The Zoo, by Gabe Strine
This is an awesome strip. It's not exactly what you'd expect based on the title; it's not about animals in a zoo. Well, not literally anyway. It's basically a zany cast of characters that go through the "zoo" we call life. The writing is superb, and the art is phenomenal. I often find myself laughing out loud when reading the strip.
Oh, and by the way, Gabe has launched a grass-roots campaign to have The Zoo published in the papers. With your help, it could eventually be a daily feature! Wanna know more? Go to the site and find out!
Some background info about The Zoo, as described by Gabe:
"The Zoo is my first real foray into comic strip publishing, although it's just one of a few projects I'm currently developing. With any luck, The Zoo will enter the world of web animation in 2005 and will see expansion into more print outlets.
THE STORY SO FAR:
After major budget cutbacks in a sluggish economy, many zoos around the country were forced to close their doors. With nowhere else to go, and considering most of them lacked the skills to survive in the wild, many animals had to find work and new lives in the regular world. A few of them gathered in a moderately- priced apartment complex downtown that they’ve affectionately renamed, “The Zoo.”
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Writing: I used to fill tablets and post-its with story ideas and quick gags. Soon I started losing more than I kept. I now carry my PDA around with me at all times to catch those ideas. I've also taken to keeping a writing tablet close to the bathroom. Many impromtu brainstorming sessions have been captured after time spent in there.
Drawing: I've always hand-drawn the strip in pencil. In early days, I would then go on to inking, then scanning, then cleaning up the scan and so on and so on to the point of exhausted discouragement. I wasn't getting the look that I wanted efficiently enough. I cut some busy work out by the end of the first year by scanning my pencil drawings and "inking" them digitally in Photoshop and Illustrator. It offered me greater control and the look that I wanted. Lately, I've also been more experimental with using my pencil scans and have really enjoyed the effects I've been getting. The first such experiment was released on my 12/10/04 strip with the snow "angels". I'll be doing more experimentation with this technique in the near future and am excited about the possibilities.
I knew something was happening with this crazy little hobby of mine when I heard that one of my Mom's coworkers affectionately calls her husband her "Big Carl Bear." That's what I call striking a chord."
Check out a bit of Gabe's great art below!
Signed The Zoo print by Gabe Strine, May 23, 2003. This is the first Zoo strip. Some history about the strip, as described by Gabe: "By the time that the first strip was released I had already finished a 50-strip archive (most of which are still unreleased). I always knew this would be the one to start things off because it always just felt appropriate. Carl needs his coffee in the morning, Sketch took the last cup. Simple, but an effective summary of their relationship."
An awesome specialty piece of Carl done for me and signed by Gabe. Complete with surfboard and shaka! By the way, just for everyone's information, NOBODY says "hang loose" out here in Hawaii! I don't know where the heck that came from. The gesture is called a "shaka" (pronounced SHAH-kah), and if anything is said, it would have to be "Howzit!" and not "Hang loose!" Just a bit of info for all of you.
Go and take a trip to The Zoo yourself by clicking on the link below!
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