Visible Guy

Another rumination on being naked. Belated discovery: a thong looks a lot like a valentine.

The challenge in doing this strip: the invisible guy lacks a visible face. He can’t show emotion in the usual way. The reader can’t see what the character is feeling or thinking. The eyes are the window to the punchline, as well as the personality.

How do you bond with a sight gag?

You can laugh at it, but can you laugh with it?

There are ways around it. The visible character could be the true central figure of the strip. Readers would bond/relate to him, not the titular character. Or I could make sure the invisible guy always has a handy prop to show his feelings. When his face is wrapped in bandages, they could twist and warp into rough expressions. His hat could tip meaningfully, his glasses could bend to suggest raised eyebrows.  I could even re-title the strip, make it Visible Guy*, telling the reader to pay more attention to the character he/she can see. I’d work to make the invisible guy a readable and relate-able figure, but in the meantime the reader could hang a hat on the visible character.

*bonus for Visible Guy as the title: the invisible guy isn’t all that invisible, because of his sundry machinations to fit in, appear normal. He wants to be noticed. That’s his dream: to be seen. He likes some of the advantages that come with being invisible, but he also wants to be seen for who he is. It’s a view I understand. I want my work to be noticed, not me. I’m not social; the internet is. One of the things I loved about cartooning was its anonymity. I could be seen and unseen.  There and not-there. 

When Less is More

When Less is More

This is an old one. It had a different caption when I first wrote it. I’d seen the moon referred to as a lesser body, so I wrote, “Harv loved to show off his lesser body.” I could rewrite it again as, “Few could deny that Harv had a lesser body.” One of my trials as a cartoonist and perfectionist — as in, always tweaking, not necessarily improving — is deciding on the final caption.

My First Published Cartoon

My First Published Cartoon

I post this picture every once in awhile as inspiration for those who’d like to draw a cartoon, but believe they can’t.

I’m not saying that everyone can draw a cartoon. But when you look at the early material of many cartoonists — mine, anyway — you’d be reluctant to say with confidence, “This artist will definitely learn how to draw one day. More or less.”

I believe I earned seven dollars, fifty cents for this.  I probably owe them change.

(note that my style has changed, but my signature has stayed the same. I remember working on that signature in elementary school. It took time for my skill to catch up with it.)


On Top And Unsold

Though I’ve never sold this cartoon, it’s one of my favorites. I love the punchline. It’s rare to read an old punchline and not feel the flutter in my chest that says, revise it, make it better.

I’m puzzled by the eyelashes, a classic bit of visual shorthand. They’re not necessary. The punchline depends on tonnage disparity, not gender. That’s the first clue to the cartoon’s age; only a younger me would have thought the elephant needed the blatant and traditional signage for gender identification. Male, female, the punchline still works.  The second is the spacing of the eyes. Today I favor the widely-space variety you see on the man. This might be a transitional cartoon, with elements new and old. A Missing Link cartoon, except for the missing part.