“Lester the barking boy!”

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I thought I’d revisit another of my old Watusi starter panels, especially since I’ve never really used Lester the barking boy all that much. He’s still a mystery to me (is he a feral child? is he a kid who likes to pretend he’s a dog? does he just have a speech impediment?), but working on this did teach me a couple of things about him: he’s younger than Kirby and Emma and their kid cohort, and Watusi– but not the reader– can understand him perfectly!


“What I ask about when I ask about running”*

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One of the things I’ve been doing during my Watusi retool project is get a better handle on the role his large supporting cast plays, and these “Page in the life of…” strips help me figure out how those characters relate to my title character. I even considered paring the cast down to a “core four” like worked so well for Seinfeld and Spongebob, but realized that my larger cast functions in a different way. Polly, as someone who Watusi would likely see every day, was even in the running (no pun intended) to make the top four! While the next story won’t necessarily reflect it, I intend to make better use of her in the future. Plus, I can see where Watusi’s friendly relationship with his mail carrier would cause other dogs to question Watusi’s real “dogness”, which has some story potential of its own…

Is there any cast member you’d particularly like to see featured in a “Page in the life of…” strip?

*(This post’s title, by the way, owes a debt (and probably an apology) to both Haruki Murakami (whose own thoughts on running partly influenced Polly’s responses) and Raymond Carver.)


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While my focus with these Watusi comics has moved on from the improvised jam comics of its early years, its still fun to stretch those muscles and collaborate with other artists on this 4-panel exercise. Long-time Watusi contributor Keith O’Brien did his panel two quite a while ago, but it took me some time to find someone to finish it. Fortunately, first-time Watusi cartoonist* and Muley the Mule creator Kevin L. Williams was up to the challenge! Thanks, guys!

*(aside from the excellent Watusi/Muley crossover comic Kevin and I created for the animal-themed fourth issue of the Mid-South Cartoonists Association’s The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy, that is! If you missed it, you can still order a copy from me here.)

“Aliens among us!”

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I call this the “Killing them with kindness” version of this story starter! As I’ve been looking back at the starter panels from Watusi’s first few years, I couldn’t help but tackle this one, especially when I noticed the serendipity of its upcoming anniversary. I guess either this silly talking dog idea has had more longevity than I ever expected it to … or I haven’t had a fresh idea in 20 years!

“D– T– of the Month Club”

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Yep, it’s another “done in one” episode, this time killing two birds with one stone for me: I tried to shoehorn the ending panel from my “backwards” jam (where I started with the ending, and participants built the story backwards) with a starter to another strip. Not sure how successful this mashup worked, but it was fun to try. The “backwards” starter was the last one (if I recall correctly) I made back during Watusi’s collaborative comic era. Others who’ve attempted it had their comics printed in Watusi # 29 & #38, if you’re curious as to how it worked out for them…

“There’s no bizness like snow bizness!”

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2022 was kind of an oddball year for me, in that I focused much more on fine art and prints than on comics. It’s been satisfying in many ways to change gears for a while– especially since it resulted in a 10-week show at a local theatre’s gallery! “Beyond the Emerald City” was a feel-good collection of comics and other artwork from my multi-year visit to Oz in the pages of this very webcomic. If I do say so myself, it looked good up in the space, and I got positive responses at the opening. That said, I do miss creating comics to share with you on a regular basis …

I guess I need to turn that around for the new year, don’t I?

“Curse of the Mummy”

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Guess I’m still a little under the influence of the Halloween spirit*! I hope you had a fun/spooky/terrifying Halloween, depending upon your personal taste!

By the way, you may be interested to know about a gallery exhibition I’m staging featuring art and comics from Watusi’s epic comic adventure set in the Land of Oz! “Beyond the Emerald City” is on display at Playhouse on the Square thru December 28, 2022; you can read more about it here!

(* and, no, that’s not just some clever way of saying I have a hangover!)

“The late show”

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Long-time readers may recall that my Watusi comics began as jam comics created in conjunction with my fellow cartoonists. While I’m on my break from the weekly deadline merry-go-round (and doing a little retooling of Watusi’s cast while I figure out the next continued storyline), I thought I’d challenge myself to see where these vintage starter panels would lead me today. I’m trying to keep in the spirit of the early jams by writing each of my panels a few days apart, to force myself to approach it with fresh eyes each time…

Hope you’ll enjoy this run of “Done in one”s!