PICTURE QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
"Never look at the trombones.
It only encourages them."
- Richard Strauss
this month to Hilary Price (you have helped me SO much, you'll never know
and I just plain can't repay you), Jeff Campbell, for your good work (ALL
of your work), Mark Fischer (he's the man), EVERYone helping me at Palmer
and Dodge, the folks at UClick (we're looking forward to it), Mike Peters,
Cathy Guisewite, Patrick McDonnell, and all the stoopid guys in the stoopid
to all of the newspapers and web sites that have made the space for my dopey
comic strip. You've got vision, baby.
thoughts, prayers and meditations go out to the following people this month
and they all know why for their very own reasons- The Wittstrucks, The Beckers,
the family of Doug Mitchell, Lorraine in San Jose, and the family of Tim
Greetings from The Big Picture!
to all of you who have visited PlanetLennie.com and have taken the time
to sign up for what has affectionately become known as "The Big Picture
Army". For those of you that are getting this and you DIDN'T sign up,
this certainly is your lucky day, isn't it?? In any case, thanks for all
the positive feedback both for the strip and the web site.
I want to open
with a few thank-a-yews then I'll get to the business-
to my webmaster, Lee Totten. Lee is an excellent musician/ songwriter who
you will be hearing from once any one of us figures out how to rise above
the slime and poopie of the show biz/ record company antics that are the
world's second oldest profession. Lee seems to be cutting through the crap
quickly and rising from the ashes. Lee's musical endeavors can be found
and enjoyed at www.LeeTotten.com. He's a talented dood with a lot to offer
both in his music and his prose (he writes columns for various publications).
We became friends after many an encounter including his performing as an
opening act for Clutch Grabwell several times. He asked me to play on his
latest c.d. as a guest and we've been friends since.
me one day as a friend and a fan with the mission that he "wanted me
to have a cool website". Mission (almost) accomplished. We're about
70% there (available, however, while under this construction) and have only
to finish a couple of things on The Big Picture section and then start posting
the surrealism segment of the site. Many of you have asked about my fine
art and I'm anxious to have you see it, hopefully soon, at, yes, PlanetLennie.com....
Lee, for all the great work.
I also want
to thank all the people at Universal Press Syndicate and Andrews McMeel
Publishing. This kudos is far beyond any kiss-ass acknowledgment I could
be drumming up. I don't do the "kiss-ass acknowledgment thing"
as some of you reading this know all too well. This is unique and here goes-
go to Universal Press Syndicate Vee Pee, Lee Salem, who is clearly the main
man with the vision of giving some of the world's best comic strips their
start. He and the people at Universal and A/M are responsible for bringing
to light some of the world's greatest comic strips such as Calvin and Hobbes,
The Duplex, Garfield, The Far Side, Foxtrot, Doonesbury, Non Sequitur, Cathy,
The Boondocks and many many more. And...er...me and Fuzzbucket. Ginger and
I are in awesome company. May we continue to pinch ourselves.
Andrews/McMeel. Andrews McMeel publishes comic strip book collections of
so many greats including Rhymes With Orange, Dilbert, Mutts, Baby Blues,
lots of the strips mentioned in the last paragraph, and many many more.
And, er, mine.
These are companies
not afraid of taking a chance on the "riskier", "edgier",
more progressive comic strips and that attitude and vision has obviously
served them well. If you take a look at most of what they represent, you
can see that they ALWAYS had the balls to venture into the daring (they've
been way ahead of their time for years in so many endeavors) whether it
was the politics of Trudeau, the independence and liberation of Guisewite
20 years ago or the funk and edge of Larson and the progressiveness of McGruder
The Big Picture
is the first mainstream syndicated comic strip of its kind especially because
of it's purely autobiographical content. It is often a hard sell to many
newspapers and web sites ("Let's see...an autobiographical comic strip
featuring a bald, skinny, vegetarian, middle aged, divorced, artist, musician,
cat owning cartoonist. hmmm. Is this April Fools Day?") that only see
the comics as something that should be as thought provoking and "un-intrusive"
as white toast and butter in the morning. UPS and A/M had the vision to
run with this and I am eternally grateful. In my pursuit of syndication,
I dreamed of being with this bunch of misfits and here we are. I know this
sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech ("I'd like to thank God and
the little people for making this all possible.") but you get the idea.
I can't say enough about them so I won't say anymore.
Okay, one more.
Thanks also to my editor at UPS, Lisa Tarry. Lots of people think editors
check your spelling and grammar only (god bless you, Lisa, with MY grammar)
and that's the Editor Gig.
She DOES check
my spelling and tolerates my grammar and excessive! use! of! exclamation!
points !!!! But she also holds my cyber hand (I'm in Bawston, she's in K.C.),
gets after the sales staff when sales get a little slower than we want,
warns me (but never threatens me) when my stuff might be a little TOO, um,"off
beat" for a family noose-paper (like, I wish I could use the word "sucks"
more often, y'know? I mean, I understand why I can't [I think] but sheesh,
I hear it around me all day, EVERY day....but I do understand that the comics
page is the last bastion of purity...), and allows my temperamental, baby-like,
Artsy Fartsy, moody and dark HISSY FITS when things don't quite go my way.
She also makes the proper reparations to the strip visually and textually
(is that a word? It should be) to be adjusted by the fine folks that it
gets passed on to in the publishing/ syndication process. I asked for a
female editor cuz I get along better with females but realize now how stoopid
that was. I could have just asked for an AWESOME editor and had the same
result. "Female" or "male" got nuthin' to do with it.
Anyway, she knows what I'm sayin' so, thanks, Lisa.
Okay, to the
Many of you
have asked if the California book signings are happening or not. The answer,
I am SO HAPPY to report, is yes, yes, yes. I'll be in California for two
book signings of the books I am most proud of (got a bunch of others but
we don't mention those without the aid of sedatives)- "The Big Picture,
A Comic Strip Collection" published by A/M Publishing and "Why
God Makes Bald Guys" published by CCC Publications.
The first signing
will be at the Barnes and Noble in Aliso Viejo in Orange County (thanks,
Nanette) on Saturday, Dec, 2nd at 4 p.m.
[If the band
gets hooked up in L.A., Good Lord willing (see below), I'll stop up there
that night to kick some trombone/Clutch Grabwell butt.]
Then I'll head
north to The Pruneyard B&N in Campbell, CA. (thanks Amanda) the following
day, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m.
There are so
many people I've connected with out there with the miracles of cyber space,
I absolutely can't wait to meet everyone. The California fans have been
let's face it- wouldn't a couple of nice Cartoon Boy creations make perfect
stocking stuffers or pooper scoopers for Santa's reindeer?? I'm looking
forward to a great time (and no snow...).
THE WEST COAST:
(that is, fortunately, Jeff) is trying (so far successfully) to hook up
a showcase gig in L.A. that Saturday (either The Vipor Room or The Whisky)
with the help of the people at RedButton.com. It would be the same type
of thing we did at CBGBs in New York City last year . A "showcase"
meaning open to the public AND a way for the record companies that have
shown interest in us to come and see us do our Clutch Grabwell thing. We've
got them committed and now it's just a matter of coordination so I'll keep
you posted (You can also get updates on our website at grabwell.com). That
would be a ball and we're all really excited at that possibility.
the band, we're starting to perform again after the last 4 weekends off.
It's the first time since high school (back in 1897) that I've had more
than 2 weekends off in a row from playing and I (and the rest of the band,
as a matter of fact) am DYING to make Clutch music again with those idiots.
I schlepped (how do you spell "schlepped"?) around a few Boston
gigs here and there during the break (with different bands) but there's
NOTHING like the Clutch experience so we're all raring to go. John's surgery
was smooth and trouble free. It may be a couple of weeks before he's back
to his usual insanities and heavy lifting but we are ready and pumped for
this weekend. Check grabwell.com for the dates. All I can say is having
a "normal" weekend at home is just plain not "normal"
to me. Time to get back to the smoke, beer, Clutch madness and 2 a.m. last
Many of you
have asked about my Sunday strips. I do create Sunday strips and they are
running in lots 'o newspapers. If it's not in yours (or the dailies, for
that matter), it just takes e-mails and/or phone calls to the newspaper
in question (ask for the features editor). Simply demand, beg, or bribe
them to carry the Sunday or daily version of The Big Picture distributed
by Universal Press. In fact, many markets have PURCHASED The Big Picture
but have a "wait and see" attitude about whether to run it or
not. They might take awhile to get back to you (they think they're very
busy) but you will see results if you persist. And the more friends and
family involved in that persistence, the merrier and speedier the result.
Both The Orange County Register and The San Jose Mercury News tried to drop
The Big Pic awhile back (either Sundays or dailies) and the fans made THE
difference in getting it back on the page. Very cool.
Many MANY of
you ask about the on-going relationship between Dawn and I ("if you
don't marry that woman soon, I'M going to!!" "What is your STORY?!
Are you GAY??!!"" "Who is that hot girlfriend of yours and
how can i meet her?" "How can you be with other women when you
already have Dawn as a girlfriend? Does she know?"). If you think back
to the unfolding of our relationship (I think the strips at UExpress.com
might be archived going back that far but I'm not sure) you'll remember
that she announced her, um, "intentions" with me (good ones at
that, I might add) and mine to her. Dawn and I are best of friends and no
(this is especially for Dawn-fan "Michelle" from Ontario), I AM
NOT "CHEATING" ON DAWN!! Dawn and I share all of our experiences
in honesty and ta-ROOTH like two best-of-friends do. She's my bud. 'k then?
of our relationship is coming to you in November and December so stay tooned.
Some HUGE stuff is happening as i speak/ write and I'll include it (of course,
as I do EVERYthing) in the strip (insert dramatic silent film suspense music
As for "E-Mail
Mondays". I get lots of questions asking whether they are real or not.
Absolutely,100%. Every one of 'em.
It works like
this- When I get an e-mail that I think I can use, I file it for when I
sit down to create the week's strips (The Big Picture, like most comic strips,
is created at least 4 weeks in advance of when it gets to your paper or
web site). Sorting through them, I'll come across one that I think I can
do something with and then proceed to include that in the week that I'm
working on. I really don't get all that much negative mail about the strip
(thanks for the concern though!). It's just that it's fun for me (and kind
of the ultimate revenge) to exploit the hate mail I DO get. I'm thinking
about only using the negative mail every other week from now on, though.
It seems to upset some nice people ('specially my younger readers and they're
real important to me) that I get hate mail.
As for the
faces used in the E-mail mondays, I draw the real faces when a photo is
sent ('bout 70% of the time). Otherwise I make 'em up.
The next newsletter
will be the first week of November. 'Till then, thank you all for your support
and the daily read. I've made so many good friends because of this stoopid
comic strip of mine. Thank you all. It's really inspiring.
I must go.
It's been a whole 2 hours since my last coffee, Ginger is whining like a
Princess cuz she hasn't been admired, cherished and adored in the last 30
minutes, and I've used up enough of your emotional, physical, and e-mail
storage space for one month.
Oh, and I must
also go and ponder my 2004 presidential candidacy- "JUST COMICS ON
Luv 'n Peace.
Keep reading the good ones...