Five Lessons in the Development of Successful Comics
February 22, 2014 6:57 AM   Subscribe

In December 2005 I was 17 years old and consumed with being a cartoonist. My father knew Achewood was my favorite comic, and bought me the five self-published volumes of it that were then available for me as a Christmas present. He told me later that he had informed Chris Onstad that his daughter was an aspiring cartoonist, and asked him to give me some advice.
posted by griphus (12 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
"Develop a unique voice finding the darkest humor wrung out of the absurd skid stain that is the failing American middle class." ( Caption is written under a highly detailed rendering of a bag of potatoes.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 AM on February 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've been seeing Magnolia Porter's name all over the place, lately. I need to read her webcomic and figure out what cons she's going to this year. Maybe MoCCA...?

Anyway, thanks for this!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:30 AM on February 22, 2014

I was once riding on the T next to a rough-looking dude -- denim jacket, dying T-shirt, weather-darkened skin, heavy mustache and long gray hair -- who made me think, "Damn, guy looks like an Achewood character." There was, of course, nothing cartoon-animal about him. What he looked like was Californian -- the hard end of California. It was at that moment that I realized what Onstad had achieved with his characterizations.

Teodor's expressions in this strip are a perfect example of what he was telling her to do. Have laughed so many times at "JESUS CHRIST, GO TO AD!"
posted by Countess Elena at 7:33 AM on February 22, 2014 [6 favorites]

Just in case people are still gunshy the current storyline is popping along nicely ( Theodore! Has! A! Date! ) ( Also is that a bottle of Matteus Rose' and if so has Onstead been watching a lot of UK sex farces from the 60s then?)
posted by The Whelk at 7:49 AM on February 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Monster Pulse is really great.
posted by rivenwanderer at 8:22 AM on February 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I must say, the current strip of Monster Pulse displays some mighty expressive eyebrows.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:32 AM on February 22, 2014

My girlfriend at the time (now wife) ordered me some Achewood schwag for my birthday years ago. It was late arriving due to the kind of supply issues that always hit the indie scene because The Man is trying to keep them down. When it arrived, there was a hand-drawn note card inside with a frowning Philippe putting his hands up in a "What, me?" stance and a speech bubble that said "I'm really sorry!"

Damn straight, all was forgiven on that day. Cartoonists with a following have the unique ability to totally brighten a mood by giving a fan a five-minute doodle of their art. It's always fascinated me.
posted by Golfhaus at 12:01 PM on February 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

In 2005 I wrote a drunk email to Onstad lambasting him (drunkenly) for making some ivy league college reference that just flew over my head. It was four in the morning and I was really close to passing out when I got a reply just a bit later. It simply read:

You're drunk.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 12:47 PM on February 22, 2014 [22 favorites]

I wrote Onstad a fan e-mail in, I don't know, 2002. I told him it was hard for me to enjoy most stuff since I am an asshole when it comes to other people's creative endeavors, but that his stuff was just too good and I had to say congrats. He wrote back and said "that's great, most of my other readers are assholes, too"
or something like that.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 1:33 PM on February 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

Welp.. Just read through Monster Pulse from the start. I like it, good way tho spend the afternoon
posted by edgeways at 4:04 PM on February 22, 2014

I love Monster Pulse! Though I hate Achewood. Apparently, I'm a different kind of asshole.
posted by evilDoug at 6:37 PM on February 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

god, i used to read achewood religiously. Then less so, and now not at all. it's so good, just so hard to commit.

I love the advice and it warms my cockles to see roast beef again. I'll give Monster Pulse a shot, thanks for linking.
posted by rebent at 9:54 PM on February 22, 2014

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