The Bigger, Super-Deluxe Annotated Bob Archive, Part Three
He Really Doesn't Like Him!
I'm not a giant fan of this one. It came from my roommate talking
about having somebody over that he positively despised, so I didn't
have any better ideas and I used it. The punchline is a little clunky--
it really should have just been "No, not at all. I just hate you."
Science Marches On
This, on the other hand, is one of my favorites. I don't know
exactly where the idea came from, but it was fun to draw and I kinda
like Clarence. This is another one of those strips that I had reservations
about when I drew it, only to lose them in the glow of history. My
reservations in this case were that I was crossing a line with Bob;
he hadn't actually killed anybody before, but that's kind of
what he does here. And yet, it doesn't seem too bad. Kinda sweet,
Puppy and Militia
Sort of an odd one here. I can't exactly recall where the idea came
from here either, though I have a strong suspicion it's the phrase
"You've got to trust anybody wearing a puppy." I think there's some
nice interplay with Bob and Freddie here; the scary panel of Bob looming
over Freddie really relies on the reader's familiarity with the two
characters. Plus, it's fairly rarely that I get to draw cute puppies--
you can tell that I'm not really very good at it. Big eyes is the
Drugs Drugs Drugs
Here's a piece of cartoonist obsession for you. The last panel of
this cartoon drives me nuts. You'll notice that Dr. Peterson is frowning.
Originally, he was kind of grinning, but I didn't like that, so when
I posted the scan, I erased a bit of his mouth with Photoshop. But,
in all the copies of this strip I have, his mouth is still the way
it started out, i.e. grinning, which I hate. So that's what I see
whenever I look at this cartoon.
Past that, this was of course inspired by a run-in I had with the
world of prescription drugs, something I normally avoid. They have
silly names, so that's where the first panel came from. I knew I wanted
a dinosaur, so there's your cartoon. Of course, Bob's threat to the
pharmacist is lifted directly from Star Wars, in Ben Kenobi's
warning to Darth Vader before their exciting battle. Star Wars
Ah, one of my all-time faves. This was one of those cartoons that
started out very differently. The first few panels were the same,
with the Wood Jam, but then he was supposed to take it back to the
store, only to find that the beaver sales clerk and the termite manager
weren't very understanding. I just didn't know if I could find a way
to make that work, and while I was doodling about things, I drew Bob
with beaver and termite features. Yay!
I like this one because it's a crazy situation, and he finds a novel
and interesting way to deal with it. It's a classic example of lateral
thinking. And, up until that last panel, it seems like a sensible,
Star Trek kind of solution. Of course injecting yourself
with DNA will mutate you into a weird hybrid.
Note that the DNA canisters are labelled Ebola, Termite, Beaver,
Cow, and Godzilla.
Quite a lame strip, all things considered, so there's not much to
say, really. I had eaten some cinnamon candy hearts not that long
ago; hence the cartoon. The only thing I even kind of like about this
one is the use of the word "execrable", especially since it accompanies
one of (I think) my most execrable strips. Another example of the
old saying "Beware of doing strips about things that suck, because
the strip itself may well suck, and then you'll look like a classic
retard." Good saying, that.
Thankfully, I was up to steam next week, and this one's one of my
favorites. I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to end this cartoon;
the original idea was that Bob would say something like "Let's quit
this retarded game immediately before I kill each and every one of
you", to which the others would respond, of course, "Yes, let's."
Instead, I decided to use a funny punchline instead. The three people
are (very) loose caricatures of people I know, though the resemblance
ends there, if it even starts there. Still, it's nice and clean, and
while it's certainly not Space Moose-level, it's still fairly
mean, so I like it quite a bit.
Lending a Helping Hand
Ah... well, I came up with this one while confronted by the poverty
on the streets of San Francisco-- not that there's any lack of poverty
on the streets of Edmonton, but at least here a smaller percentage
of the homeless and hopeless have urinated all over themselves. I
mulled it over for a while and eventually put it together. Unfortunately,
it's one of those strips that looks like total crap on the Internet,
since I used a computer-generated screen for the fourth panel, the
kind of thing that tends to scan like crap. It was an ambitious idea,
but it's one of those graphical things you have to try every so often
even if it means it might look bad, as it did here. Still an okay
cartoon, I think.
A friend pointed out that a recurring theme in the cartoon is advertising,
and after I thought about it, I realized he was right. There's this
one, as well as The Hard Hard Sell and... um... some other
ones I can't remember right now.
A Light Snack
Loved this one when I drew it, though I've gotten colder on it as
time goes on, mainly because I think the art is rather weak. It's
crowded and I didn't make very effective use of black, so that still
bugs me. On a writing level I'm pretty happy with it; it's about time
somebody really pinned down the primary limitation of most robots.
Battles a Half-Empty Plate of
Yeesh. This was laaaaazeeee. Basically I was so absolutely stuck
for time, I had this idea, and I did it, even though I knew that it
sucked. But I did it anyway, just cuz I wrote it out and so I figured
I might as well do it, a situation that repeated itself a few cartoons
later in Aqua Relax.
Introducing Remora Joe
This has long been one of my favorites, though nobody else likes
it. I just think the art was really snappy in this one, especially
the last panel, where I think I did a pretty swell job of putting
together the railing, rigging and seawater, thank you very much. And
what about that fifth panel, when Bob's just looking at him? That
was one of those incredibly rare instances when the script actually
runs short and I don't have any ideas for big splash panels. So we
get a comtemplative little look at Bob looking at Remora Joe. What's
wrong with that? Nothing, I say.
Another favorite -- in fact, I was batting pretty well at this point,
not minding a few crappers. This one went for Slur, and I didn't
even mind that it was one of the better ones, I thought. The cartoon
could run perfectly well with just the first row of panels, but then
the comedy stakes just get higher and higher with the second row--
where will it end? Note the weirdos in the seventh panel. The guy
with the brain floating above his head was supposed to be the star
of another cartoon I just couldn't make work, but maybe now I've written
this annotation, I'll take another crack at it. His name's "The Reverend",
and keep and eye out for him. And, I like the little dimple in the
elephant's ass as Bob stuffs him into the panel -- now that's
Hoo boy. One of the worst cartoons I've ever done, except for maybe
The Bottom of the World, which I haven't put on the Net because
I'm so ashamed of it. This is the pinnacle of the "Well, I hate the
idea, but I've already kinda sketched most of it out, and it seems
a shame to erase all of that and start over again" theory of cartooning,
a theory I was eventually to abandon. Literally, I went through with
this one 'cuz I thought that the sound effect "Sploop" was kind of
funny. That's it. Lame, lame, lame. What was I thinking?
Drive the Bus
Eh. Not great, not terrible. There are a few touches I like here
and there -- his line about being underestimated by his enemies is
not too bad-- but this isn't one I usually linger over when I look
over the book. One of those classic "I'm about to get on the bus;
what if the guy didn't like my pass for some reason" kind of cartoons,
nothing especially fancy.
Ah, I'm a sap, let's face it. I always have a hard time with these
"goodbye" strips, and this one was the first. I just put together
a bunch of gags and threw myself in because artist-meets-creation
is one of those things I'm just a sucker for. Frozen yogurt does
cost way to much, so there's some anger, and nothing tugs on the heartstrings
like a little spotlight at the end. Sniff.
To the Victor Go the Spoils
So this was the first See strip, and as usual for inaugural
strips, it wasn't all that great. It's a pretty standard spin on the
Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-meets-mercenaries story, but I liked the dialogue
so away I went. The only thing that's at all notable about this one,
I think, is his final-panel protestation "All beans are magic beans!"
It's really the only way to save face in a situation like that one.
Wingin' it (Slur)
This one, curiously, was never on this page until March of 1998.
Not because I had anything against it, but simply because I never
had scannable copies of the ones I did for Slur.
Beyond that, there's not really all that much to this one. I sort
of appreciate that the cook was actually ballsy enough to accompany
Bob on his quest, and I also kind of appreciate that I was ballsy
enough to not depict that epic struggle. And then, after all that,
Freddie doesn't like the wings very much. Isn't life crazy that way?
Ah, a classic, even though I'm now very disappointed with the art.
The third panel with all the kids doesn't have nearly enough black
in it, and the composition is lousy. Still, it's a pretty good gag
that got laughs from just about everybody who read it, so that made
me feel good. This was the second cartoon I did for See, so
it was kind of a relief to get one that I knew was funny. Again, nobody
ever complained about the evil in Bob's behavior, but I was long past
hoping that I would offend anybody.
This is also the first appearance of a Bob design innovation that
would become pretty important later on: the curled petals in panel
six. It was just a gag at the time, and note how he reverts to normal
for the punchline, but those 3D petals crawled into my head and stayed
there, and they forced their way out a few cartoons later in Uke
The Price of Scorn
Ah yes... this one. Actually, I kind of like this one, even though
it's not really funny. Every so often I get a notion that takes ahold
of me and won't let me go even though I know nobody's going to like
it. This was one of those; it wasn't a gag so much as... an emotional
observation? It was quite terrible and cruel, but I couldn't stop
Two art points. One, I was pretty happy with the way the ominous
storm clouds turned out, and the last panel still drives me nuts because
there should be a little bit of black under the top line of the right-hand
reverse-relief spar of the cross on the gravestone. Yes, it's true
-- I'm quite mad.
My brother asked if Johhny was supposed to be him, since they were
both born in 1969. Actually I was referring to a dork I knew in University
named Marty Tucker, a guy who aspired to own a big fat keychain with
a lot of keys on it. Bless him, he achieved his ambition.
The price of scorn, of course, is remorse.
Learning the Hard Way
Ahhhh, See Magazine... you bunch of crazy jokers. This was
one that I still look back at with fondness, and it's a pretty good
example of how I sometimes write cartoons in such a way that you have
to read the whole cartoon, and then go back and read the title. Here,
for instance, Bob is "learning the hard way" that he actually likes
rice cakes. Hilarious.
Of course, when See Magazine printed this one, they somehow
managed to chop off the two rightmost panels, the ones that say "As
of today, you're on a strict diet..." and "Six long, long months later..."
Somehow nobody noticed that this no longer made sense. Or rather,
it made a kind of sense, but not the sense I was aiming at, particularly
since the title of the cartoon didn't mean a damn thing any more.
I was particularly proud of the art in the collapsing-world panel,
whch turned out almost exactly the way I'd pictured it when I came
up with the idea. For me, that's pretty rare. It's a nice silhouette
shot of Bob, too, so there's just all kinds of things to be happy
Um, I guess this one is okay, but it's a pretty standard list-o-gags,
the kind I try not to do too much of any more, though that didn't
stop me from doing it in the first one I did for the Journal,
"Why We Have Unions." Plus, the art on a few of the panels kind of
pisses me off these days. Eh.
Yay! I love Story Guy, and I only recently realized that he can be
a semi-regular character. This is his first outing, though we were
to see him again in The Return
of a Character That Nobody Realy Wanted To See Again!. I was on
a big story kick around this time, also doing "Listening to Enya"
at the same time for Slur. Note, however, that Story Guy doesn't
actually tell his story -- he just tells us that he's told the story.
The story he's telling us, of course, is the story of how he met Bob
the Angry Flower. A little recursion there, math fans. People liked
Rags a lot, and I felt almost bad that he had to go, but I'm pretty
sure that part of Story Guy's ongoing shtick is that he's got a different
story animal every time we see him. So long, Rags.
This is when I was still unclear as to exactly how far I wanted Bob
to go. The sixth panel was orginally going to be Bob simply attacking
Story Guy and trying to steal his sweater, with Story Guy screaming,
"Story Dog! Help!" But in the end, I balked, thinking it was a pretty
mean thing to do to outright steal the shirt off of somebody's back.
I look at that now and think I must have been crazy to back down like
that. Ah, a cartoon is always evolving.
On another note, I like the bar chick in panel eight, and I think
I did an unusually good job of faking my way through a drawing of
a nightclub. I do have some regrets about Bob's final line though.
After it ran, I felt like it should have been the obvious "Baby, it's
a long story," or the slightly more challenging "Baby, does it really
matter?" Either way, he should have said "Baby."
How to be Respected
Ah, if I'd drawn this one better, it'd be one of my favorites. I
still send it out when I'm trying to entice magazines to run my cartoon.
The first panel was really, really clumsy -- in fact the whole first
row of panels is substandard -- but I like to think the second row
of panels kind of makes up for it, especially the last one. A classic
example of how the 'humor" works in this strip. The real gag is in
panel five, of course, but there's a bit more amusement after that,
and the last panel isn't so much funny as (I think) an insight into
The blond gal ws loosely based on a Christian gal I knew at the time
who, like many young people who claim to be Christian, wasn't really
-- or at least it didn't seem to have any impact on her bitchy behavior.
I also kind of dig the perspective on that last shot of the cross.
Ah, this was one I liked a lot when I did it, mostly because I was
very happy with the way that first picture of Dexter Mobley turned
out. The gag itself was just so damn stupid I had to use it. Note
the bit of continuity, there, in Dexter's reference to Bob's Big
Plans. Also note Doctor Doom in the first panel, and the back
of a Dalek from Doctor Who in the background of panel two.
God I'm funny.
A bit of a twist on the three wishes gag, in that this time the genie
doesn't offer wishes, he demands a sense! What a jerk! to me, the
best part of this cartoon is the genie's irritated response "Five
bucks isn't a sense!" I'm willing to bet that this simple sentence
had never been expressed in human history before I came along. Plus,
I also like to remind people that we have senses other than the traditional
Actually, I cheated a bit on this one, twice. First, to be fair,
a sense of outrage isn't really a sense either, but I guess the Lord
of Bottles doesn't let himself get too wrapped up in semantics. Secondly,
I originally had an entirely different last panel, in which Bob says,
"I'm sure the prices they charge are fair," and the Lord of Bottles
angrily retorting, "You're a RETARD!" For some reason I backed down
on that one as well and redrew the panel. Can't even remember why
That Instant of Moral Decision
Ah, another good one. By this time I was pretty happy with the 'toons
I was doing for See, and this one is no exception. The good-conscience/bad-conscience
gag is a pretty old one, but I like to think this one is not too bad.
By my reading, Conan O'Brian has established the last word on this
particular gag when he did the good-conscience/grizzly bear sketch,
in which the good conscience tells him to behave properly, and the
grizzly bear growls a lot and asks for honey. Ah, brilliant. In comparison,
this one isn't that funny, but what can I say? I tried.
This cartoon also features the unobtrusive debut of one of my little
art "tricks," this one being the little dust of dots around the edges
of panel seven. Before, when I wanted to jazz up a panel, I really
on ly had two choices: do the whole thing in solid black, or do a
lot of cross-hatched tomfoolery around the edges. Now I had an extra
little thing to make the thing a little more vibrant.
I think I was actually making a bit of a comment here, in that sometimes
one can come into a situation with the total moral upper hand and
still be made to feel bad by someone with a talent for manipulation.
By this time Bob was really becoming quite a bad person. Note also
that I was using the dust of dots stuff I'd come up with in the previous
cartoon, except with a little more sophistication, especially in the
seventh panel, where Bob is running away into a misty black fog, kind
Tip of the Tongue
This is a pretty transparently lazy cartoon. I'd come up with the
idea, thought it would be fast and easy to draw, and away I went.
And then it turned out I didn't know how to draw the Eifel Tower,
so I ended up making a fool of myself. I'm also not very happy with
the lunk's posture in panels five and six, but what can you do? Plus,
the old leave-the-guy-standing-there-under-a-moon gag was a pretty
cheap one, but hey -- I was on a deadline!
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