Meet Your Creator: Luke McGarry of 'Lukey McGarry’s TLDR'by Caleb Goellner
In creator Luke McGarry's words, his new comic Lukey McGarry’s TLDR is "...a mix of solid gold classics from [his] Instagram and a handful of new tiny comics and stupid puns."
As experts in reading comics and checking Instagram, we can confirm that this description is apt -- like, consumer-grade apt. And that's why you'll love TLDR.
But wait, there are other reasons, too. It didn't take long to find them for you, either. All we had to do was ask Luke more questions, which he promptly (and kindly) answered in our full Q&A.
Read on to learn all about Luke, his comic and the hazards of celery, a handful of new tiny comics and stupid puns."
GoComics: First off, you slipped on celery -- celery! -- while walking in Hollywood about a week ago. You went to the ER and everything. Have you made a full recovery? Additionally, do you know if the celery was some kind of Bloody Mary garnish? If not, I am doubly sorry about your accident.
Luke McGarry: Yeah! It was terrible… I thought this kind of thing only happened in cartoons. I haven’t fully recovered yet, I’m still limping around the house.
I think the celery was just being used as a sidewalk garnish - it was everywhere. I’ve never totally trusted vegetables, and now all my suspicions have been justified.
GC: Tell me about TLDR. What kind of comic is it and what made GoComics a good home for it?
LM: TLDR has kind of grown from my Instagram feed. I started @lukeymcgarry in the summer of 2014 with the goal of doing a new cartoon every single day. Two and a half years later I’ve got over 1,000 cartoons piled up, and at least 250 of them make sense to someone other than me! Haha. In fact, I’ve built an audience of over 26,000 followers. So GoComics seems like a good place to test my work out on more traditional comic readers, without forcing my current readership too far from their weird corner of the internet.
GC: You're a UK-born artist making a career in Los Angeles. How do you think the culture in LA has shaped you and your work over time (aside from putting you in physical danger via vegetables)?
LM: I think working in LA has opened up a lot of avenues for me that I hadn’t really expected. This past year I’ve written, directed and animated a series of commercials starring Jack Black, worked with some great clients in print and animation, and done live drawing in stand up comedy shows which led to performances at festivals in San Francisco and Denver. And I got to hang out backstage at some of the biggest music festivals. This sounds a bit like I’m bragging. I guess I am. Haha.
GC: Who do you consider some of your most significant influences from comics or other media?
LM: Ronald Searle, Arnold Roth, and Daniel Clowes are some of my favorite cartoonists/ illustrators. Hergé, the creator of Tintin has had a massive influence on my work; he pioneered this style of drawing called “ligne claire”… which is basically just using a strong, clean line that’s all the same width. If you look at my work, you’ll notice the line doesn’t vary that much.
GC: When you get together with your professional peers, what are some topics that seem to always come up? Do these conversations tend to bleed into your comics?
LM: It’s usually just jokes and gossip - I can’t think of a serious conversation I’ve ever had with another cartoonist. Haha. One time a handful of us were walking through Memphis, TN and it started raining… I was wearing a suede jacket and suede boots. Jeff Keane (of Family Circus fame) and I decided I should make a comic titled “I Don’t Let Suede Dictate My Life.” I haven’t done it yet, but maybe that will be the title of my autobiography.
GC: You're following in your father's footsteps to an extent, as a professional illustrator and cartoonist. How do you think your father's vocation has shaped your interest in visual media and your wider career?
LM: Until I was about 6, I just assumed that everybody’s parents stayed at home all day, drawing. I grew up around my dad and all his artist friends, so I really never knew any different.
It’s funny, my dad and I were featured speakers at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF) in the UK this past October, and we did a joint presentation about how our careers basically, unintentionally mirror each other. We both started out playing in bands, then designing record sleeves and posters for other bands, and then transitioning into gag cartoons and animation.
GC: You have a twin brother, who you run a design studio and play in a band with. Are you secretly stealing his comics and passing them off as your own? How would we even know? This fake scenario I just made up may be the perfect crime...
LM: To be honest Joe (my brother) has given me a handful of jokes. We work right across from each other in our little studio, so I run most of my cartoons by him first. If he laughs, I know it’s pretty good. If he says “you definitely shouldn’t post that”, I know it’s really good.
GC: Your life seems principally rooted in creativity -- that is, making stuff (comics, music, animation). What's the consumption part of your life like? What are some things you binge-watch or collect or otherwise consume to balance out?
LM: When we’re not recording music for Pop Noir (that’s the name of our band!), Netflix is on in our studio constantly. I think I’ve watched every single thing on there, twice - except Jiro Dreams of Sushi… I don’t know why they keep pushing that on me? I mostly watch a lot of British comedies. Peep Show is my absolute favorite.
I’m not really a collector of anything, and I don’t play video games. I mostly just draw all day, drinks cups of tea, play music and take naps.
GC: You're the only person outside of my family to tell me "Happy New Year" in January. Bless you. What are some things you're looking forward to as we enter 2017?
LM: Haha! Well, we’re a week into 2017 now, I think the “Happy New Year” window has closed. I’ve been looking forward to my GoComics launch, it’s all down hill from here.
I’ve got a couple of big, exciting projects in the works, as well as new Pop Noir music. I think I’ve got quite a bit of traveling lined up this year, and hopefully my leg will stop hurting!