I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit to the fact that Gary Larson with his “Far Side” cartoon was the trailblazer (as far as I was concerned) at “making insects and other animals) more human (and vice versa).
Sure, plenty of cartoonists did this “fun cartoon trick” long before Gary did, and even during his cartoon, but nobody did it with quite the fervor that Gary Larson did.
Most know, but a few still don’t, Gary Larson majored and got his degree in biology. He’d thought about teaching and then changed his mind, thank God.
Though I followed The Far Side it’s entire (nearly 15 year run), and it had a vital impact into my thinking process and which way I wanted my humor to turn (I was younger, more immature and “still exploring” at the time). Then I was invited by some Ms. friends who lived on Capitol Hill in Washington at the same time I did to see a Far Side Exhibit at the Smithsonian. They had to drag me there even though I loved the cartoon. I guess I didn’t think I was going to “see anything new” that I’d not seen in the newspaper.
Was I ever wrong. Whomever put that exhibit together knew exactly how to whet and satisfy the appetite of any/every Far Side fan. Each Far Side was blown up into an 8-10 ft poster on board and hung from the ceiling. It was as if one was walking around inside the Far Side Cartoon and even talking to the odd characters whether they be human, animal, bacteria or space alien. That exhibit was 34 years ago and, aside from a trip to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fl., I can’t remember any collection of art that had such a life-changing impact.
However it is easy to “take for granted” people of whom have walked this crazy walk with me, many creating their own properties whether they be cartoons or other types of art.
Most know my story of being so naive at the start back around 1997, I contacted some of the biggest names in the industry. And they were all good to me. Dave Coverly of Creator’s Syndicate was particularly generous as was Charles “Sparky” Schulz (Peanuts). Am back in touch with Dave, his cartoon (to me) easily rivals The Far Side but has a “different flair” that is clearly Dave’s own “fingerprint” in his Speed Bump Cartoon. Dave was generous enough also to leave a positive testimonial on my latest book “Useless Humor” which is (for now) available at Amazon Kindle but soon will have it in other bookstores. It is our best book I think; and my first to have a mix of cartoons and “useless quotes”.
I’d be amiss not to mention some of the people closest to me such as my beloved wife wildlife/nature photographer Lee Hiller London who is like a “human thermostat”. I can get an idea (often while we are hiking in the forest) and run it by her, and she gives an honest assessment immediately. I have decided to make cartoons public or toss the ideas away based on her opinion. Sometimes (on rare occasions) I go ahead with them simply because I like them (and her taste might be different) but she is generally right on target as far as “what is funny to the public” vs “what is funny to just Rick”. 🙂 Lee is also an amazing designer of both gifts and casual clothing and accessories.
Also my long time associate and co-creator Rich Diesslin has steered me in the right direction more than once. He was with LTCartoons for over a decade and we still work on the occasional project together. We’ve butted heads, made gains, losses etc together, and stayed friends. He has 3 excellent cartoon properties of his own. I’m in awe of his ability to both create and use left-brain management skills. Thanks Rich for all you’ve done and continue to do. Rich also managed LTCartoons the first (most vulnerable decade) and did it well and with integrity.
I’ve been fortunate over the past 3.5 years to work with Tom Kerr who many consider one of America’s finest caricature artists and editorial cartoonists as well as childrens book author. His latest book is in Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Library and deservedly so. Tom leans more right than I do, but it is that “slight friction” (I’m more to the center) that makes our collaborations work, and they work almost every time. Tom knows how to make me look good and I appreciate that. His blog Despicable Jerks is also well worth reading. You will laugh. Guaranteed.
So what does all of the above have to do with this snail traffic cop cartoon? Not a lot, but it may give you a subtle hint into how my mind operates. As if you really wanted to know. 🙂
Thanks again for 18 years of support. I am truly humbled and grateful.