My Cartoon Characters
I began creating my own cartoon characters around my freshman year in college. I was intent on becoming a comic strip artist and strived to come up with my own character that had the potential of making it big like Garfield, the lazy cartoon cat who had debuted only a few years earlier and was quickly becoming one of the most popular comic strips ever.
I came up with Walton the Walrus, a bumbling blue pinniped who was constantly getting himself into sorry situations. Although I never submitted Walton to any syndicates, I got practice in writing and drawing strips and a few years later did get some comic strips published in local newspapers. Phish, a comic about a fish professor who taught a school of fish (even though his grades were all below C level, haha), ran in the student newspaper at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Later it ran in the color Sunday sections of two local newspapers around Detroit. Grumblecord, a comic about a strange furry beast trying to make sense of modern life, was published in a series of 11 other local newspapers in the suburban Detroit area.
In addition to Walton, Phish, and Grumblecord, and all of their friends and acquaintances, I continued to develop new characters, but mostly for fun as my interest started to turn more toward writing than drawing. They soon came in handy, however, when I began teaching cartooning workshops. Every semester I started producing a booklet of cartoons for students to learn to draw. As the popularity of my classes took off, this demanded a steady supply of new characters, and once I got started, I couldn’t stop. At last count, I’ve created 1,597 unique characters, as well as lots of other “generic” ones which I never bothered to name or officially file.
My cartoon characters are an oddball assortment ranging from funny animals to goofy people, as well as aliens, monsters, and other imaginary creatures. Most are humorous and whimsical in style. Some of my most popular ones are Butterfingers (an alien who gets into trouble), Rapp (a hip hop dog), Baby-P (a baby penguin), Diaper Dude (a skateboarding baby), and Jetworm (a worm with a jet pack).