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Man's Best Friend Comes To New Jersey

By Gary Wien

originally published: 06/01/2006
Jeremy Crisi is a cartoonist who grew up in Ocean County and is moving back to the Shore after living in Northeastern Pennsylvania for a while. His strip "Man's Best Friend" was published weekly in "The Weekender" over there. With any luck you'll be seeing it in a Jersey paper sometime soon. Hell, we'd probably publish it if we had any money to offer the guy but we're doing the next best thing - letting you know about him. If you'd like to see more of his work visit his website at: http://philabong.deviantart.com/gallery/

How long have you been involved in creating comic strips?
Since I realized that they amused others... I'm like a dancing monkey...Some people want to be rich, some people want to be powerful... I'd settle for being amusing...

What first interested you in this field? Do you do other types of art? Drawing, painting, etc?
I got hooked on Saturday morning cartoons... what keeps me hooked is Sunday night cartoons... I've always made my main focus cartoons. I got in trouble a lot in art class....

Was the Weekender the first newspaper to publish your work?
The first paper was my high school newspaper... but that didn't count cause I didn't get paid. The second paper was the Weekender... I got paid, but I couldn't get along with my editor... he's now my arch-nemesis...

It sounds like you kind of feel like you were screwed somewhat by the Weekender. What did you learn from that first experience?
I learned that it was harder than one would think to have a weekly-published, full-color comic. Especially when you have "creative differences" with the guy in charge of publishing it...

How do you come up with the ideas for your strips? Are they based on real life experiences?
I come up with a lot of ideas when I listen to music... most are based on some sort of life experience, tho... not necessarily, my life experience, but the experiences of life in general... for the New Year's comic, I had one of my main characters, Doug, the chain-smoking dog, make a resolution to quit smoking. I figured a lot of people probably made the very same resolution. Doug, like so many others, failed miserably, but really tried for a while. I drew the comic because I knew someone would get it... I, however, made no such resolution... smoke if 'ya got 'em... that's what my grandmother always taught me...

What's the best advice you can give other cartoonists just starting out?
Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing yet... I'm in no position to give advice... here's something tho, be all that you can be... oh, wait... I think that's someone else's... don't eat yellow snow... words to live by...

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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