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The Daily Cartoonist is on hiatus

Perhaps you’ve noticed the site has not been updated for awhile now. I certainly didn’t intend to go this long without mentioning something, but since several individuals have contacted me asking if I was okay or what was going on with the blog, I’m long overdue for some level of public explanation.

The Daily Cartoonist had 10+ year run. That’s not a declaration that I’m hanging up the blog or lost interest in comic art. But it is saying that the near-term outlook points to an hiatus of undetermined length. While I value and appreciate the friendships that have resulted from running this blog, my life has made several dramatic turns in the last two years resulting in a change of priority and focus. Let me share a little what’s going on in my world today.

Caylee, Dylan, Emily and Fox

The Gardner Kids
The Gardner Kids: Fox, Caylee, Dylan, Emily

I count these four humans my favorite people. Yes, I’m biased. I imagined the teen years were supposed to be awful and hellish. Watching these four learn discover who they are, what they value and what excites them has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable periods of my life – and I’m loving every moment of it. Sure, we have our occasional teen moments, but those moments are infrequent compared to the rest. I can’t speak highly enough of my kids.

The National Parks Challenge

National Parks Challenge
Photos of the different National Parks my family has visited

The spring after my divorce I announced to the kids that we were going to visit all five Utah National Parks in one summer. Instead of whining they were excited and we had a grand time. In fact that summer we hit two additional parks parks because all five Utah parks are hot desert climates in the summer – so we went north to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. With seven parks checked off the list, the goal expanded all 59 U.S. National Parks. Our count as of today is 13. If they had it their way the next two parks would be Haleakala and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks. We’ll get there, I’m sure.

One of the parks I explored was Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Unlike other parks where geological features are the purpose of their preservation, Mesa Verde is centered on the ruins of the indigenous Ancestral Puebloans (AKA Anasazi). As someone who enjoys history, I’ve always been jealous of Europe where you can’t walk three feet without tripping over something historical dating back thousands of years. I was ignorant of the rich history in my own backyard and subscribed to the notion that history in North America started with the Pilgrims and the American Revolution. Mesa Verde kindled a interest in Southwest history and the Anasazi. Since my trip to Mesa Verde NP, Southern Utah has become an itch needing to be frequently scratched to explore abandoned ruins and artifacts.

Spruce House - Mesa Verde National Park
Spruce House – Mesa Verde National Park
Cedar Mesa Moon House
Moon House ruins in Cedar Mesa Utah

Public land issues

My trips to Mesa Verde and Southern Utah has spawned a huge interest in protecting public lands and safeguarding them from concerted efforts by short-sided, special-interest funded politicans intent to ‘take back’ public land and sell them off to private industry. I’ll spare you an earful and hope you’ll read this short response to many of the arguments to take away your land and give it to the states (who will invariably sell it to private interests).

The great outdoors

One of the many trails minutes from my home
One of the many trails minutes from my home

The trips have also inspired me to do a LOT more hiking, camping and being outdoors. I now regulary run during the week and take in a hike on most weekends. I have two major hikes scheduled – Pikes Peak, CO in May and Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in June. Beyond that, I have two trips with my kids this summer: a Grand Teton backcountry hike (and white-water rafting) and a paddle/kayak trip to Lake Powell in southern Utah. Last week I adopted a Heeler/Border Collie dog named Gracie – a hearty, active breed to go along with our adventures. I’m looking forward to enjoying as much time in the great outdoors as I can this summer and fall.

My Refugee family

Last year I volunteered with a program in Salt Lake City that paired me with wonderful refugee family from Burma. I serve as a mentor helping them navigate the ins and outs of a lot of things we take for granted as Americans. The Salt Lake Tribune did a nice write-up of the program featuring me and the family. It’s been a rewarding experience and I hope it will be a life-long connection. And yes, I’ve already taken them to a national park. :)

Myself with a refugee family I mentor
Photo by: Steve Griffin/Salt Lake Tribune

Summary

So where does that leave us? For the forseable feature, The Daily Cartoonist is on hiatus. I’m unsure when, but I’m confident the news will start flowing again. It took Berkeley Breathed 27 years to return to Bloom County. It definitely won’t be that long. I will keep the site up as a historical record of the news and comments of our community.

Until the blog relaunches/resumes if you’d like to keep in touch, you can follow me on my personal Twitter account or if you’ve met me personally send a friend request on Facebook or Instagram.

If you’d like to be notified when the blog becomes active, please make sure you follow @dailycartoonist on Twitter, enter your name/email on this list or email me.

All my best,
Alan

P.S. And I should mention, if you live near a National Park, I am heading in your direction. I would love to meet up with you and take in the sights and hike some trails. Drop me an email if that interests you.

Community Comments

#1 Matt Wuerker
May/2/2016
@ 10:04 pm

Alan, your blog will be greatly missed but at the same time you’re leading a great life. You’re clearly a guy who’s got your priorities straight.
Carpe diem!!
Best wishes.

PS. We got all sorts of national parks out here.

#2 Ann Telnaes
May/3/2016
@ 4:48 am

Can’t agree with Matt more. Many thanks Alan for all the years you’ve devoted to keeping us informed and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures. Happy trails! Ann

#3 Paul Combs
May/3/2016
@ 5:35 am

Love this! Kudos, Matt – enjoy your family time.

#4 Paul Combs
May/3/2016
@ 5:36 am

…sorry… Alan

#5 John Cole
May/3/2016
@ 5:49 am

Good to see someone who puts first things first. Have fun and we’ll see you soon enough.

#6 Rob Tornoe
May/3/2016
@ 6:01 am

Going to miss this place. Thanks for all the great work over the years, Alan!

#7 Tom Stemmle
May/3/2016
@ 7:27 am

Going to miss the blog, Alan, but what you’re doing is far more important! We wish you every great thing for you and your family.

Please know, as far as we cartoonists are concerned, you will always be part of our family! Thank you for your tireless work on our behalf! Cheers!!

#8 Mike Lester
May/3/2016
@ 9:50 am

No explanation necessary. Thanks for providing a forum for those of us unfortunate enough not to be able to do anything else. All the best to you and your family. -ML

#9 Wiley Miller
May/3/2016
@ 10:12 am

I will break my self-imposed ban from commenting on public boards over the past 4 or 5 years (can’t remember just how long it’s been) for this.

Thanks for the years of dedication to provide this forum, Alan. As much as we all hate losing it, you’re making the right decision. Be well, my friend.

#10 Ann Cleaves
May/3/2016
@ 12:03 pm

Alan,

Don’t miss the Hawaii Volcanos Natl Park…there is even a camping area and a-frame buildings (inexpensive) near enough
to one of the visitor centers that you can walk over at night and see the glow of the caldera. Also lots of hiking trails..some with whiff of sulfur.

#11 John Rose
May/3/2016
@ 12:14 pm

I will certainly miss The Daily Cartoonist, Alan, but enjoy your break–after 10 years you deserve one! Enjoy your family time! I look forward to the return of the blog whenever that may be.

#12 Jason Nocera
May/3/2016
@ 12:43 pm

To paraphrase a comic great: “It’s a magical world, Andy, ol’ buddy… go exploring!”

#13 Danny Burleson
May/3/2016
@ 1:06 pm

Alan, Thanks for the update!

You’ve already given us so much over the years, and nothing can last forever, so even getting 10 years of comics news was amazing . . . but the fact you plan to be back someday is great to hear.

Good luck with your current endeavors and I’ll keep a look out for Daily Cartoonist Returns.

#14 Lucas Turnbloom
May/3/2016
@ 3:04 pm

Thank you for this site, Alan. We’ve all enjoyed it. Best of luck in whatever comes next for you.

#15 Jack Ohman
May/3/2016
@ 4:50 pm

Alan, thank you for a wonderful job doing this. Have fun and see you at Yosemite! J.

#16 Clay Bennett
May/4/2016
@ 9:39 am

I’m sorry to hear that The Daily Cartoonist is out of commission for a while, but I’m heartened to see that it’s for the BEST of reasons.

You’re a good man, Alan!

#17 Susan Camilleri Konar
May/4/2016
@ 10:12 am

I will miss your daily bread, Alan, but what a series of wonderful adventures you have in store for you and your family. Come north to British Columbia some day?we have fabulous parks, mountains and hiking trails to explore. Cheers.

#18 Carol Hills
May/5/2016
@ 8:15 am

Sad to see the Daily Cartoonist go on hiatus but boy are you doing some cool things! Wonderful to hear of the great adventures you’re having with your kids and your new interest in protecting public lands.

Enjoy every minute of it and thanks for the thoughtful update.

Congratulations on the changes in your life.

Warmly,

Carol Hills

#19 Dave Kellett
May/5/2016
@ 2:46 pm

You’ve given us all a great gift in your time and talents all these years, Alan: Thank you for that. I will miss the Daily Cartoonist, but you’re making the right choice.

I wish you and your family all the best in the days and years ahead — and I thank you again for everything you’ve given to the cartooning community!

With all good wishes,
Dave Kellett

#20 Will Henry
May/6/2016
@ 2:36 am

Thanks for all the hard work, it was so much appreciated.

Good luck on your new adventures!

We look forward to your triumphant return

#21 Joel Tieg
May/6/2016
@ 3:02 pm

I applaud the work with your refugee family. Amazingly, I’m reading a book that seems relevant. “A Nation of Nations: a Great American Immigration Story” by Tom Gjelten, Simon & Schuster, 2015.

“In the half century after the 1965 Immigration Act, the United States has undergone a profound demographic shift, with newcomers arriving from around the world in numbers not seen since the early years of the twentieth century. When the law was passed, fewer than 5 percent of Americans were foreign born. Today, immigrants make up nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population, and the composition of the foreign-born population has changed dramatically. The 1965 Act abolished the national-origin quotas that favored immigrants from Europe and discriminated against all others…”

#22 Anne Morse Hambrock
May/6/2016
@ 5:11 pm

Alan,

Thank you so much for all the time you put into this site. It was a great place to find out what was going on in the cartooning world and get to know cartoonists a little better.

Without your support I’m fairly certain the Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning would have been a two time event at most.

Take care of yourself and John and I look forward to keeping track of your adventures on twitter.

Anne

#23 Dwight Collins
May/7/2016
@ 7:23 am

Dear Alan –
You don’t know me (since I’ve never written in before) but as a cartoonist myself I have enjoyed the vast amount of information you have shared in The Daily Cartoonist over the years. Thank you so much. I also applaud your life choices – especially helping your refugee family. We all should help someone less fortunate. It sounds like you’re teaching some wonderful lessons to your family and I hope you all have a great time doing them. Enjoy and keep advocating for OUR lands – the wonderful wilderness of them. They are truly a treasure to be protected. Hope you and your family deeply enjoy all our national parks. May you have wonderful family times together.

Dwight

#24 Terry LaBan
May/8/2016
@ 8:54 am

Thanks for everything, Alan! The cartoonist’s loss is the national park’s gain.

#25 Andrew Farago
May/11/2016
@ 12:44 pm

Happy trails! Congrats and good luck!

#26 Michael Cavna
May/11/2016
@ 2:18 pm

May the trail rise up to meet you, Alan. Sounds as though you have an amazing next adventure mapped out.

Also: I hosted Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan when their “The National Parks” docu first aired and highly recommend it if you haven’t seen: http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/

Blessed are these wonders. Write when you get to the Grand Canyon or Haleakala!

#27 T.Brian Kelly
May/13/2016
@ 6:48 am

Absolutely wonderful news, Alan. You are doing a great and valuable thing for your family and everyone you meet on your adventures. Be well and thanks for all you have done for cartooning and cartoonists!

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