Back in the 90s I had a crazy idea to try and develop a cartoon strip. Actually I have a personal letter from Lynn Johnstone (For Better Or Worse) who was kind enough to reply to my inquiry. I have a stack of rejection letters from Syndicates who dismissed many of my other ideas for a strip. I never did submit this Moot Point.
My characters were anthropomorphic
The basic premise was that some guy is marooned on an island known as Moot Point. After months of isolation he begins to lose hope that he will ever be rescued. His fragile grip on reality soon gives way to a fantasy world.
He reconstructs the world that he knew by replacing human stereotypes with the sea creatures that surround his Island prison.
What he finds so distressing is that even in his make-believe realm the same problems arise. The members of the powerful Military-Industrial Complex take advantage of the Everyman and nothing ever changes…it’s the old Plus Ça Change Plus C'est La Même Chose thingamabob.
Anyway I tried to develop the cast by matching (whenever possible) human stereotypes with species from their corner of the world. For instance, Eco Boto is an Amazon River Dolphin, whichis an endangered species so she is an Environmentalist.
Her neighbours are the Rasta Manatee, a Jamaican Sprinter who is a Manatee, and Hector Exportador who is a Mexican Industrialist and a Humpback Whale.
You get the idea.
The cast included:
Rene Sauce: Artiste (Bottlenose)
Ann Archivist: Punker Poet (Blue Shark)
Sir Sinjin Tsktsk: Judge (Walrus)
Doktor Kopfzerbrechen: Scientist (Hammerhead)
Colonel Natasha Nyetsky: Diplomat/Spy (Beluga)
Thor Eunichornson: Explorer (Narwhal)
General Mo B. Duckancover: Military (Sperm Whale)
Fad Tastic: Actor/Surfer (Gray Whale)
Finny Doojour: Celebrity/Brand (Common Dolphin)
Frantch Ice: Rapper/Pro Athlete (Orca)
Krilly Bob Bluechip: Gazillionaire (Blue Whale)
Tewkster: Comedian (Northern Fur Sea Lion)
Herschell Hitmacher: Producer (Tiger Shark)
SOUTH & CENTRAL AMERICANS
Rasta Manatee: Olympic Sprinter (Manatee)
Eco Boto: Environmentalista (Amazon River Dolphin)
Hector Exportador: Exporter (Humpback Whale)
Bill Yen: Electronics/Real Estate (Bowhead Whale)
Khan Fu Zhing: International Banker (Yangtze River Dolphin)
Guru Vee: Motivational Speaker (Indus River Dolphin)
Bling Ling: Cosmetics (Spinner Dolphin)
Rikki Techie Tavi: Computer Whiz (Ganges River Shark)
‘Papa’ Ratsy: Reporter @ Shock Newz (Great White Shark)
Donna Wallabingbangaroo: Super Model (Spinner Dolphin)
Drew Bong: Surfer (Dugong)
Dr. Albo Akimbo: Doctor (Pilot Whale)
Akaei 47 (Zambezi River Shark)
There is a good reason that most cartoonists use Cats and Dogs. Humans are familiar with them. Few people could tell the difference between a Right Whale and a Bowhead. Of course since the advent of animated feature films such as The Little Mermaid, Shark Tale, and Nemo, that this isn’t as much of a problem.
My stumbling block has always been do I soften the sarcasm, and wrap it all up in a bow for children...do I go for adults and disguise it as a Kid’s show like the Simpsons…Or do I just go for it and go for the full Fritz the Cat adult audience or does the whole idea have any merit? I-dunno?
Either way I was overwhelmed by the amount of work involved and to be honest by the spectre of Political Correctness...I wasn't sure that I could avoid being seen as a raving xenophobic racist even though the end product was to expose basic human flaws as a universal problem.We Humans all want the same things out of life but some of us, regardless of our location or appearance, are prepared to trample over others to get what we want and I just wanted to make fun of how ridiculous we are by holding up a mirror and thinly disguising all of the generic personality types.
About a month ago I considered doing it as a Blogtoon and drawing out panels or maybe even just using the character’s faces as avatars and giving them an ongoing dialogue in a comment section.
I just wanted them to see the light of day in case I never get another chance. They will probably sit in a drawer beside all of my other goofy ideas for another ten years.
The more things change,the more they stay the same.
What projects do you have on the backburner?