Drabble at 45; Kevin Fagan at…a Bit More

Cartoonist Kevin Fagan grew up idolizing Charles M. Schulz and “Peanuts.” Now that his own comic strip, “Drabble,” is turning 45 this week, Fagan is contemplating his long run in the funny pages and once again has Schulz on his mind.

“I knew Charles M. Schulz pretty well,” Fagan says from his home in Mission Viejo a week before the March 5 anniversary of the 1979 debut of “Drabble.” “I’d see him a couple of times a year and we’d talk on the phone regularly.

above: the March 5, 1979 debut of Drabble as a syndicated comic strip; Drabble in the here and now

“Drabble,” which Fagan sold to United Features Syndicate when he was a 21-year-old college student at Sacramento State, is a comic strip inspired by the shy, slightly awkward young man he was at the time.

“[When] the strip started out, it was all about Norman, who was a goofy college kid, which is exactly what I was,” says Fagan, of his quiet life living with his mother in Fair Oaks and Citrus Heights outside of Sacramento at the time. “I was Norman Drabble. I couldn’t get a date. You know, I was a complete moron. I didn’t know what to say.

In an interview with Peter Larsen for The Orange County Register Kevin Fagan talks “about the evolution of ‘Drabble,’ what it’s like to create a comic strip on your own for 45 years, the future of ‘Drabble,’ and more.”

One thing I learned early on is the newspaper syndication business is kind of rough. Because there were several major newspaper syndicates back in the day, and all of them would go into editors’ offices and target my strip, since I was a young guy and kind of new. The salesmen would go in and say, ‘Here’s the strip you need to replace with our strip. We’re going to give you this new strip and your readers are gonna love it. And this guy, you know, he’s just a kid and blah, blah, blah.

The Daily Drabble by Kevin Fagan Substack

Below: my favorite comic strip of the 1997 Great Comics Switcheroo.

March 5 Update: GoComics blog celebrates the 45 years with a Kevin Fagan interview.

What has been your favorite part about creating this strip and these characters and for 45 years?

My favorite part of creating the strip are the four blank boxes, wondering what will be in them by the end of the day. I keep in mind that readers not only want to laugh, but they care about the characters. I try to keep the humor and storylines uplifting.

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