Farewell To A Comic


I thought this one came out pretty good.

Every week from February 2014 to January 2019 I illustrated an episode of the webcomic “Tiny Dick Adventures” (or “TDA” in more polite circles) about a pint-sized undead Warlock named Richard (the eponymous “Tiny Dick” get it?!) wreaking violence and causing trouble throughout time and space on whatever targets he thought deserving.


The comics were written by Ryan Sohmer and published by Laughing Dragon Studios every Wednesday at the Looking For Group website where it was read by thousands of loyal fans. All told we made 258 comic strips, published 2 printed collections and the parent company produced and animated about a dozen cartoon shorts that were based directly off of comics I drew. I even wrote two of the episodes — once when the writer was too busy, another when he was too sick. (Try and guess which ones!)


On Jan 23rd, 2019 the strip officially went on hiatus, and though it was never the first project I told people about when asked what I was working on (or even the 4th or 5th) I was genuinely sad that my time with TDA had come to an end. Sohmer offered me the gig back in 2014 when I desperately needed one and I will forever be grateful for that, I hope I can pay him back in kind sometime in the future.


Though I don’t own it at all, TDA wasn’t just another work-for-hire job for me. I was being paid to draw the strip, sure, but there were so many other intangible benefits that came with the gig. The whole routine of it -get the script on Monday morning, pencil it that afternoon, ink and color it on Tuesday so it can go live at midnight- immediately became a comforting part of my professional routine and allowed me to structure my entire work week, and in many ways, to give structure to my LIFE for five years. Taking on lettering and coloring duties built up my digital illustration skills very quickly - skills I was able to carry over into my other comics work. And although I was totally unfamiliar with the character of Richard before I got the job I very quickly grew fond of drawing the little sociopath and putting my own stamp on the character's design.


(um, that's supposed to be Leonard Nimoy. Sorry I didn't draw him better. Deadlines.)

But the best of the comic though, by a MILE, was the easygoing working relationship I developed with writer Ryan Sohmer. He'd deliver the scripts to me every Monday without fail like a champ. I can't recall him ever asking me to redraw anything (except when I forgot to draw the signature green scars on Richard's face, which was often). Whenever one of us had vacation or travel plans (like when I spent 12 days completely off the grid in Death Valley ) he'd step up and write enough scripts to build up a buffer for us that would keep the strip on its weekly schedule. The man's a genuine peach.


Even though TDA is most likely at an end there’s plenty more coming from the madmen that spawned it. As of this writing, TDA’s parent comic — the fantasy epic “Looking For Group” written by Ryan Sohmer and drawn by the mighty Lar Desouza — is still going strong with 1200+ episodes and updating twice a week. The archives for TDA are still on the site, free to read, forever. Give them a look and maybe even binge read all 258 comics - there are worse ways to kill a couple of hours. I would have liked to have done one last TDA strip to close out our run, but ultimately I don’t own the character so it’s out of my hands.




To the readers of TDA — THANK YOU. Thank you all for checking in every week, thank you for responding in the comments, thank you for buying the books (even the ones with my name mis-spelled!), thank you for sharing it on the inter webs… but most of all, just thanks for reading.


(PS - it was 128 & 194)


an earlier version of this post previously appeared on Medium.com

Ryan Dunlavey is a cartoonist and author based in New York City.

All content created by and © Ryan Dunlavey unless otherwise noted.

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