1991-08-09 – “It begins”

(1991-08-09) it begins
Lunchtime for me, Dave Sturgill, and Dawn Latshaw!

The “Love Is” drawing style, the weak tea subject, the insipid dialogue—everything about this comic says “one off.”

Reading it again, I get the impression that this was the result of a conversation about comic strips. If so, it’s almost certain that a tirade from me about the crappiness of newspaper comic strips figured into things, because tirading is what Tiggers do best.

But, really, I have no idea why I drew this.

Cubicle Count (1991-1992)

If I manage to keep up with this little undertaking, it will become quite clear that my work life has always been a major inspiration for cartooning. I imagine that the job-cartooning connection works in much the same way that negative feelings have always been the power that resulted in my most prolific and best journal entries.

Anyway, way back in the early 90s I worked at a place called BIOSIS (don’t look for it; it went out of business a long time ago). BIOSIS didn’t have a lot to recommend it as a career stop, but what it lacked in salary, engagement, relevance, skill-development, training, guidance, support, benefits, flexibility, quality management,….um, where was I? Oh yes. I worked alongside a LOT of very cool, very funny people, most of whom were (like me) very recently out of college. In a lot of ways, working at BIOSIS was like working in a coed dorm.

I’m not sure why I started drawing Cubicle Count (named after some petty “Office Space”-esque administrative obligation), but “to give me something interesting to do” is a pretty good guess. I know I never intended it to be an ongoing thing, but it wound up being something I did every week. A few coworkers actually got in the habit of ASKING for new ones (which, believe me, is more a testament to the monotony of the job than a tribute to my cartooning), so I posted them on my cubicle walls. This had the unfortunate effect of keeping the strips and my portrayal of some people a bit tamer (lamer) and more sanitized than I might have done otherwise.

I guess I’ll start off the ol’ blog by scanning and uploading the old Cubicle Counts. For better or worse, Cubicle Count–and George Tomezsko’s book, Fully Occupied Years: The Rise and Fall of a Company Called BIOSIS (missing subtitle: An Excruciatingly Arid Account of a Company Nobody Ever Cared About)–are pretty much the only surviving records of BIOSIS culture.

Cubicle Count character sheet (circa 1991): me (x5–yes, I had hair once), Dawn Latshaw Rabb (x2), Tracey Beck, David Sturgill (x2), Celia Winder (x3–I think these were drawn by Celia), Paul Grecian (x2), Beth Ahrens, Tracey Beck.