John's Blog Post About This Week's "Frankenwheat" Series

If you live in Oregon, you've heard about Monsanto's Rogue GM Wheat being discovered growing in the wild. It's a big hairy deal and Edison is having his own problems with some GM wheat he was fooling with in his lab.

Click here to read John's blog post about the series.....

New Twitter Account For Edison

We just set up a new twitter account dedicated to all things Edison-y! You can follow Edison on Twitter here:

Tall Tale Radio on GoComics: Sandra Bell Lundy (And a couple thoughts from Anne)

If you want to hear another great interview by Tom Racine, head over to Tall Tale Radio on GoComics and listen to part 1 of his chat with Between Friends creator Sandra Bell Lundy. It's about 30 minutes long.

I'll wait.

Done? Alrighty then - I'd like to visit a couple of points so spoiler alert if you didn't go listen:

Every once in a while a comic artist gets a syndication deal right out of the box but it's hardly typical. John's journey to syndication with Edison took 14 years and involved multiple strip ideas. (And even more multiple rejection letters.) Sandra's path took her a while as well (thankfully not 14 years) and her description of the meanderings her career took are well worth hearing. I especially liked hearing her talk about the time she "cold called" the Editor of the Toronto Star. I've read about it on her blog before but it has a different resonance when you hear her tell it in person.

Sandra also takes some time to talk about a mentoring phone call she got from Lynn Johnston (hilarious set up for this call). I mention it because one of the things I have been most impressed by is how generous cartoonists are to "fans and up and comers".

When I was 20 I wrote to Berke Breathed. I had the nerve to suggest that he market his books and plushies etc. on college campuses since he had so many fans there. (Duh! Did I honestly think he and his syndicate were unaware of this?) Shock of shocks, he actually wrote back! He was not only gracious and undismissive of my idea, his note was funny as well. (This note is saved carefully in a shoebox that has been archived less carefully in that I can't remember where it is. But I know it's somewhere!)

Later, when John began pursuing syndication and it didn't seem to be happening I wrote Cathy Guisewite for advice. Again, shockingly, she wrote back with some great suggestions.

Fast forward to 2005 when John got his syndication contract - we had no idea what kind of lawyer should be reviewing an intellectual property contract. (Although we were pretty sure the neighborhood ambulance chaser was NOT the right choice.) I wrote Lynn Johnston - again, completely out of the blue, never met her - and asked for help and advice. She called John and talked to him for over an hour - going so far as to give him the name of her lawyer - and also called me and gave me about 25 minutes of her time.

To be fair, I don't think you can expect this kind of response every time you contact a comic artist. Especially if you are writing them for an autograph you plan to turn around and sell on ebay. The internet has made it too easy for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to grab an email address and write to a cartoonist. When I was writing you had to go to a lot of trouble to find a syndicate address for the artist and then hope your note would be forwarded into the right hands.

Sandra also talks about her experiences with a less than professional - can we say shady? - syndicate. A cautionary tale for all aspiring creatives. Don't just listen to it - take notes so you can remind yourself what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

And there is some terrific stuff about Jay Kennedy.

So, if you ignored my recommendation at the top of the page, what are you waiting for? Go Listen!!

PS. I'm fairly sure Sandra was peeking in my windows when she wrote this one:

New Pinterest Page for Fans of Edison Lee Science Cartoons

Star Heaven? This was the second Edison strip ever to run. It was clear from the beginning that John would be infusing the strip with his love of science. Note how different the coloring and drawing style are from current Edison comics
I've started a Pinterest Board dedicated to Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee Science cartoons. This is to make it easier for science minded types to find their favorite Edison comics that have a scientific bent. I'll also be offering commentary on some of the strips. If you find a strip that you like and are interested in reprint rights visit the Cartoonist's Group for access to all Edison comics.

I'll be trying to add a few strips to the board every week.

Remember you can read Edison for free everyday on the official King Features Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee website here:

Back From The Reubens in Pittsburgh! UPDATED

UPDATE: To see more Reuben Weekend Photos visit my facebook page here.

John Hambrock, Tom Richmond, Bill Morrison, Hilary Price and Jeff Keane at "The Speakeasy" on 20's night at the Reubens.

It's been quite a while since I (Anne) posted anything here - apologies! Summer is a better time for me to blog so expect more regular updates in the coming weeks.

One big reason for the lull is that, every year during the month of May, we at Edison Lee inc. are madly scrambling to get all the strips done so that we can take a grand total of 5 days off to go to the Reuben Award weekend. As I accompany John to his speaking engagements it's clear that the general public has no idea that most cartoonists don't get vacation. Some of the big guns like Doonesbury and Zits are allowed to run reruns but most cartoonists are not. That means 365 illustrated jokes a year. I know, I know, we could just "work ahead". But that's not as easy as it sounds. Some cartoonists can do it but most I've talked to have a really hard time writing, inking, and coloring more than 7 strips in a week.

Enough of that - on to the Reubens.

The Reuben award weekend is often described as the "Oscars" of cartooning but I think that description falls short. The black tie award night (Saturday) is only one component of a weekend jam packed with presentations by cartoonists as well as ample opportunity between Thursday and Monday to really catch up with cartooning friends. It's also a terrific time to meet cartoonists you haven't met in the past not to mention time to gawk awkwardly from across the room at a cartooning idol you grew up with. The fabulous part is when you get the opportunity to meet that cartooning idol face to face and discover that they not only treat you like a friend but they may be a fan of your work. I hate to speak for John but I can tell you that the first time a veteran cartoonist mentioned to him how much he liked The Brilliant Mind Of Edison Lee and that, furthermore, he read it every day - well, let's just say John was more than flattered.

This year's event was in Pittsburgh, a city I have never before visited, and they truly rolled out the red carpet. Along with the usual 4 star hotel, the Toonseum in Pittsburgh organized a comic art festival - the mayor even issued a proclamation welcoming all the cartoonists!

The festival was spectacular! There was a gallery show of original art by over 60 years of Reuben Award winners - from Rube Goldberg himself (the Reuben award is named after him and the statue itself  was designed by him) to last year's honoree Tom Richond of MAD magazine fame - a panel discussion with Lynn Johnston, Cathy Guisewite, Hilary Price, Jen Sorensen and Terri Libenson, a block party (they closed off the street for all the comic vendors) a chalk jam drawing on the street, and artist signings all day Sunday. Kudos to the Toonseum and Jo Wos for their tireless work on this wonderful event!!  And, for the first time I can remember, the local media really took notice of the weekend and what an amazing thing it is to have over 300 internationally recognized cartoonists descend on your city!

A huge thank you also to Tom Richmond (current NCS president) Anna Richmond, all the cartoonists who volunteered their time stuffing goody bags and seeing to the myriad of details surrounding the organizing of such a weekend. Another big thank you to the folks at Crow Segal Management who work hard for months with the planning and registration for the weekend and spend much of the weekend working rather than enjoying themselves at the bar!

Here are some of the pictures I shot over the weekend, as usual there were so many great pics I forgot to take entirely :-) I will post more onto facebook next week.

(To see photos I've taken at previous Reubens, click here.)

Lobby of the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh

More of the lobby area that is also a restaurant

Our giant room (not as big as the presidential suite but pretty darned big!)

There was this amazing building outside our window - I couldn't stop taking pictures of it!

Another view from our window...

At the awards banquet with nominee Johnathon Lemon of "Rabbits Against Magic"

At the women in comics panel at the Toonseum - Hilary Price began by moderating from this chair..... From left to right: Hilary Price, Terri Libenson, Jen Sorensen, Cathy Guisewite and Lynn Johnston

Entrance to the Toonseum and some  of the festival goers...

The street comic jam.....

Fans wait to meet Bill Morrison of the Simpsons and Bongo Comics

Rube Goldberg drawing, model for Reuben award and actual Reuben award statuette.....

An original Calvin and Hobbes - one of the very few not housed in the archives at the OSU Cartoon Library. This belonged to Charles Schulz and was very graciously loaned by his widow Jean Schulz.

MAD art by 2012 Rebuen Award winner Tom Richmond

An original Pogo

One of the many jam drawings at the hotel.

Check back for a link to more pictures on facebook next week!