March, 2001


"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing
sound they make as they fly by."

- Douglas Adams


Hi Everybody,

Happy February. And March. I've been through alternating periods of business and laziness since New Years hence, no Big Picture newsletter. The lack of a February newsletter makes up for the long-windedness of the Dec. and Jan. newsletters. So there.

Greetings from the midst of a Nor'easter. It's March 6 and here on the South Shore of Boston, the sleet is pelting, the streets just one block away are flooding at high tide, the temperature is dropping, and the wind is howling off the Atlantic. What better time to write my dopey newsletter...



The news headlines yesterday here in the eastern U.S. were dominated by the stoopid giant storm we're experiencing. That is until the noon news came on. The Big Picture is blessed with many MANY readers in Southern California and there's not much more to say except that our thoughts and prayers are with all the people connected in any way (come to think of it, that includes ALL of us as humans) to the victims of the Santana High School shootings in Santee, Ca. today. I'll leave it at that simply because I admit I have no words for something that seems so senseless. It's pretty rare I have nothing to say.

On to the much less important-



Bill Amend, creator of the Foxtrot comic strip, is correct in his words of wisdom (and thanks, Dan D., for reminding me)- "Newspaper editors generally try to follow the path of least resistance when it comes to comics they run." Meaning, "don't bug us editors and we'll keep feeding you the same comic strips for the next 40 years."

The Big Picture can be found on lots of websites and we're grateful for that. BUT...there's nothing like seeing it in the paper, no? The best advice, for those of you that have asked, is to write, fax, e-mail, or call your local paper (most search engines will get you to most newspapers). Simply contact the comics editor or features editor and give 'em your two cents (make it three) worth. They do listen. Most of 'em. Eventually.

Seriously, it helps A LOT, even if they hear from a couple dozen people on a specific strip. Imagine if you tell your friends, family, and goldfish to do the same.

Just politely but loudly ask them to carry The Big Picture syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate. They know who we are and the crack sales team (yeah, yeah, not the sales team on crack) at Universal will get right to them. If you need help with contact information, don't hesitate to e-mail us through, 'k? 'k.




The WT&G is doing a survey (i guess over the next 8 weeks) asking for comic strip suggestions. They are FINALLY replacing "Peanuts", Praise the Lord. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Peanuts, y'know? I mean absolutely NO disrespect to the memory of a man i consider a GENIUS. Charles Schulz had a HUGE impact on my life, ALL of my life, never mind our very CULTURE and language. Funny, thought provoking, a HUGE influence, a legend, blah, blah, blah... but, um...time to turn the page on the Peanuts, y'know? Actually thinking about it now, it's time to turn the page on ALOT of comic strip geniuses and let 'em rest in peace...but I digress...

It's just strange to have The Big Picture running in so many markets from Toronto to Tennessee to Ohio to California to Russia (yup. Russia.Weird, huh?) to Australia but i ain't getting arrested in Worcester, Ma., my native community and home of some of the best Clutch Grabwell fans in the whole wide world. Okay, i can get arrested (hi, officer Tom H.) but you know what i mean....

Anyway, I digress once again. If you wanna see The Big Picture (carried by Universal Press) in the stoopid Telegram, you can put the word in at Thanks as always. See you at the next Clutch thing.

And speaking of noose-papers...



I swear, I'm asked at least once a day (and at least three times on Clutch gigs) by readers how they can help get The Big Picture into the Globe or Herald. Same scoop as the Telegram (see above for sordid and blatant begging). Here's the info-

the name of the editor at The Globe is Matt Storin and here is a link to the e-mail address-

Next up, The Herald. The editor is Andrew Costello and his contact information is -

Thanks. As they say, vote and vote often...



Y'know all that hassling with the OCR? All that writing and calling you all have been doing out there? It paid off. To a certain extent, anyway. I don't know exactly what the deal is but this is what happened-

I got word about 2 weeks ago from my syndicate's west coast sales manager that they were finally giving into the continuous (you guys are awesomely persistant. it's GREAT) e-mails and calls for The Big Picture's return. That, plus the work of the Universal Press sales team out there, convinced them to start running the strip again, starting this past Sunday, March 4, with their reformatting. I can't tell you how excited and grateful I was. Then I got word that, for reasons unknown, they would only run Sundays. Okay, I says to myself, "whatever(that's me, talking to my computer)... whaddayagonnado?" Then, come to find out, we weren't in there this Sunday. Word is, they were late on their deadline. Or something. They say we'll be in there this Sunday the 11th. Sundays only, however. Hopefully that is..ahem...a temporary situation.

No complaints, just passin' the word along.

As I said in the last two newsletters, I kind of give up on the OCR but i DEEPLY appreciate those of you that haven't. If it's still not too frustrating for you, here's the contact info for THEM-
Tonnie L. Katz, senior vice president and editor
(714) 953-7986
Robin Doussard
comics editor
(714) 796-6989

thanks again.



Okay, I'm done whining and pleading and giving you the contact info you've been asking for. For now.

Here's some upcoming stuff-

I'll be giving a talk at Framingham (Ma.) State College to the Art students there on Tuesday, March 14 from 12:30 to 2:30. if interested, throw me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do about getting you in.

I'll be in Kansas City on strip business the week of May 1. I'll keep you posted.

I'll most likely be at this years Cartoonists' convention in May (for those of you that have asked) as I was last year in New York. I haven't decided yet. Keep you posted on that, too. If you care. And if you don't.

Yup. I know this is early to announce but MARK IT DOWN PLEASE! We're all looking forward to this year's bash at The Plantation Club in Woosta once again. If you live anywhere else, get a plane ticket and come to beautiful Worcester,Ma. We run this benefit every year for "Why Me, Inc." a charity organization that helps kids with cancer and their families. The bash is a GREAT time with GREAT bands, GREAT friends and a GREAT cause. This year it'll be held on Friday, May 4. For those of you on the planet that can't make it,I'll post the t-shirts on my website. We sell them for 10 bucks, they're different every year, and there's no better cause in my opinion. And all the profits go straight to the charity. More details in mid-April. And speaking of charities...

I want to thank the Eberly Foundation for meeting with me at Harvard University last week. They're donating a healthy sum of dough to the above said charity, "Why Me, Inc.", in the name of The Big Picture and in exchange for some artwork I'll be doing for them. The Eberly Foundation is an educational non-profit organization based in Pensylvania and I'm happy to be on board.



Y'know that strip I did on February 23 about "Melissa" and me? And I was building a wall around myself? I'm always asked what strips generate the most mail. That strip generated THE most mail I've ever gotten on a Big Picture 'toon. Yikes. Apparently pushed a lot of buttons. LOTS o' people identified with that one. Kind of scary. Males and females, by the way. Just thought you might wanna know.



The Dawn saga unfolds to it's final conclusion (for now, anyway) starting this Wednesday, the 7th.

As you know, I'm 4 weeks ahead of deadline, from when the strip appears, so all the stuff you'll see happened about four weeks ago.

Every damn word of it (I did 3 weeks worth of strips) is true. You'll see.



And last but DEFINITELY not the least, all is spankin' with Clutch. Sheesh, We're rippin' it up these days. In no small part due to Andrew Hickman, our new saxamaphone guy...The guy is a PLEASURE to be an onstage partnership with in every way. Just when I thought the Clutch thing couldn't get any better, it got better. Thanks to the band and the handywork of Jeff The Man (aka; André) pulling so much together for us at all times, it sure does make work fun. Jeff's got one of them there thankless jobs where he does all this stuff that keeps the band propelled while us idiots stand around basking in the adoration and beer.

We're considering the next c.d. and it's long overdue. Mark's written all the kick ass tunes (we're playing them live), now we're just raisin' scratch to make that happen.

Also, we WILL get back to the West Coast. We get lots of e-mails asking and we appreciate it a LOT. We're trying now to figure the most opportune time and the best way to do an entire west coast swing, Seattle down to San Diego and all locations in between. It may not be until the Fall but we WILL be out. We LOVED it there.

Updates for all gigs and info at all times can be found at or by calling (781) 925-9050


Okay, my house is blowing away and Fuzzbucket cowers under the bed.... gotta go.

Take care,all. And thank you so much for your support of my work. Oh, and the coffee and Fancy Feast shipments. And, as always, thanks especially for the read...


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