Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time Flies Coach













Bizarro is brought to you today by Socially Bold Deserts.

As a change of pace, here is an old old old Bizarro from the late 1900s. I just realized a few minutes ago that Friday, January 22, 2010, marks the 25th anniversary of the first Bizarro cartoon that appeared in newspapers. I had seven client papers on opening day: Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, and I can't remember the other four. Now I have something under a million client papers. (Keeping in mind that any number under one million qualifies for that statement.)

Wow. I don't want to bore you with a lot of talk about how the time has flown by and I can't believe I've been doing this for a quarter of a century, but damn. All of that is true. To be honest, it fills me with a mixture of pride and sadness. Time is a mindf*ck.

Twenty five years is a long time to be doing anything. Before Bizarro I don't think I held any job for an entire year – as I recall, 11 months was my record. Of course, this job is more like freelancing than a "real" job, in that nobody cares what I do all day as long as I send them seven cartoons each week.

Things that have changed about this job in 25 years:
  • 1985-1987, I finished my cartoons a week ahead of deadline so I could send them by U.S. post to my editor. I was making so little money that I could not justify any other means.
  • 1988, I started making enough to get by and began overnighting them with Fed Ex. Now I could work on the cartoons up until 6:30pm the night before they were due and get them to the Fed Ex office by 7.
  • In the early '90s I got a computer and email, but it was still a few years before Internet was fast and secure enough to send large images easily. I hadn't yet learned to color my Sunday panels myself yet, either, so I was still marking them up with colored pencil with CMYK percentages and having them done at a coloring service that the entire industry used. This was the way everyone did it then. I had no idea what the image would really look like until it printed in papers many weeks later. It was difficult, required a lot of guessing and the early Sunday panels were not as intricate as they are now, but I tried.
  • In the late 90s I began doing all my own coloring and things haven't changed too much since then. Now I can achieve almost any coloring effect I can dream up and can wait until the last second to finish my work and send it by Internet in a few seconds. Usually, though, I send them a day or two after they are due. I'm bad, I know, but this creativity thing is difficult to do on schedule.

More reminiscing tomorrow, unless I die of old age in my sleep.

21 comments:

greg oakes said...

congrats on 25 years!!! :) you're my hero!! all the best my friend!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 25 years!

julie sigwart said...

Cheers and congrats to you, Dan! You are appreciated by many people and we're thankful for your cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Whoa and wow! A big fat congratulations to you and your many years of deadline hell. We appreciate your efforts on all counts, especially considering how many unfunny things have come up over the years, yet you still managed to pull through and entertain us anyway. Seriously, that earns you a gold star. Treat yourself to a dandy fine cigar and hefty glass of fine whiskey to celebrate!

Kreisler said...

Congrats Dan!!!

ojeano said...

Happy Anniversary! Thank you for going with the cartooning career!

girl least likely to said...

do you think milwaukee might have been one of your other papers? i remember reading bizarro over breakfast at my grandparents' every morning before school, and that timeline definitely fits in with what my life was like then. anyhow... congratulations!

shipping troll said...

Congratulations Sunshine and rainbows to you!

Piraro said...

Thanks for all the congrats, you guys are my only TRUE friends.

@girlleastlikelyto... Milwaukee sounds familiar. It probably was one of the original seven.

doug nicodemus said...

thankyou and congratulations

Susan D-L said...

Dan, your timeline made me laugh (in a good way) since it parallels my experience in working in comics. Started out in the late 80s doing everything the old-fashioned, i.e. non-digital way. Gradually transitioning to all digital as the equipment and software got up to speed.

I spent a lot of years making color guides with Dr Martin's and a CMYK percentage chart. Loved painting the guides, hated marking them up. So much nicer to do it digitally and have complete control (although software costs a hell of a lot more than watercolors.)

I love the colorwork you do on your panels, especially the Sundays.

Thanks for the funnies and for fighting the good fight.

spyra said...

Congrats, Dan! Looking forward to more reminiscing tomorrow. :)

FunkyPunkyG said...

Congrats. You've come a long way. :) However, I think you meant to write "dessert" in the beginning?

Lois2037 said...

25 years! Thank you! I remember that first cartoon in San Francisco. We were very suspicious of this new thing they were putting in place of The Far Side... and absolutely delighted when we saw it. Your drawing has always been impeccable and the humor delightful. I hope you'll be celebrating 50 years one of these days.

FSM_Ed said...

Way to go Dan, you are a freaking National Treasure! And I don't mean you are some hokey adventure movie.

Anonymous said...

Dan, I think the Philadelphia Enquirer (or Inquirer?) was the first one. Good job, old friend.
Hector in Dallas

J said...

Here's to the next 25 years! Congrats and thanks!

patrick said...

Happy Birthday, err whatever! I still have many of your old books and about once a year I reread them -- you've been funny for a long time.

June said...

Excellent. I knew I've been checking the Chronicle first for Bizarro for a long time, but I had no idea how old we have gotten together. By the way, now I check on the computer and then read your blog. It starts the day right and makes it possible for me to read the news. Thanks and congrats.

Jym said...

=v= You left the Rambo movies and fax technology out of your trip down memory lane. My first exposure to Bizarro was the "Bambo: First Fawn Part II" panel that was faxed all over the planet.

rob said...

Awesome review. Wow, 25 years! Is that toon from opening day?