Terrence Marks interviewed married creators Scott Kellogg and Kathryn Kellogg Garrison about comics, alchemy and farming. Scott is the creator of the long-running webcomic 21st Century Fox and Kathryn is the creator of Carry On. (Scott has also contributed to Comixpedia, his The Art of Flame article appeared in our March 2004 issue.)
Introduce yourselves – who are you, what comics do you do?
My name's Kathy Garrison Kellogg, and my website is Magpie House, on the Hirezfox server, I've done several series of comic strips, which are archived on the site; currently I have two running, Carry On and Alice Blue and the Gardens of Q. Carry On is the "flagship" strip; Alice Blue was drawn in 1988 when I was an intern at Kew Gardens in England. I also contribute to Scudder "White Pony" Kidwell's CrossTime Cafe
My husband is Scott Kellogg, who creates 21st Century Fox. He's been drawing the strip for nine years now.
When did you marry?
Scott and I got married June 24, 2006, on our farm in West Virginia.
How did you meet?
It's a pretty odd story. We went to different high schools, but we had a mutual friend who brought Scott to our school one day, apparently to annoy me for some reason. It worked well. I remember thinking that "this guy's an arrogant jerk!" We'd run into each other from time to time, again because of our mutual friend, but because we went to different schools, after graduation we went our separate ways. Then, some twenty years later, the *same* mutual friend — whom I'd stayed in touch with — emailed me to let me know that Scott had a cartoon on the Web. Now, I'd been drawing cartoons since the second grade, but I had no idea Scott had artistic talent. My friend was trying to encourage me to get a Web site and put my cartoons up online. So I checked out Scott's site, liked what I saw, started reading his Live Journal entries, and realized that he wasn't an arrogant jerk, that he was a smart, funny, thoughtful, and sensitive guy that I really wanted to get to know better. So I started stalking him, sending him emails, joining his Forum, commenting on his Live Journal, and finally sending him some comics based on one of his own characters. That got his attention. He posted them as fan art, and then people started asking for more…so I ended up getting a Web site, too.
Did your wedding or proposal involve comics in any way?
Well, only insofar as it was the comics that brought us together. We started talking on the phone, and after a while, we started prefacing discussions of the future with the phrase "This may be putting the cart before the horse, but…" Scott was between jobs at the time. When he got a job, I came home to find a huge bouquet of roses on the table, with a card which read "I GOT THE JOB! PLEASE INQUIRE ABOUT HORSE AND CART. LOVE, SCOTT" So on our wedding cake we had a horse-drawn carriage.
Scott Kellogg adds: Well, Kathy's got the history right, but there's one thing I should add: My strip: 21st Century Fox is a romantic comedy. In my mind originally, I started it as a character driven, technology-gag strip. It evolved into a romantic comedy fairly early in its history as I came to realize that doing a comic strip that would appeal to women would help me meet women. Maybe even the right one. It took some time, but lo and behold it did just that.
I think that's something that a lot of cartoonist guys out there might want to keep in mind: potential girlfriends out there Will be reading your strip. You might want to put your best foot forward. Comic strips are a very personal expression. What does your strip say about you?
Do you work together on any of your projects?
We don't actually have a co-authored comic strip, but we're always bouncing gags off each other. I've drawn some guest strips for Scott's 21st Century Fox and he included my character, Kathy the hyena, in his strip, which introduced the Carry On series. Scott also helps me learn advanced Photoshop techniques since I'm a techno-nothing.
A matter of time, really. Running a farm is pretty time-consuming, and the strips we're involved with kind of get priority on our free time. I do have a project I've been wanting Scott to collaborate with me on–he'd draw it, I've written the script–but I'm not sure when that will happen.
Any crossovers between your comics? Cameos?
Many of my strips are set in Scott's 21CF world, and I've used his characters lots of times. He put "Kathy Grrsn" into the arc where the giraffes got married, because I asked him if he would give me a cameo; and when he passed on several wedding-themed gags I came up with for him, I asked him if I could use them myself, and he said I could, so that's how Carry On came about.
Do either of you have a job outside of comics?
Scott works as a chemical process engineer; I say he's an alchemist, it sounds cooler. I run a livestock farm, raising sheep and beef cattle. I get lots of material for my comics from the animals.
Has your spouse influenced your art or writing? If so, how?
Scott is a great audience for bouncing gags off of; the bigger the laugh, the better I know the strip is going to be. No laugh, and the strip gets canned. We also start riffing off each other, spinning weirder and weirder plots, and a few of them actually make it into the strips. I'd like to add that having a spouse with a sense of humor makes all the difference in the world. Cartoonists tend to see the world differently from other people; they're always on the alert for material they can use in their strips. "Normal" people may not be able to appreciate that quality–why stuff that seems aggravating makes a cartoonist burst out laughing and scrabble for a pen and paper. So having compatible senses of humor makes for a very harmonious marriage.