A Donut Universe?

Remember, you can read Edison every day on Comics Kingdom or the Dailyink!

New Website Coming Soon

Some of you may have noticed that the link to John's blog is broken. Also that he hasn't written a blog post in over a year. The latter is responsible for the former - we can't access the page either :-)

That is about to change when King Features rolls out a shiny new website for The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee. Not only will you be able to read the strip there every day, John will be posting more often and his facebook and twitter feeds will also be there.

More details as we have them - probably within the next 10 days.

Why I Love Harley

Harley is Edison's younger cousin. Once upon a time, he was Edison's younger brother but the powers that be at the syndicate nixed him. He shows up from time to time and I always love it when he does because it gives Edison someone besides Joules and Don to take advantage of :-)

Sometimes Harley turns the tables on Edison and gets off a shot or two.

But not often.

Cartoonist Psychic

Even though she probably wrote this strip 6 weeks ago, my psychic friend Sandra Bell Lundy must have known I would have a cold this week.

Get Behind Thee French Fries!

An "Overbooked and Underpaid" post in which I rail upon the evils of diet sabotage! Click here to go to my Overbooked Blog.

Lake Effect Interview for Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

Last week I had the pleasure of heading up to the studios of WUWM 89.7 for an interview with Mitch Teich of Lake Effect. The piece ran on Monday and is archived here.

Mitch will be interviewing Hilary Price when she is here for the festival and also Stephan Pastis when he does the Milwaukee leg of his book tour. I'll post links as I get them.

Auction Art for Kenosha Festival of Cartooning NCSF Charity Auction Has Arrived!!

We now have almost all the art for the NCSF auction to benefit Children's Hospitals of Wisconsin and Margaret Ann's Place!

I cannot overstate the generosity of these cartoonists as they help us raise money for these worthy causes. As the art has arrived my emotions have run the gamut - gratitude, excitement, and awe. There are moments when I cannot believe I am looking at original art from giants in the industry. So much of my life has been spent losing myself in the world of comics and comic strips - since I was 3 - that seeing actual work by folks like Bill and Jeff Keane and Garry Trudeau is surreal to say the least. I must confess that I had Mr. Trudeau send his work to my house, rather than the museum, just so I could let it sit on my dining room table for a while. I can't afford to bid on it, so it was nice to have it in my house for 24 hours :-)

Below is the official list of work that will be offered for sale - there are a few changes from the original list so, if you are planning to come and bid, please go over the list carefully. 

Here also is a link to a photo gallery page that has some of the art - I haven't taken pictures of everything yet but will keep adding photos as I take them.

  1. Archie                                                        
  2. Baby blues                                                                                      
  3. Beetle bailey                                                                     
  4. Between Friends                                                                     
  5. Blondie                                                                                          
  6. Born Loser                                                                      
  7. Brenda Starr                                                             
  8. The Buckets                                                                              
  9. Deflocked                                      
  10. Dennis the Menace                      
  11. Doonesbury                                              
  12. Edison Lee                                                                      
  13. Family circus                                                                   
  14. For Better or For Worse                                                                        
  15. Gil                                                                                              
  16. Hagar                                                                           
  17. Hi and Lois                                    
  18. Jumble                                                                              
  19. Lio                                                                                    
  20. Lola                                                                                                           
  21. Luann                                                                                                         
  22. MAD mag                                                 
  23. Mutts                                                          
  24. The Norm                                                                                      
  25. Pearls before swine                                                                     
  26. Phil hands                                                                                   
  27. Pooch cafe                                                                                               
  28. Retail.                                                                                            
  29. Rhymes with orange.                                                     
  30. Sandra Boynton                                                             
  31. Snuffy Smith                                                                                        
  32. Soup To Nutz                                                                                        
  33. Speed bump                                                                              
  34. Zits 

Support Tall Tale Radio!

On the heels of my post about crowd sourced fundraising comes this very worthy project from podcaster extraordinaire Tom Racine.

Tom has the best comic "behind the scenes" podcast going on the web (in my opinion) and needs to upgrade his equipment to keep those great shows coming.

He's asking for a modest amount of money and he has some great rewards for folks who fund the project.

Head over and donate today!!

Crowd Sourced Fundraising: Kickstarter vs Indiegogo

I recently became aware of the crowd sourcing platform "Indiegogo" and, as the survivor of a successful Kickstarter campaign (Kenosha Festival of Cartooning), I thought I would share a little of my experience with that platform and why I might consider using Indiegogo for my next project.

Kickstarter - Pros:

1) Kickstarter currently has much higher name recognition than Indiegogo. Name recognition will not help you very much in terms of actual dollars pledged via the kickstarter site itself but it helps enormously when you are trying to spread the word that you are crowd sourcing a project. I personally did not get much funding from casual Kickstarter browsers. But tying the project to Kickstarter did help the project get coverage on other online news sites and blogs.

2) Kickstarter has rules for its projects and funding that gives backers the impression that the project has been vetted. This probably allows backers to support projects with confidence that they are not being scammed in some way.

3) Getting my Kickstarter project approved was a little nerve wracking but, once the process was underway, the site was very easy to understand and work with.

Kickstarter - Cons:

1) Kickstarter offers only "fixed funding" which means that, if you don't 100% make your goal, you get NOTHING. Nada. When I would tell people this, they were often surprised and thought it was stupid.

I can only feel that Kickstarter sticks with this model because they feel that it creates a sense of urgency among backers that makes them more active supporters. More active supporters are more likely to raise their pledge if they feel the project is in jeopardy and also twist the arms of their friends to become backers as well.

Believe me, if you don't have active backers who REALLY, REALLY want to see your project succeed, it won't.

2) Kickstarter ONLY accepts donations via Amazonpayments. This was a nightmare for me. First, there was no mechanism for me to set up the campaign as a non- profit - which mine was - and, secondly, it took over a WEEK to get the account set up properly. There was always some button I hadn't clicked properly or some other mysterious problem on their end. And the problems were not quickly or easily resolved.

Another problem with Amazon payments is that a lot of my potential backers did not have Amazon accounts and did not want to create them just to donate to my project. So they would offer me a check or some other way to pay instead, assuming I could just put that money into the project account myself.

Except that you can't do that. Amazon payments has a STRICT policy that no one can "pay themselves" to fund a project. Even if the money comes from a genuine backer via a personal check, you CANNOT pay it to the Kickstarter project. If you do attempt to "pay yourself" in this way, Kickstarter will cancel your project and blacklist you.

Indiegogo - Pros and Cons

I'll be honest, I haven't attempted a project on Indiegogo yet but I have poked around the site as well as made a donation to a project and here's what I found.

1) Payments you can use - this is a HUGE difference - credit card or paypal. I honestly don't know ANYONE who does not have a credit card or a paypal account. Being able to accept these methods of payment would have made a difference to my project of at least $600 - maybe more. I'll never really know how many potential donations I lost when backers got to the payment phase, got frustrated, and decided to skip donating.

2) Flexible Funding - again HUGE. For a project like mine, the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning, where I was just trying to raise as much money for the festival as I could, I would much rather have been able to keep what I raised, no matter how much it was. WARNING - on Indiegogo, the fees for a flexible campaign that does not reach its goal are much higher. 9% vs 4%

These two differences alone make me want to try Indiegogo next time I crowd fund a project.


Both these platforms take a significant fee for helping you fund your project. Between the Kickstarter fees and the Amazon Payments fees, I lost about $1300 of the total "$13,600" I raised. It does not look as though Indiegogo is any cheaper. Be sure to factor these fees in when you set your target goal.

DON"T attempt to crowd source a project without social networking and other types of publicity!!!! The three most important ingredients in my success with the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning were 1) Facebook 2) Twitter 3) News blogs like The Daily Cartoonist and 4) The Tall Tale Radio Podcast interview I did. My biggest donor, The National Cartoonist Society Foundation, would not have been aware of my project or that it was a good fit for their mission without that interview.

Politics in Comics

Depending on who you talk to, Edison is either a strip exclusively about politics or else it is a cute strip about a boy inventor.

What are the actual ratios? In looking over the strips of the past year, one can break Edison down into a few categories: very political, light social commentary, science, inventions, entrepreneurialism, and general silliness.

How many of the strips are truly political along the lines of Prickly City or Doonesbury? Roughly 20%.

Still - some folks seem to think it's more like 85%.

And they don't like it.

And they write us and tell us to knock it off.

Which, frankly, ain't going to happen.

Because for every person who writes us and tells us to knock of the political stuff, 10 more write to say how much they like it. And because Edison is, like most people, a highly complicated personality. Furthermore, the strip was syndicated specifically because it had a strong socio-political bent.

And because the political ones are the ones John enjoys doing the most. They help him scratch an itch.

Take, for example the above two strips.

The first one, according to our mail, has been misinterpreted by some people as being anti business. John and I are not anti business. It would be impossible for us to be anti business, as we both run small businesses. And if you read every Edison from the past six years you will not find ONE strip that attacks small mom and pop businesses.

But you'll see us go after the greedy corporate bastards who buy off both sides of the political system and rig everything in their favor so they can stamp out their competition. You'll see us go after them every single time.

Not afraid to call a spade a spade.

And the second strip is interesting because it promotes the possibility that there are actually people in this country who LIKE Obama care and would be in big trouble without it. Its amazing how the voice of these people has been drowned out in the debate over healthcare. Only the naysayers seem to get media coverage.

So, for those of you who don't like the political strips - we understand, we really do. We hear you.

But they're not going away.

And if you hated the two above strips, you'll REALLY hate the strip that will run next Wednesday, August 1 2012.

Probably better read "Love Is" that day instead.

I Refuse To Take Orders From My Microwave!


I wrote this piece for my other blog about a year ago - it found its way, in a manner of speaking, into the Edison Strip from last Sunday.

"Over the course of the last five years or so we have had what could best be described as an era of appliance transition. Many of the appliances or gadgets that we bought when we were first married have started to give up the ghost. Which isn't really too surprising when you know that my husband and I are about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Because of our habit of being underpaid, we tend to hang on to our gadgets until they truly, truly can no longer function or be repaired. And because we're frugal (read cheap) we get those babies repaired time and time again.

Aggravatingly, the era of the repairable appliance seems to have packed up and left to be replaced by planned obsolescence. 

Which is annoying in and of itself, but adding insult to injury is the rise of the "talking gadget". 

Thankfully, I don't really mean talking because my gadgets don't talk out loud. 

Instead, they converse with me via little digital messages, most frequently in red or white LED display tones.

I think the first was the DVD player. And it seemed harmless enough. Quite businesslike, actually - "Power On" and "Power Off". And informational, "Loading, No Disk". Stuff like that.

Next came the DVR with  a little personality thrown in - "Hello" and "Goodbye" when turned on and off. This filled me with pangs of guilt as I would shut it down.  The "goodbye" seemed a little forlorn - like the mother who sighs "you never call me anymore".

But this new guy - the microwave......

Him I'm already sick of.

Who does he think he is bossing me around all day? With messages like, "Close Door", and "Press Start!". And the manufacturers have thrown in a little feature designed for your convenience that is simply irritating. So that you won't leave your just zapped cup of coffee in there for the next two days, the oven now sends you warning beeps every 60 seconds after it finishes its heating cycle. And aggressively flashes "Done. Remove Food! Done. Remove Food! Done. Remove Food!" until you get your keister over there to open the door.

It's had a terrible effect on John. Hardly a day goes by that I don't come downstairs to find him actually arguing with the thing like a deranged John Cleese character from Monty Python.

And don't get me started on the GPS system for my car. I finally had to mute the thing. You can only spend so much time sitting alone in your car arguing with your windshield before you start getting funny looks. I don't care how charming that Australian guy's voice is supposed to be. My father in law has his set to the woman's voice and has taken to referring to her as "bitching Betty". He seems to like the company - says she keeps him awake.

I don't know how far this trend will take us - when my vacuum cleaner starts talking to me like C3PO from Star Wars, I think I may just have to clock out and go live in the mountains with a fishing pole and a cabin with a fireplace.

And no chipper, helpful know-it-all appliances.

I may be cold and hungry but I'll be damned if I'll be bossed around by a toaster oven with delusions of grandeur."

Success!! And Thank Yous. And How You Can Still Support The Kenosha Festival of Cartooning!

I am thrilled to announce that we made our Kickstarter goal and raised a total of $13,600 for this year's Kenosha Festival of Cartooning!

A Huge, Huge THANK YOU to everyone who backed the project and helped spread the word via blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Special thanks to:

Tom Racine for helping me make the great video, for endless social networking and for interviewing me on Tall Tale Radio. I have the backer report now and it shows conclusively that the podcast generated more $ in pledges than any other source.

Rick Stromoski - President of the National Cartoonist Society Foundation - who felt that the Festival and the Foundation have similar goals and would be a good match. Without the Foundation's generosity, I am fairly confident I would have come up short on Kickstarter.

The NCSF board who unanimously agreed with Rick and supported his vision to help fund the festival.

Tom Richmond who generously offered to donate original MAD art as an extra backer reward and who blogged about the festival tirelessly.

Michael Jantze who offered sketches to anyone pledging $50 or more - including folks who had already pledged. In the days following his offer, I received several $50 pledges and I know that is no accident!

Alan Gardener and Mike Peterson who also blogged tirelessly about the Kickstarter Drive.

David Hurley who interviewed me on his blog Don't Pick The Flowers.

All of the above folks also personally made pledges to the project, for which I also thank them profusely!

A Little Business.....

On the business side, and in the interest of both transparency and a desire to be helpful to others who may wish to use Kickstarter:

Kickstarter DOES charge a fee for its services. 5% of total money raised.

So does Amazon - 3%-5% of all payments processed through Amazon. (I find this phrasing a little disingenuous as it is not possible to pledge to Kickstarter any other way but through Amazon)

This means that, of the $13,600 raised, anywhere from $1088 to $1360 will go, not to the festival, but to Kickstarter and Amazon.

I don't have a problem with this - I knew it going in when I agreed to Kickstarter's terms - but if you are planning to use Kickstarter to fund a project BE SURE TO FACTOR THESE FEES INTO THE AMOUNT AT WHICH YOU SET YOUR GOAL!

The $10,000 I asked for represents about 80% of my total projected budget for the 2012 festival. So the extra money we raised will help cover a larger percentage of festival expenses, and also the $1000-$1300 I will have to give to Kickstarter and Amazon.

Final Word

I decided to do the Festival in 2012 because there seemed to be a lot of genuine excitement about having another one. Immediately in the wake of the first festival a few folks made donations hoping there would be another.

I still have a paypal donation button up on the Official Festival Site - if you are excited enough about this festival that you would like to see it become a regular fixture in the cartooning firmament, please don't hesitate to head over and make a donation. I will honor the same backer rewards as on Kickstarter - Click on Support The Festival for more information on rewards.

Any donations not needed for the 2012 festival will be rolled over for future festivals.

New Guest Speaker!

I am optimistic that we will meet our Kickstarter Goal and am very excited to announce that Hilary Price is joining us to round out our guest speaker roster for September.

I've been a fan of Hilary's fabulous strip "Rhymes With Orange" for a long time and am thrilled that she will be joining us!

Our current total, with NCSF matching funds, is $7714. Which leaves us needing only $1,143 to make our $10,000 goal.

But we only have until 5:00 pm CST tomorrow (May 22) to get this done.

Are You Waiting For The Dramatic Moment?

To those of you who have already backed the Festival - Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
To those of you who are waiting for a BIG DRAMATIC MOMENT so put us over the top - "NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME, SCOTTY!"
I would also like to thank the folks who helped me get the word out about the fund drive this week. 
First, thank you David Hurley for posting a big article about the festival on your blog "Don't Pick The Flowers". In this post, I go into a little more detail about the city of Kenosha and I managed to scrape up a few good pictures from last year's festival compliments of Kenny Durkin's Blog.
Second, Thanks to Greg Berg who squeezed me in to the first 20 minutes of the morning show for Wednesday, 5/16 on WGTD (If you're looking for it in the archives, it's the show that features Mike Doughty)
Third, thanks to Mike Peterson who made me laugh with his stern scolding to non backers over on his blog "Comic Strip of The Day" Here is a fabulous quote from his blog - after you finish reading it, head over and read all the other pithy things he writes there, it is one of the best blogs on comics out there:
"So here's my argument:  It may well be that you aren't giving because you can't get to Kenosha and so you feel you won't benefit.
But don't you know anyone in Chicago (which is only 65 miles away) or Milwaukee (which is even closer)? 
Make a donation and send them an email that says, "I got you a present: Free admission to this really great festival! Sure, you can take one of your friends. Hey, wotthehell, take them both!"
"Let George do it" won't work. I'm George. I already donated.
Now it's your play."

And fourth, thanks to everyone who keeps continuously retweeting and sharing on facebook.

Favorite Avengers Moment

Loki "I'm a God! I'll not be bullied by you, damned creature!"

Hulk "Puny God"

Loki "Ouch!"

I won't embed a bootleg clip the scene as some others have done because YOU NEED TO GO SEE THE MOVIE!


Exciting Announcement for the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning!

It is with great excitement that I am able to announce that the National Cartoonist Society Foundation has contacted me and offered to match each new donation until we reach our $10,000 goal!!
What does this mean? It means that your pledge will now go twice as far! For example, your $50 pledge will bring in $100 to the project after the foundation matches it. (Rewards will still be given based on your individual pledge amount, not the doubled amount.)
I cannot thank the foundation enough for this generous offer!
If you've been waiting for an exciting time to donate - it would be now!!!!
Only 13 days to go!!
Head over to Kickstarter here!

New Reward for Kickstarter Drive!

Hey all you MAD fans - Tom Richmond is offering signed original pages from MAD parodies to folks who head over to our Kickstarter drive and pledge at the $400 level. There are only 5 of these babies - first come, first served, when they're gone, they're gone!

Tall Tale Radio Interview - Kenosha Festival of Cartooning on Kickstarter

We're ramping the Kickstarter drive into high gear (this may mean I'm panicking a smidge because we only have 19 days to raise $7700!!!!!)

The most excellent Tom Racine (who has just been an INCREDIBLE help to this project and will be our panel moderator at the festival) has just posted an interview all about the festival  - where it came from - where it's going - and how we're trying to fund it.

Go Listen!!!

Tall Tale Radio (click here)

Kickstarter Video With Tom Racine

Here is the video Tom Racine and I made for the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning Kickstarter fund raising drive.

Head over to Kickstarter and pledge today!!

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning Kickstarter from Tom Racine on Vimeo.

We're Live!

We've officially launched the Kickstarter drive for the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning!!

Thanks to those who have already donated - we're already at 8% funding!

If you haven't donated yet - what are you waiting for?! It's a great event and we have some terrific rewards!

Kickstarter Launch!

We are launching our kickstarter drive for the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning in TWO DAYS!

Here is the official press release - send it to anyone and everyone you think will want to be a part of this great event!

Friends of Cartooning!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the second Kenosha Festival of Cartooning!

This year's guest speakers are:

Stephan Pastis - Pearls Before Swine
Michael Jantze - The Norm and Jantze Studios
Dave Coverly - Speed Bump
Greg Cravens - The Buckets
Norm Feuti - Retail and Gil

and festival moderator:

Tom Racine - Tall Tale Radio

In these challenging economic times, many of the donors that funded the last festival have seen their funding cut. As a result, we are starting a fundraising drive on Kickstarter that will launch Thursday, April 19 and conclude Tuesday, May 22.

Thanks to the profound generosity of our guest speakers, we have some great rewards to offer backers and thanks to the talents of Tom Racine, we have a terrific video for the project.

Please forward this press release to EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO LOVES CARTOONING!

For Full Festival Details visit http://kenoshacartoonfest.blogspot.com/
or check out our page on facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/kenoshacartoonfest

With your help we will be able to put on a terrific event!

Anne Morse Hambrock

Founder and Director Kenosha Festival of Cartooning©

Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning on Kickstarter

I love the concept of Kickstarter. I don't know who thought of it but people in creative fields have always struggled to fund their dreams. When you are also struggling to stay in touch with your creativity, the dual role can really sap your creativity. 

I first found out about Kickstarter a couple of years ago when one of my friends sent me a link to Tony Murphy's "Coffee Talk" project.  (My Kickstarter profile doesn't list me as a backer of this because I did it jointly with my husband).

I speak from experience - you really get this great feeling when you get those emails saying you're a backer. It is so cool to help fund other creative people and their dreams.

I love doing the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning! I love organizing the events and interacting with the cartoonists. 

I'm even the sort of person who doesn't mind all the little nit picky things that have to be taken care of like getting folks to and from the airport and serving meals to the guests and setting up exhibits.....

The list goes on and on.

But the really hard part of the festival is getting the funding. Last year I was working on fundraising right up until two days before the first event.

And that's the stuff that keeps you up at night.

So, this year, I'm trying something a little different and, I hope, much more fun. 

This year the majority of the fundraising will be on Kickstarter. I will still have to beat the bushes in Kenosha for about 30% of my total festival budget, but the lion's share of the work will be the Kickstarter drive.

Head over to the festival blog and bookmark it so you can stay in the loop for all things festival related and also for info on the Kickstarter timeline.

No Rest For The Wicked.....

When I first had my accident I thought I had merely sprained my ankle. Then the ER doctor came in and told me that  I had not only broken my leg, but had managed to do a fine job of breaking it in two places.

He was starting to give me the technical rundown - which bone it was and where it was broken and what that meant and whether or not I would need surgery...  

And I was listening.

really was.

But I must have had some kind of disapproving look on my face because he stopped mid sentence and said "Are you about to tell me you're really busy? Too busy to have a broken leg?"

And I said "Yes, I most certainly am!"

He probably hears this a lot from people. I mean, who isn't insanely busy these days?

But, in my case, it isn't just my regular job and wife and mom schedule. For 5 months I've been working on the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning. 

Because the festival is my brainchild, the responsibility for getting everything set up falls primarily on me.

I have help from my husband and a couple of other folks I worked with on last year's festival but all the scheduling of the events, all the hiring of speakers, all the meetings with sponsors and hosting institutions and assemblage of press releases and organization of exhibits - yada, yada, yada....

That's the stuff that falls to me. 

And I learned last time that emails are no good for getting things going. Emails are good for tweaking details after you get the ball rolling, but face to face meetings areessential when it comes to getting sponsors and venues on board.

There's also the fundraising. Fundraising is a special little hell all its own. Especially in a bad economy and in a state that has become the poster child for government funding cutbacks. Cutbacks to things like Universities that host guest speakers. And cutbacks to public museums.....

It's not enough to plan a festival and find guests, you actually have to be able to paythe guests. And fly them in. And feed them. And put them up in a hotel that doesn't totally suck.

And all that stuff costs money.

We're not talking movie making budget money. But we're talking enough money that it's a little challenging to come up with. This broken leg has put me majorly behind in my ability to get to meetings and move things along.

And I was getting pretty worried. 

Until someone suggested Kickstarter.

It took a lot of work and I had to navigate through a minefield of links and legalese but I submitted the festival proposal to Kickstarter and - Hallelujah!! they approved it!!

I'm not ready to officially launch yet because I have to come up with a video pitch (which I stink at so Tom Racine is going to help) but look for the official launch of the project within the next 10 days.

Woot! I'm so excited! 

And I hope you are too!