The Price Is Right

I love that Edison does a lot of riffing on game shows in general and The Price Is Right specifically. It is such a fun show and you can do so much with it. We worried when Bob Barker retired that the show might go off the air but, fortunately for Edison, "Price" is thriving with Drew Carey.

Click here for highlights from when Orville went on the show. (or buy a copy of The Edison Files to read the whole series - hey, I'm not above shamelessly plugging the book at every opportunity - we are about to send kid #2 to college!)

More Christmas Gift Ideas

Tis the season to need a new calendar. I know, I know - we all have calendars on our smart phones and ipads and stuff, but those are booooooring! And only you can see what's on them. Who doesn't still need a calendar to hang on the wall so everyone in the house can see what's going on?!

So I suggest to you to great cartoon calendars for 2012:

From Sandra Bell Lundy of Between Friends:

And KAL and The Economist:

If our other cartooning friends out there also have calendars, give me a shout so I can plug them!

Action Comics #1

Don't you just hate it when, on the Antiques Road Show, there is some item that would be worth a fortune but the person painted it or stripped it or, god forbid, just cleaned the darn thing, and it winds up being devalued by more than half?

John and I are avid fans of the Roadshow - we've watched almost every episode since it started - so this week's strips are particularly fun for us.

Note: When John wrote this strip the latest copy of the comic had not yet sold - thus, the dollar amount mentioned here was the previous record.

Musical Primaries, Anyone?

I love this strip!

It came out of a barrage of media coverage on all the jockying of the primaries by Florida and North Carolina. It struck me that it felt pretty schoolyard and I passed that sentiment on to John with the result being this strip. Not sure where all this posturing leaves us - the candidates seem to be doing a pretty good job weeding themselves out without any primaries at all but, there you are :-)

The Orville Dilemma

To Orville or not to Orville? That is the question.

You may have noticed a lot of Orville strips lately. Sometimes you just get into a groove with a character and the writing comes easily.

But, John has to watch that a little. Orville is a secondary character that could easily take over the strip if he wanted to. And "Edison" must remain primarily about, well, Edison. But then again, when a character is having a good run, you don't want to waste that energy and momentum. (Especially when you are close to deadline.)

While not based exclusively on any particular person, Orville does have  traits that can be found in some of the older male relatives in both John's family and mine. And John has admitted that Orville carries some of his little quirks as well. Like his fondness for donuts.

I think there is something important in recognizing that this character has his roots in real life people because it is what makes him so popular - almost everyone knows an Orville or is an Orville. (Even if they don't like to admit it.)

You can read much more about John's take on Orville over at the DailyInk blog here.

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek at an upcoming strip - I am sharing it because it is from one of only a handful of strips that does not have Orville wearing his orange track suit.

I like how skinny his legs are but I just love that his hat is too small. Sort of like am organ grinder's monkey.

Turkey Muffin, Anyone?

This strip probably ran too early. The first couple of days after Thanksgiving there is a sort of basking in the afterglow and turkey sandwiches are appreciated.

But by day 13, the bloom is definitely off the rose and the family begins to rebel. I speak from personal experience. My family still rides me for the turkey/orzo casserole I made them on day 12 in 2004. They just couldn't stomach one more turkey recipe.

Although, turkey muffins never occurred to me.

Maybe I should give them a try........

Buy These Books! UPDATED

Have you started your Christmas Shopping yet? Here are a few books of the comic and cartoon variety that you might want to consider gifting to a friend (or yourself):

Pacifists in Bomber Jackets (available for $8.95 plus $2.50 shipping and handling directly from Isabella at

These are just a few of my picks - I'll try to post more in the coming weeks as we countdown to Christmas.

Note: many of these books are self published so please be prepared to pay the cover price and show the artists that you value their work.

UPDATE: It won't be ready in time for Christmas but you should also go pre-order your copy of the Team Cul De Sac Book as well.  To pre-order the book click here.  To read about the whole Team Cul De Sac book project, which features the work of top cartoonists and is a fundraiser for Parkinson's Research,  click here.

The Funniest Letter To The Editor To Get Edison Back In the Observer/Reporter

I know that's a long headline but I needed every word of it. Apparently, the Washington PA Observer/Reporter shrank their paper and dropped Edison in the process. While that's a crappy piece of news for us today, we were alerted to this Letter To The Editor of the paper in question. 'Brilliant' comic hero is mourned -

It's got to be one of the funniest, most well written letters I've ever seen in defense of a comic strip.


And while you're at it - make a comment in support of Edison - we'd like to get this paper back!

!^$#*^@%ing Computers!!

I tweeted this strip earlier today with the comment "This is my life!" and that is truer than would appear. Today's strip is based on what I like to call "The Upgrade Escher".

John and I have had a parade of Apple Computers.

There was this one:

And then this one:
And this: (John Calls this one the blue paperweight)
Followed by the white paperweight

Our first laptop:

John's current desktop:

My current desktop:

The surrogate laptop: (You can read about the demise of the other laptop here)

And now the current laptop. (Because using the ipad in place of the laptop - didn't so much work)

It all started with that first Mac John needed for his graphics business. In 1994, if you worked in graphics, the only computers with the software you would need were from Apple. 

And so we took out a loan (becuase, then, as now, they were crazy expensive) and bought one. We got to write it off for the business, but that only helps you not pay more money in April at tax time. It does not help you pay the rest of your bills at the time of purchase. And, while it was a good investment because it really was the best tool for John's business, it took a long time to pay it off. 

Which would not have been that big a deal if, as with our other major purchases like, oh say - a refrigerator - we could have counted on it to last 20 years. Or even 10. Hell, I would have settled for 5! 

But we very quickly found out that the land of computers does not work like that. The land of computers lives in what we like to call The Planned Obsolescence Zone. 

So, while every one of the computers listed above still turns on and technically "works", you can't actually use them in today's world. For one thing the first 4 can't talk to the internet anymore - heck, they can't even talk to my thumb drives. (Which leaves several important photos of yesteryear stranded on the blue imac because its disc drive is also broken and I cannot burn anything to CD.)

Which means constant upgrading. 

Forget the money issue - although that part of it does seriously tick me off - we cannot afford this business of having to buy another computer before we've paid off the last one (and don't suggest leasing - we don't have a big enough business to rate in that department and it's actually more expensive.)

No the real deep down thing that gets me absolutely stark raving insane with anger is the way, every time we upgrade - hardware OR software - THEY CHANGE EVERYTHING!!

My latest laptop doesn't even have the hard drive icon on the desktop anymore - a staple of macdom! Since I have purchased said laptop I have spent over 6 HOURS on the phone with tech support figuring out the new configurations. And that's with Snow Leopard. Heaven help me if I want to upgrade to Lion.

The worst is that dance you do (here's where the Escher bit comes in" where, now that you have upgraded thing 1, you have to upgrade thing 2, and then thing 3 and then thing 4 then things 5,6,7,8 and 9. 

I feel like I'm living in a Cat in the Hat Book!

Or - as in today's strip - a world where every week when I go to the grocery store, they've moved the damn bread again. 

Just to be cute.

!^$#*^@%ing Computers!!

Edison Is Turning 5!

The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee is about to turn the big "5" years old November 12, 2011. Which, in the current market for newspaper comic strips, is something we at Edison Lee Productions feel is pretty darned awesome!

John has written about it over on his blog at the cartoonist Studio but we are experiencing technical difficulties when we try to share it on facebook. (Read - "facebook changes everything so often our addled brains are left coughing in the dust)

So here is the copy from John's post:

November 12 will mark the beginning of year 6 for "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee". I can't believe we've already cranked out 5 year's worth material. According to my math (check me on this, please—my math is fuzzy most of the time), this means we've created 1825 daily and Sunday comic strips. It's hard work, but I still love this job. A big thank you goes out to King Features Syndicate, all of Edison's fans, and our family and friends for supporting us through the years.


John Hambrock

Spot The Mistake

So today we're playing "Spot The Mistake"

I'll give you a minute to peruse today's strip and figure out what's wrong with it.

(Jeopardy music playing in your head)

OK, times up.

When John does strips based on board games that actually exist, I try hard to color them so they look as much like the real thing as possible.

And I did.

This time the mistake is not in the coloring but in the drawing. Those of you who have played Monopoly will be well aware that Edison is trying to move his pieces the wrong way.

Now it could very well be that it was a well thought out and planned decision. After all, if you reverse the direction, the player moving his piece has to be on the left of the frame and the player blocking him has to be on the right. But the way the joke is written the word balloons and the pacing dictate the placement of the characters and, hence the pieces moving in the  wrong direction.

Or it could be that we don't know how to play Monopoly.

You be the judge.

The Social Security Club

From time to time I'd like to start posting strips and talking about them a little. The above strip while fairly silly, addresses a serious topic that I haven't seen much conversation on.

Most of us with aging parents have thought about the dreaded issue of when to speak to them about not driving. (We may not have the nerve to actually take away the car keys, but I think we all worry about it.)

But what about the internet? Is there a point at which you need to step in and disconnect them from Amazon and Facebook? What happens if they can't tell the difference between legitimate emails and every Nigerian phishing scheme that shows up in their email box?

Who among us wants to see our parents get taken? Worse, how do you even approach a topic like this? It's bad enough to tell your parents you think their reflexes have slowed to the point that they are now a danger on the road - how do you tell them you worry about their judgement?

With my adult kids it's easier. I can get all "high and mighty" with my years of world experience and caution them about posting those silly photos of themselves drinking and carousing (that seemed like such a good idea at the time) on the internet. (They don't listen but I at least feel better for having done my parental duty). But these are grown people we are talking about. And they pretty much feel they outrank us til the end of time.

I suspect more and more older people are falling for internet scams and I'm hoping it will generate some good "Dr. Phil" type magazine articles telling us what to do when the time comes.

Minnesota Fall Con

Mike Edholm, Stephan Pastis, John Hambrock and Tom Richmond in front of Sparky's childhood home.

Last weekend John traveled up to Minneapolis for the NCS North Central Chapter meeting and also to visit our oldest son in college at the U. The cartoonists had a table at Fall con, presented a panel discussion at MCAD and also spent some time hanging out at childhood haunts of Charles Schulz.

I understand everything was very well attended and everyone had a great time. (I know John sold a lot of Edison books and that always makes me happy :-}) And Stephan Pastis was there as a guest speaker so my son got to meet one of his icons - that's always good!

Tom Richmond has a very nice write up and more pictures over on his blog here.

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning Re-edited Radio Interview

When we recorded the interview for the festival guests we had some technical issues, one of which was an extremely long pause getting the phone portion with Scott Stantis going. Another challenge was that the archived version from the radio station (that I posted here earlier) was on a timer and half of Scott's interview was cut off completely!

Greg Berg and Tom Racine to the rescue! Greg edited the show down for me and Tom Racine graciously offered to post it over on the Tall Tale Radio podcast.

So click here for the interview in its entirety - Thank you everyone!!!!

Jonesing For My Ipad

This is the current home of my ipad.

Some of you know what this means. It means the ipad is drying out from a bender. Most specifically a trip into an aquarium.

Trust me, I didn't drop it into a tank of water just for fun. It was one of those Laurel and Hardy moments of juggling as I was gathering up my teaching materials and exiting class.

So the first thing on my list today after dropping kids off at school will be a trip to the craft store to buy large quantities of silica. From everything I've read, the rice/silica treatment is my ipad's only hope for recovery.

But the process takes a minimum of 3 days. 

Life without my ipad for 3 whole days!!

I have written elsewhere that my life has been taken over by my ipad, and I was kind of kidding. But the truth is, the second it fell into that fish tank, I started feeling withdrawl pangs.

Which have only intensified over the 14 hours since the incident.

Gonna be a long three days......

Go Buy This Book!

If you want to get your hands on one of the best books on the art of caricature available today, head over to Tom Richmond's and pick up a copy of "The MAD Art of Caricature". And if you head over to Minnesota's Fall Con this Saturday, October 15 you can meet Tom in person and get that book SIGNED - (and he might draw you a caricature too, but I'm not promising anything...)

And while you're in a book buying mood, pick up a copy of "The Edison Files: Notes From The Lab" for those Edison fans on your Christmas list. And, as with Tom, John will also be at Fallcon this Saturday selling and signing books for all the folks who read Edison in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  (Oh, and I think some guy named Stephan Pastis will be there with his latest book as well. I haven't read his stuff but I hear he's good....)


I have been remiss :-(

With all that I had to do for the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning, I forgot to put up a plug for the new blog by Arnold Roth. 

It is chock full of Arnie's legendary humorous illustrations and should be one of your regular weekly stops. Mr. Roth is a true comic genius and even funnier in person than he is on the page (if that is possible) so what are you waiting for! Go look at it!

Yay For Gil!!

We've had a secret. And it's been really, really, really hard to keep because we were so excited about it. But now we can come out and publicly congratulate Norm Feuti on the launch of his second comic strip "Gil".

Gil began a few years back as a webcomic and it was clear to both me and John that it was something special. When Norm put out a book collection of Gil comics, we were in line for a copy right away.

Then Norm pulled the plug on it and it looked as though that book would turn into a collector's item/trivia question answer. And we were sad. And aggravated. Because we thought Gil had a terrific quality to it and we wanted to see more of it.

Each time we saw Norm at comics related gatherings we would push and push him "When are you going to bring back Gil!?". Until he got so frustrated with us that he did a drawing for John that showed Gil being landed on by the ubiquitous comic device, the 2000 pound weight.

"There! - He's dead! Leave me alone!" said our buddy Norm.

But you just can't keep a good character down and King Features must think so too because they are launching Gil into syndication this year.

Click here to read the Gil development blog by Norm and King Features Editor Brendan Burford and here to hear them discuss Gil with podcaster Tom Racine.

Yay for Norm and for Gil!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

My thank you post and wrap up of the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning can be found here.

Radio Interview and Catching Up

We have wrapped the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning (notice I did NOT say "first annual" ahem....) and the radio interview with the artists that was broadcast live Thursday September 15 is now archived and available for your listening pleasure.

It was a great festival - I'm getting an awful lot of pressure to do another one - but now there is hell to pay for all the cartoonists involved as we struggle to catch back up to deadline. There are really no vacations in cartooning land - the deadlines continue to loom and most cartoonists struggle to work ahead (except Paul Gilligan who said he was plenty ahead and could take the time - we are in awe of him and curse him for his togetherness as we are very, very jealous) so full blogging about the festival will have to wait. I have strips to color that were due last Friday, bills to pay that were due September 1st and "thank you" notes to write that can never be written soon enough. Oh, and all those Spot the Cartoonist spots I couldn't get to for the last two weeks. And my regular column for the local newspaper. And relearning my kids names.....

You get the idea.

So enjoy the interview and I'll give you all the behind the scenes festival details as soon as I am able.

BTW - you have to fast forward past the opening music. There is so much of it because we were taking so long to get all the artists settled.


Ten years ago today, at 8:45 a,m, I was in my car with the radio on. I had dropped my sons off at school and was on the return leg of the journey. The radio host then did something I'd never heard before - he stopped his interview and announced that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. It took about 4 seconds. Then the interview resumed and I thought to myself that it must have been some small plane like a Cessna that was in difficulties. You know, like when a plane loses its bearings in the fog and flies into a mountain.

A couple of minutes later, the announcer again broke in to say something else about the plane but, as before, normal programming resumed.

At this point I decided something serious was going on and that I needed to switch to an all news channel. What I found there was horribly akin to the radio announcements broadcast during the Hindenburg tragedy.

I called John on my cell phone and said "You'd better turn on the TV - it sounds as though all hell is breaking loose."

Within a few minutes I was home watching the whole thing unfold. I won't give you the play by play of our lives that morning but here are a few of the memories that most stand out:

Being on the phone with a friend talking about what was going on when she shouted "Oh my god! Another one!" as the second plane hit the second tower. 

Almost everything I saw on the screen looked like an action movie, which made it hard to grasp the reality of it. Until I saw the people jumping. And knew they were real. And they were dying.

Sitting on the couch with John and our 2 year old daughter. We were watching in horror, she was oblivious and playing with my face the way toddlers do. Her absolute lack of understanding of the moment coupled with our all too complete knowledge of it took my breath away.

Frantic phone calls among friends which yielded the discovery that one of my best friend's husbands was in Washington for a conference and was in a hotel across from the Pentagon. and another friend's brother-in-law was actually in the second tower in an office on the 75th floor. Thankfully he got out. But only because they began to evacuate the second tower when the first one was hit. Tragically, when he and some co-workers were about halfway down, they were given the all clear and told they could go back to their offices. Some did, some didn't. Those who did died.

One of my most compelling memories comes from the end of that school day when I went to pick up my sons. The decision at their school had been to tell the children nothing of what had transpired. The teachers were outside dismissing the students smiling at them and shaking their hands goodbye as they do everyday. Not a hair out of place. Then, I saw my son's teacher get into a car behind me and collapse into a storm of grief. What it must have taken for her to keep her composure all day on the job, I can only imagine.

And in the aftermath - two days of utter silence overhead. Not one plane in the sky. Not one jet plume. It was a silence that was actually palpable. Almost as if we held our breath for two whole days.

Watching events unfold on that horrible day, I knew life would never be the same. I knew airport security and a million other little things about how we live our lives would be affected. But 9/11 also affected me in some ways for which I was not prepared. 

One is that I have become uncomfortable in large crowds - especially in confined spaces. When we attended our nephew's college graduation a few years ago, thousands of people were making their way through the lobby and up the stairs of the fieldhouse where the ceremony would be held. As I stood in the crowd holding my small daughter's hand, someone next to me pushed ahead and almost broke our handhold. In that moment, I became afraid of two things - that if I lost my child in the crowd, she would be trampled or smothered, and that if, for any reason we had to evacuate the building, there were not enough clear paths to the exit for all of us to get out quickly. I turned right around with all three kids and took them outside to play in the grass until the ceremony was over, figuring I would see my nephew afterward at the party and that he would understand. 

I know that this fear is largely a result of hearing the stories of those who survived 9/11 but almost did not make it out of the building.

Please observe this day in whatever manner you see fit - I know that part of my day will be spent taking some quiet time away from strip deadlines and festival planning to sit with my family and just enjoy the time we have together.

The above cartoon is part of the 9/11 memorial project in which 93 cartoonists participated. You can read more about it here.

Sir Brendan of Blog

Brendan Burford, comics editor at King Features, has started a weekly blog.

That's him in the middle surrounded by slightly alcohol addled cartooning people such as Rina Piccolo (his lovely wife) Paul Gilligan, Jenny Robb, Karyl Miller, Jeff Corriveau and yours truly.

I chose not to use his official King photo because he's a very down to earth guy and it's likely to be a very down to earth blog. I also chose not to use some of the more embarrassing photos from the Reubens were the alcohol addling has progressed a little futher :-)

Anyway - here is his blog:

Go check it out!

Kudos 8/28

These got me yesterday:

 As usual, this strip is channeling my life

 Not only is this funny, but damn that Piraro! What is he playing at putting Max Parrish quality art in his strip!

 We know a little girl eerily similar to this....

 Too true....

Again, too true....

And, while I know it's cliche to say it, once again, channeling life in our house. We no longer refer to this strip as "Zits" but as the name of our second son. John will say - so, did you read (son's name) today?

And I also wanted to add Pooch Cafe but I can't get the file. Go look at it on gocomics.

We Know These Guys!

Fellow North Central Chapter NCS buddy and world famous editorial cartoonist Jeff Koterba riffs with Michael Feldman on his 8/13 Whadyaknow. (Jeff is in Part A)

We've been to Michael's show several times (once I got to throw the dart for the town of the week) and it's always a blast. Check it out.

Oh, and buy a copy of Jeff's great book "Inklings"

I wish they would also have had Jeff's great band The Prairie Cats  as a musical guest but you can't have everything. See videos of them in action here.

Reminder To Check Out Cartoonist Videos

Just a reminder that I have set up a Spot The Cartoonist Youtube channel dedicated to videos of cartoonists drawing. There are videos from Tom Richmond, Steve Brodner, Charles Schulz, Al Hirschfeld, Rick Kirkman, Richard Thompson and many more. Check it out!

And if you have a video, or know of one that should be included, send the link to

Geek Papas

If you are a parent you know that it is not enough to pass your DNA on to the next generation.

You must also pass down your values.

Your children should understand their heritage and the cultural influences that shaped you.

And, if those influences happen to be comic books and sci-fi movies - you must, I say must expose your children to the classics.

So if you geek out over which Star Trek Captain is the real Star Trek Captain and whether or not the Hobbit has the same sensibility as the Lord Of The Rings - who would win in a cage match - Green Lantern or Batman - or whether or not there should even be such a thing as a Star Wars Prequel - then I have a blog for you.

Geek Papas is the brainchild of Tall Tale Radio Podcaster Tom Racine. As a geek papa himself, he is building a community (or support group - depends on your point of view) of fellow geekdom torchbearers.

Head over and check it out:


(Click on the image for a better view)

This is the Edison strip that is traveling the country as part of the "One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages" show. As I have been organizing the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning, the strips in the show have been the topic of a lot of conversation and it appears to me that - although this originally ran April 11 2010, it could just has easily have run again this week :-)

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

If you've noticed that I haven't been blogging much lately, it's because I'm working on a monster project called the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning. When Carthage College Gallery Director expressed an interest in bringing "One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages" to Kenosha this fall, I decided to organize a festival around it. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment :-) Anyway I have started a new blog for all things festival related that you can read here: Kenoshacartoonfest

Enjoy and check back often - the festival is in only 8 weeks and I'll be posting regular updates.