Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's not like they didn't warn you

what will happen if you dont forward that chain email to ten of your closest friendsImmediately tell ten of your closest friends that the second album from the Los Angeles-based Bummkinn Band, Rockin' the Yeehaw, is out and features Thurbear's country cousin riding a rocking red guitar (drawn by yours truly) on the cover! Available now at cdbaby.

And then send ten more friends the link for the Bummkinn's first album, Starry Skies and Lullabies, also featuring Thurbear's country cousin on the cover. I can't be held responsible for the consequences if you don't! -- casey

cover of Rockin the Yeehaw

cover of Bummkinn Band's Starry Skies and Lullabies

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thurbear discovers "the secret"

Or ... maybe ... not.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thurbear hasn't been feeling well lately

I usually link out to other cartoonists' work, but this week I thought some of you might like to take a peek at a bit of my non-Thurbear stuff. I bought my own URL a couple of years back. I don't put much content there, mainly using it as a test site to learn and play around with web site programming stuff like CSS. On that note, you'll find that the site looks completely different depending upon whether you access it with Internet Explorer as your browser or if you use Firefox, Safari, etc. Either way, you can check out a bunch of my other illustration and design work at Enjoy! -- casey

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Better old than none

OK. OK. I'll come clean. I did another (non-Thurbear) version of this gag a couple of years ago. I just find it fun to cut out pictures of money and insert them into a cartoon for some reason. In fact, I had a period of time where many of my gag cartoons were centered around incorporating photos with the cartoon. You can see examples of those "photo cartoons" here. My favorite illustrator/artist for this type work is definitely Serge Bloch. We get to use him in the print magazine occasionally -- but not nearly enough, IMHO. Here are some great samples of Serge's illustrations.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sage (but expensive) advice

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Special guest artist takes over Thurbear this week!

special thurbear by captain amazing lad artist keith carterWhen he's not creating cool marketing graphics for USA TODAY or biding his time with "little outside commercial projects" that happen to end up winning Emmy Awards, artist Keith Carter is knocking down the animation festival circuit with his Captain Amazing-Lad short films. He graciously agreed to add some much needed energy to this week's page with a custom strip designed just for Thurbear. Be sure to check out more of his dazzling work at his Captain Amazing-Lad site. And, Keith, just for the record: It doesn't suck. I'd say it's rather amazing. -- casey

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Some more than others

Let's face it. Thurbear's basically a newspaper-style comic strip being posted to the web. And that's OK because, at its heart, Thurbear is a strip originally drawn with the thought of seeking newspaper syndication -- and I still might. But the spectre haunting Thurbear is the fact that the time for pure newspaper-based comic strips may have passed. I spend a lot of time thinking about that. What will be next? There must be some sort of engaging middle ground between the static panels of comic strips and merely animating them. I stumbled upon an interesting hybrid yesterday called Bitstrips. At this site, the reader can customize their own characters and easily create their own one-of-a-kind strips. I don't know if it's the answer, but it's certainly interesting. Check it out. -- casey

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Twist and feel like shouting

Comic pick of the week ... an oldie but a goodie ... if you're too young to know James Thurber's work, he was avante-garde and bizarre long before most of us were born. Over at the New Yorker's CartoonBank, you can see quite a collection of his cartoons. Imagine sitting down to read some of these 50 years before Saturday Night Live or any of our "modern" humor existed. And, yes, the name of my humble attempt at a comic strip is an homage to this humorists great legacy. Enjoy! -- casey

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Either way, you're still under water

If you're into webcomics or videogames, you're probably familiar with the comic strip Penny Arcade. Half-full: If this were twenty years ago and these guys were in a newspaper, they would be HUGE. We're talking cover of Time and Newsweek huge. Half-empty: But because of the fractured audience of comics these days, most people have, unfortunately, probably never even heard of them.

Their website draws multitudes more traffic than (home to Peanuts, Get Fuzzy and many others) or (home to Garfield, Doonesbury and many others) ... and Penny Arcade consists of one single comic strip, not dozens like the "bigger" sites. -- casey

Check out these stats from

Here's a story that's a cartoon waiting to be drawn: In Florida, a tiny tot's Elmo appears to be threatening the boy ... and Elmo's even using the boy's name in his threat.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's always good to ask

I'm really excited that the cover story for this week's print issue of USA WEEKEND is being illustrated by one of my all-time favorite humorous illustrator/cartoonists: Bob Staake. I'm really bummed, however, that none of the illustrations are accompanying the story online. If you don't know Bob's work, be sure to check it out at his main website, And if USA WEEKEND comes in your local weekend newspaper, you're in for a treat. There's a list of local newspapers that carry USA WEEKEND here. -- casey

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Simple question: "Is the market going up or down?"

My link today is to a cartoonist's work that I would have missed if I hadn't peeked into my spam filter. This guy is doing some really intriguing stuff. I'm not even sure where exactly to link to him because he's completely skipping the usual "print your strip in the paper and then eventually sell stuff with your characters printed on it" scenario. He's got a home page. But he's making full use of Flickr by actually posting strips there. And he's got great looking stuff on Zazzle and a book on Lulu. And he uses Blogspot to tie things together. And you can even watch him draw on YouTube. But what I find most fascinating is the way his work seamlessly integrates vintage comics by his great-grandfather (who has his own fascinating story) into a world that is at once retro and cutting-edge. How far ahead of his time was his great-grandfather to have called his feature Laugh-Out-Loud (LOL) Cats way back in 1912? -- casey

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine's Day "gift"

guiltyHere's the Thurbear Theory: "There's no reason why you should be so happy this Valentine's when I'm the one sittin' all alone." But then again ... maybe that's the reason he's sitting all alone, huh? This week's link is to a great collection of panel cartoons that have run over the years in USA WEEKEND on the subject of (what else?) couples. -- casey

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

do unto others

do unto others
Big shout out this week to an old buddy of mine from Texas. When we were in junior high and high school, we used to sit in back of the class drawing cartoons. I occasionally get a random phone call from him these days. Then he vanishes again for awhile. I think he's in California now, working at a comics shop.

Last week, I walked into my office and waiting there were two packages. When I opened them, my mouth dropped open. There were at least a dozen original Pogo books! When I was a kid, Pogo no longer appeared in newspaper comics pages, but I devoured the reprint books and taught myself to draw by looking at them. I'm almost afraid to open these first editions. They're almost sacred. I've got to sit down and write him a long thank-you note TODAY. But until then ... Thanks, Gene!!! -- casey

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Can ya hear me now?

satelliteToday's cartoon was inspired by a lady in front of me at the grocery store. Aisle after aisle, I waited patiently as she spoke into her cellphone giving a play-by-play worthy of ESPN. "I'm going down the drinks aisle now." "I'm going down the chips aisle now." She'd not only share her opinion loud enough for everyone to hear about all the choices going into her grocery cart ... she also listed all the products not going into her grocery cart. Hundreds of 'em. And it wasn't like the person on the other end was contributing feedback or helping with a shopping list. This lady never stopped talking long enough to listen to anyone on the other end. It must have lasted for a half-hour. At some point, I couldn't stop following her just to see how long this could possibly go on. Thank goodness the phone companies have sunk billions of dollars into the infrastructure to make such communication possible. Though I'm not exactly sure that this was what they had in mind. -- casey

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hey, hey Judy

Hey Hey JudyI had a good friend in college named Judy. Man, could she talk! I hope she doesn't stumble upon this particular episode or I'll never hear the end of it.

This strip also holds a clue to when I first started playing around, sketching up some ideas that eventually became Thurbear. Let's just say that, at the time, the Jerry Maguire "You had me at hello" reference was actually current pop culture. One more Easter egg: The tree in the second-to-the-last panel is a nod to a setting used in one of my favorite strips, Bloom County.

A special shout-out this week to cartoonist extraordinaire Mark Anderson. I don't know how he does it all. You see his panel cartoons constantly in numerous magazines, he contributed great ideas for cartoons I drew for USA WEEKEND and he's got one of the most organized, most efficient websites of any cartoonist I know. Go take a look! -- casey

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let's give the bear a hand!

one hand clappingThis week's cartoon is dedicated to a certain little 10-year old at our house. Is he truly seeking knowledge? Or is he just trying to drive his mom and me crazy? Sometimes it's hard to tell!

My web comic pick of the week keeps people jumping, too. Mark Heath's hilarious panel cartoons appeared in numerous magazines, including USA WEEKEND, before Spot the Frog helped him hop into newspaper comics pages across the nation. At Spot's website, you'll find cool extras like Spot the Frog Radio Theater and his very own Frog Blog. -- casey

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh, that wacky bear

wacky bearAnd this week, I'd like to share a link to a site that's doing its best to encourage the growth of wackiness ... over at Comics Coast to Coast, three wacky web cartoonists, Brian Dunaway, Tom Racine and Justin Thompson have been doing a tremendous job interviewing cartoonists, both web and newspaper syndicated, for their (almost) weekly podcasts. Their love of the comic strip art form is infectious. In fact, it was their podcasts that inspired me to dust off Thurbear, spruce him up a bit and share him with you. Check out their site and their work ... well worth the visit. -- casey

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Oodles o' Googles

googleI'll leave it up to you to determine whether an investment banker is the superior profession. This cartoon is all about the body language, anyway. And Google. I actually am quite fond of them, even as overgrown as they're becoming. The underlying blog software serving up these cartoons is Google's Blogger ... which is free. And all of the RSS stuff for this web page is through Feedburner, which Google now owns ... and which they also make available for free! What can you do with an RSS feed? One great thing you should do right this minute is sign up to have Thurbear delivered right to your email box automatically whenever it's updated. That makes it much easier on you since you won't need to check in or try to remember when this site is updated (it's Thursdays, of course. Thurbear Thursday, remember?) or even remember to put us on your ever-expanding favorites list that you never have the time to revisit. On my end, Feedburner's RSS tools take care of "automatic" things like the email updates without me having to lift a finger ... very good for lazy cartoonists. -- casey

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

On a short leash

dog yearsI kinda like the design of this one. Your eye jumps immediately to the right-hand side to read the dialogue, only to be pulled back along the tethered rope to discover the Mrs. keeping an eye on things. In my case, I've been married for almost 150 (dog) years. Or something like that. Cartoonists aren't too good at math.

My web comic pick of the week has the opposite effect. Nicholas Gurewitch started his comic strip, The Perry Bible Fellowship, about seven years ago ... but it's really taken off in the past year. The first book collection of PBF is even outselling most syndicated comic strip collections these days. Web comics aficionados will already be familiar with PBF. Be forewarned: Gurewitch skates constantly close to the thin line of good taste. But, let's be honest, that's a big part of what makes his writing so hilarious. And his art includes some of the best illustration being done in humorous comics today. -- casey

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Does Santa accept PayPal?

santas dot comOne thing about Thurbear: He loves to stir up trouble and sit back to enjoy the chaos ... or in his case, to watch the fur fly. But in the case of Santa, Inc., it's kind of true ... it's actually a little like ... webcomics. There are a lot of good ones out there, making you happy, not making a dime. If you get a chance, check out The Sticks by Bill Bettway over on Comics Sherpa. He's really good, and as far as I know he's drawing comic strips purely for the love of the craft at this point ... at least until some syndicate finally discovers him. -- casey

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

When you care to send the very beast

This particular cartoon is less about being a comic strip gag and more about establishing the character of Thurbear. The way I picture him is that if he ever became popular and there were a million cutesy-pie stuffed versions of him gracing children's bedrooms that he would probably shoot himself. Right after he shot me. -- casey

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

A "unique" sense of humor

at the comedy clubWhat is it that tickled Thurbear's funnybone and disgusted everyone else? I purposefully left the action "offscreen" so each of you could fill in the blank with your own imagination -- some of us more warped than others. -- casey

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Thurbear Thursday!

It's Thurbear ThursdayIt's Thurbear Thursday! Welcome! --- What does Thurbear Thursday mean? -- Who knows! It doesn't really matter ... at least to this little bear who always has ulterior motives. But upon further reflection, I've decided maybe it's not such a bad idea. We should all have a special day of our own, don't you think? I'll make mine Saturday. It sounds the best with my name. Casey Shaw Saturday. But don't call me on my day to congratulate me. I"ll be sleepin' in. -- casey

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

New comic strip starting

Hey, all! It's been awhile since we've updated with fresh cartoons ... but here's great news: Starting Thursday, we're going to be posting a new comic each week again. And unlike the previous panel cartoons which also appeared in USA WEEKEND's print magazine, we're going to try something new -- an online comic strip. Check back each Thursday for the latest from Thurbear, created by USA WEEKEND's own Casey Shaw.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

"Do me a favor. Quit saying, 'We're not out of the woods, yet.'"

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Absolutely, irretrievably alone, Warren pondered his
overwhelming success at simplifying his life.

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"I don't fingerpaint. But I do collect quality fingerpaintings."

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"Didn't anyone tell you about casual Fridays?"

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Friday, September 7, 2007

"Like I said, Pops, change is a-comin'."

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"Healthy snacks instead of candy?! You're fired!"

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"It's an audio book report."

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"Mom! Can I get drinks for my posse?"

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"These days, all the elve's work gets outsourced."

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Friday, August 10, 2007

"You should get that looked at."

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Monday, July 2, 2007

"Well, what did you think would happen after your 1,000 free hours of Internet time were up?"

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"You kids better settle down or I'll turn this car right back around!"

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"Looky, Punkin, they cloned a little cat. More kitties! That's what the world needs!"

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