Here Are 30 New Seemingly Innocent Comics That Take A Dark Turn By Berkeley Mews Interview With Author
Hello, wonderful readers. The time has come for yet another round of Berkeley Mews comics, this being the fourth time we've featured the series here on Bored Panda. Throughout the years and iterations, you must've grown acquainted with the random happenings of the blue people in Ben Zaehringer's imagination. And even if not, this is a good place to start your acquaintance with the crazy blue-tinted world of Berkeley Mews.
And as always, if you want to check out the previous parts on our website, you may find the respective parts here: I, II, III. If you enjoy them, make sure you give Ben Zaehringer and his comic a follow on social media linked below!
Ben Zaehringer learned life-drawing and basic anatomy at a nearby community college. "We were also taught to draw cars," he said. "Cars are the bane of every cartoonist, so I'm glad that I was forced to draw them early."
The general gist of the comic is that "it takes fairy tales and Disney movies and fond remembrances of childhood and turns them into horrible nightmares - but, like, in a fun way," said the artist.
If you've wondered how's Ben doing as of late, and even has some spicy gossip: "Never been better! I don’t want to say too much, but I may have a fuzzy product in the works that longtime Mews fans will love."
Disappointment is the crux of every Berkeley Mews comic. "When I'm writing I ask myself, 'How can something fun be made disappointing?' Recurring motifs include: God, Santa, love, death, childhood, and '90s pop culture references. Life moves fast, so I try to only riff on things that are timeless, like Disney movies that get remade every ten years."
"A few months into lockdown I got the idea of making another Berkeley Mews book. I had to draw a lot of new comics for it because I put most of the good ones in the first collection. I wound up producing over 40 new strips in a short period of time, which was incredibly painful, but very creatively rewarding. I actually hurt my neck pretty badly from having terrible posture. I basically looked like a cartoon vulture while I worked. One fun detail was that I finished the book on the one-year anniversary of lockdown. I got vaccinated the next day! Time flies when you can’t leave your house."
"I've been doing these cartoon drawings for as long as I can remember," Ben said. "My mom's cousin, Steve Moore, is a cartoonist, so right away I thought of cartooning as a vocation. My first comics were all in the style of newspaper comic strips, like FoxTrot and Peanuts, only bad instead of good."
When asked about branching out and expanding on the Berkeley Mews empire or other enterprises, Ben answered with his comedic sting "I think about it. I’m working on it. I can’t talk about it. I’m trying to get better at playing the banjo."
Ben Zaehringer has made a name for himself in the comic world. A few good collection books, a healthy following, etc. He shared his golden advice to those that want to make it as he did. "Make a lot of comics, and then post them every day. People love daily updates." But remember, that even Ben doesn't take all of this success of making comics for a living for granted. He explained the feeling in one word "surreal."
"My friend Kevin Garvey and I would make comic books every day after school, by folding two sheets of paper together and then filling them in with funny comics. Mine were mainly parodies of Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, and Kevin's were these epic, super-funny space operas. When we were done, we'd show them to each other and to our friends. This was the best comics education I ever got. If you are an aspiring cartoonist, make a friend who draws comics (or make your friends draw comics)."
To him, the secret to a good comic is that "a good comic makes you laugh. Or cringe. Or cry. Or throw up. It does something physical to you. In this age of mindless scrolling, a good comic turns off the treadmill, maybe just for a moment, or makes the treadmill run backward, causing you to grab onto the sides, and while you’re getting your bearings, it flicks you with a towel."