I’m dedicating this section of the blog to amazing cartoonists who don’t get enough recognition! This week belongs to Michael Aushenker, the zaniest and most creative humor cartoonist around! He’s created some of the most memorable characters to grace papyrus. El Gato, Crime Mangler, Those Unstoppable Rogues, Chipmunks & Squirrels, Professor Pap, Silly Goose and Cartoon Flophouse featuring one my favorite humor characters, Greenblatt The Great! He's been at this cartooning thing for two decades and counting and I don't see him slowing down. It high time that we start mixing his name in with the likes of Wolverton, Kama & Seele, and Boswell.
Cartoon Flophouse Issue # 1 starring Greenblatt the Great! Strip starring Greenblatt the Great!
I met Michael a few years back at APE, and I can remember the exact moment I saw him for the first time. He came up to my table, grabbed one of my books and said that he really enjoyed my stuff. But he hasn’t even read it I thought. We’ve been best friends ever since!
Michael getting a lift from me!
I’ve also had the privilege of seeing Michael in action, doing most of his cartooning in small cafes scattered throughout his LA neighborhood. His sketchbook is an amusement park of characters either in development or poses of his more famous ones. A lot of Michael’s ideas come from real life crazy situations. There’s a great story about his good friend Jamie and his ‘particular tastes’ when ordering a pizza pie. The skit is hilarious and not far off from the truth.
Pie Fidelity by Michael Aushenker!
With Michael you get what you see; a very gregarious personality and a philanthropic sensibility with his time and praise. He’s always looking for a way to support and promote his peers in the business. On his blog, Cartoon Flopshouse, he created a weekly Q&A called Hump Day for comic book artists that ask questions only Aushenker can come up with, for instance: “If you suddenly became a billionaire off of your mini-comics (three quarters at a time) and you could hire any famous actress to do your gardening, whom would you choose?”
Aushenker is currently working on a bunch of new gag strips for Cartoon Flophouse featuring Greenblatt the Great that will be featured at Comicon 2009. He's also got a new comic called Silly Goose. You can find him and his amazing strips at Small Press table K-13 along with Ted Seko creator of “Billy Cole," "Attack of the Supermonsters.”
Jose was born and raised in New York City in the upper part of Manhattan. His community was predominately Dominican and throughout his early school years he was surrounded by friends who loved to draw. His love for art got him accepted to La Guardia H.S. of Music and Art near Lincoln Center were he was exposed to the world of fine art.
After graduating from High School, he went to Baltimore and attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. He studied everything from photography to environmental design and got a huge spoonful of Art History. Some of his influences include Henry Moore, Amedeo Modigliani, Lucian Freud, Giacometti, Paul Rand, Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, R. Crumb, John Romita Jr., Sal Buscema, John Byrne, Jack Davis and the list goes on. This gave him the inspiration and the cojones to create Crying Macho Man.