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Profiled: Donna A. Lewis creator of ‘Reply All’

The new comic Reply All by Donna A. Lewis’ debuts in February through Washington Post Writers Group. Jewish Times profiles Donna.

Enter Lizzie, the “star” of “Reply All,” a new comic strip scheduled to debut on Monday, Feb. 28, through the Washington Post Writers Group syndicate. Penned by Baltimore-born cartoonist Donna A. Lewis, “Reply All” is loosely based on the artist’s own life: Lizzie is a single woman who is doing well in her career, but who still harbors self-doubts.

“She’s modeled after successful women who like who they’ve become,” says Ms. Lewis, 48. “She’s confident, yet insecure, about everything she does. It’s like when someone says, ‘I love your outfit’ and your response is ‘really?’ Does Bill Gates question his every thought?”

She goes on to describe Lizzie as “a Mary Tyler Moore for the modern age, only with more confidence.”

Community Comments

#1 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 2:07 pm

The writing is cute, but Washington Post Writer’s Group couldn’t find an artist to team up with this person? It’s painful to look at. She’s a writer not an artist.

How hard is it to find an artist for this comic? They’re doing Donna a disservice.

#2 donna lewis
January/21/2011
@ 2:11 pm

Awww…thanks for posting, Alan. I’ll try to add something controversial to the next interview, I promise…they’ve been (i.e., I’ve been) pretty dull so far. :-)

#3 donna lewis
January/21/2011
@ 2:17 pm

Sorry about the pain, Scott….:-)

#4 Scott Kurtz
January/21/2011
@ 2:34 pm

And, Donna I’m sorry if my comments hurt your feelings in any way. I think the strip is clever and has a good chance of connecting with a lot of people. I wish you the very best with your new feature.

I just think that it was the responsibility of the syndicate to have sat down and have a conversation with you about the art. You’re clearly a talented writer. It’s just I think the strip would be better served if you were teamed up with an artist.

#5 Dennis Goris
January/21/2011
@ 2:39 pm

Can you imagine this strip being done in the same visual mould as 97% of all the the comics out there? Um…I don’t think so. It’s not slick, but it’s not McDonalds’. And content always trumps style.

#6 donna lewis
January/21/2011
@ 2:42 pm

Hurt my feelings, Scott? I’ve been in litigation for twenty years – I have no feelings left to hurt.

And actually, I love this forum because you guys make the attorneys I work with seem like gentle huggy bears. :-)

I think WPWG saw the art and made a decision. Maybe they made the wrong one – who knows. But maybe they made the right one. I’m betting on the unknown. :-)

d

#7 Stephen Beals
January/21/2011
@ 3:20 pm

Primitive looking art really works for some writing styles, and I think that’s the case here. Good luck, Donna!

#8 Ben McCormick
January/21/2011
@ 3:21 pm

First Stephan Pastis, now Donna Lewis. Who knew law school was the fast track to syndication?

#9 donna lewis
January/21/2011
@ 3:40 pm

Stephen, thanks! Appreciate the tolerance for diversity (even if it may suck).

Ben, HA HA HA….I tell every aspiring writer to go to law school first…if only for the total pain of it. :-)

d

#10 Daniel Boris
January/22/2011
@ 12:26 pm

Knock em dead, Donna!

#11 Karyl Miller
January/22/2011
@ 1:00 pm

The writing is tops! The drawing is fun. Leave Donna alone. She’s a welcome new, funny voice.

#12 Stephen Beals
January/22/2011
@ 4:52 pm

Donna, I probably phrased that badly (my wife would say “probably?”) No, I WANT diversity on the comics page and you certainly do not suck! I know (because I’ve seen it over and over) that there will be an audience for something that does not look like a traditional American comic strip.

#13 donna lewis
January/22/2011
@ 8:41 pm

@Dan….thanks! Will try!

@Karyl…I love the word FUN! Thanks! If the strip is ever considered FUN, then I’m an extremely happy camper.

@Stephen…your description was perfect…I am, indeed, not an artist…I can certainly live with primitive (esp if it’s FUN)!

And, for the record, sticks and stones (and negative opinions) may be good for web traffic (and a laugh), but they will never ever stop me from an avocation that keeps me out of trouble. :-)

d

#14 Henry Clausner
January/24/2011
@ 2:41 pm

…”you go girl”…you go with your bad self !

#15 donna lewis
January/24/2011
@ 4:15 pm

“When Girls Go Bad”….yeah….

#16 Chris Flick
January/25/2011
@ 11:31 am

Donna, I didn’t know about this! Congratulations. Here’s wishing you all the best!

#17 donna lewis
January/25/2011
@ 2:37 pm

@Chris….thanks!!

#18 Henry Clausner
January/26/2011
@ 10:40 am

hey , I’m secure, married and 47…maybe I should draw a strip on that and see what happens..

#19 Leslie Luckyone
January/26/2011
@ 1:45 pm

Saw the article in the Balto JT. Loved the strip on the cover. My 3 girls got a laugh. It’s so true.
Knock’m dead. I’m cheering for you.

#20 donna lewis
January/26/2011
@ 1:49 pm

Cool, Leslie! I’m counting that as four people who laughed – please don’t tell me that the youngest was so young it could have been gas. Thanks for the cheering! d

#21 Sonny Moon
March/25/2011
@ 9:30 am

“Reply All” is the worst comic strip I have ever read. The artwork is pathetic. It makes “Kathy” look good.

#22 Marc Davidson
March/25/2011
@ 12:38 pm

Let’s have a look at your comic strip, Sonny. Or is it Konny?

#23 Sonny Moon
March/28/2011
@ 8:03 am

Marc,

Sorry, I don’t have a comic strip of my own to show you. But, come on, you can’t tell me you think Donna Lewis draws well, or is even marginally competent? How on earth did she land a gig as a cartoonist?

#24 Sam F.
April/23/2011
@ 8:17 am

It’s not fair! I work hard on my comics so hard that the artwork and the captions practically SING together! Not always, but it looks like you get really drunk on MS Paint. I don’t know why Reply All got recognition without someone putting you in an art class at least.
I like the tempo at which the characters respond and react to each other. The humor is great. But one day I’m going to be a comic strip writer and blow you out of the water.

#25 Sam Ferdinand
April/23/2011
@ 8:22 am

Donna, it looks like a person drank heavily before getting on MS Paint to draw Reply All.
Artwork is important for a comic strip and I think its unfair that you leave that part out. Its key! I can’t wait to be recognized for my skills as a comics artist, and then I’ll blow you out of the water! Hahaha!

#26 Sam Ferdinand
April/23/2011
@ 8:25 am

It looks like someone drank heavily while on MS Paint to draw Reply All. It’s dreadful. And unfair to people who could have your spot in the comics page. Practice drawing! You don’t pick up a skill like drawing comics and leave the drawing part out. Lazybones. Your humor is great, but I’m going to be a comics writer one day and bury you on the comics page. HA!

#27 Marc Davidson
April/23/2011
@ 9:57 am

@Sam. Please blow us out of the water, then bury us with another version of your comment. HA! Hahaha!

#28 Shane Davis
April/25/2011
@ 8:06 am

The delay between hitting “submit” and the comment actually showing up on this thread is producing some pretty good comedy in its own right.

Someone wanna get drunk on MSPaint, put that comedy on paper and sell it as a strip? I suggest the name “Submit Submit Submit, Dammit, Submit!”

#29 Donna Lewis
April/25/2011
@ 6:05 pm

So nice to see creatives (of any sort – writers, artists, humorists) supporting each other. :-)

Time to bow out of this venue again. It’s fun and cool and funny and all of that – and then it’s just negative.

Bye folks. See the nice ones in nicer circles.

d

#30 donna lewis
June/6/2011
@ 11:25 am

Thanks, Billy! Haters = $$$ in this business!

And please, thank your mom. She really raised you well.

d

#31 Tom Racine
June/6/2011
@ 11:27 am

Ah, Billy. So civilized. Gosh…a comic you don’t like moves you to actually wish someone’s DEATH. These aren’t just words, man. You have any idea how that might sound to someone? It’s a comic! You don’t like, don’t read! Here’s hoping you see the power in what you’re saying, idiot. I’ll stop now before I’m guilty of the same thing you just did. Geez.

#32 donna lewis
June/6/2011
@ 11:29 am

I’m killing myself now, Tom. Right after I tell Amy Lago that she sucks and clearly has no idea what she’s doing.

:-)

#33 Mike Lester
June/6/2011
@ 12:14 pm

I got a buck sez “billy” digs manga.

-signed,
Mr. “Halfway Descent Cartoonist”

#34 Alan Gardner
June/6/2011
@ 1:10 pm

Editor’s note – Right before comment #29, someone signed “Billy” made two comments – both of them violated the comment rules. They have been removed. It’s throwing off the conversation thread, but they weren’t comments I could let stand.

I’ve looked up the IP and email address – it’s no one who’s posted here before.

-Alan

#35 donna lewis
June/6/2011
@ 1:26 pm

Too late, Alan. I killed myself.

Well, first I cried. A lot.

Then I threw out all incriminating evidence of my low moral character from my home and office and car.

And THEN I killed myself.

:-)

d

#36 Mike Lester
June/6/2011
@ 1:38 pm

You probably can’t even draw a decent chalk outline around yourself.

#37 donna lewis
June/6/2011
@ 1:40 pm

I can too draw a decent chalk outline around myself. I just need to erase and do over a LOT of times.

#38 John Baker
November/1/2011
@ 9:16 am

It may be that this discussion is no longer active, but I’ll give it a try.

I don’t hate the art in Reply All. It’s got a different look, maybe a little edgier than the other strips, and that’s O.K. But it’s relatively nonrepresentational, and that’s something that the writing needs to take account of. Is our protagonist young? Middle-aged? Attractive? Ordinary looking? I can’t tell. We need to have dialogue (or surtitles, etc.) that conveys this kind of information. Without it, the reader is to a significant extent lost in trying to follow the strip.

#39 ken kelly
January/17/2012
@ 12:48 pm

don’t change a thing. just keep going as you are.

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