This archive features a tiny collection of my favorite Louie and Bruce comic strips that I drew many years ago.
I began drawing comic strips when I was in high school, waaay back in the 1970s when dinosaurs still roamed the planet. The first serious strip I drew for teachers and classmates was The Klutz, featuring an unfortunate character named Howard Klutz who was prone to all sorts of mishaps. I drew many comic strips in school, filling pages of my notebooks with humor when I should have been taking notes for classes.
A decade later, another character became my klutz in a strip I drew for my coworkers, a strip called Louie and Bruce.
Louie and Bruce are friends who work at a sawmill. Louie is the klutz and Bruce is the ballcap-wearing foreman of the mill. I began drawing the strip in a large format that usually featured nine or ten panels. Below is the very first Louie and Bruce comic strip. The year was 1981.
Over time, I used the sawmill setting less and concentrated on life outside the mill. Below is the last large format strip where I used the sawmill setting. The guy talking to Bruce is Frank, a coworker and Bruce’s best friend.
Frank became a favorite player. At times, my strip was Louie and Frank instead of Louie and Bruce. Frank was more philosophical than the others and I would have him observing the world around him and give him a spot to make statements on those observations. This allowed me to run his own strip.
I drew other characters for the strip, but Louie, Bruce and Frank were the stars.
Although I never became a syndicated cartoonist, a local newspaper ran my strip when I joined a writing club and the paper’s editor was a member. She liked my work and ran many of my strips before the newspaper succumbed to financial problems and was sold to a corporation that ran only syndicated strips.
Drawing comic strips allowed me to put on plays between the characters I created. Those shows were often silly, sometimes serious with a one-two-punch gag thrown in, sublime at times, and even nonsensical when Louie was at the helm. But they were always humorous. If they didn’t make me laugh, they never made publication. No other form of storytelling allowed me as much fun and freedom within the realm of a made-up world. Louie and Bruce was the result of that fun and freedom—an escape I loved from beginning to end.