Cuyler Black (Inherit the Mirth)by GoComics
People often approach me and ask how I come up with ideas for Inherit the Mirth cartoons. I've been known to respond with questions of my own: "You need to ask me this at three in the morning? Who are you? How did you get in to my house? And who said you could just pull up a chair next to my bed?"
You'd be surprised how often that happens.
Anyway, all I know is that I've been creating cartoons since I was a little kid growing up in Ottawa, Ontario. When I was 10, my comic strip Ollie the Alligator was published weekly in a local newspaper. Check out this pic of me.
"Genius at work." If I was such a genius, I would have figured out how to get a better haircut.
So, I did that cartoon for a while, and then when I was 17, I launched a brand-new comic strip all about high school life in the big daily Ottawa Citizen. It was called Furtree High and it ran every day for the next six and a half years, sandwiched on the comics page between Cathy and Garfield. In those years, I really honed my skills as a cartoonist. Not coincidentally, because I was also going to school full-time, my commitment to a daily comic strip meant I had absolutely no time to hone dating skills. My girlfriend was an imaginary swimsuit model I named "Cathy Garfield."
I ended the strip after university so I could backpack around Europe and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I decided I wanted to be a superhero. Still working on that.
In the mid-'90s, the cartooning bug bit again (while I was still hoping to be bitten by a radioactive spider instead), and this time I got syndicated with a comic strip about a gym. It was called The Swan Factory and appeared in a dozen papers for a couple of years. Approximately three people remember it.
Eventually, my love of cartooning fused with my Christian faith, and I created a cartoon that many fans have called "The Far Side meets the Bible." And by "many fans," I mean me.
The vision statement, if you will, for Inherit the Mirth is inspired by Genesis 21:6: "God has brought me laughter." And I really believe it's true - that God brings laughter. There's a common misconception of God being an always angry, vengeful, humorless deity, but the truth is that God is supremely a God of joy. That's the God that Jesus portrays. And if you look for it from first page to last in the Bible, you'll find all kinds of evidence for the Almighty's sense of humor. And if a Christian isn't channeling that humor, at least from time to time, then he or she just isn't living the way they were made to.
OK, so anyway, I'm having a great time with Inherit the Mirth, and I hope you are too.
And in case you're wondering, I eventually honed enough dating skills to convince a beautiful woman named Lisa to marry me. Along with our son, Xander, we live in New Jersey, where I am currently also a pastor at Liquid Church. You can Google it. It's not a cult, but with that name, I know that's what you're thinking.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's 2 a.m. and I have to deal with a guy who just came through an open window at my house to ask me where I get my ideas for Inherit the Mirth.
I think it's time for a home security system.