Today’s View From the Bull Pen
St Patty's Day
To celebrate the return of Patrick Roy, I thought I'd post my three favorite and most requested Roy cartoons from my days at the Rocky Mountain News. I'm excited he's back and I know you guys are too. So here's to St Patty. I'll raise a pint o' Guinness to that!
Have a great a safe memorial day weekend!
As always, your readership and your comments help to make the world go round, so please continue to add them. I will try to do a better job of responding.
There isn't a way to leave comments in the Bull Pen so please feel free to leave your comments under the latest cartoon that I post.
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Quotes & Quips“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”- John Lennon
Archive for February, 2011
It’s so hard to believe it’s been 2 years since the Rocky Mountain News ceased publication. I miss it and I know so many others feel the same way. I miss the many talented friends who were a part of my life for over 26 years. I miss the wonder of working at a daily paper, the creative energy of a newsroom in the midst of a big story.
But life brings changes. We all know that. So many of us have experienced profound changes in our lives in recent years. What we do when those changes occur is the important part. As the great Winston Churchill once said “if you’re going through hell just keep going.”
So, that’s what we do. Like my friend, Gene, who is finishing classes for a career change. My former colleagues, Kim, and Mel became teachers. My good friend, M.E. Sprengelmeyer, bought his own weekly paper in New Mexico, where I draw one cartoon a week. For me it meant starting this blog, which by the way is 2 years old today. Yay. Happy Blog Birthday to you all.
In these past few years, besides just the blog, I created a few others you can find links to in the sidebar. I also started my own creative arts and design studio, Littoonz Studios. I’m proud to say I’ve been able to keep the boat afloat with several clients like ESPN.com, the Chicago Tribune, the Guadalupe County Communicator, Mile High Sports Magazine, Colorado Rockies Magazine and, most recently, the Pueblo Chieftain. I’m also syndicated twice a week by United Features as well, which by the way, is owned by Scripps Howard, the same people who owned and closed the News. Last Thursday, essentially the same time frame the Rocky was shuttered two years ago, it was announced that Scripps is closing the doors on United Features in June and sending it’s roster of talent to Universal Press, a terrific syndicate out of Kansas City which syndicates some great strips (Calvin and Hobbes was launched there). So, more change, you see.
That said, I’m not out of the woods yet in terms of financial stability, but I’m making headway. I must be honest and tell you at times these last two years have been scary. Still is, actually. But, this is what I do, draw comics. It’s as much a part of me as the air I breathe. I believe God gave me a gift to draw and make people laugh and feel through the cartoons I create. I do my best to be a good steward of the talent he has blessed me with. So onward I walk, in faith, that this is the path I should continue to follow.
Being that I’m two years into the blog, I thought I would share a few thoughts. And I hope
you will share yours as well.
After two years we have over 603,000 page views. Our busiest day of traffic, for a cartoon about the Saints winning the Super Bowl, we had over 4,000 visitors. Those numbers are not very big, but they have remained steady, and we’re actually seeing an increase in traffic so far in 2011.
The content, for the most part, is still Colorado based. Local content really resonates with readers. It’s how we root for sports. We are Broncos fans or Saints fans or Rockies fans or Cubs fans or Huskers fans or Buff fans or what have you. Cartoons about the teams we root for obviously impact us more.
Retaining the local flavor of the blog is a bit challenging for me since I no longer have a local print media presence in Denver. Which means, well, I draw the local ones, for the most part, for free. Fun to do mind you, but not so good when it’s time to, let’s say, pay the mortgage.
Sports cartoons in and of themselves aren’t huge merchandise revenue generators. I’ve sold some prints here and there, and the calendars sold well the year we did them. My Elway book, published in 2004, was wonderfully successful. I’m in the process of creating some generic sports t-shirts and mugs and stuff that I hope can generate some revenue stream here.
I’m still toying with bringing back the caption contest. I love content that is interactive and fun for you to have a role in. It’s the fulfillment and mailing of the prizes that is the biggest obstacle.
But I’m hoping to bring the contest back in the very near future.
I’m still working on web comic which I hope will be ready to launch soon. I want one creative enterprise that I can call my own and have complete sovereignty over. It has long been one of my goals to branch out beyond the world of sports. So far I haven’t done that. It’s by far the biggest disappointment for me in these two years that it still hasn’t happened. Here’s why. I have one concept I love, love, love. But I’m scared to do it for fear it will take time and energy and not produce at least some kind of income. So it’s a bit of a dilemma. But I think I’m going to do it anyway, for the love of it.
Enough about me. It’s you I draw for. You I treasure. I want to thank each and every one of you for being a part of this blog. You make it happen. I appreciate the time you take out of your day to stop by, comment, share a cartoon with friends or tell someone in you life about a comic here you saw. You’re the reason we are seeing growth in 2011. So a tip of the cap to you all. You are my personal MVP’s!
I’ve talked a lot about PFSSS, other wise known as Post Football Season Stress Syndrome. Millions of Americans are stricken by this strange malady this time of year. There is no known cure but symptoms can be treated by watching the NFL channel, including this weeks Scouting Combine and the NFL draft in April. Unfortunately the symptoms include wanting to watch the NFL channel including this weeks Scouting Combine and the NFL draft in April. So, sorry to say, it’s a vicious cycle. Have a great weekend anyway.
This one pretty much sums up what it feels like to lose Chauncey Billups for me. Sure Melo had to go, but did he have to take the heart and soul of Colorado basketball with him? I drew this for all of the Nuggets fans in Denver who feel betrayed by Melo, and the Nuggets front office. The image is a bit stark, but it fits the mood of the city right now. I’d love to know how you feel now that the trade is a few days old.
Holy Cow. When it rains it pours. First Carmelo gets traded. The Nuggets break the hearts of Coloradans by including Chauncey Billups in the deal, and the Broncos make a move to keep Champ Bailey, all in a 24 hour time frame. I’m pooped just typing it.
So, here’s the deal. I drew 3 cartoons on Tuesday, this one for the syndicate about the NBA and why teams like the Nuggets have no chance to win an NBA title. So, because of the crazy Tuesday of drawing, I didn’t get the chance to touch on losing Chauncey or the deal to keep Champ Bailey. I’m hoping to get to those topics in the days ahead. Anyway, have fun with this “Pacman” spoof and I’ll be back on Thursday with more toons.
The Best part. It’s over. The worst part. By far. Losing Chauncey Billups, the heart and soul of the Nuggets. I never really thought much of Melo. Sure he brought points. He brought the Nuggets nationwide coverage, including a lot of highlights on Sportscenter, which these days, seems like the only thing players really care about. But he had no leadership qualities. Winning seemed like an afterthought. He played little if any defense. To me, he kind of embodies everything that is wrong with today’s NBA. Self-centered, spoiled, brat. Chauncey, on the other hand, all class. Pure class. He will be missed. The Nuggets will be sorry that he was part of the deal just in fan backlash and empty seats alone.
I had another cartoon ready last night when the story broke, one I had already sent to United Features, my syndicate. I’ve included it here, because Louis asked me to. The image I subbed it with sums up my feelings, and I think, a lot of peoples feelings about the trade. It’s one of the few times I woke up with the idea completely drawn in my mind. All I had to do was to put it down in ink. So here it is. Let me know your feelings on the trade. I want to know how you feel. Just keep it PG rated OK.
Due to the late breaking Carmelo Anthony trade, Tuesday mornings cartoon has been delayed. Truth be told, I did a Melo cartoon for my syndicate, United Features, which I was going to post but is no longer valid. I’ll get one up on the blog ASAP, certainly before noon Denver time.
Trevor Bayne wins the Daytona 500, one day after turning 20. There’s no truth to the rumor that he only had a learners permit and still has to pass a drivers test. Somehow I think driving 500 miles in an environment with more traffic jams than an LA freeway and more accidents than your average carnival bumper car ride probably qualifies the kid. The only thing about it is, if you win the 500 as a 20 year old, is it really all downhill from there? I mean it took Dale Earnhardt 20 years to finally win at Daytona didn’t it?
Did you watch the race, the All-star game or none of the above? I had to do a bit of both since ESPN wanted me to draw off of one or the other. And since I practically fell asleep during the NBA All-Star game it was Daytona or bust. With topics such as these I’m reminded why I used to take vacation this time of year when I was at the Rocky Mountain News. Yawn. Guess it’s another cup of coffee for me.