A couple of summers ago, my friend Chris was hanging out at my place, either on his way to or from the Baltimore Comic-Con (DC makes a handy stopping point between Richmond and Charm City), when he told me the reason for his late-onset interest in comic conventions. Our conversation went something like this:
Chris: So, I’m thinking of starting a web comic.
Me: Really? I didn’t know you could draw.
Chris: I can’t. Well, not really, but I’ve been teaching myself a little. I think I can figure it out. I’ve always wanted to draw comics.
Me: Oh, maybe you could take a class or something. Sounds fun, though.
Now, I can tell you I probably didn’t sound overwhelmingly supportive. I wasn’t an outright buzzkill, because I’m not a huge jerk, and I did think it sounded fun. But I honestly had no idea how he would get from not knowing how to draw to creating a web comic – especially when things like having a full-time job and a wife and a house limit his free time to learn new things.
Chris, however, was determined, and just a few weeks after our conversation, his online comic “A Dog’s Life” was born. It follows the adventures of an enormous chocolate lab named Hunter, his mutt friend Gillian, and their people, Jack and Diane – along with a crazy squirrel, a multilingual spider, and a doggie fight club. (Funny coincidence: Chris and his wife Marlene also have an enormous chocolate lab named Hunter and a mutt named Gillian, so I suspect there may be some “based on a true story” elements to the comic.) It’s pretty amusing, and I’ve enjoyed watching Chris’ skill as an artist grow since he launched the site.
And now – finally getting to the point of this post – Chris has just put out his first book. It’s called No Shenanigans! and pulls together the first year’s worth of strips from his online comic. It’s only $15 – a bargain at twice the price! – and you should totally buy a copy, especially if you are a dog person. Why? Because if you send a picture of your dog after you order, Chris will not merely sign your copy, he’ll sketch your personal dog in it! You’ll also be helping a super-nice guy fulfill a dream of being a cartoonist, which is a pretty good value-add as far as I’m concerned. Get it now.
Oh, and lest anyone think Chris asked me to do this, or paid me, or anything else, rest assured that’s not true. He doesn’t even know I am doing it and I stole his cover art entirely without permission, though I expect he’ll forgive me.