The Gods Are Coming… Look Busy!!

When I was a little kid of 12 years old I had a fascination with ancient Egypt. As a member of the National Geographic Society my father would receive a crisp, clean copy of their magazine each month. For me it was like getting the Sears Christmas catalog. I’d grab the magazine before my father could read it and run up to my bedroom where I knew I wouldn’t be bothered by anyone. There I’d carefully remove it from its brown paper slipcover. As I flipped through the pages with eager curiosity I was transported to the age of the Pharaohs. Of course it helped a lot more when it was an issue about ancient Egypt!

Anyhoo, even at 12 years old I knew a new century and a new millennium was coming so I calculated how old I would be when the occasion was upon us (30) and I promised myself that I would ring in the new century/millennium in Egypt. 18 years later I did it!
I won’t go into the spectacular details about the trip but I will tell you that while I was standing in the burial chamber at the center of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Keops) I came up with a way that I could combine my love of drawing cartoons and my staunch interest in all things ancient Egyptian into one project! It was inside that king’s dusty tomb that I came up with the idea for my comic strip “Anubis Rising”. I couldn’t wait to get home so I could start!

I began working feverishly developing characters for my new comics strip. I started, of course, with Anubis who is the God of the Dead (also known as the God of Mummification). Then came Horus. I knew a lot about Horus from books I had read as I child and from lectures while on my tour of Egypt. Originally I was going to leave it at 2 for the main characters but they are, in fact, the three sides of my personality. I needed one more for that reason but also in case the main characters were busy doing something that would call for a “B” story or additional storyline not necessarily related to the main plot. I wanted a cow-headed god (not because I’m a cow!!) and I only knew of one called Hathor and he was a she. I needed a male because the female characters I had needed to be human. Luckily I dug a bit and found a male god with the head of a bull. His name was Apis. I got my trio and now I could move onto some backstory and joke writing!
In Egyptian Mythology Anubis (ah-new-biss) was the benevolent god of mummification. He guided the spirit with a caring hand into the next life. He is often seen in hieroglyphs preparing a mummy. In my comic strip Anubis owns a quaint little shop called “Anubis’ Mummification and Sandal Repair”. He’s also quite a brilliant scientist and inventor having devised such creations as his famous deep-mummifrier, proven very useful in preparing a mummy is under 3 minutes. It also makes amazing French fries.

Anubis is widely respected and loved by all Egyptians and is sought out for his wisdom and advice. He’s very friendly and highly intelligent and, obliviously to him, is the love interest of the Pharaoh’s daughter, Princess Reyna.

Horus (Hor-us) is the son of the god Osiris and the goddess Isis.
In Egyptian Mythology: To avenge his father’s death, Horus fought a great battle against his Uncle Seth and lost his left eye. In my comic strip: Horus’ eye has since been replaced by an ill-fitted glass eye, which often pops out when he coughs or sneezes. He is the surly best friend of Anubis. He’s over a thousand years old and still living at home with his mom. Horus is currently unemployed and collecting unemployment insurance. It rains in the Sahara more often than Horus cracks a smile.

Apis (A-pis, like “ape”) is the sacred bull of Memphis… Egypt not
Tennessee! He’s a chubby child at heart and as dim as a 10 watt light bulb. Apis suffers from a weakness for snack treats or food of any kind really. He is the tubby friend of Anubis and Horus and despite his dimwittedness he makes a decent living selling souvenir idols of himself to tourists.

There are many other characters tI could talk about however, I think it best you discover them yourself by reading my strip. It’s the only comic out there 5,000 years in the making so it’s worth at least a peek!

Anubis Rising has made it’s way around to many of the major syndicates across the US as I attempted to get it into print. Unfortunately he wasn’t what any of them were looking for at the time. As many cartoonists will tell you it’s a bit discouraging getting rejected by anyone let alone everyone! However, once in a while you come across someone who will actually take the time to write you back with some much needed corrective criticism. How else is a cartoonist suppose to know what the hell a syndicate is looking for?! It’s just that they get so damn many submissions and the cost of launching a new strip is huge!! Thank God for the Internet! Now everyone’s got their cartoon strip published!! Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Anyway, I was beginning to think that I should put Anubis and Company away for a little while and start with a fresh new idea. I did just that with my family strip “Acorn Place”. It too was rejected by everybody but all the time I was drawing it I was thinking I should really give Anubis another go. I had a wonderful, and rare, hand-written letter from a gal at one of the syndicates who urged me to continue with Anubis. She told me they thought it was “…a cut above the rest.” Like the other syndicates it wasn’t what they were looking for at the moment either but she finished by telling me with a little “polishing” I could have a very successful strip on my hands.

Anubis has been collecting dust on the shelf for several years while I honed my skills as a new daddy and got more into my new career (which I don’t talk about so don’t ask). But I think it’s worth another shot now that he, as a strip, and I, as a person, are all grown up. I’m very much looking forward to working with him again. He’s like an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time. We gotta lotta catching up to do!

So it’s with great pleasure that I announce Anubis Rising will be launched anew from my website, SmartZombie.com on Sunday the 16th of August, 2009. I’m not planning on sending him off to the syndicates anymore but with the long fingers the Internet has, it might just be possible to nab the attention of the right set of eyes. Who knows what can happen with lots of patience and a l’il luck!!