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I’m in Florence, Italy, reunited with my daughter who has been studying at an art school here this semester. She’s wrapped up her work, turned in her key, and she and I are having a great time, toodling around Florence, seeing her world, poking around her school, the Christmas market and all that. For the first time in years, Florence has snow and it’s amusing to watch the unfamiliar locals wiping out on their bicycles and trying to shovel the snow in front of their shops using brooms and buckets. (more…)

Backstage At The Strip

It’s time for a little look behind the scenes at Zits. Comic strip characters tend to morph and change slowly over the years. Often it’s not a conscious effort, but something that just happens with time. The other day I was writing, just riffing on nothing in particular when I started thinking about Hector’s appearance. He’s arguably the least teenager-y character in the strip (no offense, Pierce), and possibly the strangest looking (sorry again, dude). He was originally conceived as the quiet, reasonable best friend that would contrast with Jeremy’s more exuberant personality, and that worked okay. But over the years, as Jeremy settled into his own skin – or ink – Hector became less and less visible. So the idea of a Hector makeover started to emerge. (more…)


My buddy Jeff Koterba emailed me the minute this strip hit the comics page of the Omaha World Herald. Jeff's the estimable editorial cartoonist at the OWH and way more. If you haven't read his memoir Inklings, it's fascinating. And beyond that, Jeff heads up the swing band Prairie Cats which does all the music at the annual National Cartoonist Society's Reuben Awards festivities. He may well dance in the Nutcracker, too, for all I know — a true Renaissance Man.

I think this mini-series about Jeremy not being able to get through Wuthering Heights was initiated by me in my coffee shop sketchbook and passed along for Jerry's magic touch. It called for Jeremy to end up somewhere far from home, and since we intentionally never identify Jeremy's home, that place seemed to be Omaha, a place that seems far from almost everyone's home. I Google Image Searched "Omaha skyline", gathered several reference photos, spread them across my screen, and then totally fudged it. Koterba claims he could tell it was Omaha even before he read the punchline. "The building on the left is Woodmen Tower which I wrote about in Inklings." Gracious man.

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