Showing posts with label web comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label web comics. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Axel and Alex and Terry Flippo: A webcomics interview

by Mike Rhode

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I do a webcomic called Axel and Alex that runs twice weekly (Sundays and Wednesdays) on my facebook page.  It follows the exploits of an 8 year old boy (Alex) and his mail-order robot (Axel).  I refer to it as a comic strip in comic book format. The strips are mostly done-in-one like a newspaper strip, but are formatted like a comic book page.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I still work the old school way.  I enjoy the feel of putting pencil to paper and creating something I can hold in my hand.  I pencil with a mechanical pencil that I've had for twenty years (nicknamed Ol' Red), and ink with Staedtler pigment liner pens and good old Sharpies for filling in blacks.  I find pens much easier to control than brushes and nibs.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in the sixties at the old Washington Sanitarium (now Washington Adventist Hospital).

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I grew up just outside DC in Wheaton, MD.  In the late seventies my parents moved us to Mount Airy, MD (just over the Montgomery County line in southern Frederick County) where I remain to this day with my wife Janet, and kids Amanda and Zach.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

Other than a few high school and community college classes, which taught me little about cartooning, I'm self-taught.  Beyond the odd how-to book, my cartooning education comes from a lifetime of reading comic books and comic strips.

Who are your influences?

Cul de Sac interpreted by Flippo for Parkinson's fundraising

My influences date back to reading Peanuts, B.C., Beetle Bailey, and Calvin and Hobbes in the newspaper, to Don Martin's work in MAD magazine, to Stan Lee and collaborators Jack Kirby, John Romita, and John Buscema at Marvel Comics.  I remember drawing a Peanuts strip that was hung in the hallway in my elementary school.  My first experience with showing my art in public.  More recently, I've discovered the work of Richard Thompson and Cul de Sac, and fallen head over heels in love with Alice and Petey. I've just finished the piece for Team Cul de Sac. My father suffers from Parkinson's so it's an honor to be a part of this project to raise funds to fight the disease. 

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

My only regret, if you can call it that, would be dropping out of cartooning for about eight years following high school.  I sometimes wonder if things would have been different if I'd continued to draw during that period. All in all though, no regrets.

What work are you best-known for?

If I'm known at all it's probably for Axel and Alex, which has been around in one form or another for almost twenty years.  I also worked for a few years on an autobiographical humor comic called FL!PPED. 

What work are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of the fact that I've been married for almost 29 years and raised two great kids.  Cartooning-wise, I proud that I've stuck with Axel and Alex, albeit in different forms, for most of my cartooning career.  I love those guys.  They feel like part of me after all this time.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

 In the future I'd like to continue working on my strip and hopefully continue to grow my audience.  At this point I really have no aspirations to work on characters that I didn't create or own.  I'm enjoying the freedom I have doing my own stuff, and have plans to take Axel and Alex to new places.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

 When I have writer's block I get away from the drawing board and busy my mind with something else.  Sometimes I'll just take a piece of paper and brainstorm ideas rapid fire.  Most are throwaway stupid, but every once in a while there's a seed that with a little nurturing can become a strip.  I also have a book of quotes that I'll skim through.  Occasionally an interesting or funny quote will suggest an idea for a strip.  I ask myself, "How can I take this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson and apply it to Axel and Alex?"

What do you think will be the future of your field?

 There will always be an audience for good cartooning.  In my opinion, newspapers have dropped the ball by shrinking comic strips down and relying on "legacy" strips to the detriment of new cartoonists who have something fresh to say.  At this juncture the internet appears to be the place to find fresh new talent.  Monetizing it so that cartoonists can make a decent living is the challenge now. 

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I've done SPX, SPACE ( in Columbus, OH), Baltimore Comicon, and as of this year, SMUDGE.  I also do Free Comic Book Day every year at Beyond Comics in Frederick, MD (great shop, by the way).  Stop by and see me on May 2, 2015!

What's your favorite thing about DC?

It's got to be the monuments and museums!

Least favorite?

Far and away, the TRAFFIC.  And for some reason I get lost every time I venture downtown.  I joke that all roads lead to DC, but none lead out!
1st collection of strips with an original sketch on the back cover

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

 Most of my out-of-town family and friends want to see the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian.  I'm happy to oblige!

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I have to admit, it's been since the 80's that I hung out in DC on a regular basis.  At that time I loved Armand's Pizzeria. They had the best deep dish pizza!

Do you have a website or blog?

 At this time I don't have a website or blog.  I'm on Facebook so that's where I post everything Axel and Alex.  I post new strips every Sunday and Wednesday.  They're posted publicly under Terry Flippo.  I also accept all friend requests, so friend me and have all the Axel and Alex goodness sent to your feed!

You've collected the Axel and Alex strips though. How can people buy your books?

It's here, it's here!! The second collection of Axel and Alex strips. This baby comes jam-packed with 40 pages of comic goodness for only 6 bucks post-paid. To make this even more of a bargain, each book comes with an original sketch on the back cover! To get your copy just Paypal me at (don't forget to tell me which book you want, #1 or #2, and give me your mailing address.) Or send check or money order to Terry Flippo at 205 Breezewood Ct., Mount Airy, MD 21771.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jim Dougan's "SAM & LILAH" webcomic updated

I spoke to Jim at SPX who says they're almost 1/2 through and the Act-I-Vate Primer story occurs next.

Jim Dougan
Jim DouganSeptember 13, 2010 says
Subject: SAM & LILAH Updated Today!
Here's two more pages from Chapter 3....;

Need to catch up first? Start here:

Chapter 1:;

Chapter 2:;

Chapter 3:;

We'll be back with more in just two weeks!
See you September 27!

In the meantime, here's where to go for all
the OTHER great comix at ACT-I-VATE:;

If you haven't already, why not pick up a copy
of the ACT-I-VATE PRIMER? We didn't win the
Harvey Award, but being nominated still counts!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Check out John Kinhart's Sorry Comics

John Kinhart kindly pointed out the State Depts' Gene Yang video, so I followed his link to his webcomics site, Sorry Comics. I've just quickly read his first 4 autobiographical strips and he's got some good work there. Check it out. I'll put up a link on the side for future use.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dougan and Lawless on SMITH Magazine and beyond

I'm poking around SMITH Magazines webcomics after being friended by Jeff Newelt and just ran across Next Door Neighbor: Return to Sender by Jim Dougan and Molly Lawless, seen earlier this evening in the Free Comic Book Day post.

And heck, at the end of the story, which is quite entertaining mind you, we can steal this biographical information to post here:

Jim Dougan is a comic writer hailing from the Hudson Valley hamlet of Millbrook, NY, and currently living in Washington, DC. His debut work in comics was the comedy graphic novella CRAZY PAPERS, drawn by Danielle Corsetto. Jim is a founding member of the comics collective The Chemistry Set, and the editor of the first ChemSet anthology collection NO FORMULA, available from Desperado Publishing. SAM & LILAH, his romance-adventure collaboration with Hyeondo Park, was featured in the March 2008 Zuda competition and has continued at ACT-I-VATE since May 2008.

Molly Lawless is a native Bostonian and current Arlington, VA-based comic artist, illustrator, wannabe-marathoner and deadball-era baseball enthusiast. Her first four mini-comics -- including the ongoing series "Great Moments in Baseball", "Rules of Romance", "My Health Regimen" and "The Turning of the Worm" have been collected in Infandum!...Ad Infinitum, now available via her website,

Deadball? Really?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Washington realtors have a new hero

The real estate multiple listing service, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., of Washington launched its own DC-based web superhero.

For details, see "Introducing 'Mr. Is,' an MLS superhero; Comic strip promotes Web site relaunch," Inman News, Thursday, June 26, 2008.

To read the strip Mr. Is, click here. He's even got a backstory!

Monday, January 21, 2008

DC area cartoonist does web strip for USA Weekend

Casey Shaw sent me an email with the press release below - let's wish him luck with his new webcomic. Casey, feel free to send in some reminders off and on. I assume the bear's named in honor of James Thurber?

January 21, 2008

MCLEAN, VA -- USA WEEKEND Magazine's website is carrying its first online comic strip. In recent years, the print magazine published panel cartoons which were also archived on, but this will be the first cartoons, and first comic strip, to be created specifically for USA WEEKEND's website independent of the print magazine. The strip, Thurbear, is created by USA WEEKEND's Creative Manager, Casey Shaw, and will update weekly.

"While I've contributed more than 200 individual panel cartoons to the print version of the magazine in the past," says Shaw, "I'm really excited about this opportunity. I really love the comic strip format and having a continuing feature will allow me to play much more with developing a recurring cast of characters."

To view the comic strip, which will also include blog-style postings by Shaw with links to other web comics in addition to the Thurbear cartoon, go to and click on "Cartoon."


USA WEEKEND Magazine is a national weekly magazine distributed through more than 600 newspapers in the United States. Awarded for its journalism and design, USA WEEKEND focuses on social issues, entertainment, health, food and travel. The magazine provides Newspaper in Education classroom guides to partner newspapers. provides enhanced content and interactive magazine features. USA WEEKEND is a Gannett Co., Inc. publication.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Von Allan to be published by webcomics site

off-topic, but VA was one of our first readers - and look at those pseudonymous intials! Congratulations Von!

Von Allan to be published by webcomics site

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (November 19, 2007) – Webcomics have, over the past ten years, become a phenomenon and are read by people of all ages. This popularity has greatly increased both the diversity and sheer amount of high quality comics that might not have been able to find an audience in a traditional print format. Coinciding with this growth has been the development of a number of webcomic publishing sites that collect similarly themed webcomics under one roof. One of the most notable is, primarily due to its focus on comics that would appeal to female readers both young and old. Canadian graphic novelist Von Allan’s original graphic novel the road to god knows… has recently been accepted into and will launch as a webcomic on December 3rd, 2007. The story will update four times per week (Monday through Thursday).

“Comics are a wonderful and diverse medium that can showcase stories from any particular genre. This is often forgotten due to the overwhelming market presence of both Marvel and DC’s superhero comics in print format. As a result of this, comics have traditionally been considered a ‘boys club’,” says Allan. “Most comics, especially in North America, tended to exclude women and girls by creating characters and stories that few female readers would ever identify with. Which, of course, is an odd thing to say but it can still occur even in this day and age. GirlAMatic has tried very hard to change this by creating a home for stories that, while running the gamut in terms of genre, can all be considered female friendly. Webcomics have managed to become a great leveler when it comes to genre and it’s fascinating to see how many readers of webcomics are female. When one combines that with the phenomenal growth of manga, driven primarily by female readers, comics of all forms are seeing a remarkable equalization in readership that they’ve never experienced before. And I’m pleased as punch to be a part of that.”

The road to god knows... is the story of Marie, a young teenage girl coming to grips with her Mom’s schizophrenia. As a result, she’s struggling to grow up fast; wrestling with poverty, loneliness, and her Mom’s illness every step of the way. Betty, Marie’s Mom, can’t help; she’s living with an illness that’s slowly getting worse and increasingly frightening. With her Mom absorbed in her own problems,
Marie is essentially alone while she learns to deal with the chaos in her young life.

The road to god knows… is expected to be printed in 2008 and has an ISBN of 978-0-9781237-0-3.

About Von Allan: Von Allan was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for Star Wars: A New Hope. The single child of two loving but troubled parents, Von split most of his childhood between their two homes and, consequently, spent a lot of time in the worlds of comics and wrestling. He managed Perfect Books, an independent bookstore in Ottawa, for many years while working on story ideas in his spare time; eventually, he decided to make the leap to a creative life, and
the road to god knows… was the result. Additional information about the graphic novel can be found at

About GirlAMatic: Launched on March 31st 2003, has become the home for a variety of female-friendly webcomics. Perhaps more importantly, the site has been the home for multiple award winning comics creators, including Leigh Dragoon and Raina Telgemeier (Kim Yale Award Winner for Best New Female Talent 2006 and 2003 respectively), Hope Larson (Ignatz Award Winner 2006), and Donna Barr (Xeric Winner 2002).


Von Allan
P.O. Box 20520, 390 Rideau Street,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. K1N 1A3
Phone: 613-236-9957
Editor-in-Chief: Lisa R. Jonté

Sunday, October 28, 2007

DC's own Pop Mhan at DC's Zuda Comics

Randy T. reports:

DC's own Pop Mhan is one of the competitors at DC's Zuda Comics webcomic competition thingie:

In anticipation of the launch of, DC Comics announced today the ten entries in the first ever competition. These webcomics are diverse in both their subject matter and tone, spanning a wide variety of genres— from horror to western to fantasy. Aspiring creators and comics fans alike will be invited to vote for one of the ten comics to continue as a regular web comic on the site. The competition winners will, in turn, receive contracts to create a year’s worth of their comic for the site.

“If Zuda Comics are to have common traits they’re quality and diversity”, said Ron Perazza, Director, Creative Services. “For this first competition we selected people from different creative fields, both within and outside of traditional comics, based on the strength of their concepts. It was a bit of a creative experiment but the results were fantastic. This is going be a tough competition!”

The first competition features the following webcomics:


Title: The Dead Seas
Writer/Artist: Pop Mhan
Summary: Legions of undead controlled by Necromancer warlords destroy life as we know it, plunging the Earth into a futuristic Dark Age. But it’s adventure and romance on The Dead Seas as a swashbuckling young pirate named Devin teams up with an adventurous crusader name Luna. Armed with the secret of Pandora’s Box, they set out to destroy the Necromancers and save the world.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wish You Were There #3 - A couple of book reviews

The following reviews are ones I wrote for the International Journal of Comic Art 3:1 (Spring 2001).

Raggedy Ann and More: Johnny Gruelle's Dolls and Merchandise. Patricia Hall. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company, 2000. ISBN 1-56554-102-2. $35.

Cartoonists, children's books, and merchandise have been linked since the late nineteenth century. While Charles Schulz, Jim Davis, Berke Breathed, and especially Walt Disney are well known to the contemporary reader, Johnny Gruelle has largely been forgotten. Patricia Hall has been working to reintroduce Gruelle, and this book is the second in a planned trilogy. The first was a biography, Johnny Gruelle, Creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy (1993) and the third planned for spring 2001 will be a bibliography. Gruelle was an artist who moved easily between the worlds of comic strips, political cartoons, and children's books, eventually creating a family business that lasted until the 1960s.

Gruelle's life is recounted briefly by Hall, but readers interested in detail are referred to her previous book. This extremely well-illustrated book concentrates on the physical products derived from Gruelle's imagination. As a cartoonist for the New York Herald, Gruelle created the "Mr. Twee Deedle" comic strip which was merchandized as a doll by the newspaper immediately. While doing the comic strip, he also illustrated children's magazines and books. In 1915, he submitted a design for a patent on Raggedy Ann, a doll that was apparently partially based on characters from his comic strip.

The patent was granted and Gruelle began making his own dolls. Raggedy Ann was not based on a familiar character and initial sales were slow. Gruelle generated interest in the doll by contracting with publisher P. F. Volland for a children's book based on the doll. Other characters he developed, such as the duck Quacky Doodles, proved more popular and merchandising included a cartoon series. By late 1918, Gruelle had completed his book on Raggedy Ann and dolls were produced to be sold with it. The book and doll combination was a success and Gruelle continued producing merchandizable ideas until he died in 1938. His family took over the company and continued licensing Gruelle's characters until they sold the company to a book publisher.

Probably because of marketing concerns, the book is a curious mixture of a business history attractively designed as a full-color coffee table book that includes a price guide. Hall writes to appeal to historians as well as collectors of children's books, dolls, toys, and cartoons. Many sidebar pieces detail specific parts of Gruelle's business efforts, such as books, sheet music, and copyright infringements. Anyone interested in Gruelle, cartoon merchandising, book or doll collecting, or popular culture of the first half of the twentieth century should find something of interest in this book.

Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell. J. D. "Illiad" Frazer. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 2000.

A collection of User Friendly, a free online comic strip, raises some interesting questions about the future of comic art. Frazer's strip is written for a specialized audience of advanced computer users and is published by a company specializing in computer manuals. The strip is done on a computer and lacks backgrounds in the simplified art style that Dilbert made acceptable. Illiad has stated that Breathed's Bloom County was an inspiration, but the humor of User Friendly is extremely dependent on knowledge of computers. A niche market product, reminiscent of earlier specialized work such as Jake's military cartoons, User Friendly is not syndicated, but it still appears in more than 150 college papers and several magazines. In the introduction to this second collection, Frazer said, "But today, with the Web, the distribution infrastructure the syndicates possess is becoming less valuable, and is no longer necessary." One of the strip's webpages claims, "The site,, attracts more than 2 million visits each month, including more than a half million unique visitors and 15 million page views ...and is now by far the largest web-based comic strip... Compared to more traditional syndicated comics, User Friendly the Comic Strip is catching up very quickly. For example, Dilbert, around since 1986, is syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers. boasts an audience equal to 42% of Dilbert’s online audience."

User Friendly can thus be seen as supporting part of McCloud's argument about the transition of comics to the web, but Frazer, O'Reilly, and McCloud decided to publish and charge for a paper version. The ability of both electronic and paper versions to succeed seems to bode well for the future of comic art. The strip and additional information about it can be seen at and

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mark Wheatley's new webcomic project

Mark just sent me the following press release and pictures -

The Mighty Motor Sapiens Roar To Life
New Characters Introduced on has partnered with Insight Studios Group to offer The Mighty Motor Sapiens, a new online daily comic strip that combines high speed action, fast cars, humor and the entire planet being taken over by lizard people.

With new installments appearing every weekday beginning September 3, 2007, the story begins 18 months after the world has been taken over by a race of the Morisoni, lizard people from the center of the Earth. Despite the odd change in circumstances, life has continued and things seem disturbingly okay. Sure, they took out Washington, Moscow, Beijing, and Paris, but on the other hand they took out Washington, Moscow, Beijing, and Paris. And for some reason they wiped out everyone's credit histories, too.

Now the Morisoni control the world and their military bases are everywhere. The Lizards live among us, but this new arrangement seems to be working. Four teenagers, Cam Corman, Hannah Barbario, Gigs Brewster and Maddie Brewster, haven't seen much of an impact from the changes. Yet.

Springing from the minds of writer-artist Daniel Krall (Oni's One Plus One), writer-artist Mark Wheatley (Frankenstein Mobster), and writer Robert Tinnell (Feast of the Seven Fishes), The Mighty Motor Sapiens was created as an exclusive feature for the web community. The strip will be written and drawn by Krall with additional material by Wheatley and Tinnell. All three creators are veterans of both print and online comics. They are joined by inker Craig Taillerfer (The Chelation Kid), with colors provided by Krall's studio and lettering by Matthew Plog. The strip is produced by Insight Studios.

At the forefront of the new media revolution, Rowdy combines podcasting with social networking and the internet to create a unique new place for NASCAR fans to congregate. The Rowdy podcast is a daily racing radio show devoted strictly to NASCAR racing. For 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, fans listen in on their MP3 players, computers, or cell phones as hosts Reginald "Buck" Fever and Leonard "Bass" Masters deliver the latest news on America's most popular motorsport. Joining Buck and Bass to deliver expert commentary and analysis are award winning broadcaster Mark Garrow, former Cup driver Rick Mast, championship-winning crew chief Barry Dodson, and veteran print reporters David Poole of the Charlotte Observer, and Steve Waid of NASCAR Scene.

About Insight Studios Group
Producing numerous award-winning comic books, on-line and newspaper comic strips, graphic novels, portfolios and other publications, Insight Studios Group is profiled in a lavish art book titled IS Art - The Art of Insight Studios. This exceptional collection of artists, writers, film makers and media-masters is responsible for many books, comics and films that include Sightcadelic, Hammer of the Gods, Titanic Tales,
Jimgrim and the Devil at Ludd, Frank Cho Illustrator, Gray Morrow Visionary, Al Williamson Adventures, Frankenstein Mobster, Miles the Monster, MARS, Tug & Buster, Gregory, Marc Hempel's Naked Brain, Breathtaker, Feast of the Seven Fishes and many more. Their website,, features additional daily strips such as The Chelation Kid, America Jr., Doctor Cyborg, Cryptozoo Crew, and others.

For more information contact:
Mark Wheatley
Insight Studios
410 871 1235

- he also sent me the theme song, but I have no idea how to link it here.