The Art of Gary Brookins
I wonder.... how long did you draw this strip from your own ideas before people started writing in?
Actually, "Pluggers" was originally the brain-child of David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer (he was the official White House Photographer for Gerald Ford, and has taken many photos that have become iconic images). Kennerly got together with his pal Jeff MacNelly, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, and a couple of other friends and developed the final concept for "Pluggers," which went national in 1993. Originally, the team wrote all the gags, but after only a few short months, readers began submitting "pluggerisms" of their own. And they were good ones, so the decision was made to turn it over to the readers, so to speak. I took over from MacNelly in 1997, following the accidental death of his son, Jake, who was an assistant on the feature (along with Chris Cassatt, who also worked with MacNelly on "Shoe"). In 1999, I began assisting with the drawing of Shoe, and took over those duties completely a year later when MacNelly passed away from cancer. I continue to work with Chris and MacNelly's widow, Susie, on Shoe. I purchased the rights to Pluggers in 2001, and do all of the work on it myself, from going to the post office, reading all the snail mail and emails, doing all the editing, rewriting, art, color . . . everything! Except the main ideas, which I still leave up to the readers (for the most part, though I do draw some of my own ideas from time to time, but I don't thank myself in the "Thanks to" box).
Wow. I'd forgotten about Jeff MacNelly. I hadn't heard he'd passed away. I still think it's an awesome idea for a strip and you have don it proud since then. Thanks for your creativity and perseverance!