|| Breathed, Berkeley (1957- ), American cartoonist, creator of the comic strips
"Bloom County" and "Outland," which combine silly humor with social commentary.
He won the Pulitzer Prize for cartooning in 1987. Breathed was born in Encino,
California, and studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
"Bloom County" features a penguin named Opus and a variety of human
characters. In 1989 Breathed replaced "Bloom County" with "Outland."
Larson, Gary (1950- ), American syndicated cartoonist, known for his offbeat humor.
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Larson was an avid reader of comics as a child. After
graduating from Washington State University in 1972, he played jazz guitar and banjo
in local nightclubs and then worked in a music store for several years before
concentrating on drawing. In 1979 he showed his work to the San Francisco
Chronicle newspaper. This soon led to a syndication contract for a regular cartoon
feature called "The Far Side." Internationally popular, Larson's cartoons have been
published in more than 17languages. Although he retired in 1995, his previously
published cartoons continued to be syndicated.
Groening, Matt (1954- ), American cartoonist, creator of the comic strip
"Life in Hell" and the cartoon family the Simpsons. Born in Portland, Oregon,
Groening moved to Los Angeles in 1977, where he recorded his reactions to the
city and to life in the comic strip "Life in Hell." In 1981 the comic went into
syndication, after which several collections of his cartoon strips were published.
In 1987 Groening created the Simpsons, a cartoon family featuring an outspoken
son, Bart, to appear as part of a comedy show. The separate television show entitled
"The Simpsons" premiered in 1990.
||Jim Davis was born July 28, 1945, in Marion, Ind., and was promptly dropped on his head, explaining his lifelong desire to become a cartoonist. Jim Davis grew up on a small farm with his parents, his brother and 25 cats. As an asthmatic child, Jim spent a lot of time in bed and with little more than his pencil, paper and imagination, he created pictures, which he soon discovered were more fun when accompanied by words.
After college, Davis did a two-year stint with a local advertising agency. In 1969, he joined "Tumbleweeds" creator Tom Ryan as his cartoon assistant. Then he created a comic strip about a character named Gnorm Gnat. The strip ran in one Indiana newspaper, but when Davis tried to sell it to a national comic strip syndicate he was told, "It's funny. But bugs? Who can relate to a bug?"
Davis noticed that there were numerous comic strips about dogs, but few about cats -- even though the world is full of cat lovers. He combined that knowledge with his own memories of the 25 farm cats he grew up with, and Garfield, a fat, lazy, lasagna-loving, cynical cat became his formula for success. "Garfield" began syndication with only 41 papers on June 19, 1978. But his faithful following has grown into millions, and the tubby tabby now appears in more than 2600 newspapers worldwide.
For Davis, life with Garfield is very simple: "If we take care of the cat, the cat will take care of us." And, by nurturing and keeping fresh every aspect of Garfield's design, attitude and entertainment quality, Davis has created not only the fastest-growing comic strip in the world, but also dozens of best-selling books that have been translated into 26 languages, a CBS television series and 13 prime-time specials, and a plethora of Garfield merchandise sold in 69 countries. Needless to say, Davis has devoted his life to taking care of the cat.
In 1981 and 1986, the National Cartoonists Society named Davis Best Humor Strip Cartoonist of the Year. In 1985, the NCS gave him the Elzie Segar award for outstanding contributions made in the cartoon industry, and in 1990, the NCS bestowed upon Davis the prestigious Reuben award for outstanding strip of the year.
Davis' time and energy have not been devoted exclusively to cartooning and Garfield. He is also an active environmentalist. In 1990, the National Arbor Day Foundation awarded him the Good Steward award for his efforts in reforestation in his native state of Indiana. Davis is also involved with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a campaign promoting the restoration of wetlands, as well as The National Wildlife Federation's "Build a Schoolyard Habitat" campaign.
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities awarded Davis the Distinguished Alumnus award for 1985 for his promotion of higher education. In 1991, both Ball State University and Purdue University awarded Jim honorary doctorate degrees.
When Davis isn't at the drawing board, his hobbies include golf, fishing, chess, sandwiches, good friends, and spending time with his son, James.
Bill Watterson's comic strip, "Calvin and Hobbes," is the engaging chronicle of a six-year-old's psyche. The strip, first syndicated in 1985, was carried in more than 2,400 newspapers when it ceased publication January 1, 1996.
"Calvin and Hobbes" clearly has gained worldwide appeal: More than 23 million "Calvin and Hobbes" books are in print, and each of the 14 book collections has been a million-seller within the first year of publication. The most recent collection, "The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book," was published in the fall of 1995 by Andrews McMeel and rose to number one on the New York Times best-seller list. It remained on best-seller lists across the country for weeks after publication.
In 1986, Bill became the youngest person to win the prestigious Reuben Award for "Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year" from the National Cartoonists Society. He won the award again in 1988, and also was nominated for the honor in 1992.
In a letter to newspaper editors announcing his retirement, Watterson stated: "This is not a recent or easy decision, and I leave with some sadness. My interests have shifted, however, and I believe I've done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises. I have not yet decided on future projects, but my relationship with Universal Press Syndicate will continue."
Bill Amend (rhymes with "Raymond") was born in 1962 in Northampton, Mass. Bill's early childhood was spent principally in and around New England, with an especially memorable three years in Newton, Mass. This was when Bill first started drawing cartoons and spent every penny of his allowance on comic books and Mad magazines. These were his "Jason Fox" years, and he thinks back to them often in the course of writing his strip.
At age 12, his family moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where Bill attended junior high and high school. It was during this time that he began to contribute cartoons to various school publications, not always to great fanfare. His high-school paper wouldn't run one cartoon of his, for example, which featured as its punch line a puppy being thrown into a pit of hungry lions. The school counselor took a special interest in young Bill from this point onward. In addition to cartooning, Bill played tuba in the school band, made weird little super-8 movies (culminating in the epic 45-minute "Trek Wars," which boasted scenes so chock-full of homemade explosives that Bill really should have been arrested or killed) and, for a brief time, was president of the school math club until he was impeached. He was also an Eagle Scout and was active in his church, especially after the aforementioned brushes with explosive death.
Bill attended Amherst College, where he majored in physics. This is, as you might imagine, not the traditional course of study pursued by cartoonists, but it has allowed Bill to write those occasional math-oriented strips that maybe three people in the universe think are funny. In fact, he has a side-splittingly clever Schrodinger-equation joke lined up for this year's Mother's Day. While at Amherst, Bill drew editorial cartoons for the twice-weekly paper, co-published his own newspaper his junior and senior years, drank a lot of beer and began to think about pursuing a career in cartooning. Whether the beer played any role in these thoughts is unclear. So, when senior year came and all of his classmates were stressed out preparing resumes and grad-school applications, Bill spent his days merrily doodling away.
Despite his plans to the contrary, however, the merriment didn't last long. Bill's early comic strip attempts were cruelly greeted by rejection letters from syndicates, and he spent the first couple years after college living with his parents and with no clear job prospects. It was very pathetic. He worked briefly as an assistant animator for a small company until he made the mistake of erasing and re-drawing a lead animator's work. Then he worked for a time at a movie production facility in San Francisco until he met a visiting Leonard Nimoy and figured the job could only go downhill from there. He continued to send comic strip submissions to the syndicates every now and then and eventually, after about four incarnations, "FoxTrot" caught the attention of the editors at Universal Press Syndicate. "FoxTrot" debuted April 10, 1988, and now appears in more than 1,000 newspapers worldwide.
Bill lives in the midwest with his wife and two children.