It seems that there is hardly a time in my life when newspaper comics didn’t have draw me into their orbit. My earliest grade school age recollections include my constant companion, a small Peanuts hardbound collection. The art was clear and bold and the writing seemed personal and made me feel smarter for the experience.
I submitted my first strip, which I called “Bandit”, to a my local paper “The Winsted Phoenix”. I was fifteen years old and it was the 80’s, comics were huge. The editor recommended I change the name to “Kabloona”. It ran for little over three years as a weekly feature. Many years later I would meet Guy Gilchrist who would guide and mentor me in the cartooning process. I felt tremendously blessed since Guy produced comics of such style and detail as to genuinely inspire me. I started by penciling blanks and inking borders, and eventually, background work and color for “Nancy” and also color and composite the “Night Lights” Sunday Feature and many other assorted duties. It was a difficult road and some skills took a lot of time to acquire, but just being in the environment affected me in ways that can not be duplicated any other way.
While working with Guy, the syndicate DBR Media was looking for new features to try out. Guy suggested I try sending in an inspirational strip for submission, so I set my mind to figuring it out. I sent in the samples and nine months later DBR started distributing “Solomon Road” in March of 2003.
Solomon Road ran for about two years and was published in about a dozen papers nation wide and even one in Vietnam. By this time I had been working for Guy about four years and Guy had decided to start a Cartoon Academy, so teaching became part of the routine. We taught a variety of things, but when ever anyone of any age started becoming bored, we would teach them a lesson about drawing an alien and it always got everyone’s attention.
One night while teaching I started adding a uniform and personalizing “the alien”. The kids were very enthusiastic and someone said, I should give him a name. So I thought a minute and wrote, “Ralf the Destroyer” under it.
Realizing that there were no newspaper comic strips with an alien as the protagonist, I saw an opportunity, then Guy explained why it only seemed like an opportunity… it would be impossible to syndicate. Then I remembered a quote by Robert Heinlein, “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.”… so I did.
So here on this web site I proudly present to you, Ralf the Destroyer…
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