I always go to the same grocery store and get the same tuna sandwich every day for lunch. Because it takes a few minutes for the deli person to make the sandwich, I’m always looking around for something to do. Lucky for me, I have found it. It is the grocery store’s suggestion box.
Each week, I drop at least one note in the box, and each one of them is from a very tiny person who cannot reach the shelves. The note demands equal access to all the shelves, and each one is angrier than the last, as the store never changes the height of its shelves.
Sometimes I make up stories, like the one about the fictional store employee who refused to lower the height of the shelves, telling me that the store’s policy was “anti-midget.” I’ve asked for stools. I’ve asked for ladders. And I lace all of the notes with profanity.
I’m not sure why I do it. Or why I stick to that one character. I think it’s the challenge of developing a literary character only through notes placed in a grocery store’s suggestion box. Or maybe it’s just my fascination with how the character changes over time. He seems to get angrier. And shorter. In the latest note, he could not reach the bottom shelf, which I believe would make him under six inches tall. He is now the height of Tinkerbell.
Sometimes I feel for the poor guy who has to open the suggestion box each month.
But hey, if they wanted it to stop, they could always make the sandwiches faster.
I sense that the photos of my microwave and shoes were not enough for you. Alright, fine. I just got these prototypes of the Pearls valentines day plush in the mail. They won’t be available until next Valentine’s Day, I presume, but still, they’re pretty darn cute. Cuter than my shoes, anyways.
Here is Larry and Zebra.
Here is Rat:
Oh yeah. And good old Pig as Cupid. Here, from the front:
And here from behind:
I just got a new camera. So I’ve decided to take this blog to a whole new level by taking very intimate photos of my personal life and posting them here.
I’d like to begin with this one.
It’s my microwave.
Craving more? Fine.
These are the shoes in my closet. This is as they appear right now, 9:00 am PST. There has been no manipulation of this photo.
That’s it for now.
Recently, I did a joint interview with Richard Thompson, the amazing creator of the comic strip Cul De Sac. A joint interview is where you both sit around smoking marijuana and say the first thing that comes into your mind.
No, no, no. “Joint” as in we were interviewed together.
The interview was to promote our appearance at Comic-Con in July in San Diego, California. Anyhow, the interview was a lot of fun. And you can read it here.
Also, if you don’t yet read Cul De Sac, you’re really missing out. It’s a great comic strip.
Hey, if you have a whole bunch of extra time on your hands, come to Toy Fair in New York City next Monday and Tuesday, February 16 and 17. I’ll be signing stuff for people from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Aurora booth. Aurora will have tons of Pearls plush there. If you can’t get in or you just can’t make it to NYC, maybe someone you know is going and I can sign something for them to give to you. Or maybe you don’t want anything at all signed by me.
Speaking of which, when I’m really drunk at parties, I have this wonderful habit of finding a Sharpie and drawing my characters on people’s arms, backs, etc. People wake up with drawings that are very hard to scrub off. I’ve also drawn on furniture, which is a bit more problematic for the homeowner. Lucky for you, I will be sober at the Aurora table.
And I’m told I’m in a book! Andy Nulman, the super-successful CEO of the largest comedy festival in the world, the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, has written a book on the power of surprise marketing called “Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise“, and there’s apparently a section that has me in it. I’m all for books that have me in it.
I get a lot of questions from people trying to do their own comic strips. Questions about how to come up with a concept for the strip, how to develop characters, write jokes, blah blah bladdity blah.
So now and then I thought I’d post random cartooning advice for those who might want it.
One small caveat: I’m sort of an idiot. (Of course, I have managed to get out of a job as a lawyer and now sit around in my monkey underwear, so I must be doing something right.)
My first piece of advice is on writing jokes, and I’ll use yesterday and today to illustrate this point. Yesterday, I spent four hours writing strips. They all sucked. They sucked because I was trying too hard to be funny.
Today I wrote for a few hours and got 9 strips out of it. The difference: Today I didn’t try so hard.
Here’s how you know when you’re funny: The ideas seem to flow from you naturally, almost without work. You’re more of a witness to it than a creator of it.
Another caveat: Sometimes the stuff that flows from you will be crap. And that voice inside your head will lie and tell you it’s good. That’s a risk you must bear.
But as a general idea, good jokes will pop out right before your eyes, like bunnies from a stream (I know what you’re saying — I’m good at analogies).
You know this is happening because your reaction will be, “Someone MUST have done this before.” (By the way, you’ll also get that feeling when you’re stealing ideas from The Far Side.)
So, the lesson today is this: Don’t put effort into your work. It might show.