Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In a town near where I live there are two streets whose names have always caught my eye. I get a lot of character names from street signs and these two just beg to be brought to life in fantasy fiction. They are called Niblick and Mashie. In my mind, they are two wayward goblins with bad luck and a knack for finding trouble. I considered doing a series of short stories about them or even a novel, but I never have. Still they lingered in the back of my mind, much the same way Royce and Hadrian had.

Recently, my wife and I went to the American History Museum where they had an original Peanuts cartoon penned by Charles Shultz. It had his pencil sketch and the inked-in original. Looking at it, I could see that the art was very simple, and could imagine that it would not have taken Mr. Shultz all that long to do once he had the idea. This got me thinking and on the ride home on the Metro, I considered the idea of a Niblick and Mashie comic strip, or rather a single frame comic staring the two goblins that I could occasionally post here on this blog to poke fun at the life of a fantasy author.

The concept really took off the moment I realized I could make the focus of the comics be about writing and publishing from the point of view of an author’s two minor characters. Almost instantly a dozen ideas popped in my head and when I got home I sketched a couple out. I showed them to my wife. She was wholly unimpressed by my cartooning ability.

Now, as it happens my daughter, Sarah, is an aspiring cartoonist. Who, in addition to her day job, is presently working very hard at creating an epic graphic novel that she expects to finish in about six years (she estimates from her present speed.) Robin suggested I ask her for help.

I presented Sarah with four ideas and she promptly whipped them up in her own whimsical style that made mine look pathetic. So here now is the first of the Niblick and Mashie comics, heretofore and forthwith entitled - Plotholes.

I hope you like it. Look for more adventures of Niblick and Mashie in the World of Literature, as she has time to produce them.


  1. Cute.

    Is the next street over "Putter"...?

  2. LOL Great. And tell Sarah she's amazing!

  3. Looks great. Can't wait to see more of them

  4. LOL! love it! Sounds like this could be loads of fun. :) Enjoy yourself!

  5. Mashie and Niblick are old golf clubs (before modern-day duffers carried Woods and Irons).

    Looking forward to moar cartoons as time permits. I already have about a dozen or so webcomics I read on a daily basis :)

  6. Lol - I so didn't know they were golf clubs - makes more sense now but I still love to think of them as gobblins.

  7. Heh, goblins playing golf with old clubs might be a fun one later in the series as a play off the names. Love the work on this one. Tell Sarah to get a move on. Six years is too long to wait ;D!

  8. Very cute and well done. :) My only criticism is that the text in the bubbles could possibly be adjusted a bit.

  9. Brilliant! Sarah is wicked talented! I love how one idea feeds into the next, don't you? It's kinda the "rush" of creativity.

  10. Awesome, plain awesome. Michael, you keep coming up with novel ideas and this cartoon is one of this. I am still snickering over this image.

  11. Great idea, Michael! And really nice artwork too. I look forward to more adventures from these two.

  12. Love it!

    My son and his wife are graphic artists, but they chose to "mentor" me in my artistic endeavors (animating my book trailer and creating cover art) instead of just doing it for me.


    You are so lucky to have such a talented daughter with the time and inclination to help you out.

  13. There are things I can not understand but I will learn it. I think nothing is too late. Then I realized that I had improved a lot.

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