This is another one that I have always liked. Pastor Neil proving his faithfulness, told via a unique overlapping layout that turned out quite nicely (imho). Sadly, I can’t remember how I came up with the layout at all, probably I was just hankering to draw some more elaborate scenes. You’ll note that the color in the background scenes is more restrained, while the foreground boxes are brighter. And like in “Industrial Revelation’ I tried to lead the eye with certain colors in each of the background scenes. This time it was a caramel/tan color and white. The focal point of each of those boxes is in those colors. And if you look closely, you can also see that each of the background scenes is “linked” to the others; there is a hospital sign before the hospital scene, and so on.
Not much hidden in this, besides some of the names on stores, and an ad for the “Cameo U-Roc-2″ (from Herd & Scenes) on the back of Time magazine. My only regret with “Infamy” is that it wasn’t included in the Oboe book. I should have waited one more year!
Here, made public for the very first time, is an unpublished Oboe Jones cartoon in pencil. Generally when I created these cartoons, the first step was to write up a script or two; just words with some simple stick-figure sketches. I would submit these scripts to my editor who would choose one, and make whatever notes or suggestions were required. Next I would create the pencil art for the comic, and run this by the editor a second time to make sure It was still satisfactory. Then I would ink it in, and finally add the color.
This cartoon, “I’d Rather Fight Than Switch”, was approved at the script stage so I went ahead and did the pencil artwork. But when my editor saw it the second time, she changed her mind and decided against it. See if you can guess why!
Still, this is the only Oboe pencil artwork that exists anymore, so it serves as an example of my sloppy drawnig style. You can see that I re-wrote some of it as I went along, and changed the layout here and there too. At this point in the series, I had started to type the words on a computer and printed it and the boxes on plain paper to do the pencil art. Then I would trace the pencil in ink ( and the boxes too) and then paste new words on top before taking a “line-shot” photo of it all. But I never saved the pencil art except for this unseen comic.
In 1993 Cornerstone switched from tabloid size back to a traditional 8.5 x 11 magazine layout, and Oboe returned to a two page comic. “Herd & Scenes” was partially a response to the famine in Somalia, and partially a silly story about food (ribs). Maybe not such a great combination in hindsight. My intentions were good; to raise awareness of poverty and hunger issues, but I’m not sure that I pulled it off. Stylistically I was happy with it, it looks good, and there are a few moments I still enjoy (like the farmer exclaiming that UFOs have slaughtered his heifers).
The part with the reflecting cow eyes was based on a true story a friend told me, and the crash scene was inspired by a late night Cornerstone run for ribs, with me in the passenger seat holding a bucket and wondering what would happen if we were in an accident. This cartoon gave first names to the Smiths from Oboe’s church. I must confess to a horrible tendency to name my characters after real people, with no thought as to how those characters might reflect back on their namesakes. So let me just state for the record that the real “Brian and Leah” are wonderful people, nothing like these imaginary characters. The Smiths first appeared in “Pastoral Scenes” and Mr. Smith is also in “The Six O’Clock Snooze”.
Not much hidden in this one, though I would like to point out the “Pieta” picture on the wall in the 3rd box. Another mother holding her dead child. And the Smiths have some diet pills in their cool U-Roc-2.
“Guess Who’s Coming to Heaven” is a story about Joe and Alice being accepted by their church. It was influenced in part by my wife and my early attempts at getting pregnant, including a miscarriage. The ultra-sound image at the bottom of the cartoon is the actual picture of our youngest, Warren, in the womb. Warren is now grown into a fine and healthy young man.
This cartoon was never one of my favorites for whatever reason, and certainly hasn’t improved with age. It does have the distinction of the being the last one in the tabloid format, and coincidentally it was also the last one featured in the book collection of comics that was released in 1992. So the rest of the comics to be posted in this blog were never reprinted after their initial appearance in Cornerstone, and may be unfamiliar to those loyal readers who purchased the book. BTW, the book “OBOE JONES” has been out of print since its initial press run. But I have seen used copies available online from time to time. I do have a few pristine copies of the book in a box somewhere, but I’m saving them for my kids.
A few inside jokes in this one, like the milk container Alice is holding in one scene which is meant to look like the weird “milk in a bag” containers they use in Canada. The pizza is certainly a Giordonos deep-dish pizza, and Warren’s due date appears after my signature. He was a little late.
This one is probably hard to understand if you don’t remember the headlines form the early 90′s, but it sure was a lot of fun to draw. From Oboe’s crazed expressions to people popping out of the oven and all that weird scenery. The 6 O’clock Snooze has got to hold the record for the weirdest cartoon angle ever: one scene is from the atomic point of view. Some of the dreamscape backgrounds were sections of old Cornerstone cover art, and the characters were colored with charcoal pencil like I tried in “Poison Pen” (once again, a great debt is owed to the long-suffering darkroom staff). If I had known how close we were to this thing called “Photoshop” I’m sure I wouldn’t have bothered with all the painstaking special effects.
Overall this comic is kind of silly, but for whatever reason I still like it. Maybe just because it was so fun to create. Trivia: In keeping with the slumberland theme “Little Nemo” appears in the next to last box, and “Burger Bean Bake” was one of my favorite items on the Jpusa menu.
I had long wanted to draw a strip about Tuber’s job raking potato chips, and finally got around to it with “the Industrial Revelation”. The story may be familiar to the many musicians, artists and writers, (and yes, cartoonists) who must endure a “real” job while they struggle to pursue their creative endeavors. And for people of faith, who feel a “calling” to glorify God through art, the struggle can seem even more difficult. So I drew Tuber at work, hoping that his band will get signed by “Frankincense” records (get it?) so that he can quit his job. It’s a theme I returned to later in the last strip “The Limited Engagement”.
It was a great deal of fun to draw all of the factory scenes, completely made up of course. You may note the way I tried to lead the readers eyes through those scenes by making the focal point of each box the same yellow color. -Even Tuber’s eyes are yellow. One other small detail: in the box where Tuber is stomping the sour creme, one of the tiny figures in the background is a version of the “matchstick man” that I painted for the cover of that issue of Cornerstone.
A fairly straightforward story about Neil, Oboe’s long-suffering pastor. I received a few letters from members of the clergy after this one came out, asking how I knew what it was like to be a minister, so I guess it must have struck a chord. Some of the characters were loosely based on real people, like my friend “Dan” as well as Mike Webster, and of course my pastor at the time was named Neil (He didn’t look anything like my drawing, but was just as long-suffering. -He would have to be, with me in his church!). Not much else to mention about this one, though I am proud of some of the scenes, like the eyeball reflection, and the lady complaining to Neil while her shadow eats him (I still laugh at her line “Well, I told that crabby horse-faced old fool to stop judging me and …”).
Oh, one other thing: This one was unique in that the lettering was done by a computer for the first time. My friend Pat digitized my friend Karl’s hand -lettering style into my own personal font, a version of which I still use to this day. Of course, the text was printed out, cut up, waxed onto the drawings and photographed, but still a harbinger of the near digital future.