Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The secret cameo license

How about that? My blog is up less than 24 hours, and with two comments already. One is from "Anonymous," who could, of course, be anyone (I'll decide more specifically in a moment). The other is from "Karl," and even though I know a number of Karls, all cool, I'm running with the idea that this one is my friend Karl Gude.

Why? Partly because it came in about 5:30 a.m., and he's the most likely Karl to still be up at that hour. But mostly because of his cameo. While I was posting my first blog entry on jefmallett.net, the mailman was posting my latest issue of VeloNews in the box at the end of my driveway. VeloNews is a magazine about bicycle racing; I draw a cartoon every month for their print edition. The cartoon in this month's issue -- and at the top of this page -- shows a character who is perhaps highly caffeinated, relentlessly inventive, questionably practical, and dressed in a jersey emblazoned with the sponsor "Gude."

One of the best parts of this job is that the authorities secretly (oops!) issue you a cameo license. I can drop names and images in there whenever it's called for, and I do. Just in VeloNews, we've got Karl this month. Last month, I doubled up and put my friend Rich in the office of a Dr. Noftz for a cartoon about cyclocross. The month before that, a golfing Jamie showed up. That would be Jamie Smith, author of the outstanding (and somewhat competently illustrated) bicycle-racing guide Roadie. In a cartoon this summer about mountain biking, a character was somehow dressed in the team kit of my friends Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger of the Subaru-Fisher racing team. (Apparently the cameo license comes with a name-dropping license.) Before that, Ardis Schwab ran a fruit stand. And those are just the VeloNews ones, and the ones popping straight to mind at this moment.

Frazz has its own collection of cameos, and even its own division: The Janitor's T-Shirt. Which we'll save for another post. Right now, you have to get to work, and so do I. And I have to figure out who today's "Anonymous" is. In a perfect world, it would be someone I can link to that somehow trips a logarithm in search engines and gooses my level of credibility and cool by a millipoint or two. Today, "Anonymous" is Edward Hopper, whose use of light is as simple and elegant as it is haunting. Thanks, Ed.