WoMag End of the Year Issue

For the past three years Worcester Magazine has come to me and asked if I'd do a cartoonist year in review which involves corralling a few of my talented friends and students and asking them to give some of their time to do a comic strip based on a news related subject.

For this year I thought I'd try something a little different, instead of throwing the stories out there and letting them choose in something akin to raw meat thrown to wolves I opted to assign the stories, basing them for the most part on what I felt worked for their particular style-- The WoMag Editor, in this case Brittany Durgin who is new to the role but did a standup job, gives me a list of stories to choose from-- two of them stuck out-- The Conservatives losing and Jose Canseco's brief stint with the Tornadoes.

Jim Riel is one of the cartoonists involved, he is both a student and a friend, currently working on his second graphic novel.   Not only have I been able to talk Jim into doing the cartoon issue three years in a row I've gotten him to do the 24 hour comic challenge with me the same number of times and in previous years he's done some really stellar work featuring Obama and Romney, so I thought he would be a natural for it.

And Mike Briggs, one of the most talented caricaturists I know, is also the biggest baseball fan I know, so that was an absolute no brainer.

The rest I gingerly matched up giving myself the Chief Gemma story which everyone seemed to have a struggle with (myself included).

We work on an extremely tight deadline and the monies we receive is donated to a worthy cause so it makes it worthwhile.

Amidst the deadline crunch I'm under I was asked by several people stopping by the studio why I would take this on again-- and the simple answer is I like seeing my friends work published and as long as they have an interest in doing it I'm on board again next year.  These people are not only friends, they are professionals, each and every one of them delivering their particular piece before deadline.  All I need do is offer an occasional critique and then send them on to Brittany.

There was one controversy-- Jamie J. Buckmaster -- my studio mate, former assistant and longtime friend did one that I thought was particularly edgy, based on the UMass layoff of several employees:


Unfortunately it was considered "too edgy" and was cut-- I'm not sure I see the problem with it, yes it does skim into malpractice territory but I doubt UMass has actually performed a head implant that went this badly, bottom line is the strip made me laugh and I like JJB's work (as does Brittany) so I thought it should run, but such was not the case.  Lest the work be done in vein, I am running it here as our editorial board is very lax in its policies on upsetting anyone.  Share your thoughts if you care too, and check out the other cartoons over at the official WOMAG SITE.