|Wednesday||"Click on the Cartoon"||June 23, 2004|
Most of today's effort is directed at The Mailbox, a new feature where I'll attempt to answer selected mail from readers. Already, I've overdone it. I can see I'm going to have to edit for length both letters and replies. And I'm going to make you work for the cartoons today. They're buried within the text of The Mailbox, but I hope to remedy that with a little time.
Already, I've had to leave out several great letters, some of which I hope to answer tomorrow but some of which will go unanswered, I regret. Remember, I read and treasure all my mail. Well, I read it all and treasure most of it.
Welcome to arloandjanis.com, the ongoing attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for longest cartoon-related Web page.
Looking at a few Sunday cartoons yesterday was fun, so I thought I'd do a little more of that today with three more Sunday cartoons, two from 1997 and another from 1994. Also today, the final cartoon in the 1992 beach sequence.
It's the first full day of summer. Normally, the summer solstice arrives today, but this year it was early, and not a minute too soon at that. Summer officially arrived in the U.S. at 8:57 p.m. EDT Sunday. I was sitting on my patio. Where were you?
I hope you noticed I did not post anything here Saturday or Sunday. When I first launched arloandjanis.com, I was somewhat surprised to learn the fewest visitors come on weekends. I think I'll take advantage of this and give myself a break those days. Weekends still will be a good time for those of you who don't surf the 'net at work (both of you) to catch up.
Also this week, I'm going to start something new on Wednesday. I'm going to begin a "mailbag" feature, where I'll answer selected letters. Consider this a notice that any letter received at arloandjanis.com in the future might be answered on the Web site. I will not, however, identify any correspondent by any means other than a first name and will include no addresses. I will not include any letters received before today without obtaining the writer's permission. You are, of course, encouraged to write whatever's on your mind, but it will be a good opportunity to ask all those questions you have. Please remember, it will be impossible to answer all but a small fraction of the mail, but I'm proceeding on the assumption that's better than nothing.
Now, as for today's cartoons, I have something different: five Sunday cartoons from 1994. And, you will recall, Dear Reader, when we last left Arlo and Janis at the beach, they were, well... at the beach! Enjoy your summer. (Posted 6/21/2004)
OK, it's Friday, and regular visitors already have discerned that's a busy time for me. Deadlines for the newspaper strips loom. So, I'm just going to give you the next cartoon in the beach sequence, today. Oh, all right--I just can't say no to you guys. Here's another cartoon, from not long ago. Tune in next week for a new feature, "The Mailbag." (Posted 6/18/2004)
Welcome to arloandjanis.com. My name is Jimmy, and I'll be your server today. Our specials are three cartoons from the week of February, 1997. On our regular menu is the next installment of the beach series. For dessert, we have a cat cartoon. Thank you. I'll be back to take your order and every three minutes after that to ask if there's anything else you require.
I want to reiterate that response to the hair thing was wonderful. Literally, over 99% of the hundreds of letters I received either complimented the outcome and the strip in general or complained good-naturedly. I received and continue to receive a trickle of letters using words like "jerk" and "jackass" and "loser," because the writers believe I perpetrated an unfeeling hoax on them.
It comes down to this: it was not a hoax. Those who voted for the "tweak" and the "saucepan" and those who wrote in saying they like Janis as she is constituted a solid majority, and I took into account what they said. As a result, I'm "tweaking" Janis' hair, attempting to make it appear a little more flowing and natural. I will continue to be aware of this; cartoon art evolves. For anyone who feels I violated a solemn contract with them, go read the fine print. I never said I would permanently change Janis' appearance based solely on a plurality outcome.
It was not a hoax. It was a spoof. It was supposed to be fun. To those who did not take it that way and had their day diminished by my comic strip, I apologize, again. (Posted 6/17/2004)
As advertised, a little something different for you today, as A&J goes on the road. Actually, I was visiting my Aunt Joan.
No, there's no cat cartoon today. As I've explained, in the relative scheme of things, there aren't that many cat cartoons. You don't want to run out of cartoons already, do you? However, I'm planning a very special series for the cat people, beginning soon. So, don't touch that "exit" button! (Posted June 16, 2004)
I am having technical issues this morning, and the cat is cowering behind the sofa. I have decided that, rather than spend half the day posting what I'd really intended today, I'm going to punt and simply post the next cartoon in the beach series. Come back tomorrow, and--the pixel pixies willing--I'll have something a little different for you. (Posted June 15, 2004)
The cat cartoon today was the last cartoon I drew in a week-long series just last year. Janis drags out the neglected fondue pot and discovers in it the skeletal remains of Jerry, a long-vanished pet gerbil. Where do I get my ideas? Well, the fondue thing came out of a long conversation that my buddy Jerry Katz and I had with some new friends at a, let's say, "cafe" in Tampa. It seemed they all worked for a chain of fondue restaurants. You know, I never heard from those new friends, again.
I've told you my intention of allowing the current beach sequence to unfold one episode at a time, but I am including two today, because I took Sunday off and did not post anything.
Also, because I feel guilty about taking yesterday off, I'm including not one, not two, but three more favorites from the year 1995. Remember when you thought you would never get used to pronouncing the year as "two thousand and something?" Well, I still haven't. (Posted 6/14/2004)
Saturdays are slow days around arloandjanis.com. I encourage you to get off the computer and get outside. To facilitate this, I'll be brief. Today, I continue the beach sequence from '92, and throw in a couple of cartoons from 1995. Be careful out there! (Posted 6/12/2004)
Warning! Weasel Words!
many of you know by now, the hair-poll thing really and truly ended
Thank you, Avid! The entire exercise was, in reality, an experiment to see just how many of my readers I could upset. First, I managed to anger the thousands of you supporting "the tweak," who alleged the voting had been hijacked in favor of "the retro" by men still nurturing fantasies of youthful babes. Now, I'm receiving irate letters from those supporting "the retro," mostly from men still nurturing fantasies of youthful babes. Fans of "the perm" have been strangely silent.
But seriously, folks: of course I didn't set out to make anybody mad and certainly not to insult anyone. It's all in fun. Plus (Here are the Weasel Words!), the ultimate result is not as capricious nor as arbitrary as might appear. As those of you who voted several times know, the polling was not exactly scientific, and many of you who took the time to actually write me expressing an opinion did, indeed, favor keeping Janis more or less as she is. I listened. I thought about it all. If it helps, the results were not determined before the poll began; I didn't know myself exactly what I would do until I sat down to draw the strips that have appeared in the paper this week. In a way, "the tweak," which ran a close second, did win. I intend to tweak her current hairdo, so maybe it won't look exactly like a saucepan. To be honest, I have to agree with the many letters I received this week saying "the retro" was too retro.
In conclusion (Hallelujah!), I want to say that everyone has been great, really. Thank you for the hundreds of hilarious and touching letters on the subject of Janis' hair and on "Arlo and Janis" in general. Please, continue to return here to arloandjanis.com every day for more vintage strips and A&J trivia. If any one of you does go away feeling cruelly toyed with, I apologize and offer my stock excuse in these situations, "It's just a comic strip!" However, I continue to flatter myself with the assumption my readers have a sense of humor.
I'm going to post the next cartoon in the current beach sequence, but you'll have to excuse me while I go draw more cartoons today. Have a good weekend! (Posted 6/11/2004)
I have something a little out of the ordinary for you this morning, a series of cartoons from June of 1986, in which Arlo acquires a decrepit, '57 Chevrolet. In 1986, it still was possible--with a little luck--to purchase a decrepit, '57 Chevrolet outside Cuba. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first series of cartoons on a theme that I drew. Please don't write to ask me what happened to Arlo's '57 Chevy. It was a cartoon car; I don't know what happened to it. Sometimes, I worry about you people. Also, as promised, I'm going to let the early beach sequence from 1992 unfold one episode at a time.
You may well be wondering about my timetable for updating these pages. Well, it's like this. I get up about daybreak, prepare some coffee and begin updating the pages. I shoot for having the new material loaded by 8 a.m. EDT, but that doesn't always happen. This worried me at first but not so much now, since most of you don't drop in until you get to work. Regardless, I'm glad you're here.
I can't invite you all to my office to rummage through my old cartoons and talk about cartooning. For one thing, I only have one bathroom downstairs. So, that's why I have this Web site. Regular visitors know I started out with the best of intentions. Oh, I was going to have this marvelously organized archive for you to peruse with convenience and ease. It isn't working out that way. You really do just have to rummage around, which--honest to goodness--is exactly what I do when I make up this site every day. I just go through old cartoons and proofs, with neither rhyme nor reason, until something strikes my fancy. Or it gets late, as it's doing today.
Some of you may be here today because of the hair poll thing. As you know if you read the newspaper today or if you follow this site, readers voted for "the retro," a modified version of Janis' older, longer hairstyles. The voting was very close, with "the tweak" coming in a close second. Almost 45,000 votes were cast in the poll. I'd like to believe this is all I'm saying about the hair poll, but I'm afraid that'd be wishful thinking.
Now, on to today's cartoons. First, allow me to wrap up the school-shopping sequence with these three cartoons. Also, here are four cartoons from the week of Feb. 27, 1992, including a cat cartoon. Also, I'm beginning an early beach sequence, and I'm going to do this right: I'm only going to give you one cartoon a day from this series, which goes on for a couple of weeks, so don't beg. (Posted 6/9/2004)
Many readers have written me since the inauguration of arloandjanis.com. I have read all the mail and responded to much of it. However, I'm very chagrined to admit time simply does not permit me to answer all my mail these days. Please don't hesitate to write if you're so compelled, but I hope you won't be offended if a reply is slow in coming--or, alas, never comes. It is my largest regret about starting this whole thing, but there it is. (Posted 6/8/2004)
I thought about initiating one of those "frequently asked questions" features, but if I did, what would I talk about here every day? One of the questions frequently asked of syndicated cartoonists is, "How far in advance do you work?" On the daily strips, I work two and a half weeks ahead, which is the absolute minimum time required for United Media to edit, reproduce and distribute the comic strips to client newspapers. I confess I am a notorious deadline hound, and I'm sure my picture is permanently affixed to the dart board at the United Media office in NYC.
Which brings me to this: you're going to be reading more about the hair poll here this week. Remember the hair poll? Although we've been discussing Janis' hair style here for some time, the results of the survey will be printed in newspapers for the first time this week. The exciting news is, I'm expecting new visitors to arloandjanis.com--and I expect you regular visitors to be nice to them. This site has been up only for a few weeks, and I hope you newcomers will take some time to catch up.
Every day here, I select a few cartoons from the past, and post them, sometimes with comment. It's a very personal site, maintained by me, Jimmy Johnson, the guy who writes and draws this stuff. It's just my way of telling my readers, "Thank you!"
Today, I'm going to finish up "The Curse of Mr. Fuzz." Then, I'm going to make some coffee. See you tomorrow. To see the entire series to date, click on the link in yesterday's post, below. (Posted 6/6/2004)
OK, it's Saturday. You have things to do; I have things to do. So, quickly now. I have three cartoons for you today, the next two installments from "The Curse of Mr. Fuzz." As I hope you will recall from visiting yesterday, this series from 1995 involves the family of a little girl named Susan, with whom Gene was enamored at the time. Also, here is a cat cartoon from last year.
You will note I already have abandoned the button-style navigation I inaugurated yesterday. I immediately could see updating the links every day would be a major headache. Also, I agree totally with Dan, a reader who observed, "VCR controls. Ho hum." So, I'm going back to the click-the-cartoon concept, but I'm still struggling with one problem: how do I present more than one cartoon at a time without saying things like, to see the entire "Curse of Mr. Fuzz," click here. Well, nobody ever said being a Web Wizard would be easy.
And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say a word to those very nice people who have written in with helpful suggestions that, however, contain words like "Mozilla" and "HTML." I feel your pain, but I am a novice, and many of your suggestions are wasted on me at this time. I am struggling to learn, however. And I have learned enough that I'm expected to hang my head in shame when I admit I am a slave to FrontPage 2003. Happy Saturday! (Posted 6/5/2004)
that Not much time today. I have to finish drawing those
old-fashion, paper cartoons for this week. I do have a treat for you
this morning, though. You may remember yesterday I gave you a
cat cartoon with no cat in it. Well,
today, I'm giving you four "Arlo and
Janis" cartoons without Arlo or Janis in them. Or Gene. These
are the first four episodes of a series involving Gene's first real
girlfriend, Susan. You'll also notice I'm experimenting with a new
navigation system for the cartoon pages, and let me warn you: it's
hardly perfect yet. I figure even my readers have seen and
possibly used a VCR or CD player and can figure it out. TGIF!
The "Arlo and Janis" cartoon that ran in yesterday's newspapers produced a couple of interesting letters. One reader from Seattle wrote, "...the strip published today was brilliant." And another from Santa Rosa, CA, wrote (and I quote him in his entirety), "Huh?" Ah, what do they know about cartooning in Santa Rosa, anyway?
Obviously, I prefer the former gentleman's assessment of my work, but the letters serve to illustrate an undeniable reality. As much as I love to hear from you, especially when you use words like "brilliant," I can't really be influenced by you. I don't think art has to be weird or opaque, and I don't believe there's an artist, living or dead, who honestly wouldn't want his work understood and appreciated. I know that goes for cartoonists. However, I do believe an artist risks getting lost the moment he substitutes his perception of his audience's judgment for his own. Which is a round-about way of saying, "You can't please everybody."
Much has been said about Gene by you since I began this site, so I thought maybe this short series from 1995 would be appropriate. And speaking of trying to please everyone, I think I may have found the perfect cartoon to quell the cat/no-cat infighting: a cat cartoon without a cat. (Posted 6/3/2004)
I have what I think is something of a treat for you today--an entire week of daily cartoons from 'way back in 1986. I'll bet most of you won't remember these, although you'll find the themes addressed in these strips to be astonishingly familiar. "Astonishingly," yes. That's one word for it.
Sometimes, I might refer to strips as "daily" strips, and you might wonder what I'm talking about. In the comic-strip business, the word "daily" refers to the Monday through Saturday strips, and the Sunday strips are referred to as the "Sunday" strips. It can get complicated, let me tell you! (Return to top of document)
While we're on the subject, I sometimes get asked why my strip appears in a particular newspaper during the week but not on Sunday, or vice versa. Sometimes I get asked why it appears at all. I can answer that first question. The daily strips (Remember what I told you?) are sold to newspapers separately from the Sunday strips. In other words, editors have the option of buying either or both.
You'd also be surprised how afraid newspaper editors are of you readers, especially in the area of comic strips. They absolutely hate questions like, "Why did you take out 'Apt. 3-G'?" You have more influence than you know. However, far be it from me to ever suggest you ask your editor a question like, "Why don't you have 'Arlo and Janis' both daily and Sunday?" (Posted 6/2/2004)
Those of you who've been visiting here know I've been posting cartoons from deep within the vaults at arloandjanis.com. Let me tell you, it's creepy in there! Dim, half-light; cobwebs everywhere; furtive creatures scurrying around the peripheral vision; indefinable ooze underfoot. We're talking about my spare bedroom here, mind you.
I couldn't face it this morning. I reached in and grabbed three cartoons from the nearest shelf, three cartoons from last year, three cartoons I would not need my flashlight and my baseball bat to retrieve. They were chosen for no other particular reason except they fit the minimum requirement at arloandjanis.com: I'm not too ashamed of them to let you see them, again. You know, I mentioned "the bad stuff" here in passing one day, and a reader wrote suggesting I have a "blooper" day, when I show cartoons I think were bad cartoons. I'm taking that under consideration, and I might do it. I just won't tell you what day. Today is the first day of hurricane season. Oh, yes! The cartoons. (Posted 6/1/2004)
Today, I'm concluding the series about Janis and Harvey, the invisible dust bunny. Actually, this series, which ran in newspapers in January of 1997, was the second appearance in "Arlo and Janis" of Harvey, the giant dust bunny. Don't worry! I'm not about to start with the first appearance. Here are the last two episodes. If you're really, really late arriving, you might want to see the entire series.
You cat people have been more than patient, and I'm posting two cat cartoons today. Keep in mind that, regardless of what some kittyphobic readers think, there aren't nearly as many cat cartoons as other cartoons, so if I post one every day, I'm going to run out sooner. You wouldn't want that, now, would you? (I'm talking to the cat people here, you understand.)
An English professor wrote me last week, saying some nice things and mentioning in particular the A&J cartoons that feature a verse. I confess, I like these cartoons myself, and I can't believe I haven't already featured one here. I'm going to remedy that right now and at the same time, I hope, make up for not posting anything yesterday. I was too busy playing with my Web-authoring software to actually put anything on the Web: a common problem among beginning Web masters, I'm told. Here are are three poems. When this holiday weekend is over, I'll try to get back to writing more footnotes to accompany the cartoons. See you tomorrow! (Posted 5/31/2004)
I know what you're thinking: "Uh huh, it's Saturday and a holiday, and he's not going to update the Web site." Well, technically, you're wrong. I am going to give you the next installment of Harvey, the giant dust bunny, but that's all. However, I'm not just cooking wieners and sipping lemonade. I'm spending my holiday wrestling with weighty Web presentation problems. Maybe it will pay off someday soon. I hope you're having fun, wherever you are. (Posted 5/29/2004)
OK, OK, I'm running late today, and I don't have much time! I'm working on finishing another week's worth of dead-tree comics. Don't dis the the dead-tree comics; without them, there'd be no arloandjanis.com, and I'd probably be hanging drywall or something. I'm trying to make it all up to you by giving you the next three installments of the Harvey series. (For the entire Harvey series to date.) I promise to labor the next few days to load some new goodies to take your mind off being back at work after your long weekend. Speaking of, have an enjoyable and meaningful Memorial Day! (Posted 5/28/2004)
A reader wrote yesterday telling me how much she "enjoyed" the series about Harvey, the invisible dust bunny. Surely she doesn't think it's over! No, Harvey continues with this installment. (Please click here to see the entire "Harvey" sequence to date.) However, recognizing the fact your attention may be wandering, I've also included two cartoons that ran back to back in May of 1992.
And that's not all, folks! If you order now, you also get this very special cat cartoon. As close as I can recall, this is the only cartoon in which Arlo has appeared in his "tightie whities." This is another A&J cartoon that gets mentioned a lot by readers. In fact, someone wrote just yesterday, recalling the "cat hork" cartoon.
Yesterday, I felt I had to chastise you cat people for griping about the lack of a cat cartoon on 5/25/2004. Today, I feel I have to say something to those of you who write to the effect, "Lose the cat!" Save your pixels; it ain't gonna happen. Just relax. Take a deep breath. Open your mind. I like to think you don't have to be a "cat person" to enjoy all the cat cartoons. And I think today's is an example of that. (Posted 5/27/2004)
I want to say something to you cat lovers this morning: I am not afraid of you! And do not think that just because I am giving you two cat cartoons today that I am trying to make up for having none yesterday. I was going to give you two cat cartoons today, anyway. Really, I was! I am not responding to all that nasty mail you sent me. And, please, stop driving by my house and making catcalls into the night. The neighbors are getting really upset.
That reminds me; have I ever told you the story of how Ludwig the cat got his name? I know I told it on a Christmas Web site I erected a couple of years ago, but I'll bet most of you didn't see that. If you have heard it, I hope you'll indulge me, because the story is part of my family lore, and I enjoy repeating it.
Of course, I'm continuing today with the storyline involving Janis and Harvey, the giant, invisible dust bunny. Click on the text link to go immediately to today's installment, or click on the cartoon panel at left or below to see the entire sequence so far. Hang in there! Most of you have a long weekend coming up.
I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to write with some very good suggestions about presenting and archiving the material that appears here. Many had a common thought, "Don't worry about it!" I appreciate that. Speaking of comics archives, United Media--syndicator of A&J--has introduced something new. This isn't a commercial, I swear. I only found out about this myself a couple of days ago, and I'm passing it along as news. United Media is introducing an extended, searchable archive of many of the comics that appear on its Web site, www.comics.com. The catch is, it's an upgrade of the premium service "Comics Extra," which costs a little dinero. Serious comics fans might want to check it out, nevertheless.
Back to "Arlo and Janis." We continue today with Harvey, the giant dust bunny. You know, I feel good today, so I'm giving you two (Count 'em!) installments, the third and fourth in this series. Click here for the next two episodes, or click here for the entire sequence from the beginning. Well, that's the good news. The bad news is, no cat cartoon today. (To refresh your memory, click on the cartoons to advance. Click on the light blue logo at the bottom left to return here.) See you later!
On Sunday, I began a series of cartoons about Harvey, the invisible dust bunny, a specter who accompanies Janis and reminds her that her housekeeping chores are not finished yet--again. Today, I continue with Harvey. If you missed the beginning of this series, simply click on the image below. Obviously, I still am struggling with a method of presenting and archiving a growing number of cartoons and Web pages that have nothing in common except they contain "Arlo and Janis" cartoons and trivia. The problem becomes, should I catalog the pages themselves and preserve the context of our conversation here, or should I catalog just the cartoons? If I choose the former, it will be inconvenient for you to access the information, and if I choose the latter, much of the commentary will be lost and how do I go about cataloging so many essentially unrelated cartoons, anyway? And did I mention, it must be easily updatable? All I can offer for sure is, I'm on it! (Suggestions appreciated.) I can imagine one Doubting Thomas out there among you who, this morning, finally is saying to himself, "Gosh, he really IS making this up as he goes along!" Oh! And here's a cat cartoon.
Good morning! Well, it's morning as I write this. The Web is sort of
immediate and timeless at the same instant, isn't it? I'm devoting
much of this weekend to rearranging the material I've displayed here
thus far into a more manageable and sustainable format, so I'm
obliged to keep this short. I do want to begin a little series of
cartoons involving Harvey, the invisible dust
bunny. And here's a
cat cartoon. Enjoy what's left of your weekend!
I'm learning a lot about the Web as I go along. I'm learning that people wander in all hours of the day and night, and without knocking. I'm still getting dozens of letters every day wanting to vote for Janis' hairstyle, or wanting to know which hairstyle won. I thought I'd finished with all that days ago. Silly me! Thinking back, perhaps I did just hit it a lick and a promise.
"The Retro" won the poll, although devotees of "The Tweak" are alleging ballot-stuffing. Investigation continues. No other hairstyles in the final poll were close. Janis' makeover will be addressed in the newspaper beginning Monday, June 7. This is because of the lead time necessary to produce and distribute comic strips for conventional publication.
As announced here Friday, May 14, the voting lasted through the following weekend, and the results were announced Monday, May 17. Yes, it is now too late to vote. I'm sorry if you missed your chance, but I am considering doing another Janis makeover when pigs fly. So keep looking up.
I should have had some kind of permanent, convenient link on this Web site connecting visitors with this information. To all those who've been writing me all week, asking how you can vote on Janis' hairstyle, I apologize for wasting your time. (Return to top of page)
One new cartoon today. I thought you might be interested in seeing
this, the most commented upon A&J cartoon
of all time. I think it's cute, but I never would have predicted
this idea would strike a chord in so many people. It's a Sunday
cartoon, by the way, the first I believe I've featured here. It's
from April 28, 1996.