First appeared in The Comic Reader #180, May 1980
Jim Engel: So we meet Daphne Duck! Take a good look—she never appeared again. Not my INTENT, but the way it panned out… In re-looking at this page, I noticed room 306—that was our apartment number at the time I drew this one. Also, that music looks real, and knowing me, it probably WAS. I can’t recall what it is, and I can’t read music. If I hadda GUESS? Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman”… The punch-line (if there is one), was just my being (as I recall) sick of the term “relationship”, which by 1980 was in vogue ad nauseam. This “pals” was pure “pals”… I still draw the pals characters today, usually for the same reason I first drew them, in notes to my wife Charis. I also just like drawing the for fun. “pals” BONUS! When I got my Wacom Cintiq a coupla yrs. ago, one of the first things I drew on it was “pals”. In fact, I re-drew the FIRST “pals” (very hastily, without doing a “rough” or “pencil” layer). Slap-dash, but here it is below…
Archive for Jim Engel
First appeared in The Comic Reader #180, May 1980
First appeared in The Comic Reader #179, April 1980
Jim Engel: Nothing more dramatic in comics than killing your lead character, right? And introducing (if only verbally) his long lost love on the same page…
I said last time I’d name the Doc, and explain his name… Richard Adams’ “WATERSHIP DOWN” is my favorite book (well, it vies with “THE LORD OF THE RINGS” for that title). My being a “Funny Animal Cartoonist” has a lot to do with my lifelong love of animals, and anthropomorphic animal characters in books, comics, cartoons, etc…
WATERSHIP DOWN is an epic story about a band of rabbits leaving their doomed warren in England, and traversing the countryside to find a new home. I can’t recommend it to anyone reading this highly enough (and I can’t discourage you from seeing the abysmal animated adaptation strongly enough). My love of W.D. and adams took me naturally to another of his books– “THE PLAGUE DOGS”, another anthropomorphic animal epic. To quote Wikipedia: “This book tells of the escape of two dogs, Rowf and Snitter, from a government research station in the Lake District in England, where they had been horribly mistreated. They live on their own with help from a fox, or “tod,” who speaks to them in a Geordie dialect. After the starving dogs attack some sheep on the fells, they are reported as ferocious man-eating monsters by a journalist. A great dog hunt follows, which is later intensified with the fear that the dogs could be carriers of a dangerous bioweapon, such as the bubonic plague.” The “research center” is where Rowf & Snitter are experimented on daily–Rowf drowned (nearly) over and over, and Snitter having his brain probed & poked, giving him delusions & visions. Snitter was one of those characters you can’t forget, and the doc in DD,DD was my little tribute to great character and book (and a lousy cartoon).
First appeared in The Comic Reader #178, March 1980
Jim Engel: What to say about #13? I remember a lot of people telling me it was a favorite… I couldn’t (well—WOULDN’T) have done it without the access I had to a photostat machine at my greeting card day job. Poor Jerry Sinkovec had no similar short-cuts when it came to COLORING it—he had to hand cut separations for every panel. The Doc in the last panel gets a name next chapter, so we’ll talk about him then…
Two chapters ago we saw Lackluster Lizard’s debut, and last time a “Bungalow Bill” strip in the Krazy Kat style. Below is a Lackluster Lizard strip from 1976. This originally appeared in “BUMBAZINE”, a fanzine put together by Alan Jim Hanley, Chuck Fiala, and me. The Lackluster character is evolving visually into the character he looks like in DD,DD. Actually, I had a second character called “Newt the Newt” whose visuals I co-opted and gave to Lackluster when I decided to insert him in the DD strip. The strip below is the the first appearance of “Pigs Benedict”, and the rabbit is essentially the look I used for Bungalow Bill in DD. Don’t ask me who the mouse is.
First appeared in The Comic Reader #177, February 1980
Jim Engel: Dick Duck himself doesn’t appear in this installment, but he’s there in spirit as Lackluster Lizard, Bungalow Bill, and Pigs Benedict, filling in at the office for our hospitalized hero, recreate the very first Dick Duck strip. As mentioned last week, these three were all characters I’d played around with prior to Dick Duck… “Bungalow Bill” Bunny appeared in a few one-pagers, and was done in the George Herriman/KRAZY KAT style, which I really enjoyed doing. The example below was printed in NATIONAL COMICS WEEKLY, a great ill-fated color funny animal comic weekly (with really great artists–Neal Sternecky, Mark Martin, Wm Van Horn to name a few)…from 1994
First appeared in The Comic Reader #176, January 1980
Jim Engel: The DICK DUCK cast grew by three with this installment, as we are introduced to three of Dick’s old friends: Lackluster Lizard, “Bungalow Bill” Bunny, and “Pigs” Benedict (P. Benedict Pig–the “P” stands for “Pig”–hence “Pigs”). Actually, they were MY old friends, and all pre-dated Dick Duck. Lackluster Lizard was the oldest. I started drawing him in the early ’70s, and did a few one-pagers of him for Chuck Fiala’s fanzine “FVP”. Bungalow Bill (named after the Beatles song) appeared in a couple one-pagers (with Vernon Lion and Fleming the Lemming) that were done as an homage to Krazy Kat, drawn in the George Herriman style. They appeared in BUMBAZINE (a fanzine Chuck & I did with Alan Jim Hanley—“J. Hanley Horse” in panel 4) and Pacific Comics’ WILD ANIMALS (I think)… Pigs Benedict appeared only once, in a Lackluster page, also in BUMBAZINE. The trio would later be revealed as the Bombay Rhythm Boys–America’s favorite Goodtime Band.
Jim’s earliest published character—LACKLUSTER (The Licentious) LIZARD, from FVP #5, 1972 (Jim was 15). The joke was a commentary on Ray Miller, columnist for the legendary fanzine RBCC, who was then running a “contest” asking readers to send in drawings of famous comic book heroines naked.
First appeared in The Comic Reader #175, December 1979
Jim Engel: This strip marked the only “physical” cross-over between the two COMIC READER funny animal strips, DICK DUCK, DUCK DICK, and BULLET CROW- FOWL OF FORTUNE (by Chuck Fiala). Dick was referred to in BULLET CROW, but never appeared in the strip itself. Physically, when they appeared in TCR, they were side by side, with DD,DD on the left and BC on the right.
Bullet Crow’s appearance here was essentially the punchline, because Chuck’s hero and strip were less “realistic” (if that makes sense)…more slapstick-y than DD, and Dick had to be rescued by Bullet Crow, who was completely inept…
While Dick Duck & Bullet Crow didn’t appear together in their strips (save this once), they were linked in people’s minds by their TCR affiliation, the friendship of their creators, and this ultra-rare T-SHIRT sold by STREET ENTERPRISES during their original publication run.
First appeared in The Comic Reader #174, November 1979
Jim Engel: Hmmm…. not a LOT to say about this one… I DO remember by this time trying with every page to throw in an interesting “camera angle” or two… I was as influenced by the “realistic” artists who drew all my favorite super-heroes & adventure strips (Eisner, John Buscema, Kirby, Romita, etc.) as I was by Walt Kelly and the great funny animal cartoonists, so I was trying (however primitively) to employ storytelling that was more like The Spirit or The Avengers than the basic standard funny animal comic. I remember enjoying doing the last three panels of mob violence, and I was really starting to enjoy doing the coloring when I got to that part of the process… THIS “pals” was sort of continued from the LAST “pals”…
From 1976, one of Jim’s earliest greeting cards for Mark I features pre-DICK DUCK cameos of PAVLOV (hugging Jim’s future wife Charis as the Statue of Liberty), “PALS” (with the boy in a blue striped shirt, and the dog with a black nose), and Elton John–one of Jim’s musical obsessions at the time. (The funky look to the outlines is the scanner picking up the embossing of the characters on the card).