Shy Elusive Mooomaid: The Story Behind The Cartoon by Rick London

Moomaid by LTCartoons Click To Enlarge

Moomaid by LTCartoons Click To Enlarge

Long before there was a Far Side, I had a shoebox full of cartoon concepts that started in 1973 when I was but a wee freshman in college in Dallas. I had no idea what would become of these weird concepts, and I showed them to but a few close friends (who from the day I showed them they looked at me funny), but seven years later a stranger from Tacoma, Wa. launched a single-panel cartoon called “The Far Side”.  Please don’t cast aspersions yet. I don’t put myself in the league of The Far Side. 

As were a lot of people, I was elated.  So much of the “free association” that “we children of the 60s and 70s” was captured in this comic.   The “I’ll create it the way I want/authority-be-damned” feel swept the country within a  week.  The Far Side was king.  A new trail had been blazed.

Furthermore, so many of my already written concepts included cows and mythical characters from mermaids to unicorns and a combination of several. 

The vision of my cartoon, however, went way beyond the limit of my capabilities, however.   I had thought for many years that cartooning could be and should be, at times, fine art; or at least colorful close-to-fine art. 

Thanks to several of my early mentors, I learned that at least 30% of cartoons we see are group efforts, and it was/is perfectly fine to find astute and talented illustrators who could read “the blueprint of a cartoon concept”, add a caption and it would happen.  And they were right.

I wrote this cartoon around 1974 back when I’d written less than 1000 of them.  I always felt it had potential; that mooomaid toys would don every Toys R Us store and that the play “Moomaid” would launch on Broadway.

Though I was highly mistaken regarding the grandiose visions of peripheral marketing, we were able to create The Moomaid who still exists….but only in or minds.

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Rick London is a designer, songwriter, author and cartoonist.  He is best known for his #1 offbeat cartoons and funny gifts, Londons Times. 

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