Sunday was a huge day for me. I hear stories about how Stephan Pastis got his start due to the support of established cartoonists Charles M. Shultz and Scott Adams. Stephen had a chance meeting (actually I believe Stephan was doing some stalking) with Charles M. Shultz which helped him get picked up and syndicated. I figured maybe if I impressed Stephan enough, he may become a champion of my comic strip and my lifelong dream.
Stephan had an autograph signing here in Houston this past Sunday and I leaped at my opportunity. I had only two minutes with Stephan and I was nervous as heck. I drew up a mash up of our characters and presented it to him. He seemed genuinely appreciative of my gift. I put a business card in there and told him I was on Comics Sherpa. I asked him to check out my strip. Will he actually do so? Who knows. What I do know is that I made the attempt and I am so happy I did. I seriously doubt anything becomes of this meeting, or if in two weeks he will even recall me giving this to him.
Man, I look at that photo and I look like a giant! Stephen wasn’t small… I must really be huge. I look like I am freaking nine feet tall. Maybe I should have been a pro wrestler. I would have had a better chance becoming the next Hulk Hogan than I would ever stand a chance of being a syndicated cartoonist. Plus I am a wimp. I bet Stephan would whoop my butt in a steel cage match. I do think I would win a hardcore match mainly because I have watched a lot of ECW matches. Man, I am going on a tangent again.
So, I worked up a really cool drawing for Stephan Pastis. I wanted to do something that would make him laugh. It did not work. He was impressed with it… but he did not laugh. Bummer. I showed a few people the drawing and they also did not laugh. Hmmm, maybe I should have worked up a few more ideas. Dang it. Oh well, it served its purpose… That being to entice Stephan Pastis to check out my comic strip.
The signing was at a Houston Middle School. I left my phone number on the business card I left for Stephan with the drawing. My big fear is that I get a call from the school in a few days and they tell me they found the drawing in the auditorium and wanted to see if I lost it. That said, my big fear is that Stephan forgot it, or did not want it, and I blew my big chance,
The goal of course was to get Stephan to fall in love with my comic strip. A syndicated cartoonist backing me and my dream would be amazing. It is so freaking hard to get syndicated. I have been trying for twenty years on and off. Syndicates wouldn’t even respond to me with a form letter for years. I have never to this day received a response from The Washington Post or King Features. Never getting a response from those two syndicates has really hurt my confidence over the years.
The good news is that I got actual letters back from Creators and Universal UClick last year. These were not form letters. Each had suggestions for me and my comic strip. I have addressed the issues and will now present new submissions in two weeks. I strongly feel this is the final submission for me. If one of them bites, I will be so happy. If not, this will be the sign that I need to move on after five long years and develop a new comic strip.
Bottom line is I am never going to give up. I will be a cartoonist in at least 500 newspapers one day. It may be soon… it may be another 30 years from now…. though I doubt it. Not sure I’ll be able to draw once I get THAT old. I’ll be lucky if I am still eating solid food.
The next few months are huge. I don’t expect any response for months… maybe six months. Once the submissions are out I will finally have time to breathe a little easier and work on some new projects for my comic strip, Charmy’s Army. I have so many cool things planned. I just need to find a way to make a living at this dream of mine. Imagine how much material I could crank out if I did this full time.