#40: A Comic Strip Can Never Have Too Many Stupid Animals

Soapy didn’t appear in today’s comic, as he was off moonlighting in some other comic strips… seems like a conflict of interests to us, but whadda ya do? Where are we going to get another simple, long-necked chicken? That isn’t to say other simple, long-necked chickens shouldn’t send us their resumes.

First he was off into the pen of Dank (aka Danno) of Staplegenius fame… the results of that are printed below. Ramblin’ Al and Bubonic were stepping out on us too for that one…

Then Soapy made a guest appearance in the Bean Men… thank heavens for duct tape!

Yes, unfortunately Soapy can’t make ends meet simply starring in his own strip… the sad fact of the matter is he will appear in absolutely any comic strip, no matter how lame-brained or ineptly drawn… and he doesn’t even get paid for it. He has no scruples at all.

Cartoonists, check out out Soapy’s Cartoonist Outreach Program if you would like Soapy to appear in your strip.

#34: Wheel of Soapy

Today’s post uses the Macromedia Flash plugin, so if you can’t view it, you’ll need to download it here. Also, it is very likely not to show up in your newsreader… you’ll most likely have to view it directly on the soapythechicken.com website here. Move your mouse left and right to control Soapy.


Yesterday’s strip was inspired by this classic Felix the Cat strip by the wonderful Otto Messmer… one of the funniest strips ever drawn, in my opinion.

Messmer is definitely somewhere in my top 20 cartoonists of all time… I wish someone would reprint all of his comic book and strip work. Messmer created and drew Felix for years… the cartoons, the comic strips and then the comic books. He did all of this anonymously… a scoundrel by the name of Pat Sullivan took credit for all of his work. Wonderful surrealistic stuff full of life and character. I particularly dig his comic books with Felix taking rides on his magic carpet, which was a pretty frequent event, and always seemed to get particularly crazy. They are some of the best comics for small children ever done, I think… Messmer didn’t write with the same sophistication and depth of Carl Barks (Uncle Scrooge) or Walt Kelly (Pogo), but he’s still in their league for sheer enjoyable comics in my book.

The only book that I know of that is currently in print reprinting Messmer’s comics is Nine Lives to Live: A Classic Felix Celebration. Fortunately it is an excellent reprint…
Fantagraphics Books, the publisher, always takes great care in providing high-quality reproductions of whatever they are reprinting. However, it only reprints his newspaper strip, which is just as great as the comic books, but is a different thing… the newspaper strips often have extended storylines, but they flow much differently in the comic books. Hopefully someone will reprint them one of these days.

They are currently publishing reptints of the complete Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, and, my favorite strip of all time, Krazy Kat… previously they have done reprints of numerous other great strips as well, many of which can still be purchased on their website. Besides that they are also one of the best publishers of new comics around… you’re really missing out if you haven’t perused their publications.

There is also one dvd available of Messmer’s fantastic animated Felix cartoons, Felix the Cat (1919-1930 collection), which is great too. Felix the Cat was the most popular cartoon character in the world before Mickey Mouse and sound came into the picture. These are a good sampling of what made him so popular. Silent Felix has far more personality and charm than Mickey Mouse with sound.

#33: Soapy the Chicken’s Six Senses

Hi there. My name is Steven Stwalley and I’m the cartoonist who draws the strip about the special chicken… you can also check out old comics & other stuff by me (some very old) at stwallskull.com. I’ve decided to start posting stuff here about whatever I feel like at the time as well… to keep the focus on the comics, though, I’m just going to rant about whatever is interesting me on a particular day under the main comic, keeping the comics at the top of the page.


I’m also a member of a group called The International Cartoonist Conspiracy (and I maintain the website for the group). We’ve been around for a few years… we started in Minneapolis in December 2002, and now we have cells of members with varying degrees of activity in San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago, Montreal, Calgary/Edmonton, Milwaukee, Lancaster, PA and Rice, MN. If you’re a cartoonist, you’ll probably want to check the group out… Membership is open to all cartoonists regardless of gender, race, age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, attractiveness, wit, or talent. Only the desire to produce comics is necessary.

The Minneapolis and San Francisco cells both meet twice a month, and a number of the other cells seem to be meeting once a month. Any cartoonist can start their own cell as well… the info for doing so can be found in the Conspiracy faq here. At the meetings, generally we draw jam comics, collaborative comics where a cartoonist will draw a panel and pass it to another cartoonist to continue it. Many of these jams (as well as some other comics) can be found in the Conspiracy gallery. I also serialize some of the recent cell jams in the Conspiracy blog.

I’ll be talking a lot about the Conspiracy on this blog, particularly since I will be reprinting much of the stuff I post on the Conspiracy blog here.


An article on the wonderful blog Boing Boing today pointed out that corporate-owned legislators in Washington are currently trying to pass a horrendous piece of legislation called “The Trademark Dilution Revision Act” to further erode the first amendment. If passed this legislation would make it so using corporate owned trademarks (Like taglines, packaging, logos, etc.) from being used in any artwork. Read the linked article above for the gory details. Here are some quotes from it:

The Act contains certain anti-speech aspects which will directly affect illustrators, photographers and others.

It will serve to eliminate the current protection for non-commercial speech currently contained in the Lanham Act. It will prevent businesses (artists)and consumers from invoking famous trademarks to explain or illustrate their discussion of public issues.

For example, using the phrase “Where’s the Beef” could be actionable. Although you might use it in a non-commercial way, the (very) famous Wendy’s slogan when used to comment might not be protected by the fair use exception.

That said, there are a couple cartoonists (Kieron Dwyer and Stu Helm, aka King VelVeeeda) who have already been successfully sued in recent years for just this sort of thing (both were defended by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund)… so in a sense this sort of thing is already in effect.

How can Mad Magazine and Wacky Packages survive in such an environment? Even Superman satires will be illegal! Write your congressbastard… or senatorbastard, I guess! Write somebody, for pete’s sake. Specifically the above article suggests writing to Senator Arlen Specter, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 711 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510 to voice your opposition to this bill.


I love classic cartoons…

The Internet Archive, which has long been an amazing treasure trove of public domain movies, music and texts recently put up a bunch of amazing classic cartoons… including some of my all time favorites. LOTS of great Max Fleicher Studios stuff. Make sure not to miss these if you haven’t seen them before.

Also check out this excellent cartoon recently posted on the Animation Archive website, basically unseen for 50 years… Farmer Al Falfa in “Pink Elephants.”

A number of years ago I did a homage to classic-style cartoons called Take Me Away From the River starring Mort the Corpse… it is viewable at that link if you’re interested. Mostly inspired by the Fleischer Brothers’ stuff, but done in wildly inappropriate 3d.


Alas… probably the most mind-bending publisher and retailer of books the world has ever known, Loompanics Unlimited, is going out of business. I doubt any publisher in the history of the first amendment of the constitution has done as much to boldly push it into uncomfortable territory. Before they go away, they are offering 50% off of their entire stock… I never scored a copy of If We Can Keep A Severed Head Alive and now it’s out of print! Dammit! Oh, this is a sad day…

“Q: Why is your Catalog dedicated to the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is the tendency towards universal entropy – in short, over time, chaos will prevail. “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold…” (Yeats). Within society, Loompanics favors more entropy, i.e., less government laws and other social restrictions – increased anarchy. Within our own bodies, Loompanics favors less entropy, i.e., less degeneration and death. So the Second Law of Thermodynamics is at once a friend indeed, and a worthy adversary. America needs to loosen up.”Mike Hoy, Loompanics propietor

Read a comic strip written by Mike Hoy and drawn by Bob Crabbe about the going out of business business here.