The Moot Pointe Story " The Endless Pursuit Of All Things Pointless " by david mills "It’s a sad story of woe and travesty, denial, revenge, and ultimate victory of the human spirit over the dark forces of confusing cell phone carrier plans." – Mark Cuban "Truly a remarkable triumph within the literary field of useless dribble. It reminds us of our entire newspaper!" – The Washington Post "I’m not sure I understand any of this, but I’ll pretend I do!" – Senator Teddy A. Boondoggle The Formative Years As a child I was always drawing. I grew up on Charles Shultz’ Peanuts and Walt Kelly’s Pogo. They were the influencers that encouraged me to create a world of make-believe within the confines of a few inked boxes. ﷯ While my interest grew in this medium, I went out and purchased various “How To” cartoon” books. The forward of one of the books simply said something along the lines of “If you want to become a good drawer, then all you need to do is Draw, Draw, Draw.” I never did read any further than the forward of that book, nor have I ever read any other “How To” cartoon book. What I have done however is draw, draw, draw. ﷯ But drawing is only part of being a cartoonist. The writing humor, wit, dementedness, or whatever you want to call it, is also a large part; and probably the most important part at that. As is the case with most, my dementedness came from my family genes and the environment I grew up in. My father was an interesting fellow with a quirky view of the world to say the least. It was he mostly that molded me, or misshaped me, depending on the perspective, into having a certain bent when it comes to humor. I was also an only child with three siblings; meaning that there was such an age difference between me and my older brother and two sisters that I might as well have been an only child. This childhood left me often to my own devices for amusement and entertainment. And let me tell you, I could make things pretty amusing and entertaining. I would often create my own worlds to sojourn, sometime for hours, sometimes for days.﷯ ﷯ I remember one epic Saturday afternoon after being hopped up on Bugs Bunny and Alpha-bits, gathering together my collection of model airplanes, little plastic army men, and other war related toys, along with tubes of model airplane glue, firecrackers, and gasoline. After a half-day battle between the green army men and the sand colored army men for the rights to rule the backyard, I stood on the back porch gazing at an array of smoldering battlefields as the smell of burning plastic wafted over the breeze.﷯ What I learned through this particular make-believe was that putting a line of glue on the wing of a model Spitfire, then flying the plane around on a bombing mission (tossing firecrackers into thimble-size pools of gasoline to simulate the bomb drop) until the plane took a direct hit from an anti-aircraft round (this is when the glue on the wing would be ignited), that sent it spiraling out of control in a fiery ball of black smoke until it ultimately crashed into a convoy of tanks (whereupon the fire would inevitably reach the fuse of the M-80 that I had stuffed into the cockpit of the plane) when in one climactic, glorious explosion, burning toy parts would be sent hurtling like Fourth of July fireworks all around the backyard … was really, really cool. In the end there were no survivors, except my imagination. I was nine. ﷯ So you see, creating my own worlds is nothing new and putting a world within the four panels of a comic strip seemed a natural, safer progression. Just like my make-believe as a child, in a comic strip I get to be producer, director, writer, actor, cameraman, prop manager, key grip, and best boy all rolled into one. It’s perfect, except for one minor drawback: I rarely get to set things on fire anymore. The Middle Years Early on during the period of “adulthood” I began to develop my drawing and writing style, along with a cast of characters to populate my comic world. One of the biggest influences in my artistic style was Garry Trudeau the creator of Doonsbury. I was introduced to a young cartoonist named Garry Trudeau in 1975 while working with my brother in Los Angeles California at a car rental business named Bundy Rent-A-Wreck, oddly enough owned by a guy named Dave Schwartz. Also odd was that the place was popular with celebrities. This was due to a number of reasons. One of which, if I remember correctly, was that Dave’s trophy wife was an aspiring actress and had appeared on several sitcoms.﷯ Also, Dave had a collection of hundreds of ﷯classic cars that were used by production companies for vintage time-period movies. For example, while I was there he was supplying the cars for the movie Shampoo. Finally, many of the bigger stars, the stars that didn’t want to be recognized, would come in and literally “rent a wreck” so they wouldn’t be noticed. You could always tell the up-and-comers because they’d be the ones renting the limo. The established stars (someday I’ll recount the story of getting lost while driving Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw to the airport) would rent a beat up VW bug. Mr. Trudeau was just passing through (I don't even remember if he rented a car or what exactly was the situation surrounding him being there) and Mr. Schwartz introduced him to me for a brief handshake. All he was carrying was a black portfolio that I assumed contained a sketchpad. I still haven't washed that hand. As an adult I was the one asking for the crayons at restaurants so I could doodle made-up conglomerates of various animals while waiting for food to arrive. Often, while dining out with my kids, they would ask me to draw such things as a combination chicken, wolf, and giraffe. Later, this practice would result in Hayu T. Cornbred (part this, part that) one of the cast members of Moot Pointe.﷯ The first comic I ever drew with any regularity was a single panel called “Up North,” which focused on life in Northern Michigan. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost all of these comics. The first incarnation of what would eventually many, many years later, become Moot Pointe was a ﷯strip called “The Brat Pack” started in the late 70’s, (on the heels of my return from the land of make-believe: California) which morphed into “Dupe The Dalmatian” (a dog in my comic strip was inevitable since in all my years of living I’ve been without a dog for exactly fourteen minutes) which turned into LaLaLand, which eased into Moot Pointe around 2009. For years I’d draw, not draw, draw again, and then not draw. Ultimately, there was a lot more not drawing than drawing. When I could concentrate on drawing I’d enter an occasional cartoon contest, get a sporadic request for comic work, and make an attempt at cartoon syndication and eventual glory.﷯ Entering cartoon contests provided me with just enough encouragement to continue on. Routinely I would win, place, or show. After one such victory I was contacted by a local newspaper wanting to do an article about the strip. This led to the local CBS affiliate seeing the story and coming out to the house and shooting a segment for the evening news. I remember them saying they wanted something "light" to offset the current news surrounding The First Gulf War which was underway at the time. For some reason I envisioned this evolving into a gig entertaining troops in the Middle East, Bob Hope style. That didn’t happen and I tend to blame Bush number one for winning the war so quickly.﷯﷯ My immensely sporadic, barely paying cartoon work (truth be told I would have done all this work for free) was all for local this and local that advertising or publication. At one point I had a regular stint drawing a single panel cartoon called Verticals for an apartment leasing publication in the metro-Detroit area. But for the most part I had no interest in this type of work and instead would rather have spent any spare time I had to cartoon working on my comic strip.﷯ Over the years I’ve attempted comic syndication a grand total of three times. Actually, that would be three times simultaneously with multiple syndicates. So total it was somewhere around 10 separate attempts. These attempts were to the primary comic syndicates of the time such as United Features, King Features, Universal Press ﷯and later Creators Syndicate. At first the feedback was along the lines of, “Dear Sir, we thank you for your submission and might we suggest you find someone willing to break your drawing hand so that you might spare us in the future from ever having to look at this crap again.” I was so excited that I framed the response and hung it over my drawing table. “Wow, they actually got back to me!” These types of responses were not at all discouraging though, since being a connoisseur of cartoonist’s biographies I was very aware that most of the time the syndicates got it wrong. Through the years the rejections got less brutal until eventually I had a few letters stating that I should keep it up and to keep submitting. So looking at this positively, I suppose I could say that I progressed to the point of getting “less rejected.” But, life as usual got in the way and after receiving the “encouraging rejections” I never made another attempt at comic syndication. For the most part, except for the submissions for syndication, the comics have always been produced for my own amusement and creative outlet, along with the amusement of family and friends. .﷯ Although I alluded previously that some of what went on during this time period encouraged me to continue cartooning, what I really meant was that it was encouraging me to think that I might possibly eek out a meager living at it. I would have cartooned regardless of getting paid. However getting paid would have meant cartooning could have taken place a lot more frequently, as it inevitably still does today. Recent After one of those loooong stints of not cartooning, I found myself needing to scratch that itch again. It had been almost 10 years since working on the strip. Fortunately, this happened to coincided with a period where I also actually had some time available to devote to it. So in late 2016, taking a few months off from my regular job, I created a website and Facebook page to get things rolling again. The Facebook page had the purpose of taking the strip to a potential larger audience and determining if anyone else, other than family and friends, would find the strip even the slightest bit interesting. Apparently some do, and they really should seek professional help. ﷯ For the moment anyway, I’m trying to produce Moot Pointe as much as I can. But to do this I need you. If you want to help ensure a regular production of Moot Pointe please be so kind as to purchase some merchandise or support Moot Pointe on Patreon. Patreon is a great platform for individuals such as yourself to support the arts and artists. Even a dollar a month is helpful. Click on the Patreon link at the top of this page or visit the SHOP page for additional information. I have decades of comics, fermenting like a barrel of delicious Vernors ginger ale, just waiting to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. With your help, we can indeed keep Moot Pointe rolling and continue the chaos. ﷯ Thanks, and thanks again. David Mills


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