Wednesday, October 30, 1985


Back when I was in high school, there was an afternoon daily called the Phoenix Gazette that has since been absorbed by the Arizona Republic. Every Wednesday they ran a section they called the 'Teen Gazette.' I had made up my mind the summer before my Freshman year that I wanted to have a weekly comic strip. Their previous cartoonist was a Senior who was graduating. I loved his strip, it reminded me of Funky Winkerbean. I created Howie Smith, an "everyman" who looked a lot like me, only skinnier. He attended "Orangewood High, home of the Fighting Tangerellos." I LOVED Doonesbury and was tempted to name my strip "Bull Tales," after his at Yale, because we were the Shadow Mountain Matadors, but it occurred to me that the Teen Gazette was for the whole Valley, not just my school. So I leaned toward what Berk Breathed had called his Bloom County when he was in college, the "Academia Waltz." But of course, copyright law freaked me out, so I just called it "Academia." 20 years later, I still admire Doonesbury, but the older I get, the more annoying I find Bloom County and Opus. Tastes change, whatchya gonna do.

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