Darrin Bell, pumping out comics and winning the Pulitzer in the process

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I recently wrote a story on Joseph Pulitzer, and then my next story, interestingly enough, is on a brand new Pulitzer Prize winner.

darrin-bellEarlier this week, cartoonist Darrin Bell (left) won the Pulitzer Prize for his political cartoons, he also does a daily comics strip called Candorville, which incorporates another comics strip which he produced for many years, called Rudy Park.

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TOM: Congrats on winning the Pulitzer prize! How did you find out?

DARRIN: Thank you. My editor at the Washington Post Writers Group called me at my home in California and told me. They flew me out to DC a couple days later so I could be in the Post newsroom during the announcement.

TOM: You do (or did) three comics – two comic strips and an editorial cartoon. I see you combined the two comic strips – Candorville and Rudy Park. How did that come about?

DARRIN: My syndicate realized Candorville and Rudy Park didn’t share any clients, and since I’d already done several crossovers between the two series, they suggested I combine them.

TOM: I also heard you draw story boards for films and tv?

DARRIN: I got a call out of the blue back in 2012 asking me if I knew how to draw storyboards. Coincidentally I’d taken a class in storyboarding just for fun a few months earlier, so I said sure, and ended up storyboarding a sci-fi pilot for Anthony Zuiker (CSI). I added my name and portfolio to a bunch of job sites, and then answered inquiries. I only accept jobs when I’m far enough ahead on my work, or if they’re flexible with their deadlines.

TOM: What is your schedule like when you were doing two strips along with the political cartoons and story boards? Did you work on Rudy Park one day and then the next Candorville, etc?

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A recent Darrin Bell political cartoon. Image courtesy King Features Syndicate

DARRIN: Rudy Monday’s, Candorville Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings, editorial cartoons Wednesday afternoon and the rest of the week, New Yorker submissions whenever I was awake enough after putting the kids to bed.

TOM: Do you work digitally or old school pen and ink?

DARRIN: Digitally. It’s the only possible way to get that much work done. When I worked with paper and ink, I would spend an entire weekday just cleaning cartoons up, scanning them in and getting them ready to color. An entire day.

TOM: What is your studio or work place like?

DARRIN: Quiet office space with red brick walls and ornate windows, one block from a river.

TOM: Favorite scifi tv show or movie?

DARRIN: Babylon 5, a show that chronicles the struggle against new authoritarian governments on earth and throughout the galaxy. The show’s far more relevant now than it was in the Nineties, when it first aired.

TOM: As for comics, which ones influenced you growing up?

DARRIN: X-Men and Spider-Man, mostly.

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Candorville by Darrin Bell, courtesy GoComics.com

TOM: Other than those, which comic strip would you like to crawl into, current or past, and spend the day?

DARRIN: Buck Rogers. Or the Star Trek comic strip from the 80s.

TOM: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

DARRIN: I’d stop whatever cataclysm destroyed ancient civilizations all around the world 13,000 years ago (probably causing all the great flood myths and destroying Atlantis). That worldwide destruction forced the survivors to start all over, almost as if an advanced civilization was returned to the Stone Age. We’d be 13,000 years more advanced than we are now. There’s a good chance we’d also be 13,000 years wiser.

TOM: Thanks, Darrin, and congratulations again on the Pulitzer!

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