Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, Co-Creators of Baby Blues

1 June 2001

   It seems that Rick Kirkman and his co-creator Jerry Scott can see into our homes.
Their depiction of the MacPherson family, parents Darryl and Wanda and kids Zoe and Hammie, is eerily familiar. The beloved cartoon gives us reason to laugh at our own daily predicaments and delights. No one can tell what thoughts are rolling around in a little kid's head, but the creators of Baby Blues capture the possibilities with been-there accuracy. And above all, it's just plain funny!

    Baby Blues appeared in about 55 newspapers on January 07, 1990 under the Creators Syndicate umbrella. It is now distributed by King Features. The publication of the comic strip was the culmination of much trial and rejection by Rick and Jerry. Theirs was not a simple success story of submit the strip and receive immediate syndication.

    Friends for years, the two men were pondering together on ideas for a cartoon strip. They had tried to syndicate a cartoon several years previous, with no success.) In 1987, parenthood struck them as a good topic. Rick and his wife were surviving the trials of parenthood with two very young children. Jerry saw plenty of comic material in family life, from the eyes of an outsider. He hadn't any children of his own yet.

    Baby Blues was first submitted to a syndicate under the name "Oh, Baby!". Jerry wrote the strip and Rick drew. The strip was rejected with the comment that they should try it as a panel. Kirkman and Scott worked fast and resubmitted the cartoon, now called Baby Blues, as a panel. The editor sent it back saying that panels are too hard to sell and that maybe they should try it as a strip!

    The cartoonists revised the concept and characters once again, returning it to strip format. Several syndicates showed interest. One asked to see more strips, but with changes, such as adding an older child. Jerry and Rick complied again. Next, they wanted to see strips with a continuing storyline and more like the original cartoon. After all the work and rework, the syndicate said no. How disappointing.

    Just when Rick and Jerry were about to give up, Anita Medeiros of Creators Syndicate contacted the cartoonists. Contract discussions were underway. Creators loved the strip and apologized for not getting back to them sooner. Baby Blues at last made the jump into syndication.

    Over the ten years it has been in print, the comic strip has grown to appear in over 700 newspapers in 25 countries and in 14 languages. So far, there are 16 Baby Blues books available.
In 1995, Baby Blues received the Best Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year Award from the National Cartoonists Society.

    Rick Kirkman has been a cartoonist since he was a youngster in kindergarten. His artistic career includes working as a freelance designer and illustrator and creating gag cartoons for magazines. He also did studio drawing for an advertising agency and the Yellow Pages directories. Along with drawing Baby Blues, he continues work as a freelance humour illustrator, a profession he began in 1982. Rick and his wife Sukey have two daughters born in 1984 and 1987. They make their home in Arizona.

babyblues

    Rick Kirkman has been a cartoonist since he was a youngster in kindergarten. His artistic career includes working as a freelance designer and illustrator and creating gag cartoons for magazines. He also did studio drawing for an advertising agency and the Yellow Pages directories. Along with drawing Baby Blues, he continues work as a freelance humour illustrator, a profession he began in 1982. Rick and his wife Sukey have two daughters born in 1984 and 1987. They make their home in Arizona.

    Jerry Scott also has a deep artistic flair. He has used his many talents in advertising as a staff artist, an art director at an art service, worked at a TV station and owned his own advertising agency.

    Cartoon-wise, Jerry began his professional career in the mid-70's with a cartoon sale to the Saturday Evening Post. He drew and wrote the "Nancy" strip for twelve years, from 1993 until September 1995. He is also half of the imaginative pair creating the hilarious Zits comic strip. The other half of the team is Jim Borgman, a Pulitzer Prize winner and editorial cartoonist.

    The cartoon features a 14-year-old Jeremy with great insights on the feelings and insecurities teenagers endure. And his oversized smelly shoes provide a lot of laughs too. Zits debuted through King Features in 200 newspapers in 1997 and has shot to more than 900 publications. The strip won NCS awards in 1998 and 1999 and received "The Max and Moritz" medal for Best International Comic Strip in 2000.

    Though Rick's daughters provided the initial inspiration for Baby Blues, Jerry now has his own child to spark the wisdom and humour so loved in the cartoon. He and his wife Kim became parents in 1993 to their daughter, Abbey. Their home is in Malibu, California.

    Baby Blues has grown into a prime-time television show on the WB network. After a successful summer debut in 2000, another season of 13 shows will be presented for the delight of Baby Blues fans.

    Cartooning News: On May 25, 2002 Jerry Scott was awarded the Reuben by the National Cartoonists Society for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. He was recognized for his skilled cartooning of both Zits and Baby Blues.

Find Baby Blues on its own site: http://www.babyblues.com

More information about Baby Blues: http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/babyblue/about.htm

© Susanna McLeod 2001
TheCartoonists.ca  
(Originally published in The Cartoonists on suite101.com.)