Backstage Here at the Cartoon

We want you to feel comfortable backstage here at the cartoon. Backstage tours are a fairly new service with us, but me and Lydia want to expand the business some, now that little Daryl is big enough to help out. Daryl does some of the inking, and cuts out screens for the backgrounds, and has real good people skills. Say hello, Daryl.

I'm Marvin McNeilley, owner and operator of Dinky Dog Adventures. My wife Lydia will be out soon. Lydia will be serving drinks and snack treats later.

We all hope you enjoyed Dinky Dog's adventures today, and hope you'll look in on us again tomorrow, to see what happens when Dinky catches up with Nasty the Cat. Dinky was right after him today, but there's only so much you can get done in four panels.

We'd like you to think of the cartoon as a sort of mom and pop operation, Lydia and me... make that mom and pop, and son. We like to think of you, our readers, as our customers. 

As most of you probably know, we bought the cartoon from the Happy estate after old Walt died. We hope we've carried on in the spirit Walt Happy began, from his first Happy Strips way back in the 30s, and that we've kept Dinky new and fresh and alive.

Dinky will be out to meet you all in a few minutes. Until then, we have a stack of cartoon bowling balls, here in the corner, that you can roll at Nasty the Cat when he comes out from behind that curtain in back, and runs across the 18th hole of our fine new miniature golf course. Three complimentary bowling balls are included in your price of admission, and...yes, here comes Nasty now!

Daryl will help you, and do take the bowling balls from the top...Lydia and I'll be back in a moment. Have fun, folks!

Christ, Lydia...where's that drink. I been talkin to these morons for half an hour, and now you finally show up. Go out there and do the next part. I hate those fuckin white rats, all over the damned stage. I can smell their shit in my sleep.

This ain't like it used to be, when we did just the cartoon. This backstage bullshit is for the birds. If that damned agent of mine could syndicate a few more strips, we wouldn't be doin this crap. Old Walt would never have done this crap.

This Dinky is gettin old, too. The strip's been through dozens of Dinkys since it started, and not all of them died of old age. This Dinky drinks too damned much. I should drink so much as Dinky Dog.

This Dinky's lasted a good long time, though. Still, for me, they'll never be a Dinky Dog like my first one. He was a star from day one.

I worry about him, Lydia. The little Dinky couldn't take over yet, he ain't big enough, but one of these times, I think Nasty the Cat is gonna pull out that great big mallet when old Dinky is lookin the other way, and WHAM and that will be all.

It happened to Larry the Lobster just that way, you know, and they been out of business maybe ten years now. That anchor fell on him in panel 2, and the last two panels he just laid there, squashed, and the next day the new lobster they ran in there just didn't look the part, or something, and everyone knew it wasn't the real Larry, and they dropped him like a hot potato, or a steamed lobster, whatever.

Don't know what happened to old Larry Jarvis, used to do Larry the Lobster. He was around the Animation Bar a lot for a while...then I never seen him since.

Okay, damn it, I'll go back out there for a while. Where's that fuckin Dinky?

That Dinky Dog's one funny dude, hey folks? Let's give him a big hand. Boy he sure almost got that cat that time. You better watch it, Nasty!

Lydia tells me she's a little bit under the weather today, so Daryl here will help you folks with the punch. We have free popcorn and peanuts for the circus segment coming up, and hot dogs, cotton candy, caramel apples and souvenirs are available inside, under the Big Top. Take it away, Daryl!

Shit, I dunno. After all, it is cartooning, and cartooning is all I ever wanted to do. I remember my dad used green chalkboard paint to paint the walls around my bed when I was a kid, I wouldn't stop drawing on the walls. And then later he brought his friends around to look at the walls, when I got to be 10 or 11, and I pretended to sleep while they laughed at my work, but it made me smile like crazy, cause all I ever wanted was to make people laugh.

It's cartooning, at least, but sometimes I wish I could do Sluts of Titan again, just for a couple of college papers, or something. I mean, there was no money in it, and I worked my butt off, but it was mine. Then again, I guess this is mine.

I know you don't feel up to it, Lydia. I never feel up to it anymore. I used to think I'd never get any serious work done with the customers around. But, if you got no customers, you got no work, you know? I mean, it's like that tree falls in the forest crap, you know, and if there's no one there to hear it, then who the hell gives a shit?

So I got Dinky, and I do Dinky good. You know I do. Hell you seen Up Your Tree lately? Or how about The Beavertons? Wotta buncha crap. And Slime...some papers been using Dinky for a lead-in to Slime, but it ain't helpin. I tell ya, them damned slugs just ain't funny. Things could be worse, you could be doing captions for Slime.

So customers are a pain sometimes, but they pay the bills, and Dinky loves em, God bless his stupid cartoon heart. I'll go out for the grand finale. But lay off the stuff, okay? You gotta do this tomorrow, Sunday's coming up, and so's the first of the month.

So there you are folks, and I hope you enjoyed your afternoon backstage here at the cartoon. Watch your step on the way out, and follow Daryl on up. Dinky and Nasty and Lazy and Pukestick and all the gang thank you. Hey pals, wave goodbye to the nice people...our customers. See you in the funny papers!

I know, Dinky, but you got it good...damned good. They love you down at the Animation Bar, and at Boop' still crack them up like always...and times ain't so bad, you know what I mean? But you got to learn to live within your're not Babyman or SuperHound or something. Maybe we ain't runnin on the editorial pages, but we got a good gig going here. But we all gotta split what comes in, and there's a limit.

Here, let me draw you a beer. You gotta lay off the hard stuff anyway, like me, we're both gettin too old for this crap. I mean, what difference does it make. Beer ain't a bad time. Yeah, go on, but don't keep little Dinky out too late. Sunday's coming up, you know.

Night, Nasty. See you guys tomorrow.

If booze was ink that dog'd be the size of a K-Mart. I know, Lydia. He always seems depressed, after. Not like things used to be. But we'll keep it together. You can't party all night, all your life.

Yeah, Daryl, I appreciate you been workin extra. But you got to do your chores, same as the rest of us, and you gotta help out, especially when your mom needs a break. She's been workin hard on a whole new could be a real breakthrough for Dinky. You got sketches to ink, and you got school tomorrow. Hell, Daryl, someday this will all be yours.

(c) 1995 by Michael McNeilley 


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