**Mike Lester’s ** Mike Du Jour debuts today. It’s one of the better strips to launch in a while. It’s zany and refreshingly honest. I had my wife read through the sales kit samples. Remember my wife enjoys cartoons, but rarely allows herself a out loud chuckle. Mike Du Jour got a couple of audible chuckles from her.
The strip is drawn in the classic loose Lester style – which is perfect for his type of humor. In the interview below, Mike describes it as a strip that Larry David would write and I couldn’t agree more.
Alan: “Mike Du Jour” has existed outside of syndication. For those not familiar with the feature, tell us where it’s been before now and how it came to syndication.
Mike: First, thanks for the write up. I hope your audience enjoys MDJ and become readers. MDJ first appeared as a five day / week animated business cartoon for the wsj.com (Wall St. Journal) Along came the dot com bubble and so the content was re-purposed as a comic strip. Amy Lago and the WPWG picked it up and here we are.
A: Have you always wanted to take the feature into daily syndication?
M: I’ve been an illustrator for most of my career, confess, I’m not a comics fanatic and really never thought I’d be doing a daily strip. But I didn’t see anything like MDJ in the market and thought it might find an audience. The strip is purposely wide open. If Larry David were to write a comic strip, it might be MDJ.
A: Your feature is only the second feature to launch this year. How has the sales effort gone thus far? Is it where you expect it to be at your launch date?
M: According to E&P it’s the only feature to launch this year but I / they could be mistaken. I launch in 6 papers Mon. Sept. 24 including the Washington Post, Miami Herald and Seattle Times. Sales are out of my control of course but we’re excited about the response.
Editor’s note: Norm Feuti’s Gil launched earlier this year (January).
A: In your cartoons and online communication you come across as a America-first kind of conservative. Given that I’m perplexed by a French title for your feature. How did your arrive at the title “Mike du Jour”?
M: First, MDJ is not a political comic strip. It’s just a comic strip. The name “MIKE DU JOUR” was copyrighted in 1997 and is a triple entendre’: it’s the name of the main character, it describes the strips frequency and the authors first name. Nothing more. But if you start reading MDJ and suddenly feel the urge to balance your check book, so be it.
A: How would you describe to a features editor how “Mike Du Jour” differ from other strips on the comic page?
M: A common complaint from editors is an inability to attract younger readers. It’s hard to do that w/ dated content. Correction, it’s impossible. MDJ content is pop, cultural and social commentary for the most part. Human failure is the one thing you can count on for consistent amusement.
A: Your drawing style is loose and your lines are pretty uniform in width. What do you use as far as paper, pens, etc.?
M: I still draw and paint traditionally but that’s on one side of the room and the computer, photoshop and a wacom is on the other where I put out MDJ. For the younger cartoonists reading this, don’t go electric to start. I recommend buying a ream of paper at Staples, a bottle of permanent ink, some nibs, a bottle of GOJO to get the ink off your hands and mechanical pens. Everybody’s got a million bad drawings inside them and the sooner you get them out, the better. Bonjour!