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
is nothing short of an artistic travesty. That said, here's the quote)
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
-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.
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
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-
INCREDIBLE archive of photos taken by NASA in outer space. Almost makes
you realize how being dropped by The Ventura County Star means nothing.
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,
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
his kid could USE a fart joke now and then. I mean, sheesh, loosen up, dood.
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
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.
,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",
I just love
the readership I have in Cali. (and HAD in Ventura) so this one bugged me
a lot, a LOT.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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
Oh, and if
you do write to him via firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
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.
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.
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
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...
Andrew Costello at
The Boston Herald.
MERCHANDISE AND UCOMICS.COM
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 email@example.com to request it. Tell 'em Fuzzbucket
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
"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.
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).
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
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.
you can ALWAYS hit http://www.grabwell.com for the latest, including the
c.d. updates, whenever you need a fix.
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.
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...
Big, BIG response
on this one. Thanks to all that voted.
(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
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....
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??!!
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.
have to do another one next month....
'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.
to all and many, many thanks as always.
Lennie, Ginger, and all of us at The Big Picture
forget Heidi Klum.