HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

I saw the movie “Groundhog Day” for the first time in 2015. It was one of those movies everyone talked about, but that I never got around to watching. I don’t find it to be one of those movies I have to see every year, but I do think it belongs up there with many of the other great holiday movie classics. I wrote this strip almost immediately after watching it for the first time.

Edison Lee Celebrates 11 years!

The first daily strip, Monday, November 13, 2006.

On November 12, 2006, I started down an uncertain path as a syndicated cartoonist. I had no idea what to expect, how long the path would be, or where it would take me. Eleven years later I’m happy to report that it has been a tremendously satisfying journey, second only to my marriage and raising my kids. Looking forward, I have no Idea where I’m headed, but I’m not worried because I’ve always let the characters chart the course and drive the momentum, and so far they haven’t let me down. The moment the strip becomes predictable is the day I call it quits.

I want to thank King Features for believing in me and continuing to support “The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee”. I want to thank all of the great newspapers that carry the strip, their readers, and all the folks who read online for giving me a reason to get up in the morning to let this rambunctious cast of characters take over my day. Thank you to my children for their patience and understanding as I rushed to meet deadlines. And a very big thank you to Anne for her tremendous contributions and unwavering support through eleven years of this roller coaster ride of a profession.

Looking back, would I do it all over again?

Yes.

 

GET A UNIQUE PIECE OF EDISON LEE STAR WARS ART HERE!!

In 2015, the National Cartoonists Society created a Star Wars themed poster that was sold at their booth at the San Diego Comic Con. Many cartoonists from the NCS created their own take of George Lucas’ famous characters, often including their own characters that they are known for. The NCS is happy to be offering the original EDISON LEE art used for this poster, along with other original comic art from some of its members.

The final ink drawing used features Edison as Luke Skywalker and Joules as Princess Leia. The color seen on the poster was added digitally. But wait! There’s more! On the reverse side of this 5×7” piece of Bristol is another Star Wars idea that I decided not to finalize for the NCS poster. The bonus pencil drawing is signed, the inked side is not signed.

To bid on this unique item, go to:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NCS-ORIGINAL-Comic-Strip-Art-EDISON-LEE-artist-JOHN-HAMBROCK-Star-Wars-theme-/172511472239?hash=item282a7c2a6f:g:Q7cAAOSwLEtYknd8

This and the other great original comic items are being sold by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation (NCSF). The NCSF is the charitable arm of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS), the world’s largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. The NCSF was formed in 2005 to continue the charitable and educational works that have been a hallmark of the NCS since its inception in 1946.

EDISON LEE CELEBRATES TEN YEARS!

Edison_C20061112

The first comic, Sunday, November 12, 2006.

On November 12, 2006, “The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee” made its official newspaper debut. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I would manage the daily grind of producing a comic strip. One comic a day, for better or worse, in sickness and health — it was like getting married, only scarier. But something interesting happened in that first year that I did not expect. The characters began taking on a life of their own. I found that all I needed to do was summon one or more of them to the front of my mind, and they would explain to me what was going on in their world. Sounds crazy, but this is how it continues to work for me.

Edison began as a germ of an idea in the late ’90’s. At first, I wasn’t sure how to handle him. He was a very smart, precocious kid who liked science and engineering, and that was pretty much all I had. Then the 2000 presidential election happened. The circus of events in the months that followed, and the eventual Supreme Court decision in favor of Bush shifted my focus toward creating a more politicized comic strip. Not wanting to abandon Edison’s roots, I started merging scientific and political themes and watched as interesting things emerged. The writing was as close to my inner voice as it had ever been. Fortunately, Brendan Burford at King Features saw Edison’s potential. The strip was still very much in its raw form, but he understood my vision and felt that it had something to offer. Eighteen months later, The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee was launched into newspapers — sold as a science strip with a political edge.

This ran on 12-20-2016

And so here we are. Another contentious election has come and gone, and we are about to embark on an interesting journey under new and controversial administration. You can count on Edison offering up his usual, pointed commentary during the next four years, and hopefully beyond. He still has much to say. After all, he’s only ten.

I want to thank the fantastic sales, editorial, and production team at King Features Syndicate for their hard work on my behalf, my loyal readers, the newspaper editors who have given Edison a space on their comics pages, and especially my wife Anne for her support and the talent she’s put into coloring over 3000 comics.

 

 

A behind-the-scenes peek at today’s strip

Today’s strip was actually conceived 8 weeks ago. The problem with working so far out on deadline is a lot can happen in 8 weeks. If you’re doing political jokes, this can be risky. Years ago I wrote a strip about a presidential candidate I thought for sure would be in the race by the time the strip ran. A week before it was to be published, that candidate dropped out. It was too late for me to pull it from newspapers, so it had to run. Today’s strip was a safe bet.

Edison_finalWhen I originally wrote this one, I had the man living in a run down house surrounded by factories. He was standing at the door dressed in a tank top and boxers. It worked in my head, but when I drew it up it felt completely wrong.  It looked to me like I was equating poverty with crazy. I chose instead to make him a middle-aged, generic sort of fellow. I wish I had taken a photo of that first drawing for this post, but I erased it before I realized this.

edison_1

edison_2

I work my roughs up with a #2 pencil, trying to stay as loose as possible. I always add the word balloons first, then draw the characters around them. After I have the drawings where I want them, I ink the letters. I used to use a #3 Rapidograph, but switched to #8 Microns about 4 years ago.

edison_3After I finish the lettering, I start right in on the inking. I use a #3 Windsor Newton round watercolor brush and Speedball ink for everything. When I’m through, I erase the pencil lines and it’s ready to scan for color. It takes me 1-2 hours to pencil and ink a Sunday.

edison_4After it’s scanned, my wife Anne colors it in Photoshop, and then off it goes to King Features for distribution.

Seriously!!

trump-zucchiniWhen I wrote this strip back in August I had no idea we’d be looking at a Trump nomination. Like almost everyone else, I figured he’d be gone by the end of the year. Boy did I get THAT one wrong!

I love including political humor in the strip, but unlike editorial cartoonists, I have to work weeks ahead. When I’m writing about a specific topic, I have to hope that what I’m saying will have any relevancy by the time it’s published.

Wait Wait…

WAIT-WAIT...Anyone who listens to NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” will often hear the show’s host Peter Sagal mention an animal study of one sort or another. The comments that follow from the panelists are often hilarious.

Soon after I created the above strip (the idea was Anne’s), she suggested I present it to Peter. The show was going to be in Milwaukee a few weeks later, so we arranged to attend the taping of the program and to meet him afterward to give him the original. The show was fantastic, and we had a blast meeting the panelists. It now hangs in the “Wait Wait” offices in Chicago.

Peter-Sagel