Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2000

Syndicated cartoon plugs in local’s idea

August 17, 2000

Neil Wright has joined an elite class of readers of the nationally syndicated Pluggers cartoon series.

The Eudora man sent in an idea in mid-July to Pluggers cartoonist Gary Brookins and became one of the fortunate few whose submission turned into a comic panel.

"It was a surprise," Wright said. "It's like when you enter a contest you don't know if you'll win."

Wright's idea, "The plugger power lunch," was published Aug. 6 in the Lawrence Journal-World, and landed in the comic pages of several newspapers across the nation.

The comic depicts character Andy Bear and a fellow lineman eating lunch on top of a power pole, thus a "power lunch." The idea came from Wright's 22-years experience as a lineman for the Kansas Power and Light Company.

"That's my office, on top of the pole," he said. "I've eaten lunch many times up there."

Pluggers is based on reader submissions, and chronicles daily life through several cartoon characters, such as Andy Bear, who live in Pluggerville.

A plugger represents about 80 percent of humanity who "unceremoniously" keep plugging along in life, working hard for what they get, but always have a positive outlook, according to Brookins.

However, it's not easy getting a reader's submission into print. Tribune Media Services, which distributes the comic, received more than 10,000 letters in 1998 and that number has increased since taking on-line submissions on the comic's Web site.

Wright always had a few ideas for the comic swirling around in his head, and his wife eventually encouraged him to send them in. "I found the Web site and decided to enter it."

A few weeks later, Brookins sent Wright an autographed panel of the "power lunch," with a letter explaining he had chosen it from among thousands of submissions.

"It's a real nice autographed, frameable (panel)," he said. "I guess he liked it because it was in the Sunday paper. From what I understand, it's the most important (Pluggers comic panel) of the week."

Wright has received several congratulatory phone calls from family and friends since Sunday. "I thought I might get a few harassing phone calls, but it's been pretty nice so far."

Wright's 15 minutes of fame were rewarding, and he plans to send in a few more ideas in hopes of seeing them in print again.

"I don't know if (Brookins) will accept them because I've already had one published, but I thought I would send them in anyway."

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