A Silver Celebration of Arlo and Janis, Day 4

 You might glance at today’s Web site and think you’re being short changed. You might think, “Well, ol’ Johnson’s finally running out of gas, because there aren’t as many cartoons to look at today.” You couldn’t be more wrong. Remember yesterday’s cartoon about fantasies? Well, every cartoon on the page today is a link to the United Media Web site, where you will be able to see the remaining cartoons in a related series. Some of the series are long; some are short. I just hope your clicking finger is in good shape!

I dabbled with storylines the first 10 years or so of Arlo & Janis, but I really began to explore their possibilites in the late 90s. Not only that, I began to venture far from the strip’s original premise, as you shall see. I was having a lot of fun at this time, and I think I was producing some of the most creative and entertaining work of my career, even if it was bizarre.

On a practical note, some of the series run more than a week, and as you click through the sequence, a Sunday cartoon will pop up. Don’t be put off the trail. It’s simply, as we say in the bayou country, lagniappe.

February 16, 19981998-02-16-tangerine.gif

Remember, when you click on the cartoons, you will be directed to comics.com, the comics site of United Media, which distributes Arlo & Janis. Once there, you’ll have to click on the arrow above the cartoons to advance. Once you’ve reached the end of a series, hurry back here. Don’t dawdle!

August 10, 19981998-08-10-sailing-nightmar.gif

Yes, this is the beginning of a series, too, and an odd one at that. Arlo always has been a nautical buff, dreaming of tropical climes. This sequence is not representative of the familiar theme.

October 12, 19981998-10-12-pussnboots.gif

One of my all-time favorites. I had so much fun drawing this one. The problem with this kind of whimsy is that you immediately divide the loyalty of readers. At any given time, a large portion will be saying, “I don’t like what you’re doing now; I like the other stuff!” Still, I think experimentation is essential. I’m not going to name names, but there are a lot of older comic strips around that are totally formulaic. Sure, they have a core of fans, but they’ve been moribund for years. I do try to prevent that, although I’ll be the first to admit I’m not as creative as I was 10 years ago. I am better in other ways.

February 22, 19991999-02-22-haircut.gif

I just had to include the series where Janis has her locks shorn. This could be viewed as a six-day series, but the haircut theme slides into several weeks of strips. If you stick with it, you’ll see what I mean.

March 20, 20002000-03-20-mermaid.gif

The mermaid series! What can I say about “The Beautiful Mermaid and the Simple Fisherman?” It was a delight to draw, the challenge of presenting Janis topless for two weeks notwithstanding.

May 1, 20002000-05-01-road-maps.gif

They’re not all weird. This is a week-long take on road maps. The second cartoon in this series will make you long for the good ol’ days in a way I didn’t intend when I drew it.

October 13, 20002000-11-13-evaluation.gif

This is barely a series at all, running only three days, but we haven’t seen much of Arlo at work. Plus, I like the denouement, and I like to use the word denouement every few years or so.