Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The red-haired detective and other strips

This is a story I wrote about a redheaded detective who lived in a very stylish pad, with a cute bull terrier called Peggy. I did it because I wanted to own a bull terrier at the time, and this was the closest I was going to get. I just found their little stumpy bodies so adorable, but that is NOT a good reason for taking on a dog.
(In fact, gorgeous physiology was one of the reasons I bought Cato the boxer; he was absolutely beautiful, and graceful, and he was an unmitigated disaster.)
I didn't just want a bull terrier, I wanted a stylish pad too, and I wasn't getting that either. So I enjoyed expressing my inner style diva in pencil and gouache. But I didn't get farther with the drawings than this page... the comic strip format was simply too repetitive for my patience.

However, I can handle short strips with a short, pithy message, such as this cartoon about a (slightly) less disastrous boxer who was Cato's forebear:

This strip was based on real events! My husband would amuse himself when he was supposed to be doing some job with a scary deadline by messing with Bou Bou the boxer. (The unusual spelling was taken very seriously by my husband, who named him after a French dog he had loved as a little boy.) The funny thing was that Dog Magic really was very interesting to watch, as you could actually see the cogs of Bou Bou's brain slowly starting to whirr into life and wake up. We decided that it would be a really good way to keep Bou Bou's brain young and lively into old age. This might well have worked, except that unfortunately I sabotaged that by buying Cato while Bou Bou was still living. It hastened his demise I think, as Cato showed no mercy at all in asserting his dominance in every way possible. I thought the new pup would be life-giving to the old fella. I know that sounds naive, but that did happen with cute little Pip, the Jack Russell, who would pester Bou Bou for ages until the older dog would finally give in and chase Pip around the garden like a maniac. We used to call it The Pip and Bou Bou Show and it would gladden the grumpiest of hearts to see them race around the lawn, Pip always getting caught at the end, with Bou Bou putting a big paw on him to show that he was caught, and then off they'd go again.
Poor old Pip was killed on the road soon after his first birthday, and we cried for days.
Cato never inspired me to write cartoons about him, but Bou Bou was an endless source of inspiration. He was about seven when my youger daughter was born, and she had an especially affectionate relationship with him. The night before her fifth birthday, Bou Bou got up in the night and baked her a cake - and I painted the results on her birthday card. I thought this was hilarious - it wore off with the kids after a few minutes but I got great amusement out of it for ages, so I made a little strip out of it:

It's great when your own drawings are a source of amusement. the bad side of this is that you are very bewildered when the rest of the world doesn't respond by falling around laughing. Oh well.

Our current dog is not funny at all.

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