Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Birthday Boy

Growing up I got interested in cartoons reading paperback collections of Sam Gross. Above is a homage I did a very long time ago – no, it's not as funny as a Sam Gross but I'm no Sam Gross. (But I have always liked using nontraditional punchlines when a viewer is expecting a gag.)

I'm not the only person who considers him the world's funniest cartoonist, of course, and many of my favorite cartoonists site Mr. Gross as their biggest influence. He used to be in National Lampoon, SPY, Village Voice, etc. While I also cartooned for those magazines (and also got my start at the Voice) I only briefly met my idol once (at a Playboy party)...until two days ago, when for my birthday, I was invited to the New Yorker cartoon lunch in midtown where I met face-to-face many of my cartoon heroes. I gushed, blushed and sweated like a yak in the presence of the world's best cartoonists.

I wound up spending almost the whole day with Sam Gross, going to a reading by cartoonist Marissa Acocella Marchetto at the Gilda Club for her fantastic book Cancer Vixen (where I cried) and then a late dinner. All the time hearing fascinating stories from the trenches of freelance cartooning. More later – I have to send out permission forms for my book. Cartoonists (Sam Gross included!) are contributing their work to my book and there's much paperwork to square away in the next few days leading up to my book deadline.

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