Back in the spring semester of 1979 (yeah, I was a college freshman during the Carter administration), I took a course called Introduction to Economics. Econ 1. Basic econ. The simplest econ class available.
In which I got completely lost after about a week. I'd like to point out that this was not the fault of the professor but rather the fault of the people sitting next to me. Wait, is that right? No, sorry--it was my fault. I just wasn't grasping the concepts. But one day when I was sitting there not grasping concepts I started doodling a superhero. I named him Dr Zap, and then I got the brilliant idea to make him the defender of economics. Naturally, I thought, if I could put my econ notes in Dr Zap's word balloons, it would all make sense to me.
Despite the fact that several other characters followed and that the things they said had little or nothing to do with economics, I passed the class. And I wound up with a repertory company of cartoon characters that I still draw on occasion. Most of the cartoons in The Book of Zap were drawn in early 1989 when I was recuperating from kidney surgery. I was mostly pleased with the results, so I naively sent it to a comics publisher in Seattle. When I didn’t hear anything for two months I gave them a call. A very nice woman said she loved the book, especially the Kidney, and that they were debating between it and another one to round out their 1990 catalog. I still find this hard to believe, so all I’m saying is that that’s exactly what she told me.
Apparently they went with the other book. I tried another publisher, who said the narrative was fine but that my cartooning skills needed some work. No argument there. I'm sure I was using the exact opposite of the pens and paper normal cartoonists use, but on the other hand I'm well aware of my artistic limitations, which will become obvious as you start reading. Nevertheless, I think most of it is still kind of funny, so after 22 years, here is The Book of Zap.
This is dedicated to Larry Adams--my college classmate, a talented cartoonist in his own right, and Dr Zap's biggest fan.