An Off the Mark Anniversary: 30 Cartoons in 30 Years (plus a couple extra)by The GoComics Team
Take a scroll down memory lane with Mark "Off the Mark" Parisi — enjoy this special anniversary collection, featuring exclusive commentary from its creator, PLUS a bonus comic (or two!)
This was the first Off the Mark cartoon ever published. It originally appeared in September 10, 1987. To this day, it remains one of my most popular. Maybe it will be on my gravestone. I was just starting out and included this cartoon in a batch I sent to Charles Schulz to see if he'd offer feedback. He did! He said my work was "uniquely original." Talk about a boost!
You may have noticed I gravitated toward inanimate objects and slightly dark humor. At one point, I sent a batch of cartoons to Bill Watterson asking for feedback, and he responded. He said he thought my cartoons were a little violent for family newspapers! Unfortunately, I think I lost the letter, but I'll keep looking.
I like cats and doing cat humor. This used to be the cartoon in which I included the most cats. That's no longer the case. Not even close.
Back then, I somehow used a Xerox machine to get that effect. It was the stone age.
Did I mention I like inanimate objects? And occasionally bad puns.
Sometimes, I'm surprised by what cartoons hit. This cartoon got a good response and ended up on a best-selling birthday card. The inside read, "Happy birthday to someone who's fun to be around." Which is both an compliment and an insult when it accompanies that image. It was also a Valentines and Thanksgiving card.
I used a lot of different zip-a-tone patterns on this cartoon. Those were pattern stickers that you peeled and applied directly to the art. You cut away the excess with an X-Acto knife. Like I said, it was the stone age.
It's fun doing parodies, especially about characters the influenced me. Peanuts and Looney Tunes were very influential. This one took a long time to draw, but I really liked the idea so I committed. I even saved it for a Sunday cartoon so I could spread it out and include a lot of characters.
It's always a challenge to take well-tread subject matter and try to do something different with it. I still get a kick out of seeing that full-grown fly sitting in that bowl.
Before I did Off the Mark, I flirted with doing a cartoon about fish. The name of the main character and the strip was going to be, wait for it... Fish. The two characters featured here are from that world-class concept.