Horizontal Pop

This cartoon from July, 2002, was drawn during a period when I was using felt-tip pens. As I’ve stated before, I finally concluded that I don’t like to draw with felt-tips. My result, it seems to me, is always an uninteresting and bland line. It is possible to achieve a certain “sketchiness” with a felt-tip pen that can be aesthetically pleasing, but having never been a “sketchy” kind of cartoonist, this doesn’t seem to benefit me much. My pen work has never been great, and it concerns me more and more that my lines, now drawn with a pen nib and India ink, look cruder than ever alongside so much work that is being turned out on digital tablets these days. I’ll just have to live with it, because I cannot see myself ever going completely digital with my drawing.

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

160 responses to “Horizontal Pop”

  1. There’s no reason why digital artists can’t imitate the pen nib, Jimmy. I’ve seen ‘brushes’ advertised which have been meticulously modelled on named nibs and pens. Then again, drawing on a digitising tablet just doesn’t feel like drawing on paper. (Although it will in a year or two, I don’t doubt.)

    Keep up the good craftsmanship!

  2. What Steve said. Your work looks much better than the majority of your colleagues. And the mind behind the tools seems to be working better than ever!

  3. I was just about to say that so much tech drawing seems so much blander compared to your pen-and-ink lines, Jimmy. Machine-drawn lines are like drum machines have always been—never near as interesting as what the human hand can do.

  4. Jimmy your art work is far, far superior to any of the current pack doing cartoons. You must be comparing yourself to some of the legends.

    And I only read you daily among the current pack. You are actually funny.

  5. I love your art work as is. Pen and ink has a certain something that is hard to duplicate. And even the cartoons that you don’t like personally that you draw still are very good and worthwhile reading.

  6. But it does remind me of what Chicago Tribune cartoonist Jeff MacNelly once said: that just as he thought he was getting pretty good at his brush, he’d take a look at Walt Kelly’s work. And in utter disgust with himself, he’d want to throw the whole thing away. I am so glad he never did. How I miss them both!

  7. Good afternoon Villagers…..

    Yay….Jerry’s OK 🙂 Just drop in every now and then and say “hey”….”I’m OK”!!!

    Mark..thanks for the new Kitteh website…have it bookmarked.

    Took the two ‘kitteh’ makers into the vet’s this morning. I can’t believe the female is pregnant again, didn’t like doing it this way, but we do not need more kittehs. Need to look into if the county’s humane society can help $ out…but then, I feel they could use a donation too. So, what’s the difference…I’d rather Dad give a donation….

    …gotta go, it’s lunch time. I’ve made beef and noodles for Dad, fresh peaches from the Farmer’s Market, and cottage cheese. Dang, I’ve just made myself hungry too. (Hint: peaches not ripe, put them in brown paper bag and they will ripen within 24 hours….love the peach drool out of the corners of my mouth 🙂 )

  8. Debbe, maybe the local humane society offers special rates to those on social Security. There was a privately run spay and neuter clinic in Birmingham, AL that did that. We got two of mom’s kittens fixed there.

  9. @JimmyJ

    I believe in artistic circles the term is not “crude” but “primitive.” It is a creative choice rather then a limitation.

    You’ll have to excuse me as it time for me to achieve my afternoon maximum horizontal.

  10. We have a cat that we got from the humane society several years ago. When we got the second dog she decided she didn’t want to come in the house anymore. Now she was supposed to be fixed, but she is pregnant with her third (that I know of) litter. I guess I am going to have to buy a trap since she won’t let me near her anymore. Then I can take her back and ask why she is having kittens if she is supposed to have been fixed before we got her.

  11. TR:
    I have been saying that for years now – glad that it has been verified.

    Check around – some Vet Clinics give a discount for barn cats.
    There is one near us that does half price or less – they do clip the ear – our Skeezix
    had hers froze off and Tippy was a feral outside cat till he figured inside was WAY better.
    They do not keep overnight – drop off in AM pick up in PM – and they only do once a month.
    Also check “Kindest Cut” they are mobil and do for donation?.


    They may locate one near you

  12. They are keeping the female overnight, Scott (VDM) said I could keep ‘Big Daddy’ there too, so I would not have to make an extra trip to pick him up.

    Still have four kittehs to catch and a very feral ginger colored male…will need to use canned food and catch/release cage to catch him.

    I have so much respect for this father and son veterinarians….been going there for ages..

    David, in Austin, you too are a Veterinarian….are you not?, hope my memory has clicked in here,

    good night my friends

    good night Jerry 🙂

  13. Old Bear, thank you for the links…but my Big Daddy can afford the vet care, and I have absolute trust in the vet clinic…..I just am trying to keep my life simple as well as Dad’s.

  14. Debbe, domaucan is the Vet, in Baton Rouge. Glad you are enjoying that link. I haven’t looked at it much yet, but what I saw I liked.

  15. Jimmy:

    Because I’m not an artist, I might be completely off base with this observation.

    It seems to me that the best comics are those that have mastered the art of suggesting instead of drawing explicitly.

    Speaking as a former teacher of literature, I compare it to Hemingway and how he endeavored to be an essentialist in his novels.

    Your strip has achieved that, no matter what tool you use to draw.

  16. Trucker Ron:

    Thanks for the Cosby kidney stone link.

    I’ve been there, done that, have the scars.

    The first two put me in the hospital, and I experienced the painkilling properties of morphine.

    I decided to handle the last two on my own with the generic version of several Excedrin PM.

    The pain was intense but endurable.

    I still think that anyone who claims that passing a kidney stone is worse than giving birth is deluded, though.

  17. I’ve passed 4 or 5, lost count. No surgery necessary, but went to emergency room twice for heavy meds and observation. Rest eventually made it out without needing anything more than over the counter stuff. But I don’t look forward to the experience. The ER nurse told me that about rather giving birth than passing a stone. Either way, you are still passing something that is bigger than what normally goes through those passages, and the baby isn’t spiked like a cocklebur either!

  18. Mark:

    No surgery for me, either, thankfully.

    I, too, had a woman tell me that a stone was worse than childbirth. She said that she had experienced both. I still think she’s deluded.

  19. It is amazing to see how every great comic strip artist has improved over the years. I was just looking at Sparky’s early work. You have come a long way.

    I saved it, but once you showed a sketch left handed and one right handed. That might be worth pulling out for a few giggles on the blog.

  20. Well, I’ve given birth to an 8 lb 12 oz, 21″ long, bouncing baby boy 🙂 have had my gall bladder removed (gall stones are not fun either).

    good night guys….

  21. According to the Mayo Clinic website, to avoid kidney stones you should limit your intake of:

    Bran flakes.
    Potato chips.
    French fries.
    Nuts and nut butters.

    I’ve had to limit my intake of potato products because of my diabetes, but I really enjoy the rest of those foods.

  22. My first child weighed 5 lbs and 10 ounces. Three years later I had another who stayed in an extra month and came out weighing 10 lbs and 5 ounces. She got stuck in birth canal and they ended up not knocking me out for fear of harming her. I ended up with lots of plastic surgery.

    Late husband, both daughters and MIL all had kidney stones. Husband had hospitalizations and surgery and dozens of stones. Oldest daughter was hospitalized, as was MIL.

    I have no actual idea which is worse, never had one.

  23. I knowed it, I knowed it. Them beets is bad for you.

    Actually, I wanted to send a nice fruit basket to Jackie’s plastic surgeon, but she tells me he is deceased.

  24. Another thought about Horizontal Pop:

    In that sense, men are like water.

    They always sink to the lowest level.

    In all things, of course.

  25. I was always told to avoid carbonated beverages due to the possibility of kidney stones. I think that there is also a genetic disposition to kidney stones and gall bladder stones. At least two of my brothers have had their gall bladders removed and at least one or two have had kidney stones. So far, so good for me.

  26. I have gallstones but have controlled them with diet

    My first BIG (Had small one but did not know what they were) thought I was having
    heart attack – at that time I had them so long that walls of gallbladder was thickening.
    Pain killer they gave me did nothing. Aspirin did better.
    I stay away from Peanuts, Kielbasa, and Bloomin’ Onions -that was what set the big one off.
    (And the onion was not very good either).

  27. Gallstones here, too. Had been having these attacks of intense pain every so often for a few years. Almost all lasted 45 minutes and then subsided. No idea of cause. Eventually, while undergoing surgery to resect my colon, I was found to have a bad gall bladder/duct/stone area. Surgeon stopped, cleaned up, and visited my MBH in the waiting area. He asked her if he ought remove that offending region. MBH cleverly asked whether or not such a removal would affect my quality of life. Quoth the surgeon, as relayed by my MBH later, “Lady, it ain’t working NOW!” My MBH gave permission, and I’ve had no more of those atrocious pain sessions. It has been 15 years, and I give thanks to the Almighty for sparing me further pain.

  28. Blinky, just looked at the Kickstarter page and Jimmy hasn’t updated it since the campaign last year, so no information there. He hasn’t said anything here lately about it so guess it’s a slow work in progress.

  29. Ghost and I just ate at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Tulsa. He had beef pho and I had a spicy beef pho. It was 3 p.m. so we were only customers, quiet peaceful and good food.

    We got up to leave and I had noticed two younger men eating in back wearing black aprons and speaking Spanish. They were the cooks!

    Talk about cultural appropriation!

  30. What I had was pho bo kho, a spicy beef soup. So good and I told Ghost it made me feel so good, like fuzzy and happy. He said instead of Jewish penicillin it was Vietnamese antibiotics.

    It is truly comfort food.

  31. Welcome to WebMD!

    Want me to describe my gallbladder surgery for my petrified gallbladder which atrophied totally and quit working by age 37?

  32. Gallstone sufferers:

    I’m glad that you live today.

    My wife never had a chance to meet her grandfather because he died of gallstones in 1936.

    It’s hard to believe now that something like that could ever kill anyone.

  33. Oh, I can believe a gall bladder could kill you!

    Mine was so painful and I was nauseous and threw up almost 24 hours a day for awhile.

    My employees,put a large floral industry garbage can under my design table, saying “Here, throw up in here. You are wasting too much time running to bathroom. We will never get the orders out on time if you don’t just keep working.”

  34. A friend in our neighborhood had her gall bladder out about 2 years before laparoscopic surgery came along. She was left with a 10-inch scar and a sponge that had to be retrieved a few weeks later. That was, of course, almost fatal.

  35. Hi Villagers! I am still around, but spending lots of time playing with my beautiful granddaughter. They are staying with us for a couple of weeks and having a new baby in the house is interesting since the last time it happened was 29 years ago.

    On the subject of gall bladders, I had to have mine removed when I was 29 and that was definitely before laparoscopic surgery. Huge scar (though happily no sponges left behind) that got stretched further by pregnancy. If I had ever thought of wearing a bikini that ended all such hopes.

    And I think I mentioned that Husbands’ kidney cancer was found due to the doctor ordering a CAT scan to find out why a really bad kidney stone wasn’t passing on its’ own. Sort of an odd blessing in disguise. He is doing well and nearly back to his normal routine after having the kidney removed, so all is good here.


  36. Good morning Villagers….

    Picked up the two kitteh makers from vet yesterday. Brought in the little black feline, and yes, she was pregnant…again. Too hot for her outside, and she seems content, but the other two inside cats just..don’t..like her. Lot’s of hisses. Still have three kittehs to catch. Need to call vet though, on the male I think they left one of his gonads hanging on! That is if I can catch him again. The best time to catch them is feeding time early in the morning

    Jackie, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours 🙂 When I had my hysterectomy, in the same surgery they removed my gall bladder (they made two or three incisions and moved my gall bladder and laid it on top of my uterus) and then also removed my appendix!! I felt like one of those hollowed out, chocolate Easter bunnies. I had something like 25 staples in me…and it was not a nice experience it taking those out either.

    Baby sister and family going to Myrtle Beach for a week…they’re leaving today…._itch 🙂 I said I had an itch 🙂

    Well, need to wrap this up…I started this post at 7ish this morning…we had rehab today and I went to $ General….they are building a new $ General store…bigger and better.

    …and look who I ran into this morning….he must have been starving back then to have taken on this role…too funny!!!

    later gators….

  37. Wow, Jean, that is good news on your husband….and I love the smell of newborn babies. Enjoy, as you well know, they grow up too fast. Unlikely to have grandchildren, but that’s fine…I couldn’t afford one!

  38. My goodness Jimmy has stirred up a hornet’s nest in his current arc. I kinda like the arc and the comments, even though a few comments have a tendency to drip a little acid. It will be interesting to see where he goes with this.

  39. Oh my cat, ursen, The Dark Side is all riled up…over 100 comments. I believe JJ has opened a Pandora’s box. The current arc is somewhat glum, but heh, a hundred years from now, who’s going to give a …. care 🙂

  40. Paul R. Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb and its sequel, The Population Explosion, brought him a lot of money and fame. They were both full of apocalyptic predictions which, fortunately, haven’t come to pass. Will they yet happen as he predicted? Or was he just tuned in to the fears of the times and cashing in on it?

  41. Mark, ya catching up on comics….I’ve added those two to my list….what’s funny is the commercial they just showed about ‘coolsculpting’…it’s fda approved and it ‘melts’ the fat cells away. I want to know what happens when those fat cells start melting at room temp 🙂

  42. Ghost and I staked the Zombie potatoes which are vigorously growing apace. We corralled them in colorful enameled tomato cages from Wally World to keep the greenery from sprawling all over bed and rotting.

    Ghost is working on his farmer’s tan.

    They are Zombie Potatoes because when we went to clean out the two beds closest to house we discovered they were full of potatoes planted in spring, dispite most of foliage being gone. We dug and dug and kept finding more potatoes to point we were laughing.

    I said I would plant a fall crop but we’d have to find potato sets. So when we found a large sack of sprouted potato sets that I had bought for the now departed garden help to plant back in March we filled bed with them!

    So, Zombie Potatoes.

  43. Late to comment, but I echo all who said Jimmy’s pen and brush ink work is great! The nibs ink line expresses the personality of the art!

  44. Re: this week’s newspaper strips

    I’ve always wondered at folks who think it would be EASIER to abandon a ruined earth and go terraform Mars and live there, than to just terraform the ruined earth. It stinks more of sensationalism than practicality.

  45. On the other hand, establishing populations elsewhere could have the same effect of placing animals in zoos. It keeps a viable population available to repopulate in case it is needed.

    Or to simplify it even more, not putting all our eggs in one basket and waiting for somebody to drop the basket.

  46. Hey Mark, we found the Lone Wolf banh mi restaurant. It is on 11th street right across from Chapman stadium by Tulsa University.

    Sandwiches were good, we had different pork ones and different aioli. We ended up doing takeout because they were slow at lunch.

  47. Nunnu:

    Unless I missed one of your earlier posts, I think this is the first time that you have visited.


    Please come back as your time permits.

    I think that you will like it here.

  48. The daily offering shows us that the artist extraordinare spends quality time with the Oxford English dictionary.

  49. Looked at the above reference and learned that “dudgeon” is a kind of wood often used for handles of daggers.
    Like to pick up little snippets here and there; thanks.

  50. OK, I admit I knew what high dudgeons meant without looking it up. It is the sort of thing you’d find used in a Jane Austin novel I think or Mark Twain or Charles Dickens.

    Or maybe on PBS?

    Both Ghost and I just admitted we used to read dictionaries, encyclopedias and Bartlett’s for entertainment. Even now at times.

  51. Brighter, indeed, OB. 😉 As was yesterday at Jackie’s PT, when I observed that her lovely therapist had chosen to wear a rather low-necked and loose-fitting pullover blouse for someone whose occupation requires her to bend forward with such frequency while working with clients.

    Sort of reminded me of P&PHS.

  52. Terrie our helper arrived today in a very brief pair of bright denim shorts and an even brighter brief tank top. Granted Ghost and I had bought them for her but still she must have brightened Ghosts day today.

    She takes great delight in how cute she looks in the outfits we buy her and loves to stop in so her coworkers at restaurant can see her.

    She asked us to pick out some cute Capri length shorts that she can wear at the restaurant which we did, about a week’s worth for $26.

    Just in case anyone wonders I trained in retail sales and fashion design long ago but just do this as a hobby now. Ghost despairs at my shopping addictions. We are working on it to get me cured. I am trying.

  53. Jackie, why not be a personal shopper for folks. That way you’re spending their money, having fun searching and choosing, and the clothes end up in their closet instead of yours. Win-win for everyone.

  54. It is 10 o’clock in the morning and the Village square is empty. Are the churches full?

    I am waiting for shower. Ghosts shower is still being remodeled in back apartment but new floor is in and painting and repairing wallpaper requires finding saved pieces of paper rolls.

    Wish us luck.

  55. I dreamt that, as I have done many times in the past, I’d traveled to Atlanta for a meeting. What made it a little unusual as that I was accompanied by two former fashion models that were overage and overweight for their former profession…in other words, they were drop-dead gorgeous “normal” women.

    When we left the Omni the next morning to travel to our meeting site, the first thing that I noticed was that the city looked like a war zone in all directions as far as I could see. Then I realized it was just the usual and customary construction work that seems a permanent feature of Atlanta life. (I once attended a lunch meeting where Lewis Grizzard was the speaker. “Welcome to Atlanta,” he said. “It’s going to be a nice place if they ever finish it.”) All of the street pavement was torn up as well, and there was only pedestrian traffic, so Ex-Model #1 and Ex-Model #2 and I set off walking to our destination.

  56. Part 2 (the blog software would not accept it as a single post)

    After awhile, we passed an indoor amusement park that covered several city blocks. XM1 (or was it XM2?) decided to stop in and buy a ticket for one of the rides. She changed into the required skin-tight jumpsuit (although it seemed no one else was required to don one) and climbed into what appeared to be a space capsule attached to steel cables. The cables then launched her into the air above the ground floor of the amusement park, making it swoop and dive and twist and turn in all three axes. From her squeals of delight, she enjoyed that. Really enjoyed that. Really, really enjoyed that.

  57. Part 3 (the blog software would not accept it as a single post)

    About that time, I realized I had become separated from XM2 (or was it XM1?) in the press caused by everyone else having to commute by foot. As I wandered around blocked off construction sites and barricaded sidewalks, I noticed a dicey-looking character shadowing me and tagged him as a probable mugger. As I walked, I tried to keep an eye on him and to use the navigation feature of my smart phone to find my destination. But then I realized that not only was the address known only to XM1 (or was it XM2?), the phone was having problems telling me where I was. I stopped into a family-style Armenian restaurant where a child’s birthday was being celebrated, compete with Armenian clowns, to work on it. Then I noticed Dicey-Looking Character had followed me in and was walking toward me. So I snatched a giant shoe off the foot of one of the Armenia clowns to use to defend myself. Then my alarm went off.

  58. Well, my church day is longer than normal today. Our family’s church services started at 9 am and it won’t completely end until 8 pm when we finish up at the state hospital visiting with patients and having a music program for them. At least I got out of the 7 am planning meeting since my daughters on the ASD had their movie theater shifts end at 11:30 last night.

    Now for a nap!

  59. I had a nice birthday today. The folks at church wished me Happy Birthday. I talked to my oldest friend. Had a steak dinner. I’ll talk to some of my sibs later.

  60. Jackquline:

    I have read dictionaries and everything else of that nature since I was in elementary. Seriously. That’s when I started. Yeah, I was born a nerd.

    My favorite dictionary is the OED.

    Side note: It’s amazing how a country only a little larger than Pennsylvania has had such a profound effect upon the world.

  61. Rick, no, the phrase that came to my mind was “horizontal bop”. Not quite sure of the meaning, but odd phrases stick with me.

  62. I know some of you out there drink coffee and I’ve found a good local (To Tulsa) brand. It really is some of the best I’ve ever had and is roasted and ground here so is much fresher than most supermarket coffee. They aren’t reimbursing me, I just like it well enough to recommend it.

    Here’s their online shop: https://topecacoffee.com/shop/

  63. Happy birthday, Laura.

    Ghost and I are going to wellness center to exercise. He is walking two miles on treadmill in about 45 minutes. I am riding recumbent bike for about 15 minutes and recumbent stairsteppet for 20 for now. I can’t do any exercises until my physical therapist approves although she did say I can walk on treadmill if I don’t fall.

    I am so impressed with Ghosts weight loss. He has dropped 25 pounds and a lot of inches since coming here.
    He is looking good but he says he has more to lose.

    Not gaining myself but not losing either. He eats less than I.

  64. The talk about dictionariesand encyclopedias reminded me of how much I loved to read them as a child. I gained a rather large vocabulary going through the dictionaries. We had a Funk&Wagnell’s two volume set. I was fascinated that words had origins from other languages. It’s one of the things that kept me reading and learning.
    I remember celebrating my 20th birthday watching the moon landing.

  65. Oops,it launched on my birthday. I just remember being glued to the TV watching all the coverage of our first journey to another object in space. It was so exciting.

  66. Mark,you are so right about that outfit. I thought I would go blind . It clashed so much.Goodwill probably thought someone would buy it for a costume party.

  67. Laura I remember my brother’s 21st birthday was on July 21st 1969 and he was in the service. My Mom wrote a letter to him saying that she would have never believed that Man would be on the Moon on her son’s 21st birthday. Ironically she and my Dad lived near Wapakoneta, OH when my older siblings were born and that was the hometown of Neil Armstrong.

  68. Good morning all. Ghost and I on way to Tulsa for my annual supposedly mammogram.

    Ghost said “Why? Don’t you trust me?”

    He takes good care of me.

  69. Old Bear we have 3 cats and 2 have never understood personal space. The crazy making part is that all 3 are “talkers”, one is actually a yeller. No peace at all. If one isn’t talking and walking on you, another is. The worst habit is we have one cat who waits until we are settle in to stream a program, then gets up on the kitchen table and starts doing laps on it. All kitchen surfaces are off limits and she knows this, she does it anyway, all it does is get her banished to the utility room, yet she does it anyway.

  70. I took Jackie to a diagnostic imaging center today for a mammogram. Ironically (or perhaps not), I noticed that every staff member I saw at the center was remarkable busty, except for the receptionist. He wasn’t.

  71. Good morning Villagers..

    GM OB 🙂

    Temps going back into the mid 90’s today.

    RE: Hoizontal bop….somewhere in Bob Seger’s songs, he uses that phrase…must research.

    Been not so serene here, but I won’t bore you with the bathroom details about it….poor Dad. Saturday was a nightmore…I cannot stress to him the important of fluid intake. I keep water and sweet tea next to him every day, and every time I go by, or am sitting there watch TV, I says…….Drink some water, or tea Dad…but I’m not thirsty…then I get up and hand him one of those glasses….sigh.

    Last week of rehab…..another sigh.

    Im’ sure you’ll see this cute…talk about Pavlov’s theory 🙂 https://streamable.com/lownv


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