by Mike Rhode
Paul Merklein wrote in to say that the cartooning course he's been teaching for Arlington County needs a new teacher because he's leaving the area for Wisconsin. I last interviewed Paul in 2015 - http://comicsdc.blogspot.com/
MR: Why are you moving?
PM: My family and I moved to Silver Spring in 2009, and we're moving back to Wisconsin for a variety of reasons that involve being closer to our family there.
MR: Are you continuing the Dabney and Dad strip after you move? Is Facebook still your distribution method for it?
PM: I consider Facebook to be the most effective platform to deliver your cartoons to your audience. Newspapers and magazines are going the way of the dodo, and books might be right behind them. That said, my first "Dabney and Dad" book should be published before the end of the year. You can see my cartoons at https://www.facebook.com/dabneyanddad
MR: For the past few years, you taught cartooning in Arlington? What did that entail?
PM: I was hired to do two things I love to do - draw cartoons, and talk about cartooning. My students were teens and tweens - some just beginners, and some who were already skilled. I enjoyed the conversations and questions. Many of the students have never read a newspaper, and only know cartoons from book collections. "Calvin and Hobbes" is still incredibly popular.
PM: I love the people in DC, our neighborhood in Silver Spring, crab shacks on the eastern shore, and more places than I can count. We already miss Obama in the White House.
MR: What's your favorite cartoon-related memory or event or place?
PM: I met a lot of famous cartoonists at Comic Cons - Stan Lee, Jeff Smith (Bone), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Frank Cho, Jules Feiffer, and Liza Donnelly and Sam Gross from The New Yorker. I also met cartoon editors like Amy Lago, and Bob Mankoff and Emma Allen at The New Yorker. They all said they liked my cartoons and wanted to see more.
I still enjoy writing and drawing cartoons, and I believe the digital world is an ideal place for them. People's attention spans keep getting shorter, and cartoons are a perfect way to tell a very short story.