My life would have been vastly different if I had never met Bill Day.
Bill was the editorial cartoonist at the Detroit Free Press back when I went to college at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. The senior thesis I presented to earn my BFA degree was comprised entirely of comics -- editorial cartoons and the early, early gestation of my first comic strip, Greystone Inn. The entire story is here, if you're interested.
Bill praised me, encouraged me, and most importantly, he advised me. I wanted to be an editorial cartoonist back then, and he told me -- remember, this was 1991 -- there were no jobs for editorial cartoonists. He told me that everyone in political cartooning waits for someone at a better newspaper to die, and then everyone moved up, leaving a vacancy at the lowest newspaper still hiring someone to do cartoons.
His advice was to find a small newspaper looking for a newsroom graphic artist. Once I was there, he told me, I could submit cartoons on the side. By the end of the year, I was working for The Repository in Canton, Ohio, and doing exactly that.
And up until earlier this year, newspaper work has paid my bills as I developed my career in comics. Newspaper work spawned projects like Phables and Courting Disaster. Newspaper work helped me hone many skills that I would use throughout the years -- and made it possible for me to create a very good life for myself.
Now it's time to help out BillBill has become yet another casualty in the death spiral of the American newspaper. He lost his job at The [Memphis] Commercial Appeal in March, 2009. He has been working at a bicycle-repair shop to make ends meet, doing his cartooning for Cagle Cartoons in his spare time. Faced with the possibility of losing his house, he's turning to a remarkably innovative method of paying the bills -- one that we webcomics folks have become quite familiar with: Crowd-sourcing.
Bill Day has a campaign over at IndieGogo that I'd like to direct your attention towards. I'll let the campaign, sponsored by Cagle Cartoons, do the talking:
Our goal is to raise $35,000, to be paid as a "salary" to Bill to draw at least four editorial cartoons a week, every week, for an entire year. Bill's cartoons cover national issues, everything from the Presidential election to Wall Street, the dysfunctional Congress and our corrupt political system. We'll produce two eBook collections of his cartoons - "2012: A Year in Cartoons" and "2013: A Year in Cartoons" that will chronicle the events of the year through the spectrum of Bill's sharp wit and pen tips.So here's the pitch. If you're a fan of Evil Inc, or if you like to listen to me on Webcomics Weekly, or if you appreciate my efforts at Webcomics.com, or if you've read and learned from The Everything Cartooning Book or How To Make Webcomics, then this is your opportunity to thank the man who pointed a young, scrawny Brad Guigar in the Right Direction. Without Bill Day, my story would be very different today. And if I've done something you've enjoyed or benefitted from, then this is an excellent opportunity to exercise a little karmic payback.
And if we're able to raise more; $70,000 or $100,000, we will keep Bill working at the important job of drawing political cartoons for the next 2-3 years. All donated funds will be kept in a segregated fund for Bill's salary; CagleCartoons.com will not share in any of it; all of the funds, after Indiegogo's share and expenses, will go to Bill, in exchange for his commitment to continue his great work, and to provide the donors with great premiums, including Bill's original artwork.
Go to the Bill Day campaign and donate. Do it now. You can afford $5. Heck, you know darned well that you can afford $20. Go do it. And then spread the word.
In 1991, Bill wrote the following on a copy of his book, Day-ja Vu: A Cartoon Collection Day-ja Vu that he handed me: "Never give up your dreams." Well, here's my dream: Bill's gonna ask for $35,000 and he's gonna get $70,000. And it's gonna start right here.