1) As soon as I was old enough to read, I read every comic in the Boston Globe every day (although I didn't actually understand strips like "Doonesbury" until about a decade later). I'm sure they all influenced me to some degree, but "Robotman" was one of the few comics I owned a book collection or two of.
2) Nothing - and I mean NOTHING - has shaped my sense of humor more than "The Simpsons," which I watched religiously from the ages of seven through fifteen. My mom used to poke fun at my friends and me for being able to hold entire conversations in "Simpsons" quotes. Also, for many years, all my character's ears looked like Simpsons ears.
3) Seventh Grade was the first time I had a real clique and I thought the shit my friends said was hilarious. Whether comparing a Snapple cap to an unwrapped condom is actually funny or not is up for debate, but quips like that inspired me to write my first autobiographical comics. The reactions I got from those first strips taught me a ton about joke timing and trying different things to get more laughs greatly improved my writing over the years.
4) I was one of those weirdos who preferred "Tiny Toons" to "Animaniacs," but there's one important way that the latter influenced me: parody naming schemes. "Animaniacs" was the first (and maybe only) cartoon I'd seen that never parodied a famous character with a name that rhymed (like turning "Indiana Jones" into "Indiana Bones
"). Instead, they always made a parody name which was different but analogous to the original (so "Indiana Jones" became "Iowa Smith"). I thought this was brilliant and, while I don't do much celebrity parodying, I always remember that technique when naming my own characters.
5) The only cartoon that influenced me more than "The Simpsons" was "Daria." In addition to identifying with the characters and themes of the show, watching "Daria" taught me how to notice High School stereotypes and recreate them as easily identifiable comic characters. It also improved the way I drew the details of people's faces and the human ear.
6) Mac Hall
was the first webcomic I discovered and was my favorite for a few years. It introduced me to the concepts of posting my autobiographical comics online and using programs like Photoshop and Illustrator to make comics, which obviously had an impact later on.
7) Something Positive
was my absolute favorite webcomic until fairly recently. I considered Randy Milholland's level of excellence at writing jokes, story arcs, and characters to be a goal for the quality of my own comics.
8) My friends Chris and Dan (photo taken from their podcast Some Beer with Dan & Chris
). Dan because he was the first person I knew IRL who had created and updated his own webcomic
regularly (at that time). Bringing such a feat down to my level (so to speak) inspired me to go out and create and update my own webcomic, which is something I'd been wanting to do for years. Chris because he's one of the funniest people I know, so just being his friend has improved my own ability to tell jokes.