Today, March 4, 2020 marks the appearance of the 6,000th Bob the Squirrel comic strip. No bells or whistles… in fact I only started really keeping track of the number after I hit 5,000 a few years back.
But, using modern technology (and my obsessive compulsive nature of keeping good dated backup files) I’ve dug up every previous milestone comic strip.
Strip #5,000 – June 8, 2017
Not much to say about this one… I did put together a giant GREATEST Hits show for this one. Took a lot of tape and Funtac to put that show together.
Strip #4,000 – September 12, 2014
Our wedding was in October of that year and I was keeping our plans and anxiety alive and well in the strip… and pretty much in real time. It all worked out to be an amazing day…
Strip #3,000 – December 11, 2011
I was closing in on ten years of Bob the Squirrel at this point… and I questioned if I should continue doing the strip. I had a small, loyal fan base, but the likelihood of the strip being my only job was looking like a longer and longer long-shot. Should I quit and try something else that maybe would benefit me financially? Or did the squirrel talk me out of it?
Strip #2,000 – March 22, 2009
We were in our new house just under a year when I drew this. This was also when I was really into the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream pints. Lucy’s favorite was Pistachio Pistachio … I would get a spoon and feed it to her right out of the container. I tell Lez that she should have known what type of guy I was by witnessing that act. She had every opportunity to grab Lauren and run… 🙂
Strip #1,000 – June 20, 2006
I wasn’t sure if I should include this one… despite it being the 1,000th strip. This may sound horrible… well, it DOES sound horrible. I sometimes forget that I was married once before… and that I had a whole other life in a whole other city. But, I did… and I have the strips to prove it. And really, aside from a few bits of clothes and my drawing board, the strips are the ONLY things I kept from that life.
So, that’s the strip… thousand by thousand. Hope we’re all around for the 7,000th – which, barring any life complications, should be appearing November 29, 2022.
Today’s strip hits more closer to home than usual.
Back in the old days ( the early/mid 1990s) when I truly figured out what I wanted to do with my life, art school was a much different animal. Marketing yourself as an artist was lightly touched upon, but it wasn’t really stressed. I mean, we were students still learning our craft… why learn how to market something you’re not exactly sure you’re good at?
So. I suck at marketing myself. I said it. I finished my undergrad in 1997. In the 23 years since that cold day in May, I’ve gotten about 10% better at it. Which explains a lot.
It doesn’t matter how great something is if no one knows it exists. That much I do know.
I’ve never had a huge problem with public speaking. Give me a room with 1,000 people in it and I’ll talk with no problem. Some butterflies of course, but nothing that would paralyze me. I actually prefer that to one-on-one speaking. I never shook my childhood shyness. I’ve gotten much better of course… because it was necessary. But, if I have an opportunity to avoid it, 96.432% of the time I will.
Bob is not, or will ever be as big as even the dot on the letter ‘i’ in “GARFIELD”. Some of that could be from the art. Some of that could be from the writing. But I would bet that MOST of it is from my inability overcome that crippling fear of nothing. The inability to be bold. The inability to… insert your own idea.
It’s all me. The work speaks for itself… but no one hears it in an empty room.
I was finishing up my next-last semester in Graduate school
Lez and I were going on three years as a couple
I was still trying to maneuver through the ups, downs and completely don’t knows associated with being a dad to Lauren
I had been homeowner for a little under two years… with the financial and physical scars to prove it.
Eight years of Bob… and agonizing over whether or not I should continue the strip
I was in very preliminary talks with a producer on the “Rachael Ray Show” to possibly be a guest on their Valentine’s Day show… and propose to Lez. That didn’t work out because I refused to have my beard and mustache shaved off for a makeover. (True and very sad story)
Had absolutely no plan or idea of what I was going to do moving forward
Fast forward a decade… that last point remains true. I thought with age comes wisdom. For some, that may be true… but for me age just brings more jadedness and confusion. Especially coming off one of the worst years of my life personally. Professionally, my work was on fire. The History Bob series, Art history/cartoon series breathed new life into my process… holy hell, I can’t believe I just used the work “process” like that.
So, I don’t know what 2020 has in store for me… or for my work or my family. Why try and make plans? Why try and predict? Just go with it and hope it doesn’t hurt too much. And draw a few hundred squirrels along the way.
You can come along if you like… been with me so far, might as well see how it works out.