JEFFY 'LIVES' HERE: Cool new site lets you tour cartoonists' studios [UPDATED]
I won't play coy. It's my new favorite website of the week, even if its architects have only begun to lay the foundation.
They call it "The Cartoonist Studio." I call it "Cribs" for comic fans. Only instead of flaunting the bling of new consumerism, these are dens of creativity.
The new site, launched by eight accomplished cartoonists, invites the viewer to take a virtual tour of their worlds: Of ceilings and imaginations (both vaulted). Glorious blasts of natural light. Even the occasional bathtub in the belfry. And I mean that not at all metaphorically.
These are the cartoonist studios you'd want to visit. Well, perhaps except for Mike Luckovich's. His paper-magnet office reminds rather bluntly that the Atlanta Journal Constitution's brilliant political cartoonist is, indeed, a dyed-in-the-ink journalist.
(Full disclosure: I have in person toured the home studio of Greg Evans, the creator of "Luann." Not shown is his rolling country driveway, which is longer than an Isner-Mahut match. And I once was invited to visit the studio of Jerry Scott ("Zits" and "Baby Blues"), though at the time he extended the invite, Scott surely had forgotten that I, too, am a dyed-in-the-ink journalist. Newsprint and notebooks follow me like a bad reputation.)
Enjoy, though, Scott's drafting board, which is worthy of a steampunk catalog. Or the various critters that are underfoot when these cartoonists are filling their balloons. These are clickable windows into their worlds. But ultimately, the cartoonists hope the site will be even more than that.
"The ultimate hope for the site is to find all those cartoon-minded people out there and have them come and join our site and be a part of it," Peter Guren, creator of "Ask Shagg," tells Comic Riffs. "Some of the cartoonists are already talking about bouncing new ideas off of the readers who join our site. A new section will be created just for that reason."
The cartoonists hope the site fosters community in any number of ways.
The idea began, "Speed Bump" creator Dave Coverly (right) tells Comic Riffs, when people with the site-hosting company "realized that while casual comics-page readers may know quite a bit about the cartoons they're reading, they probably know very little about the cartoonists who create them."
"I think there is some general curiosity about cartoonists' studios -- I know I loved going through the site and seeing the other people's workspaces," Coverly says. "We're spread all over the country, and generally work from home, so there's a lot of individuality on display on these pages."
"We absolutely are bringing other creators on board," Guren notes. "Coming soon are cartoon illustrators, more editorial cartoonists and animators."
"My personal aim here is to create a place where I can share additional content related to 'Luann': books, a blog, an 'eighth-day' strip, some behind-the-scenes info, music, etc.," Evans tells Comic Riffs. "I'm curious to see how this all pans out and what kind of reaction we get from fans."
"it's almost like a big, virtual warehouse full of cool, separate studios that comics fans can wander around in," Coverly says. "Syndicates do have their own sites, which are great, and many of us have our own sites for publishing info and tidbits that might interest readers, but the Cartoonist Studio strikes me as much more personal."
Kirkman echoes that sentiment, telling 'Riffs: "Through the years it's become evident to us that people are intrigued by how cartoonists create and where they do it. So this is a little peek into that world."
And, in some small way, perhaps into their minds, too. Even Luckovich's.
If there's a cartoonist whose studio you'd like to see, feel free to suggest it in the Comments section below.
| June 25, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories: General, Interviews With Cartoonists, The Comic Strip | Tags: Dave Coverly, Greg Evans, Jeff Keane, Jerry Scott, Mike Luckovich, Peter Guren, Rick Kirkman, Tom Batiuk
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