Your Career In The Comics!

I've posted this before, on websites that no longer exist, but it's always worth revisiting 1980.

Ah, 1980! The Space Shuttle, the presidential election, the chewing gum that still came in packs of trading cards....it's hard to decide which had a bigger influence on me.

What had the biggest influence on me was boredom. Boredom was my bitter foe. I believe Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House just to invent the word boredom and unleash it out into the world, haunting children everywhere until the life-saving vaccine of the VCR and Atari was discovered by scientists working around the clock. 

The only entertainment on demand in 1980 was "trouble". Trouble, you see, is what me and my friends were either consciously or unconsciously up to in order to have fun. Sure, it seems like making trails through the woods, sliding off random roofs, and hot wiring a bulldozer unattended at a construction site all seem like harmless fun, but inevitably the word "trouble" was used by some adult and our entertainment on demand would be temporarily halted.

I was the weirdo (of course I was the weirdo). I got into reading, the other (and still the best) entertainment on demand. Thanks to my sister I had a lot of superhero and paperback comic strip collections to choose from. So what does a ten year old do with the discovery of comic strips and books?

That's right, he decides he wants to be a SYNDICATED CARTOONIST! Right now. At age ten. With no serious drawing ability or knowledge on how to make the things.

Still, ignorance is bliss, especially in the art world, and I sent away for the National Cartoonist Society's little booklet on getting a career in the comics. Back in those days, you see, all syndicated cartoonists looked incredibly normal. They looked like a teacher or an accountant. But it only took a little digging to find that, at heart, they were weird too. Clearly, these were "my people".

The words "cartoonist" and "career" go together very grudgingly. It's like getting a panda to mate successfully. But you have to understand that it does happen or, like pandas, there wouldn't be any. Career Cartoonist exists in the wild. I've seen them. I think they're all tagged and tracked now to see how the population is doing. 

So here we go. Woefully outdated advice from some of the finest cartoonists of the time. It was a magical time, especially to a ten year old.
 

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