The bull(-headed) Moose



It took me a while to track down the artwork for this comic (which is at least as accurate as your average TV biopic), but “‘Murica”, the MSCA art show coming up next month, gave me the impetus to do so. That gallery show is in conjunction with the play The Complete History of America (abridged), but when I learned the venue was asking for “editorial politico cartoon style entries that are irreverent and fun but not so far from “center” that anyone would be made truly uncomfortable” I immediately thought of the uninspiring comic “Mallard Fillmore”, and became uninspired myself. Fortunately, while talking with another group member, I remembered this piece (& how it would fit the theme), which I sepia toned to use as a print to display there. Plus, cleaning up the artwork for this puts me one page closer to finishing my Larry’s Kitchen (where this comic first appeared) archival project…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

An April Fool’s blast from the past!


I’ve written before about my time spent as a member of APA-5 and what a large part it played in finding a voice for my cartooning work. It gave me a free-form venue were I could make any sort of comics without concern for its final printed form. One of those comics (this one, in fact), introduced Drake, my own evil twin! In best evil twin form, he embodies a lot of the things I don’t like about comics, and back then that included the whole bad girl/softcore genre that filled comic distributor catalogs. There’s a lot about the comics medium (words + pictures) I love, but there’s a lot about the culture of comics that is definitely cringe-worthy … and that’s the kind of stuff Drake loves!

A couple of names of other APA-5 members are dropped in here, where Drake pitches edits on their work to get more in line with what he wants to see. Those mailing comments were a big part of APA-5 membership, but I usually kept them as a separate text section. Integrating them into my content as I did here was a rare occurrence.

I’ve also mentioned before how I’m working to get the content from my APA-5 years digitized & into a form that I can share, and this is a part of that effort. Because [SPOILER ALERT] Drake ended up playing a fairly large role in that body of work…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

Introducing the Old Guy!


This story from 1999 is another of the pieces I really enjoyed creating during my seven & a half years of Larry’s Kitchen zines (more about that here). I recently got it scanned & tidied up for my compilation project, and thought I’d share it with you here. It’s the prequel origin of the Old Guy, the venerated hero in my very first comic from 1982, a character who I came to enjoy more under the name Emmett Elder … and who you might know better as Watusi’s sidekick in “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent”! I wanted the visuals for this story to be like that in some of the B-character features from Golden Age comics, so I dug out my 1970s treasury reprints and used “Johnny Thunder” and “Spy Smasher” for inspiration. 



(And for those of you aren’t comic book fans, the last gag is that Emmett is made entirely from wood … which just so happened was also the Golden Age Green Lantern’s weakness!)

By the way, I never completed that “Comic Hero Primer” I mentioned … I just found comics that were more fun to make that superhero comics, whether straight or satirical! Tho I do still get a kick out of mimicking the simple art and sometimes wonky story flow from those early days of comic books…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

One busy day…


I’ve been scanning more pieces from the seven & a half years of my Larry’s Kitchen zines; this piece comes from the first extended project I did there, a calendar of weird holidays & events. Of course, that project– which dated from the days before Wikipedia (heck, Google was barely a year old!)– now seems as dated as 20-year old editorial cartoons.  C’est la vie…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

“Quantum Leap” revisited

Qleap-1I’ve been gradually getting work from the seven & a half years of my Larry’s Kitchen zines (more about that here) scanned for a compilation project. This piece, from APA-5 #345’s “revisions/revamps/revivals” theme issue was one I was pretty pleased with, even if my contribution was a really short one…

Qleap-2[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

“How to draw comics the Dale Martin way”

As I was working on a talking head sequence for my next publication, I couldn’t help but think of this oldie, so I dug it up for you. Enjoy?

This dates from March 2000 (APA-5 #303); I presented a lot of the content for my “Larry’s Kitchen” zine (especially early on) as myself, so it seemed like in those days I was drawing more talking head self-portraits than was healthy! At least in the new piece, “I” have Watusi to banter with…

(Of course, like all GeoCities pages, the old APA-5 website is long gone. But if you’re curious about the hand lettering technique I mentioned, you can still find it here.)

“The Night of the Fly”



For seven years I was an active member of APA-5 (more about that here), but the bulk of that work– including challenges such as APA-5 #298’s “scary characters”– still remains buried in my files, unseen beyond the members of the group. For some time, I’ve wanted to compile the best of that material into a publication for a wider audience, but that entails scanning and organizing it into some sort of narrative. Fortunately, getting this rarely-seen Halloween story posted here for you patrons has helped me get a start on that project!

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

It really was “The World’s Finest APA”!

APA-5logoThis month marks the tenth anniversary of my last “Larry’s Kitchen” zine as a part of APA-5, the world’s finest APA!

An APA (or Amateur Press Association, for those of you who don’t know) is a group where individual members create their own zine, send it to a central mailer who assembles them all into a single publication and redistributes it to the members for comment and enjoyment. APA-5 was a great environment for me at a time when I felt disconnected from other cartoonists, and wanted feedback on my work. For over seven years I was an active part of this group of amazing creators, including Drew Boynton, JB Winter, Larned Justin, Mike Leuszler, Michael Munshaw, Brien Wayne Powell, Dan Lauer, Tom Davidson, Steve Willhite, and others.

I was happy with much of the work I created while in APA-5, and enjoyed it as a venue to share work in progress with other creators for feedback. In the years before social media posts and “likes” became the accepted way to interact online, we were able to get into meaty discussions and give thoughtful critiques of work in the pages of APA-5. As it became easier to communicate virtually it took its toll on that level of discussion, and it soon felt like the writing was on the wall for not only APA-5, but a few years later to the Small Press Syndicate’s Rap Sheet as well. While I was only able to get in on the tail end of the storied histories of both APA-5 and the SPS, I treasure the time I was able to spend as part of those groups. Not only for the improvement it brought to my work and my work ethic, but for its sense of camaraderie with fellow creators, many of whom I still collaborate with from time to time today.

The work in my 77 “Larry’s Kitchen” zines (+ assorted jams and other projects) remains largely unscanned, and unshared beyond the active membership at the time. In fact, that was one of the reasons that I moved Larry’s Kitchen into its own freestanding digest format comic in 2006– so I could share it more widely, to creators and readers not part of the group. Unfortunately, my situation at work changed, and after two more issues I didn’t have the time to commit to both Larry’s Kitchen and my Watusi projects. One had to go, but I think I chose wisely.

Of course, APA-5 had been going strong for over a quarter of a century before I joined and it went on for a number of issues without me. Among its storied roster of past members are names familiar to fans of comics and television: Mark Verheiden (who founded the group in 1972), Paul Chadwick, Frank Miller, Chris Warner, Randy Emberlin, Cliff Biggers (Comic Shop News), Mike Richardson, Tak Toyoshima (“Secret Asian Man”), Bill Nichols, Sheila Wilding, Robin Ator, Brad Kurtz, Mark Badger, Michael Monasmith, and many, many more.

While APA-5 as I knew it may be gone, it exists online here and here, and carries on in spirit in the pages of T. Davidson’s Fiver Fun Comics. Below are glimpses from a few of my favorite APA-5 moments from 1998-2006…

Watusi: 15 years and hasn’t stopped talking yet!

It was 15 years ago this August that Watusi made his first print appearance, inside my Larry’s Kitchen zine in APA-5 #308! Little did I know what impact that tossed-off concept would have on my career, becoming not only the character I’m most associated with, but one that has helped me make collaborative connections with artists all over the country, some that go well beyond one panel in one of my jam comics. Best of all, Watusi is a character that I’ve not grown bored with, and I feel like there are a lot more stories I can tell using Watusi and the cast of characters that have developed around him! Here is the very first Watusi one-pager I ever did:

Watusi1stStrip Continue reading “Watusi: 15 years and hasn’t stopped talking yet!”