NEWSLETTER > ARCHIVE > August 2001

August, 2001

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BIG PICTURE QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
(which I absolutely love [thanks, Dan D.] cuz it really puts the
whole issue of what's on your comics page these days- that is, 80%
of the comics on there are by dead or retired guys, the assistants of dead
or retired guys or the offspring of dead or retired guys- in perspective.
My pal Dan is right- the fact that syndicates perpetuate a strip after a talent dies
is nothing short of an artistic travesty. That said, here's the quote)

"It's very flattering and it's nice to know that [my family]thinks enough about [me] and about what I have done that they don't want to see this comic strip ruined by someone else trying to carry it on, and so, in our last contract negotiation several years ago they told the attorneys, they said, 'We don't want anyone else drawing [his] strip,' so when I die the strip will end and I think that's the way it should be. Everything has to end sometime and I've seen it happen too often that comic strips have been carried on by others and it's a very individual medium. I canthink of very few that have been carried on well by someoneelse because you are putting your whole being into this and I doubt very much if it can be done well by someone else."
- Charles Shultz, "Peanuts" creator

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BIG-PICTURE-WEBSITES-THAT-WE-HAVE-NOTHING -TO- DO-WITH-WE-JUST-LIKE-EM RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MONTH

First, I wanna do a couple of favors for a couple of readers that both have excellent opinion-oriented/ thought-provoking/ interactive type sites going.

First is k.d.'s site at http:surreally.com.

Cool stuff with lots of posts and exchanges and links on everything from music to zen and back again. If you ever have 6 months vacation, you can pretty much stay on this site 24/7. And participate.

The other is at http://www.badsamaritan.com. Excellent and honest post/chat writing worthy of a few reads to get it all.

I like all these post/ chat/ freeform/ everything-from-b.s- to-life's-big-issues sites. Must be the Peeping Tom in me. They're sort of what I try to do with TBP. Only I can't use more than about 20 words per day. Oh, and I can't use certain words like "suck" because surely that would be the downfall of civilization and God knows, kids between the ages of 8 and 15 reading the comics have NEVER heard THAT word. Oh, and mine has goofy drawings. But other than that..they're the same. Same thing but different.

And one more site that a reader sent me a link to that is (literally) out of this world and I keep meaning to send it to my landlord, Ed, cuz I know he'll really like it so here it is-

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html.

Absolutely INCREDIBLE archive of photos taken by NASA in outer space. Almost makes you realize how being dropped by The Ventura County Star means nothing. Almost.

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SO, ANYWAY, ABOUT THE VENTURA COUNTY STAR

In my last dopey newsletter here, I mentioned that The Ventura County Star had dropped TBP for no apparent reason except for maybe the strips I did from July 17 through July 21 about how stoopid some newspaper editors can be. If you recall, readers of TBP did write to them to complain that it was dropped and the editors wrote back saying TBP is "too edgy". I finally got the Truth of why we were dropped and the Truth is, dear friends, it had NOTHING to do with the strip's lack of popularity or readership or, really, "edginess".

Word got back to me (and there's a strip about this coming up on Sept. 5) that one of the editors wanted me gone because he was (and I DO QUOTE), "Sick and tired of explaining Lennie's comic strips with fart jokes and relaxing-after-sex jokes to his eight year old son." OH MY GOD!!!! AAAARGH!!!! As Chuck would say- "AAAARGH!!"

First and foremost, I have NEVER done a fart joke even when I was doing UNDERGROUND comics and certainly wouldn't do them now even if I could get away with it (can you imagine a comic strip on the lily white pages of Middle America's newspapers doing that in the FIRST place?? As if that would get by ANY mainstream daily newspaper editor???).

Second, maybe his kid could USE a fart joke now and then. I mean, sheesh, loosen up, dood.

And third, there IS one comic strip in my book collection where I'm "relaxing after sex" with "Beth" but it's never shown up in my dailies. And it was a far cry from relaxing, darn it. The strip was about Worcester POTHOLES for cryin'' out loud. So I have NO IDEA where THIS guy is coming from.

Like I said in the strip coming out on the 5th, I think he must be confusing me with one of those wacky, wild, fun-loving morning drive shows with the goofy sound effects and stuff. Like where the wacky radio team has silly crazy fun with prizes and contests and wacky fun give-aways. I dunno. Wow. I mean, what PLANET is this editor dood on and what comic strip is he reading? Hey, maybe he's on a planet we can see in those NASA photos.

Anyway (or ,as we say here in New England- "anyways"...), it totally stinks cuz it was solely the one editor dood's decision and had NOTHING to do with reader protest over TBP or lack of readership or even one of those stoopid comics polls the papers insist on doing that hardly ever work for me cuz I don't do the traditional "gags out of a joke book with a twist to fit the premise of my comic strip" strips. The dood just decided there were too many FART JOKES (and there were none! EVER!)!!!

And I guess also there was a letter to the editor printed there once where a guy wrote in protesting the fact that on e-mail Mondays I ask for letters of "lust", God forbid.

I just love the readership I have in Cali. (and HAD in Ventura) so this one bugged me a lot, a LOT.

Strips get added and dropped all over the world every day and I would understand if they dropped it for lack of readership but JEEZ. FART JOKES??

Oh, and they also said that they were "annoyed" at all the mail they got "protesting the drop of TBP" and they would "reconsider" their decision. They didn't.

So, the fact is, a month has passed and "Get Fuzzy" has been in the spot we had there and it's apparently had time to settle in to people's daily reading habits and psyche so there you have it. Bye-bye, Ventura County. The editor dood (and GF) wins. Pretty damn embarrassing on my part. But thanks to you all that wrote when the bomb dropped. They got LOTS of mail. Problem is, they just plain ignored you. If you're still standing (I'm not. I get tired of these battles pretty quickly and have to move on. Eventually, that is), you can still get your voice heard by writing to agarcia@uexpress.com. She's at my syndicate (and fought really hard opposing the drop) and will get your e-mail to the right person. You'll be heard and hopefully listened to but..I dunno.

So...um..enjoy the angry 2001 updated and jaded Garfield/ slow but cute Basselope-without-the antlers/ neutral-man-in-the-middle thing of GF. He just doesn't seem to have a whole lot to say but what do I know. He's doing VERY well in syndication. I mean, I don't have anything AGAINST the guy...Okay. Maybe I do.

And no love lost between me and the editor dood. I actually wrote to the guy askin'' him what was up and he wrote back saying he would go back and look at my past strips again and write back with his opinions and comments (kind of like grade school) and I told him not to bother so that probably pissed him off even more. I mean, do I really want to hear this guy's opinion after all this?

Oh, and if you do write to him via agarcia@uexpress.com do me a favor and don't mention the 8 year old. The kid is just an innocent by-stander in all this. No use throwing HIM in the mix.

So, end of Ventura story. Yikes. Scarier than not knowing who Heidi Klum is (see below).

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OCR

For those of you out there asking about the OCR and their dopey poll, I don't know. No news. Even if I DO get back in on the dailies (think I'm still there on Sundays), it seems like they have a strange habit of running strips for only like 3 months before they start to doubt themselves or something. Not a good idea with a strip like mine which takes a bit of ...um..getting used to and growing on you. Like a fungus (I know I've used that analogy before but I like it. And it's my newsletter. Get your OWN stoopid newsletter...).

Hey, and if "Get Fuzzy" is already in there, that might blow my chances completely. SERIOUSLY, I was told by one editor of a noose-paper, "Well, jeez, we can't have TWO strips with a guy and a talking cat now, can we." Whew. Okay, I'm done whining now.

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THANKS, NEW MARKETS

Got a BUNCH of new markets (papers and websites) this past month thanks to you guys writing in and the Universal Press sales force. Sweet. Also, TBP is getting LOTS of sign-ups for the daily e-mail that UComics.com offers (automatic TBP in your e-mail for free every day...).

Thank you for ALL your support in "old" (y'know, it hasn't even been 2 years...) and new markets alike. I'm not allowed to list these until they actually start publication but it was a good month and appreciated muchly. Thanks very much to the editors of those papers with the vision to try something a little different. These are the editors not COMPLAINING about the state of the newspaper industry but actually trying to DO something about it by attracting new, different, and younger readership.

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DON'T FORGET HEIDI KLUM

I have a notebook here in front of me and I kept notes all month on what to write in my newsletters and one of the notes says "Don't forget Heidi Klum". I have no idea why I wrote "Don't forget Heidi Klum". I have nothing to say about Heidi Klum. I wouldn't know Heidi Klum if I stepped on her. I couldn't care less about Heidi Klum. I'm not even sure who Heidi Klum IS. I don't even know if that's how you spell her name. I think she's a model or an actress or something. But, right underneath my notes on "THANKS, NEW MARKETS", I wrote, "Don't forget Heidi Klum". So um...Heidi Klum. There.

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BOSTON

As I mentioned last month, we're doing a big push on The Boston Herald soon. Clutch fans and TBP readers can unite (y'know. if you wanna and all..) before the Universal Press sales force even gets to them to present it in a couple of weeks and we can make THEIR job much easier...

write to-
Andrew Costello at
The Boston Herald.

Thanks.

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DON'T FORGET HEIDI KLUM

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BIG PICTURE MERCHANDISE AND UCOMICS.COM

TBP merchandise is almost ready to go. To see what's up, visit UComics.com and click on "Great Stuff" and you'll see what they're building over there. They're already doing some cool (tight) things with the likes of "Bizarro", "Foxtrot", and "Boondocks" and you can have pretty much anything made into a Big Picture object as well. Mug, shirts...hairpieces maybe? I think the first thing they're gonna produce Big Picture-wise is a mug with that cartoon of Ginger playing the guitar (the one that's up on the UComics.com homepage right now). I like that one. If it's not there yet, you can write to webmaster@ucomics.com to request it. Tell 'em Fuzzbucket sent you.

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HOGAN'S ALLEY

Great quarterly magazine for comic strip/ cartoon freaks and fans like you 'n me. I'm not getting paid for this plug. Or even the promise of a feature. Just a great magazine obviously produced from the heart with love and care for what they do and do it right. You can see their website and get a subscription at www.cagle.com/hogan.

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LYNN JOHNSTON

creator of "For Better Or For Worse". Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your gifts and letter of kind words. To get that from a hero of mine is beyond anything I can say in appreciation. Unbelievable. A shocker. Thank you.

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CLUTCH IN CALIFORNIA POSTPONED

SORRY!!! VERY VERY SORRY!!!! It looks like we're not going to tour out there until February. Nope, it's not cuz I'm p.o.'d about Ventura. Or Heidi Klum. The simple fact is, we're going to start recording our third c.d. the first week of September and then a couple of weeks in October and there's just NO WAY we can have it done, get advanced press out on the west coast, AND have it in-hand to bring out there (and that was one of our main reasons for getting out there, to have it for the record company suit guys).

Sooooooo..February it is. If you're disappointed, take heart to know that WE'RE even MORE disappointed. It's just reality. We were really looking forward to it SOON.

The other downside is we'll miss some "Holiday sales" of the c.d. out there.The upside is, this will give us a great chance to book even more rooms to play there and do it up just right. Plus, Jeff will have learned that chromatic descending 16th note lick in "Love Is Alive" by then (sorry, Jeffy. Couldn't resist.)...

Sorry again for those of you waiting with baited breath (jeez, get some treatment for that, will you??). Please hang in there' till February. I PROMISE you we're worth the wait.

And, remember, you can ALWAYS hit http://www.grabwell.com for the latest, including the c.d. updates, whenever you need a fix.

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GARAGEBAND.COM

And speaking of Clutch and things musical, there's a website called garageband.com (www.garageband.com) that features an archive of a kabillion songs including one of the tunes ("Lazy Eye") on our last c.d. and invites you to go on there and rate it. There's also an easy link to this from http://grabwell.com. Either way, It's a fun thing whatever your opinion is gonna be of us.

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ARETHA FRANKLIN

For those of you that have asked, the show I was supposed to play in Lowell, MA. with Aretha Franklin on August 15th got moved to November 20th because of an illness in her family. For those of you who didn't ask, don't be too too impressed (but I AM looking forward to it). It's not like it's a Diva showcase where like my pal Aretha and I were gonna get together and belt out our latest duet version of RESPECT. I'm just booked as a side guy/ trombone dood in the band...no doubt Aretha will be swooning for me though. I'll grace her with an autograph. After one of her goons wraps the trombone slide around my scrawny little neck cuz I got too close...

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CARTOON HOTTIE CONTEST

Big, BIG response on this one. Thanks to all that voted.

Hillary Price (Rhymes With Orange..Hey, how's THAT for name dropping??) wrote to me with um...a "concern". And a point well taken as always when it comes from Hillary and completely missed by me, as usual, until she pointed it out.

Gonna do a strip with her in it about that. I'm not sure I should draw her as she draws herself or as I would draw her but that's my problem, isn't it and what do you care... And if that's my biggest problem in life, which it kind of is (oh, besides the whole Heidi Klum thing), you're probably saying "My GOD, is this guy an IDIOT or WHAT?!" I should probably just move on....

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S.U.V.'s

I also got SO MUCH MAIL about those dopey S.U.V. strips i did. "KRIKEE!" as Jeff would remind me to say...I mean, jeez, are people attached to their vehicles or WHAT??!!

The response was overwhelming. Lots wrote to say they loved the strips (yes, even S.U.V. owners. Hey! People who can laugh at themselves! Go figure!!) but some turned it into a whole POLITICAL thing. One guy sent me this GIANT threatening e-mail (okay, not as giant as this newsletter. But pretty giant) and went on a TEAR about what a dumbass I am and how dare I infringe on his rights and the government shouldn't tell us what to drive. HOLY MACKEREL (is that how you spell "mackerel"?)!! He even called me BIGOTED cuz I had a woman driving!! Amazing!! That crap didn't even cross my mind! Sheesh! I just needed a stoopid comic strip to hit my stoopid deadline that day. This 99 pound single person with no cargo, no dogs, no kids driving a massive 12 seater Yukon was blocking my view and almost caused an accident with this lady driving in the other direction and it just so happened I needed a strip.. Holy COW. What a reaction.

Hmmm. I'll have to do another one next month....

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'K, all. Done. I should be sitting out under the stars with a fire in my chiminea which is what I'll be doing 3 minutes from now instead of sitting in front of this computer because it's the end of stoopid August already and I want to take advantage of a nice night cuz winter will be here before you know it and snow stinks.

Sweet dreams to all and many, many thanks as always.

Best,
Lennie, Ginger, and all of us at The Big Picture

p.s. Don't forget Heidi Klum.


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