Sunday, May 2, 2010

Smooth Move, Slick

Disclaimer: This is gonna be a long post, so get comfy.

OK, folks. Here it is. The big announcement: I made a Slick book! Smooth Move, Slick is my first officially printed comic strip collection. I realize that I'm the only person on Earth that is excited about this, but believe me...this is an accomplishment and I'm very proud. 

Slick is the first comic strip I ever drew. Previously on my blog, I presented his first appearance in a comic strip called Slick n' Pals. Slick n' Pals was a standard three-panel comic strip. In 1987 (one year after Slick n' Pals), I changed the format of the Slick strip and renamed it Slick Funnies. Back then, my books were very lo-tech. I would start with a five-subject notebook. One notebook was considered one volume. I would draw a cover, color it and apply it with tape or glue. See photo:

Cover of Slick Funnies Volume 1

Each volume of Slick Funnies would be divded up into five books. Each subject in the five-subject notebook would be considered a book. I simply named each book Slick Funnies #1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Slick Funnies Vol. 1 contained four books (because someone tore out one of the subject dividers). Each book was roughly 20-30 pages. These notebooks are over 20 years old and falling apart. See photo.

Cover of Slick Funnies # 1 + interior art

On each subject divider, I would draw the cover of each book. 

Cover of Slick Funnies # 2

Cover of Slick Funnies # 3

Cover of Slick Funnies # 4

I started Slick Funnies in 1987 and kept drawing it through junior high, high school and into my college years. Over the years, I filled up FIVE five-subject notebooks of Slick comics. Fast forward to the present: My Slick notebooks are sitting on a shelf in my closet, collecting dust and falling apart. Over the past few years, I've slowly been scanning in all of my Slick comics. So far, I've scanned in two complete volumes. 

So a couple of weeks ago, I got the bright idea of making a Slick book. I decided to make the book the same size as a mass-market paperback. At that size, I could print the entire book on my color laser printer in my home office. Also, I wanted the book to look like one of those old Fawcett Crest Charlie Brown books (I had a ton of those when I was a kid and loved them). I determined that one book could collect one volume of Slick Funnies. Using my graphic design skills, I did the book layout in Indesign. I was able to layout three books on one legal size page. This allowed me to print three books in one print run and save paper at the same time. First, I printed the odd numbered pages. Then, I flipped the pages and printed the even numbered pages.

Sample page layout

I attempted to make the cover look very similar to the old Charlie Brown books. Using my Wacom, I made a new drawing of Slick. I placed a sample cartoon on the back cover and included my BC Productions logo on the spine. I even put the "Selected Cartoons from..." tag on the cover (which was always used on the old Peanuts books). The cover was printed on some cover stock that I already owned.

Cover Design/Layout

New Slick cover illustration

I printed a total of five books. I printed three books on white paper and two books on newsprint. The newsprint edition looks exactly like the cheap paper used in those old Fawcett Crest books. The photo doesn't do it justice. It looks amazing. I took the printed books to Insty Prints, a local printer, where the books were trimmed and bound. They do perfect binding and it looks fantastic! And it was VERY affordable.

Newsprint Edition

So, you might ask: "Why is this such a big deal? You made a book of 20-year-old comics. Who cares?" First of all, it's a big deal because I'm proud of my Slick comic strip. I don't plan on selling these. This is a great keepsake for myself. However, if I cleaned up some artwork and redid the lettering, I think I COULD sell these.

Here's the real reason I did this: this was a test run. Throughout this process, I've learned that I can print a book myself using my printer, take it to a local printer and have it perfect bound. Eventually, I'll collect Slick Funnies Volumes 2-5 into paperback form. For now, I'm concentrating on another book project. That's right. I'm working on a Roofus book. Stay tuned for details.


  1. Awesome! Congratulations! Great job! I'm excited for you!

    Waiting on that Roofus book....

  2. Thanks, Donna. Keep waiting. I'm working on it.

  3. First of all - that old Slick notebook cover is rad. Tape and all.

    Second of all - WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOA!!! Scanning, compiling and laying out those things was no simple feat I'm sure. So congrats on that. The book looks great from the photos! I think I had a couple of comic digests on that newsprinty paper you're talking about so I know the feel you were going for.

    Dang, dude!

  4. Thanks, Kenny. I treasure those old notebooks, too. They literally are falling apart, so making these paperbacks will be a neat way to preserve my old cartoons. The scanning process has been time consuming. Just to give you an idea: the first volume was 115 pages!

    I started scanning a couple of years ago, scanning a few in at a time when I had time. I've recently started again. I'm determined to get them scanned in by the end of the year. Once I get all the scanning done, the layout will be easier, since all of the initial setup (impositioning) has been done.

    One of these days, I'll do a big hardback collection of these just for myself. For now, I'm really excited about these little paperbacks.