When I first cooked up Monkey & Bird, Tina and I thought it would be great as a daily comic strip so we looked at comic strips and did research on syndicates which was all fine and good. I jotted down notes for jokes and filled sketchbooks with ideas for characters and situations. I had a fun idea, and a lot of material, but the problem was fitting it all into a three to four panel daily strip. I don’t know how cartoonists do it. How do they cram the drawing and readable dialogue into one tiny row of panels? I tried, and it seemed to me that two-thirds of the strip was taken up by word balloons leaving the last third for talking heads. I tried working on huge individual panels that would fit on my scanner. I would marry the panels together and reduce it in the final layout.Â It wasn’t working. Back in the drawer it went to collect more dust. Monkey & Bird would make occasional appearances in personal greeting cards for the family.
Fortunately for me, Gerry Giovinco and Bill Cucinotta came along with their fabulous CO2 Comics website this past summer. They were looking for content and were kind enough to run with There’s No Escape From a Deadline and Hot Topics. They asked if I had anything else. Thinking of the dusty sketchbooks I had lying around I said that I might. Gerry had a horizontal layout that thought would work well for the site. As it turns out, it worked very well for me, and Monkey & Bird finally saw the light of day!
Above is an old sketch from my attempt at creating one panel from a three-panel, one row comic strip. Cramped isn’t it?