i guess you can surmise by reading today’s strip that the end is on my mind.  it’s been on my mind since last year…knowing that the 10th anniversary of bob was approaching in 2012.  i don’t think many people know what really goes into making this strip…both physically, mentally and any other words that end with the suffix -ly.

when i started this strip back in 2002, i did it for two reasons.  i wanted to draw a comic strip that i could dedicate myself to… not a comic that i did 24 samples of and mailed off to a syndicate, a strip that was me.  up to that point in my life/career, i didn’t have that.  i said i wanted to do that, but i didn’t have that.  maybe the dedication wasn’t there, maybe i just wasn’t ready–either way, i was determined to create something that i could continue to draw no matter what… a strip that would grow with me and shape itself into whatever i wanted to do.

the second reason was…i wanted a friend.  now, i don’t mean i was lonely, i just mean that i was alone an awful lot…some of my own doing, some out of my control.  i wanted someone to talk to, someone i could bounce ideas off of… in other words, i wanted to create a solid character… one that would be set in motion and go his/her own way.  in 2002, bob was a just a bunch of sketchbook scratchings…that changed once i gave him a voice.  once he had a voice, he came alive…the first time anything like that ever happened to me.  i knew that i would draw this guy for a long time.

only problem is, i didn’t know how long “a long time” would be.  fast forward 10 years.  life was rolling me like a pair of dice.  engagement, marriage, separation, divorce…abandoning my life in search of who knows what…moving, studying for my master’s degree, buying a house, falling in love, learning how to fix things…both real and emotional, becoming a father figure and example…and just plain living… all that…through all that, bob was there with me.  there in my highest highs and lowest lows. during the process of getting my MFA,  through constant explanation and defense of every line i’ve ever drawn, i realized that being a cartoonist is who i am.  i’m not anything else but that.

that’s when it hit me.

is there something i missed in the last 10 years?  no doubt.  can i go back to see what that may have been?  not without doc brown and a flux capacitor.  is the strip everything it could be?  who knows?  financially it could be better, but the revenue was always a secondary thing to me.  i have a day job.  would i like bob to be my day job?  sure.  can i afford to spend more time trying to see if that is possible?  i don’t know.

do i love drawing this strip?  words have yet to be devised that can accurately measure how much i love this strip.  it’s in my dna.  it’s everything and then some.  it has even literally saved my life once.

if you have love, if you have passion, the rest will follow.  it’s that rest that i want to try and figure out.  do i need to end a long time love affair in order to find that?  i don’t know.  that’s where i am at this point.  over the course of the next month, you will be an observer in my thought process, my thinking, my meditations over this huge decision.

16 Replies to “before anything, read this…”

  1. You just rocked my world and not in a good way. Bob is the FIRST thing I read in the mornings and many days it starts my day off with a laugh. I am a squirrel rehabber and one of my babies was brain injured from a 25′ fall onto concrete when he was 2 weeks old and BB (a Fox Squirrel) became my kid for the next almost 10 years. I see him so often in Bob, if he goes away it will be like losing BB again. Just wanted you to know that Bob brightens up my day.

    Elaine Kyle
    State permitted rehabber (squirrels only)
    Cleveland, TX 77328

  2. It is always the journey. I’ve enjoyed the strip. A mix of cynicism/hope and a little madness.
    I hope you chose to continue. Perhaps it is time for bob to get some personal responsibility. Perhaps not.
    Either your strip is up there with cavin and Hobbes for ,e.
    Bueno Suerte.

  3. Same here… Bob is always the first thing I read in the morning when I get to the office. It’s constantly funny and it’s the best way to start a day. I understand how much time and effort goes into making each strip, and I sincerely hope you realize how much pleasure it is for me to read about the life and adventures of Bob and yourself.

    Thanks for all the hard work and laughter, and hoping for another 10 years!

  4. I was shocked when I read your considering ending Bob. We can help too. Isn’t Bob worth 3 cents a day???? If we would all send $12.00 to Frank, then perhaps Bob would not be endangered!! Frank, help us out..I will paypal it to you! Needless to say that this is my favorite comic and to lose it would be like losing my best friend. In a world of sorry, Bob is a shining beacon of hope of bringing a laugh to ones who need it the most. As you have written, Bob has gotten you through many hard times and I believe he has done the same for others. In my opinion, Bob ranks up there with Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and Peanuts. I am sure his fans would do anything to help keep Bob alive, well and successful. While I was in China last year, Bob helped me stay connected and I would eagerly read his comic everyday and he was my ray of sunshine. Bob has not only helped you but so many of us and I for one would hate to see him leave.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing Bob and your wonderful art with me and the rest of the world. You’ve brought me everything from fits of giggles to tears and I’ve loved every moment of it. For my own selfish reasons, I would love to see Bob continue, but growth and change are part of life. No matter what you decide, I wish you and your family the very best of everything.

  6. Frank, I’ve enjoyed reading Bob very much. You start my mornings off at work every day. If your journey takes you away from us (and Bob) may you have peace with your decision. All things end but always a new door opens. I will enjoy what time I have left with your strip (and Bob) and I wish you the best. You know, there is always something cool around the corner.!!

  7. I am shocked and a little afraid at the idea of a world without Bob. Both of you have been sort of mentors to me. Ever since the day you walked in to class at Caz to visit Miz Buffalo and first introduced me to Bob with a bumper sticker (which is still on my trunk at home) I’ve eagerly awaited a new Bob every morning. The strip is bigger to me than the classic Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes because I at least met you so it’s more of a personal connection. You and Bob have shown me how cool someone can be and still be considered part of the average populace. At the same time seeing the evolution of the strip and knowing it’s based on real life tells me that I’m not alone. Whatever you decide You and Bob will still be in my heart just by virtue of how big of an impact you both have had on my life. I hope all goes well for you.

  8. I could spew advice from my lofty perch atop the throne of an armchair psychologist, but I rather doubt it would be very helpful. I imagine you are going to get a plethora of comments pleading for you not to end your strip. These will all be from people who are concerned solely with personal levels of comfort. People tend not to like change, some less so than others. No, I’m afraid that the decision will have to be yours and yours alone. It is clear that you have a strong following of people who have been touched by your art. You have given many people a good laugh and something to ponder on a daily basis, and that is a larger gift to the world than most people ever give. Whatever you decide to do, it will be the right choice for you. Good luck in your thought process.

  9. I read every day’s strip–usually on the published day.

    I never read it first–the list is alphabetized and the strip is currently 4th (after “Ballard Street” and before “Close To Home”) and while I would miss the strip (as I do “Calvin and Hobbes”, “Smokey Stover”, “Krazy Kat” and others) there will be no hole, the list will close up.

    Best wishes in what ever you decide to do, and I do sincerely hope that includes continuing to publish the strip.

  10. Frank, I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures with Bob for the past 3 years, and will be sad to see the strip end…even if it wont be for a little while, but I totally understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes good things need to end in order for *new* good things to begin! Best wishes on preparing for this new journey…whatever it ends up being, and whenever you decide to embark.

  11. I still grieve from losing Pogo … and many more comic friends since. One thing for sure if you decide to move on, we will never forget Bob’s beautiful sarcasm and the humanness of the little ball of fur.

  12. After 20 years in the theatre, I walked away. It was about the grass growing, and misty mornings and my family, my wife and what I really loved. Theatre is the most powerful seducer I have ever known. But once I walked away, I realized that there is more, there is always more and that more was the facets of me. I did not have to be defined as a scenic artist, I could be defined as a guy with talent. Now, 15 years later, I am exploring my own world, loving every day with my wife and kids – yeah – I’m an old dad. But most of all, I can appreciate theatre, explore art and still have time for the grass and misty mornings and smiles and laughter. I encourage you, take a walk. As I had learned in the theatre – if you can’t help yourself – you can always come back! But then again, I can always continue to move on – too. I don’t need my art to define myself – I need myself.

  13. your mental well being should take top priority however I hope you find a way to balance the continuation of the strip and still reach for the life you want. If your looking for votes for yes or no, I say “yes” continue the strip for us selfish folks who start their day with a laugh from you. I agree with others who state how sad it is that most really good things tend to end to soon and the crap continues on forever. What you draw and write hits that spot with me and I thank you for that.

  14. Frank what ever you do decide to do just know that you and bob have made my life and others a little better each morning from reading your comic. I have truly enjoyed reading and rereading Bob the Squirrel every time I can.

  15. You have become friends. I hope you choose to continue the strip. If not I am thankful for the time I have had with you guys.

  16. It would seem that change is hard for allof us, especially in these times of never ending, constant flux. Thank you for sharing an insight into your perspective – your soul. Bob was more than a bit like Jimminy Cricket, albeit a conscience with an edge – and in that sense he was a reflection of all you have been going thru. All this does not make it any easier to accept the inevitability of change -the great Kermit the Frog said that “Life is full of meetings and partings” and that does nat make any of those partings any easier for those left behind, still caring and loving. All the best in your endeavors. Although we don’t “know’ each other I consider you and Bob friends

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