The drawing is what first caught my attention when I saw Next Door Neighbors, the comic strip by Pat Sandy published at GoComics. From there, you can’t help but enjoy the writing and the Dewey family. It reminds me so much of All in the Family or Sanford and Son and sitcoms from that era. I had the opportunity to interview Pat.
TOM: I notice that the first strips were just a few times a week, what made you start publishing daily (Monday thru Friday)?
PAT: I had a lot of story arc material backing up that on a 3 times a week cadence would have dragged out way too long – so once I got up to 3 times it was a moderate jump to 5. Sometimes I question that decision, though!
TOM: The strips have a 1970s tv sitcom feel to them. Did you realize this? What tv shows are your influences if any?
PAT: Nice – I’ve never heard that before but I love it…I did indeed grow up watching TV in that era though, so something must have rubbed off. I had tons of favorites – Mary Tyler Moore, The Brady Bunch, All In The Family, The Partridge Family, The Odd Couple…what a great era for TV.
TOM: Is “Next Door Neighbors” created digitally? Or do you draw with pen and ink? If digitally, what do you use to create?
PAT: Well, I handle NDN pretty old-school – I rough it up, go to a light table and ink and letter it on bristol board, and scan it into photoshop where I make corrections – no fonts, and no digital drawing. I like tactile. I like having something tangible to hold, but having said that, would I want to try a Cintiq or an iPad Pro? That would be a yes. I’m a bit behind the curve, but I do love having originals.
TOM: What’s the last thing you took a picture of?
PAT: An instagram photo of my guitar at a gig with my band, The Rhythm Syndicate. We do blues, swing and soul music and we’ve played all over northeast Ohio for about 18 years.
TOM: Which comic strip, other than your own would you like to crawl into and visit for the day?
PAT: Great question! Probably a toss-up between Peanuts or Doonesbury. I’d like to hang out with Mike, Mark and Zonker, circa 1974…an amazing period for that strip. With Peanuts, there was such a comfort in reading it when i was a kid…I’d love to play on Charlie Brown’s team, although I’d be worse than any of them.
TOM: Something or someone you miss most from childhood?
PAT: Both my parents, really. There were always 1000% encouraging. They would have LOVED Next Door Neighbors. As an aside many of the names used in the strip are family names, including ‘Dewey’, which was my grandfather’s nickname.
TOM: What’s something you always wanted to do as a child but never got to do?
PAT: The Soap Box Derby! My brother did it a couple of times, but I never got around to it, as I’m somewhat mechanically challenged. It was a huge event (still is, really) when I was a kid…the highlight of the summer for kids in my neighborhood.
TOM: Your main character Norm Dewey loves his beer. What is your favorite beer/cocktail?
PAT: A perfect Manhattan. I like beer too, so I’ll have to put in a plug for Cleveland’s beer scene, which is fabulous.
TOM: Norm’s house looks beat up, yet he has a new flat screen tv. Why?
PAT: The Deweys aren’t poor – they’re slobs…well, Norm and the kids are…Jan is simply trying to keep the place in order. Norm has no common sense so naturally, while the lawn needs mowed, the house needs painted, and the couch is falling apart, he’s the kind of guy that goes out and gets a flat screen TV…although, anymore, flat screens aren’t very pricey.
TOM: What car does Norm drive?
PAT: Funny you ask – I finally showed the whole car recently in a strip, and I have absolutely no idea what model I drew – I think it’s a fairly beat up mid-late 90’s/early 00’s something-or-other.
Thanks, Pat! Hope to be enjoying Next Door Neighbors for many years to come!
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