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Pencil/Ink prelims for Liberty Meadows panels

CHARACTERS

Uncle Frank, is Brandy Real? IF SO, WHO IS SHE MODELED AFTER?

Brandy IS real, according to a dear befuddled fan from Detroit. Actually Brandy is a composite of several women whom I have lusted after since 2nd grade. She's based on Lynda Carter, Bettie Page, Candy Loving, and 2 girls from my high school, who, one of them particularly, looked like Brandy. If you were to meet her, you would see where I got Brandy from. But personality-wise, I just kind of made her up. To be honest with you, I don't know how the minds of women work... So I just made her the most rational, sane character out of the bunch.!

IS "FRANK THE VET" SUPPOSED TO BE YOU?

No. I'm Frank the trouser monkey.

IS BRANDY'S ROOMMATE, JEN, REAL?

I knew that this question was bound to appear. Jen, similar to Brandy (body and size), is modeled after somebody real. Jen is modeled after an old high school acquaintance of mine. She was a hottie. But, the personality of Jen is completely fabricated. I wanted Jen to be the complete opposite of Brandy. Jen is bad while Brandy is good. Jen knows that she is hot, and she has no qualms about using her looks to get what she wants (Wow, wotta woman!) Oh, I have big plans for Jen . . . Stay tuned.

When are going to update and add Oscar and Jen to the character sheet
on your syndicate's website?

Soon. Very soon. Everything will be updated, once my new website is launched. Be sure to watch for my gallery of censored strips!


Dude, in that strip with Jen, she was wearing a t-shirt with the letters "SCA". What does "SCA" stand for?

It stands for "Satan's Concubine Association". Just kidding, Chester. It stands for "Society of Creative Anachronism". It's basically bunch of people dressed in medieval outfits who party until they puke their mead out. Fun crowd.

Have you ever thought of putting a real "Jen Cam" on the internet?

Yes.

ART


BATGIRL IS ©DC COMICS

Do you sell your LIBERTY MEADOWS originals?

No. My wife won't let me.

Do you take commissions?

No. My hectic schedule won't let me.

Where can I get an original Frank Cho art?

On Ebay. From time to time, I put up my crap on Ebay. Your best bet is check Ebay on a regular basis, especially during tax season.

What tools do you use to draw Liberty Meadows?

I use Micron Pigma pens (size 02, 05, and 08) on Strathmore Bristol board (regular surface). I also use a regular Winston-Newton brush with Speedball black ink to block out large black areas.

How big is it?

That's a personal question.

No. No. How big do you draw your originals?

Daily strip - I draw on a 8" x 18" paper with active area of 4 3/4" x 16" (Active area is where the actual image is drawn on). Sunday strip - I draw on a 12" x 25" paper with active area of 8" x 23 1/2".

How do you draw? (Please be detailed as possible. I want to become a cartoonist like yourself.)

With my right hand, I first pencil in the figures using a # 2 ½ Sanford Mirado pencil (or any #2 pencil lying around) on a Strathmore Bristol board (300 series. Regular or vellum surface, heavyweight paper. 100 lbs). After I tighten up the drawing, I ink over the pencilled lines using a Pigma Micron pen (usually size 08). Once the ink is dry (after several seconds), I erase out the remaining pencilled marks using a white Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser. It's just that easy. Good luck!

"Do you do any other type of artwork besides comic strip art, Uncle Frank?"

Yup. Growing up, I wanted to be an comic book artist or a book illustrator. I never wanted to be a syndicated cartoonist because all the newspaper comic strips sucked (except for Bloom County, Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes). My heroes were people who knew how to draw (Norman Rockwell, Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Loomis, etc). Although I'm a nationally syndicated cartoonist now, My first love is realistically rendered illustrations. For fun on my spare time, I draw pulp and comic book inspired illustrations. Right now I'm working on a new hardback novel by Talbot Mundy. I'm doing lots of great illustrations for this book that will be in comic book stores in October. The book is called JIMGRIM AND THE DEVIL AT LUDD. You can order it through your local comic store, now. Meanwhile, you can see some of my other illustrations on this website:

WARNING! SOME OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS CONTAIN NUDITY

http://basementcomics.com/bcart.htm

Go to the art gallery section of that website, you're gonna love it. Dinos, monkeys, and babes!!

If you are a Edgar Rice Burroughs fan, click here:

Uncle Frank's Art Gallery

So, when's that CAVEWOMAN book that you've been promising us monkeys, gonna be published?


Whenever I get off my lazy ass and draw the damn thing. No, seriously. With my plate full of other projects and the way things are unfolding, it should be out sometime in 2002.

Where can I get the stunning Tiffany Taylor art print that you drew?

It's a signed and limited print (#1000). We haven't finished signing them, but it will done soon and in time for Christmas. I'll only be selling them at book signings and conventions. I think Tiffany will be selling them on her website, www.tiffanytaylor.com , for those who can't travel. Tiffanytaylor.com IS AN ADULT SITE, so no youngsters are allowed. I mean it, don't make me come down there and smack you.

There's a "Draw your own Liberty Meadows strip" contest on your Liberty Meadows website (under Brandy's Fun Page category). Can I submit and what's the deadline?

Yes, it's open to everyone and there's no deadline. It's an ongoing contest and the winner is voted by the you, the fans. The booty (the prize, you sick perv.) is some crap off my desk. So crank out those strips you monkeys.

BIOGRAPHY


Prelim for Liberty Meadows "Bathwater" Sunday


"Uncle Frank, tell us about your background"

Well, I grew up in Beltsville, Maryland(Between Laurel and College Park), Right by the USDA (United StatesDepartment of Agriculture) and BARC (Beltsville Agricultural ResearchCenter). In fact, I married the daughter of one of the senior scientists at BARC.

I attended High Point High School (1986-1990), then Prince Georges County College (1990-1993). I transferred to University of Maryland School of Nursing in downtown Baltimore. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996. Why nursing, you say? Simple. To meet women, and I look good in white. While attending University of Maryland Nursing School, I drew a daily comic strip, UNIVERSITY2 (pronounced University Squared) for the student newspaper at the University of Maryland main campus in College Park. This college strip eventually put me on the road to syndication.

LIBERTY MEADOWS was created in Baltimore, Maryland while I was finishing up my last semester of nursing school (In an interesting twist, LIBERTY MEADOWS was picked up by the Washington Post, but not by the Baltimore Sun newspaper). The strip is now in 30 newspapers, 5 countries and numerous websites.

Frank, darling, why won't you answer my eMail?

Very good question. Due to the sheer volume of eMail and fan letters, it's physically impossible for me to answer the eMail. Don't take it to heart, if you don't get a personal reply from me. I DO read all the eMail that I receive, so keep those letters coming, folks!

"Do you like pie?"

Yes.

I read you lift weights for fun. How much can you bench press?

My personal best bench press is 300 pounds. That was about 7 years ago when I was training for Judo (when you're short and wear glasses, you have to learn to defend yourself at an early age). In a recent local weightlifting tournament, I benched 285 pounds.

Hey Monkey Boy, did you go to an art school?

No, I went to special school. Just kidding. No, I never went to an art school. I taught myself how to draw and paint through many years of practice.

"Uncle Frank, do you own a wiener dog in real life?"

Yup. My wife and I have a little black long haired wiener dog named Truman. He's almost 2 years old and hyper as a baby chimp on "speed". Those of you who live in the Columbia, Maryland area, you probably see me walking the little cuss every afternoon. As we speak, Truman and I are in a constant power struggle for authority...and DAMN IT, he's winning!

I currently reside in Columbia, Maryland with my lovely new wife, Cari, and less lovely long haired wiener dog named Truman.

You often comment about your short stature in your strips. Exactly, how tall are you in real life?

I'm 5'5" tall and weigh 145 pounds (average height and weight of an American woman. Sad but true).

What's your favorite color, Uncle Frank?

Green.

What kind of beer you drink?

I don't drink anymore, on account I get very mean and sleepy. Two beers and I'm out like a light. Yeah, I'm a cheap date.

What's your favorite monkey (or ape)?

Your mom! HA! No. No. I kid you. My favorite primates have to be chimps because they're so damn wacky and the perfect caricatures of humans. Also they fling their own poop which is so funny on many levels.

What's your favorite food?

Sushi. Mmmmmmm. Bait.

Can I have your baby, Frank?

No, my wife got dibs on that.

SKETCHES AT SHOWS

1) I'm not a morning person. So don't waste your time waiting for in the morning. To catch me at my booth, your best bet is after lunch.

2) Please bring books for me to sign but DO NOT BRING JUST A PIECE OF PAPER for me to sketch. I'm just going to automatically tag you as an eBay profiteer and not do a sketch.

3) I'll be more than happy to do a free head sketch of my characters but no female characters.

4) I will not sketch someone else's character (unless I've worked on that book) or sketch a comic book character that YOU CREATED so that you can print it later in your book.

5) I don't do commissions so please don't ask.

I hope these guidelines are useful and will help avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Best wishes,
Frank Cho
LIBERTY MEADOWS

ADVICE

I'm a young struggling cartoonist. Can you give me any advice or secrets on breaking into syndication?

First and foremost, LEARN HOW TO DRAW! 99% of all professional syndicated cartoonists can't draw worth sh#@! If you know how to draw, you automatically double your chances of being picked up by a syndicate. Second, WRITE WHAT YOU THINK IS FUNNY. Don't let anyone else dictate how you should write. If it's funny, do it. Nothing sacred. Don't be scared to be funny. If you put out an honest well drawn strip, people will read it. Don't be like most of the syndicated cartoonists out there who hack out crappy politically correct nonjokes. Stay true to yourself.

Do I look fat?

Depends on the lighting.

I'm tired of waiting tables and laying out breakfast trays every morning. I want to be a syndicated cartoonist. I have this great idea for a strip but I don't know what or how to submit to the syndicates. Advice?

Well, my waiter friend, here's what I sent to the syndicates to get LIBERTY MEADOWS syndicated. I s ubmitted about 6-8 weeks worth of daily and Sunday
strips (NEVER SEND ORIGINALS). This helps the syndicate see if you're consistent in writing and art. I put my proposed comic strips in a booklet format. (It's quite easy. Just take it to your local photocopy center.) I drew a nice eye-catching cover (with contact information). Inside I included:

1 - the introduction letter

2 - a full character sheet (roll call, basically)

3 - A page devoted what the setting is and where the main story takes place

4 - 6-8 weeks of strip

5 - my contact information (phone # and address)

6 - and the back cover.

When you send your strips to the syndicate, be sure to include a self addressed envelope. Now after you send it, be patient. Syndicates receive thousands of submissions a year, so it takes a while for them get through all of them.
It took me, on average, about 3 months before I heard anything from the syndicates. Good luck.


COMICS & BOOKS


PRELIM FOR CAVEWOMAN

I know you like comic books. What comic books do you currently read?

I cut down on my comic reading due to time restraints. Quite frankly, I'm 28 years old and I have a family to take care of. But, here are the comic books that I DO read on a regular basis:

BONE by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books).
Gorgeous art and superb writing. I can't say enough good things about Jeff Smith. He is a true master of the comic medium.

TRANSMETROPOLITAN by Warren Ellis and Derick Robertson (DC/Vertigo Comics).
Absolutely the funniest book around. Inventive, fast, and laced with sardonic wit, it's great, great book.

CAVEWOMAN by Budd "AssMan" Root (Basement Comics).
I love this book. It's has everything I love in it. Dinosaurs, a big monkey, busty women and guns. Now if this isn't entertainment, then nothing is. Go check it out. Tell Budd that Uncle Frank sent you (I gotta warn you. This is not for everyone. It's violent and has some nudity. It's rated PG14, but it's DAMN fun book!).

Your drawing is absolutely fantastic. Your style reminds me of the Great Walt Kelly's brush work. Have you studied Walt Kelly?

I stumbled upon Walt Kelly by accident. I discovered Walt Kelly's artwork through Jeff Smith's artwork. For those who don't know Jeff Smith, Jeff Smith is the writer/artist of BONE, a fantastic cartoon book for all ages. Jeff Smith is, in my humble opinion, the greatest modern cartoonist currently working and a legend
in the making. Many of my artist friends told me that Jeff Smith was inspired by Walt Kelly and I should check out POGO. Now for those who don't know Walt Kelly, he is the greatest cartoonist of ALL TIME! Walt Kelly is the creator of POGO, an American comic strip masterpiece. Walt Kelly is through and through the purest cartoonist who has ever lived. To answer your question, Yes. I studied Walt Kelly.

What's your favorite newspaper strip currently?

I don't read much. No. Not because I went to public school. What I mean is I don't read very many comic strips (because it's down right depressing! Most are unfunny and poorly drawn, and all are printed too damn small). But I do read a few comic strips on a daily basis. Besides from my own strip (looking for mistakes and unannounced changes), I read PIRANHA CLUB, MUTTS, BLONDIE, and DOONESBURY. This may come as a shock to some of you out there, but my favorite strip currently running is FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE by Lynn Johnson. I think Lynn Johnson is the best cartoonist right now, bar none!

Read any good books lately, dude?

Yes, I have. I just finished reading the entire "Little House" book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, The First Four Years). Now don't laugh. I quite enjoyed it immensely, and no, I'm not gay or on crack. You bastards.


Next Question, Do I have a woody?

"Uncle Frank, does the syndicate censor your strips?

Yup. Here are some strips that have been censored:

*June 15th- (Ralph and Leslie are in a stream hunting for beavers)
Censored line: "I never met a beaver I couldn't lick".

*June 18th- (Dean sees Brandy holding a captured beaver)
Censored line: "Nice beaver, Brandy".

*June 20th- (Oscar, the wiener dog crawls into Brandy's shirt while she trying to demonstrate how to properly hold a dachshund).
Censored image: Brandy's breast reduced. Deemed too sexy for children.

*July 11th- (Sunday Strip: Truman dressed as a cowboy ride Oscar like a bronco)
Censored line: "You call this bucking? I've seen more action on a waterbed".

*July 24th daily strip (Saturday):

Panel 1- At a cookout, Brandy is holding a hotdog and asks Frank for some mustard. Frank being a nervous freak accidently squirts some mustard on Brandy's shirt.
PANEL 2- Frank profusely apologizes to Brandy. Brandy reassures Frank that it's no big deal, and tries to calm Frank down by placing her hand on his shoulder.
PANEL 3- Frank, excited with love by Brandy's touch, squirts the mustard into air.

The 3rd panel was completely censored. The powers-to-be thought the last panel suggested Frank had premature ejaculation. No foolin', dude. They said the mustard bottle was very phallic in symbol, and might cause an uproar amongst female readers. Folks, the newspaper business is a weird and frustrating market. They are so uptight when it comes to the funnies, yet so lax in other areas of the newspaper. Go pick up a major newspaper, and see how many "bra and panties" sales ads you can find. Oh, did you know that I can't say the word "bra" in a comic strip, but I CAN say the word "brassiere" instead (check out May 5th LM strip).

The 3rd panel was ultimately replaced by a drawing of a spilled "white-out" bottle covering most of the the image and the "squirt" sound effect.

*July 31 - Jen, Brandy's roommate is licking and sucking her fingers after eating BBQ chicken. Da Man almost censored the entire strip but we reached a compromise and just deleted the sound effect word "Suck" from the strip. They reasoned that it implies Jen is having oral sex. Good gravy! Haven't they read the Ken Starr Report?!

*August 12 - Jen starts a new website and installs an internet video camera on her home computer which she shares with Brandy. After being caught in an awkward situation (singing songs from "Grease" in her underwear) by the internet camera, Brandy wants the camera disconnected. So she and Jen get into argument. The final payoff panel is the animals are watching the entire scene on their computer. The punch line is, Dean asks Ralph, " When are they gonna take their clothes off?" Well, this entire strip, not being very "family oriented", was censored. Actually, the replacement strip explaining why the original strip was censored turned out funnier than the original. You guys will see it when it comes out.

*AUGUST 20
Original: Third panel. Ralph, drunk, picks his nose.
Apparently, a cartoon bear picking his nose is an affront to the American way. Go figure.

*AUGUST 24
Original: Last panel. Ralph in a dress yells, "HELL NO!"
I can't say the word "hell" in a family newspaper or "Jesus" for that matter, unless you're Johnny "Messiah" Hart.

*AUGUST 31
Original: Last Panel. Dave Letterman says to "Head Bean" Gary, world renown teddy bear maker, and to Ralph. ". . . So 'Head' (Can I call you 'Head'?) What stupid pet trick is Ralphie here gonna do?" Ralph answers, "I have a trick. I'm gonna make my foot disappear up your..."
Da Man replaced the word "Head" to "Bean" in the Letterman's dialogue, and completely deleted the words "up your . . ." from Ralph's reply. My editors told me that calling someone "Head" has a sexual connotation to it and will offend children everywhere especially their soccer moms who like to write to newspaper editors. The "I'm gonna make my foot disappear up your . . ." bit was just wrong in their eyes.

*SEPTEMBER 1
Original: The picture of Star Wars Episode 1 boxer shorts (spoofing the wanton merchandise craze) had Jar Jar Binks on it saying, "Meesha Gottsha Force Right Here!" Da Man utterly wiped that slogan out. They said it was funny, but it was offensive to asexual people or sumthin'.

*SEPTEMBER 13
Original: Last Panel. Ralph swears off booze and drugs, and decides to be a Born-again Christian. Ralph is baptized by Johnny Hart's BC characters. Ralph yells, "I'M CLEAR!" My syndicate really flipped out on this one. My syndicate is Creators Syndicate. It syndicates my strip, Liberty Meadows AND Johnny Hart's strip, BC. For those out there who don't know about Johnny Hart and his strip, ol' Johnny is a hardcore Born-again Christian. He became a Born-again about 10 years ago. His strip, BC, was once a very funny strip in its hey days, but drastically changed to preachy fire and brimstone Jesus strip when Hart was reborn. Anyway, Johnny Hart is Creators Syndicate's most vital cartoonist, and I'm not. The President of Creators Syndicate came down on me hard. He simply refused to run my BC spoofing strip, unless I changed it. I, of course being young, dumb, and full of sperm, didn't back down. I told 'em to go to Hell with Johnny. Well, my syndicate in not so many words then said that it was willing to let Liberty Meadows lose newspapers rather than offend Johnny Hart (cash cow). They said that it will run a completely blank strip for that day. I, of course, blinked and backed down. I replaced the BC characters with Will B. Dunn (Kudzu) and the country preacher from Snuffy Smith comic strip. The moral of this story is "Don't screw with Jesus".

*SEPTEMBER 17
Original: Tick bite episode. A giant has Oscar the wiener dog in its mouth (visual gag). Frank can't get the tick to release Oscar. Brandy shows up and frees Oscar by punching the tick in the stomach. The tick then says the punchline, "Oooh, I torn my sack." This line needless to say was censored outright.

*SEPTEMBER 18
Original: I spoof Charles "Sparky" Schulz by drawing the entire strip in his shaky style. Although, I didn't use any of Schulz's characters, the dickweeds made me put in an apology line to Schulz. Sheesh, everyone is so damn sensitive.

OCTOBER 23, 1999
They changed the phony telephone number on Khan the Catfish from 1-800-flip-you to 1-000-flip-you. They only changed it because some dickweed actually dialed the phone number and got a psychicphone line.

December 3,1999
Original line: Damn! (third panel) I shouldn't be surprised that this was changed (it was replaced with "Darn!"). The one thing that DID bother me was that it was changed without my notification. Usually my editor calls me if there are changes to be made. We would discuss the alternative word(s) or graphic changes more suitable for the mass audience (newspaper definition of "mass audience" is "My 5 year old kid"). However, when I received the advance proof sheet, no changes were made which is a sure sign that everything in the strip is fine. When I saw the printed newspaper version (Washington Post) the punchline was altered. I'm not sure who made the change, the newspaper or my editor, but it was very annoying.

December 4, 1999
Original line: Double Damn! (third panel) It was replaced with' "Double Darn!" See above.

December 8, 1999
Original line: "Holy Moley!! Someone call Johnnie Cochran. Looks like O.J.'s on the prowl again." It was replaced with "Someone call Johnnie Cochran. Looks like his client's on the prowl again". Obviously, I can't make fun of O.J. anymore.

December 14, 1999
Original version (Second panel) had the Evil Brandy standing, legs slightly apart, in the doorway against the hall light for that dramatic shadow effect. The light filtering between her legs was completely blacked out. Instead of Evil Brandy looking like she's wearing jeans, she looks like she's wearing a skirt. I guess women standing with their legs apart is no-no with the print media. Someone should notify Shania Twain.

January 19 thru February 1, 2000.
From Evil Brandy storyline: The original episodes of Pokemon assassin droid were cut short. My editor thought it was tad to close to copyright infringement and overall too violent for children.

March 11, 2000
Third panel original line: "Tell'em about that sorority sister who can swallow her hand..."

March 15, 2000
Fourth panel, Sound effect original line: "Ow! My nads". (I sometimes like to sneak in a word or slang to see if I can get away it.)

March 23, 2000
Fourth panel original image: Dean's chest is swollen like a woman's bosom. (My editors thought a pig with womanlike breasts was indecent.)

March 24, 2000
Third panel original line: "Zounds! What mounds!"

March 25,2000
Fourth panel original line: "Can I get a hug?"

April 4, 2000
Original image: Brandy just woke up from sleep, and is standing wearing panties. (My editors changed it so that it looks like she's wearing sweat pants.)

April 10, 2000
Fifth panel original line: "Got milk?" (Dean is practicing pick up lines. My editors said that it was offensive to women.)

April 11, 2000
Third panel original line: "..Fist says hell no." (Hell is one of many words that I can't use in a family newspaper. God dammit!)

April 12, 2000
Second panel original image: Oscar accidently rips open the comics page and a giant bra ad is seen through the ripped hole.

April 15, 2000
Third panel original line: "Come and get it while it's nice and hot!" (Leslie is holding up a shovel of Oscar's poop for Frank the vet to do a stool sample test. My editors said that it was verbally too graphic.)

April 18, 2000
The entire strip was censored. The original strip had Dean begging Frank to drive him to Al's Treetop Tavern. Frank, busy on the computer, ignores Dean and tells him to walk. Dean pulls out a pistol and shoots out the computer screen. Frank, scared, agrees to drive Dean to the Tavern. My editors said that the entire sequence was too violent for impressionable children and they may act it out in school and home. A very hard reason to argue against after the whole Columbine incident. Personally I like to give more credit to the intelligence of our kids. The replacement strip was pretty much the same gag except Frank is now rearranging his Star Wars collection and Dean threatens him by shoving a stuffed Ewok toy into his mouth. Doesn't quite have the same impact as the original. But what can you do?

Pretty sad, isn't it. And people wanna know why I hate the whole syndication process. I'll update you on more censored strips as it happens. Oh, and you should check out my new comic book series LIBERTY MEADOWS where I get the chance to put the original punch lines back into my strips!

Read censored strips online here:

Uncensored Strips


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