Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kevin and Kell

Basket Case is proud to help support Bill Holbrook’s Kevin and Kell strip. (Bill also draws and writes On the Fastrack and Safe Havens.) I’ve been following all three strips for years, although the local papers in St. Paul and Minneapolis only had Safe Havens “back in the day.” According to the wiki page, On the Fast Track was first distributed in newspapers in 1984, Safe Havens started in 1988, and Kevin and Kell has the distinction of being the longest-running webcomic, since 1995.

Having had to move a couple times between the U.S. and Japan, and having had to travel a lot for business in the middle there, I wasn’t always able to follow KandK consistently. So, a few weeks ago, after having decided to become one of Bill’s patrons, I found myself in need of going back through his archives to find one of the strips I’d want for the original artwork. Think about that – Bill has been drawing Kevin and Kell for almost 21.5 years almost without a break. 365.25 * 21.5 = a number bigger than I can count on one hand. And THAT’S a big number right there. Needless to say, it took least more than an hour to look at all those strips, and it was definitely time well-spent.

If you’re not familiar with this strip, it’s a “furry” comic set in a universe where humans left Earth after trashing the place, and birds evolved to take over and guide the other animals as they achieved intelligence. As such, the inhabitants of the planet have the same quirks and foibles as their predecessors did. The leads are Kevin, a tech-savvy rabbit running his own ISP company, and his wife Kell, a wolf that initially worked at a predation company named Herd Thinners, and is now the president of her own firm, Dewclaw’s Fine Meats. Their’s is a blended family, with a wolf son, Rudy, from Kell’s first marriage; an adopted hedgehog/human daughter, Lindesfarne; and their shared daughter, the carnivorous rabbit, Coney. Lindesfarne is married to the bat, Fenton, and Rudy is dating a fennic fox named Fiona. As such, they’re occasionally confronted by prejudice and hostility by the more close-minded members of their communities that dislike mixed marriages. In addition, Bill isn’t afraid to address other social issues such as transgendering (Bruno, Rudy’s best friend, is a wolf that underwent trans-species surgery to become a sheep).

Kevin and Kell is first and foremost a humor strip, in with the longer, sometimes more serious stories lines. It’s not exactly a “gag-a-day” title, but it comes close. However, there are quite a few pop culture references and pun names, including Trump when he was on Apprentice, G. W. Bush, and even an appearance by M. C. Escher. What I like most are the Sunday special splash pages, where Bill just let’s loose and shows what he’s really capable of as an artist. The best examples are his CD collection covers for Bruce Springsteen, and Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin. There’s also a Picasso parody, and a scene from Beauty and the Beast. (Occasionally, Bill will team up with Jenner for the coloring.)

While the ideal would be to buy yourself copies of the Kevin and Kell books, you do owe it to yourself to at least read through the full archive from beginning to end to fully appreciate Bill’s intelligent writing and wit. And then drop him $5 to have your name appear as “a sponsor for a day.”

(All artwork is copyright (c) Bill Holbrook 1995-2017.)

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Status, Feb. 13

Well, I’m back to having no backlog on the interviews again. Sorry about that.

My workload tends to be unpredictable. For the last two weeks, it has been “heavy,” but I’ve reached a break point now and can focus more on the interviews. I’ve got 10 requests for interviews floating out in the ether right now, and I’m just waiting for replies back.

Anyway, I should have a couple free days to track down the addresses for more artists and send out the next batch of requests.

Also, if there are any other artists you’d like to see interviewed here, please contact them and send them over here. Thanks!

Winston

Well, I’ve got the questions sent out to 4 different artists, one set of answers promised “soon”,  and I’m waiting for follow-up answers from one other artist. While I’m waiting for them to get back to me, I’ll run this article.


Andrew Hart, creator of the Winston webcomic, promised me something for Christmas. I was expecting a drawing.
I was only half-right.

The other half was a hand-made clay model of Winston himself. If you’re not familiar with this comic, Winston’s father was an inventor, but not a particularly good one. Through a series of bad choices, he drove his wife and son into financial ruin and they had to find a new place to live, and basically just survive. Winston himself is a product of his father’s work (hence the wheels for feet). His best friend is a crow named Kingsley. His mother’s constant companion is a big, green hobo-like manifestation of her despair, aptly named “Gloom”.

Winston’s main pastime is finding all new ways of making life interesting, albeit in a life-threatening way. It’s brilliant black humored satire, and one of my favorite strips on GoComics.

Winston here is going on my Christmas tree next year. If we last that long.

Gloom’s Facebook page.

Andrew Hart interview

If you’re not familiar Andrew Hart’s Winston, Winston is a young boy trying to make his way through life. His father was an inventor, but not a particularly good one. Through a series of bad choices, he put his wife and son into financial ruin and they had to find a new place to live, and basically just survive. Winston himself is a product of his father’s work (hence the wheels for feet). His best friend is a crow named Kingsley. His mother’s constant companion is a big, green hobo-like manifestation of her despair, aptly named “Gloom”. I love the dark humor of the strip, which is leavened with a twisted “up side”. The artwork is simple and clean, and the characters are easily identifiable.


(The introduction to the world of Winston.)

BC: Do you consider yourself a cartoonist, an illustrator, an artist, or something else?
AH: I consider myself a cartoonist because all my artwork always comes back to cartooning.

BC: How did you get your start as a cartoonist?
AH: It took awhile. I had two previous comic strips that, over the years, I submitted to the big five syndicates, that were rejected. It was an evolution combined with a burst of inspiration that created Winston.


(from Winston)

BC: How long have you been at this, and what do you think your biggest breaks were?
AH: I worked at cartooning off and on over a decade or so. When one door closed, I looked for another. I spent years as a graphic designer and illustrator. Even tried writing my own children’s book. As for cartooning, I’d say my first big break was drawing political cartoons for the Democrats for Education Reform. It was a great gig and my readership was all “in the Beltway.”


(proposed illustration for a children’s book)

BC: What led up to your starting Winston, and do you have any other pokers in the fire right now?
AH: The City Paper held a Philadelphia comic strip contest and I wrote the first Winston as my submission. Even though my comic was not selected, I liked the idea enough to keep tooling with it. There are no other pokers in the fire. I feel any artistic capital I have right now should be invested in Winston.


(from Andrew’s travel journal)

BC: Which of your works are you most happy with, or proud of?
AH: Aside from Winston, some my favorite pieces are the travel journals I’ve drawn over the years. It’s the spontaneity of these works, written on the fly during vacations, that I believe is a strong representation of the trip. An excerpt of one of these can be viewed here: andre-whart.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-italian-journal.html

BC: Do you have any collections on the market yet? Where can readers find them?
AH: In college I co-founded a group called “The Philadelphia Cartoonist Society.” It’s an active group of local cartoonists supporting each other’s individual projects as well as combining our talents for group events. We’ve published three books as a collective and I believe Book 1 is available through Amazon. (Books 1 and 2 are available at the moment.)


(from Winston)

BC: How do you approach that blank sheet when you decide to start your next strip?
AH: By the time I sit at the drawing table, the idea is already formed and ready to be executed.

BC: If your strip had a soundtrack, what would it be?
AH: Probably West Coast Jazz. I like to listen to instrumental music when I draw. Lately the list has included Weather Report, Takuya Kuroda, and Miles Davis’ “In A Silent Way.”


(from Andrew’s travel journal)

BC: Do you follow any other comic strips right now?
AH: I actually don’t read any comic strips but I am reading Hellboy and Moebius.

BC: Which Mobius book are you reading? What appeals to you about it? I loved The Air Tight Garage, back in the 80’s, but it seems that modern webcomic audiences in the U.S. have less tolerance for that type of storytelling. And, why Hellboy?
AH: I’m reading Moebius’ Garden of Edena. The reason for reading this and Hellboy is this; Graphic Novels are a genre that I’ll never undertake. I can admire them and appreciate them without critical or self-evaluation.


(from Winston)

BC: What do you think makes for a good comic?
AH: I think a good comic strip creates a unique world or place. And a well-written strip isn’t just a simple gag with a twist of irony, but is more thoughtful than it appears. I’m still working at both these concepts. I think it’s a journey and a self-realization that leads to this. It’s not just drawing, but becoming a writer as well.

BC: Do you use Patreon or Kickstarter? How do you think they are changing the face of webcartooning?
AH: I can’t say I’m in touch with the digital cartooning landscape.

(All artwork here has been reproduced with the permission of the artist. Copyright Andrew J. Hart (c) 2017.)
(This interview is the copyright (c) of Curtis H. Hoffmann 2017. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the author.)

A T-Rex Graphic Novel

Ok, there was this thing a few days ago.

It was CHRISTMAS!

It was Christmas, and I got…

Smooches!

No. 😦

It wasn’t smooches.

It was a book.

It was The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe!

With writing by Ryan North, creator of Dinosaur Comics.

And art by Erica Henderson, who has nothing to do with dinosaurs. But she draws goodly at other things.

Most excellent. It’s funny, witty, well-drawn and a great pastiche of a girl, her friends, her squirrels and her squirrel friends. Now available. It even has alt-text, when you hover your cursor finger over the page. Meaning, there’s educational stuff in it too, like, why you don’t throw discarded nuclear waste into volcanoes.

I recommend Squirrel Girl graphic novels to all my friends.
T-Rex says:

Two thumbs up?

New Logo button!

Thanks to Greg Cravens, creator of Hubris and The Buckets, and all around great guy, Basket Case now has its own logo button!  If you’re an artist that BC has interviewed, and you’re willing to host this button on your GoComics page, linking to your interview, please contact me in e-mail. And be sure to tell Greg how great a guy he is when you see him next time. And buy his books. He likes that when people buy his books.

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