See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

John McPherson’s Close to Home Celebrates 15 years

John McPherson, creator of Close to Home will celebrate 15 years doing his single panel feature.

After 5,000 comic panels, the ink well of ideas for some cartoonists might dry up, but not for McPherson. The key for “Close to Home’s” longevity is keeping things fresh. “I don’t have recurring characters or an ongoing storyline in Close to Home,” McPherson says. “I don’t want to be tied down. This allows me so many more liberties and gives me some room to move.”

Close to Home launched in 1992 in 50 newspapers but has grown to nearly 700 and has printed 20 book collections and has a greeting card line.

Community Comments

#1 Dawn Douglass
@ 1:40 pm

John was one of the first cartoonists I ever talked to, way back in early 1996. He’s a very nice guy. He encouraged me to draw my own cartoons, just as he learned to draw his own.

Even if John isn’t the best artist out there, his style is wonderfully appropriate to his humor. And he’s a great writer, which is what matters most. I know a lot of cartoonists are offended by that statement, but it’s the simple truth.

I’m not surprised that Close to Home has done so well. Way to go John!

#2 Wiley Miller
@ 2:53 pm

You’ve stumped me there Dawn (which isn’t hard to do). Why any cartoonist would be offended by that statement?

#3 Wiley Miller
@ 2:54 pm

I meant…why would any cartoonist be offended by that statement?

#4 Dawn Douglass
@ 4:10 pm

“The writing is more important than the art.” Believe me, Wiley, during these past 12 years, I’ve heard cartoonists have fits over that one.

#5 Wiley Miller
@ 4:14 pm

Really? I’ve been saying that for decades and have never heard anything but agreement. Without the writing, what’s there to draw? There’s an old saying in this business… good writing can save bad art, but good art can never save bad writing.

Were those professional or amateur cartoonists that had fits over that basic truth?

#6 Dawn Douglass
@ 4:42 pm

You got me there, Wiley. It was amateurs.

A lot of web cartoonists are frustrated because they see themselves as better artists than some of the folks in newspapers. In some cases, it’s true: they are better artists. But that’s not good enough.

I’ve heard syndicates say over the years that there are ten times more people who can write well than can draw well, which I think is interesting.

We all have our talents. It’s rare to find both really good writing and really good art within one person.

#7 Garey Mckee
@ 5:08 pm

Writing for a comic strip has to be one of the most difficult disciplines to begin to get a grasp on. Not to over write, not to under write, to remain focused, not to be under focused, and to do all this within 3 or 4 frames for a daily is extemely challenging. It’s definately a fine line to tread. Some things work and some things don’t and it’s only with time and experience that one gets passable at it. There’s not many resources dedicated to that type of writing. The only book I ever found that offered any sort of help for me is a book by John Canemaker called Visual Scripting. It’s really meant for animation and story boarding for film but it transfers well to comic strips.

#8 Malc McGookin
@ 5:53 pm

You can’t teach someone to be an excellent writer. You can, however, tutor someone to be an excellent artist. Many of the paintings we revere today as Rembrandts, Vermeers, etc, were mostly created by pupils of those famous artists.
Excellent writing is as rare as rocking horse droppings. It’s much MUCH harder to find an excellent writer than a excellent artist.

Cartooning is about the writing. If you are a great cartoonist and you can’t write, then you are a cartoon illustrator.

#9 Amber Apisa
@ 8:37 pm

Today’s comic – Friday, June 27, 2008 – is disappointing. Clearly, the character is not doing anything related to the shotput. This is more in line with a hammer or weight throw. Wish he’d gotten it right.

#10 Rick Ludlow
@ 9:07 am

What is the fuss about John McPhereson? Close To Home is a collection of the worst cartoons on the plantet, well, except maybe for Family Circus and Mutts. McPhereson has the sense of humor of a graham cracker. Dry and dull.

#11 ann wright
@ 11:56 am

i think john mcpherson must have the most fun drawing his cartoon of almost anybody. there is always some woozy detail to draw a chuckle in addition to the actual jokle of the day. he is a terrific artist!

#12 Jim Mcgill
@ 6:53 pm

Any idea where an archive and INDEX are for Close to Home? I’m looking for a panel with a 1972 Gremlin in it – I”ve got a copy from the paper, but it’s fading fast.

#13 Tusde Golla Burrow
@ 4:50 pm

I still have a comic John had sent to me after I used to bombard him with Emails back in 1997. For a comic to send a 15 year old a personalized comic meant the world to me. :)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.