad news is that the “co-ed” part of the league kind of fell by the wayside, so our team of can-do hearties wound up squaring off against team after team of south Philadelphia meatheads. Most of the idiots on these teams were interested in nothing more than running up scores and trying to score with the women on our team.

From my standpoint, it says all that needs to be said about this league that, in 30 years of playing baseball and softball,  I sustained my worst ball-playing injuries (broken wrist, concussion) in these “for-fun” games.

Our games were played on random weeknights at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center down at 17th (I think) and Fitzwater. The field was in extreme disrepair and was usually littered with crack vials (this didn’t stop shortstop Pat McGovern from playing barefoot). Play was frequently halted while locals strolled through the outfield, and it was necessary to keep a close watch on anything you brought to the field. Sadly, at my last game on this field, the baseball glove I’d used from junior varsity through college was stolen. I had it coming—it should never have been in any equipment bag I brought down there.

All that said, we DID manage to have our share of fun in (and after) these games. I think we played for five or six seasons in this league, under names that included BIOSIS (good one!), Ruddy Ducks, Purple Cannibals (shown here), and Tsunami.

For the trainspotters: in this comic, Joe (#7) is pitching, Beth (#2) is at second base, Mike (Hilden #20) is at first base, Megan (Kile #6–she created the design for the Purple Cannibal shirts) is in left field/short field (four outfielders in this league), and I (#3) am in left center/left field. Somewhere in a computer archive I have rosters, stats, photos, trading cards, etc.

If any former BIOSISians, Ruddy Ducks, Purple Cannibals, or Tsnamis ever stuble onto this site, I’d love to hear any recollections you have from those Switchblade Park glory days…

2017-01-20 – “Jonny come lately”

2017-01-20-jonny-come-lately
Better late than never!

Phew! Made my deadline! And by “deadline” I mean “before I see most of these guys tonight at happy hour.”

Here we have my second foray into filling the gaps left in the original Cubicle Count run. So, welcome, Keith (officially), Pat, Jennifer, and Carrie—where would happy hours (to say nothing of the BIOSIS day to day) have been without you? And welcome to Todd, Andy, and Jeanne: you may not have worked at BIOSIS, but if happy hour time counts, I spent as much time with you as I did my coworkers!

Oh, and sorry about your transition to the comics page: I’m still having the all-too-familiar hard time getting characters to look like the people they’re based on. Sigh.

Drawing this made me really want to hop down to Cherry Street Tavern, the backdrop here and the scene of so, so many laughs and bouts of memory loss. Good times! Probably!