Spread The F Word

F Minus is the daily comic strip by Tony Carrillo
Visit www.FMIN.us for more information.
www.GoComics.com for today's comic.

Dec 17, 2007

Too much awesomeness for one year.

Nerd moment: If you need something to look forward to, 2008 will bring with it two of the most highly anticipated movies of the century. Granted, the century just got started, but still, the movies are gonna be great. Iron Man and the sequel to Batman Begins: The Dark Knight.

Edit: Check out this wonderful remix of the Batman trailer:

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Dec 16, 2007

Book Signing

The F Minus book signing at Changing Hands on Saturday was a big success! We had a great turnout, and it was fun meeting everyone. The store had sold out of books by the end of the second hour!Also, we found the # 1 F Minus superfan: Meet Jeff, who flew in from Minneapolis for the day, just to come to the book signing!
Minneapolis produces some seriously die-hard F Minus fans, so I think I'll probably need to do a signing out there in the future, maybe for book two.

Thank you to everyone that showed up! See if you can find yourself in this video slideshow of the event:

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Dec 14, 2007

Listening to the comics...

Okay, so radio might not be an ideal place to showcase comic strips, but hey, it's NPR!
Check out my radio interview with Rene Gutel on KJZZ, Arizona's NPR station. The interview will be on today at 3:44 and 5:44 pm on 91.5 fm.
Is that really what my voice sounds like? Yikes!

Don't forget about the book signing tomorrow!

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Dec 9, 2007

Tony Carrillo non è stupido né ignorante

One of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. At least, I think it is. I don't speak Italian. I guess that makes me ignorant.
If someone out there speaks Italian, please double check this blog and make sure I'm translating it correctly.
I do know it's about my clock comic. Remember that debacle?

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Dec 6, 2007

Danger is my FIRST name!

The other day I was slicing some pepper-jack cheese and I cut my finger. It ruined my day.
Then it occurred to me that this job, (cartooning) is probably the least dangerous job I've ever had. When I worked at a restaurant I would cut, burn, and bruise myself all the time, and I would never think anything of it. When I worked at the zoo I was was always in danger of getting stepped on or kicked by a camel. At the airport if I didn't pay attention I could get run over by a plane, or sucked into an engine.
But this job? Sometimes I bump my shin on the coffee table. That's about it. I think it's softening me up. I've decided that on weekends I need to start doing dangerous things, like running naked through the desert, or challenging stray dogs to fight me. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Nov 26, 2007

F Minus Book Signing

Hey everyone, come say hello and get your F Minus book signed on Saturday, December 15th, from noon to 3 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona -map

You may want to contact the store and reserve your copy ahead of time:

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Nov 21, 2007

Diversify your portfolio!

F Minus is a smart investment, according to this article by Joanne Kaufman today in the Wall Street Journal.
Janet Grimley, an assistant managing editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer tells her colleagues:
"Diversify. You need to have some risky comics," for instance the slightly subversive observational strip "F Minus"


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I think I left a nearly full sketchbook of F Minus ideas in DC somewhere. Possibly in a corner bakery... or maybe at the airport. And a green Sharpie too. Bummer.

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Nov 20, 2007

Travel Blog 4

Okay, I kind of left you all hanging because I got tired of paying for internet every day. The rest of the trip went great though. The Lincoln memorial was really impressive. And we got to hear a speech by Colin Powell at the Vietnam Memorial because it was Veteran's day. We checked out the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution at the National Archives. I got yelled at for touching the glass.
Another cool place is the
International Spy Museum. They had some pretty fun stuff, but I went late in the day and they rushed me through. We really wanted some good seafood, but the place recommended in the guidebook doesn't exist anymore. The food at the next place we tried was good, but expensive and had very small portions. It's not good when at the end of your meal, you're more hungry than when you went in. We had to go for pizza afterwards. I should always start with pizza. Thanks to everyone that sent travel tips. I wish I could have seen everything, but you can only do so much in three days. As fun as it was, I'm glad to be home.
Watch for Thanksgiving comics this week. Remember you can email comics you like to your friends and enemies at www.comics.com.

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Nov 10, 2007

Travel Blog 3

After a disappointing breakfast at Jimmy T's, had a nice walk up and down the East side of the National Mall today. So this is what fall looks like. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever experienced real fall weather. In Arizona we get two months of cold and ten months of extreme heat.
Checked out the Capitol Building and visited the Air and Space Museum, which was great. Favorite exhibits: The lunar command module from Apollo 11 and two nuclear missiles. They also had a selection from the temporarily closed down Museum of American History. I saw some pretty cool stuff there, like Albert Einstein's pipe and the puffy shirt from Seinfeld.
Next we checked out the Museum of Natural History, which had some great stuff, but was way overcrowded. Plus, the security guy was rude.
Walked by Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was shot, and toured the house across the street where he died the next morning. Kinda creepy.
Gonna try to find some good seafood tonight.

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Nov 9, 2007

Travel Blog 2

After the most uncomfortable plane trip of all time (thank you, Delta), we finally arrive in DC. I'm on no sleep and although it's seven pm, if you told me it was midnight or noon and I would believe you.
After checking out the Washington Post, stopped and ate at the Post Pub, which had an awesome hamburger called The Diplomat. Also, I hadn't eaten a real meal in about 12 hours, but I'm pretty sure I would have loved it anyway. They had paper copies of The Onion, which I've only read online.
Walked south a few blocks to the White House. I have to admit, even though it sounds corny, I was kind of in awe when I saw it. It definitely makes the statement "Someone important lives here." Now I realize that my home makes the statement, "Chinese food menus welcome."
Here's a photo of me not expecting the photo to turn out because it was so dark:

After stopping for something warm to drink (it's chilly and a little rainy), I checked to see if the local Borders carries the F Minus book. Nope. No wonder this country is going down the toilet, am I right people?
Definitely going to get an early start tomorrow on the National Mall. I'm looking forward to the Smithsonian. In the meantime, thanks for the travel tips, and keep them coming.

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Nov 8, 2007

Travel Blog 1

Right now I'm at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport about to board a flight to Washington DC. I've never been there and, being kind of a nerd, I'm excited to see some historical sites. It's 11 p.m. and the flight doesn't take off until after midnight.
I used to work here at the airport and I think that's why I don't get as excited about travel as I used to. It was the worst job I ever had. And I used to scoop camel poop at the zoo.
I'm watching a close game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors, and taking advantage of the airport's free internet. If anyone has a suggestion of what I should see while I'm here (aside from the obvious: White House, Lincoln memorial, nation's largest IHOP) let me know.

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Oct 30, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup: 10-22

Click here to read the comics from Oct 22nd through Oct 28th

Oct 22: I went scuba diving once off the coast of Nicaragua and I got to feed sharks and giant sea turtles. It's was great. But no tigers.

Oct 23: Is it weird that the cow bought milk? I didn't really think about it at the time.

Oct 25: Lately I have been addicted to pomegranates. I get these giant juicy pomegranates at Costco. They are a lot of work to eat, but I enjoy the process. Anyway, last week my supply ran out but I didn't want to go all the way back to Costco, so I picked some up at a local grocery store. They were pathetic. Half the size and taste of the Costco fruit. So that's where this comic came from.
I don't know if pomegranates are addictive, but I've been eating a lot of them. A lot.
Fun fact:
The word 'grenade' comes from the word pomegranate... or pomegranate from grenade. I can't remember which.

Oct 26: I received an electronic fart machine (with remote control) as a gift from someone who knows me well. I keep it by the phone for when telemarketers call. It gets a lot of use.

Oct 28: I'm proud of this cityscape, I'll admit it. Look at the grocery bag! It looks a lot like the cow grocery bag from the 23rd. A lot of produce this week.

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Oct 29, 2007

Great quote on cartooning:

"You know what? You people should be ashamed of yourselves! You know, ya doodle a couple of bears at a cocktail party, talkin' about the stock market, ya think you're doing comedy!"
-Elaine Benes

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Oct 25, 2007

Party. Pizza party.

Here are my top five restaurants for pizza in AZ:

1. Nello's Pizza in Tempe. If you can work at a restaurant for 5 (non-consecutive) years and STILL love the food, that's saying something. Order the F Minus. (Well, don't call it that or they won't know what you're talking about.) It's pepperoni, pineapple, and bacon on their delicious deep-dish crust. And if you're really feeling crazy, add light onions. By the way, you can see an F Minus comic framed and hanging in the waiting area. map

2. Cucina Paradiso in Payson. An unlikely place for a great pizza, but they have the best crust I've ever had. Warning: I heard they may have changed their name. I haven't been there in a while. map

La Grande Orange in Phoenix. They make a pizza and then, if you want, they will crack an egg right on top before the cook it. I call it the good morning pizza. I recently realized that I can crack an egg over just about anything and improve it fifty percent. map

Classic Italian Pizza in Tempe. You can't tell from the front, but this place has some great brick-oven pizza and a nice atmosphere. And it's right next to my barber. Just an interesting fact. map

5. Giovanni Pizza Bistro in Tempe. Don't be fooled by the dollar store and shoe repair business that share the corner with this place. Inside they have delicious Italian food and a romantic atmosphere. (wink!) I've never been there at lunchtime, but I hear they have a good buffet. Oh, and they also have free wireless internet so you can read my blogs while you eat. map

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Oct 24, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup: 10-15

Click here to read the comics from Oct 15th through Oct 21st

10-15: I feel I need to explain why I'm making fun of St. Louis, and
will probably continue to do so.
Last Christmas I did a comic that mentioned St. Louis. The comic didn't have anything to do with the city, it just sounded right in the caption. Completely random choice. However, some St. Louisan sent me an angry letter (an actual letter) that criticized my ignorance of his city and listed some of the positive things St. Louis has to offer (mainly the baseball team).
While I have nothing against St. Louis, I do have something against letter-writers. So in the future, if I feel the need to make fun of a city, it will probably be St. Louis.

10-16: I've been selling some old junk on Craigslist lately, and that's what gave me this idea. It's weird how willing some people are to take completely worthless crap from strangers.

10-18: I don't know what an automatic bench-warmer would look like, but I'm guessing it runs on clean, efficient propane.

10-20: I was in Las Vegas, and I was wandering around in the Bellagio, when I noticed a crowed gathering behind a velvet rope that someone had used to block off a courtyard area. Everyone was standing around looking into the courtyard. Nothing was happening, so I started asking what everyone was looking at. Nobody seemed to know. Lesson learned: Put up a velvet rope, and people will gather.

10-21: This is the real Beverly:

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Oct 23, 2007

Old Interview

Check out this interview with DaRK PaRTY ReVIEW from almost a year ago...

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Oct 17, 2007


Look what I found! Can you believe someone was just throwing this out? If you're anything like my girlfriend, your answer is "Yes. Why aren't you throwing it out?" But she let me use her car to bring it home anyway.
I foresee some ship-related comics in our future!

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Oct 13, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup: 9-24

Click here to read the comics from September 24th through Oct 14th

9-25: Cats are overdone in the comics, but they are so odd that it's hard to avoid sometimes. And they are fun to draw.

9-26: The creepy old hobo is back with some soggy grapefruits. We had a grapefruit tree in the backyard where I grew up, and I set up a booby-trap that would release a boxful of soggy old grapefruit down on the head of anyone that tried to get into my tree house. Nobody ever tried though. I had another trap that shot an arrow at anyone that got too close to the tree, and I
very nearly killed my dog with it. Close one!

9-27: Is it clear that he's taking down the wet paint signs and putting up the dry paint signs? I wasn't sure.

10-1: This is the face you have to make when doing a British accent:

10-2: I've been to several karaoke places recently for some reason, but I never sing. I just haven't found the right song yet. They never have 'Banana Phone'.

10-3: I figured someone would complain about the
dog chess comic, but nobody did. Maybe I should have made them sword-fighting.

Love Mail! Hello Mr. Carrillo, My husband reads in the shower daily by holding a paperback book with one hand and standing just far enough away from the water to not get the book wet. The pages are turned using his thumb. I really got a kick out of your Oct 5 comic panel so much that I sent him a copy of it to his office. I enjoy reading your comic panels everyday, keep up the great work.

10-7: You know, I've done several comics with religious themes, but nobody has ever complained. In fact, they are usually popular. This comic looks a lot better online than it did in print. It was too dark in the papers, but I think it looks really nice on the computer.

10-8: A lot of people liked this monster comic. The question I didn't try to explain (and no one actually asked) is, who are these monster-removal guys? Can you find them in the phone book?

10-9: I recently took part in a market research group. I gave my opinion on some insurance ads. But I could see the researchers behind the one-way mirror because some lady kept opening a door and letting light into the other room. So I kept smiling and winking at them.
Ever since I did my first market research group, I've been paranoid about public mirrors in bathrooms, hotels, etc. Just a little something new for you to worry about.

10-10: Clocks... Only one person noticed the Pearls Before Swine clock on the wall.

10-12: Va-va-va-voom!

10-13: Does anyone remember the show Ducktales? Scrooge McDuck had a money room where he swam around in gold coins. Well I'm here to tell you, that wouldn't work.
And what about the show TaleSpin? What was the deal with that show? A cargo-pilot bear (Baloo) and his orphan buddy that gets pulled behind the plane on a wakeboard try to avoid Air-pirates. What? They don't make cartoons like they used to.

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Oct 12, 2007

Something to fall back on

There I was, working at my desk and minding my own business, when suddenly I hear a loud cracking noise, and the back of my chair snaps off!

Luckily, I have the reflexes of a jungle cat. I was able to grab on to the desk and avoid an awkward trip to the floor.

The first thing I did was call my gym and set up an appointment with a personal trainer under the name "Heavy McFatass".
But when I examined the chair a little more closely I realized that the back of the chair was being held in place by less than an inch of cheap Ikea plastic. I decided to cancel my appointment at the gym and instead go buy a new chair and a pizza.
Actually I've been sitting on the base of the broken chair today, and I think it's improving my posture. Silver lining found!

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Mark Trail

Check it out! I got my hands on an original Mark Trail comic. Very cool. I love this old school style. This is getting framed.

I think adding a suave, pipe-smoking outdoorsman to each of my comics would really help. And he wouldn't be a part of the joke, he would just add a witty observation about each comic, like: "Now that's what I call a hot-dog!"

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Oct 10, 2007

Time is on my side

Normally I would wait for the weekly roundup to talk about this, but I'm getting some awesome Hate Mail, and I can't wait to share it. Here's today's comic: Apparently some people are completely missing the boat on this one. As I write this, it's ten a.m. and I've already had four professors of cleverness write me to inform me of... well, I'll let you read it:

I liked reading your comic, but now I have lost all respect and interest for it because of a very obvious mistake that doesn't make any sense. In the comic, a person at a ckock shop is handing a clock back to a coustomer and saying "I'm afraid this clock is too badly damaged to repair. In fact, it's only right once a day."
That statement would only be true if the clock was an electronic one that was set on 24-hour time (as the military uses; 6 pm would be read as 18:00 on the clock). In contrast, an analog clock would be correct TWICE a day if it was stopped. This even reminded me of the riddle "Which is better; a clock that is (x) minutes fast/slow or one that is stopped?" Obviously the correct answer is the one which is stopped, as it would show the correct time twice a day. In the future, please double-check for inconsistencies that are incorrect and not related to the joke line of the comic.

... the author of the next letter was not quite so angry, but a little more smug:
Hi ..
This cartoon should have said ... "its only right twice a day"
because the hands are on 10 or 11 o'clock . If they were on 12 o'clock ... then you could say
" Its only right once a day" ....
sorry .. I am an engineer ... we are quick to recognize always see these kinds of faults

I'm sure I'll get more letters during the day, so I'm going to do something I hate to do. I will explain this joke for all the other smarty-pants out there:

The comic is a play on the old phrase "even a broken clock is right twice a day". The clock the customer brought in is so broken, that it's only right once a day. Get it?

The thing that boggles my mind is that everyone that wrote me is familiar with that old phrase, yet they still didn't get the joke. I could understand someone being confused if they had never heard it, but they all mention it in their letter, as if to say, Here's a little something to help you remember how clocks work! Well thank you, Einstein. Do you have a little phrase to help me understand relativity too?

As a result of these letters, I've decided to add a new feature to F Minus comics: The Big Red Arrow of Comedy. It's intended to help engineers and the like to find exactly where in the comic I am using "humor". On a slightly different note, I've noticed when someone writes me just to tell me I suck and I'm not funny, they don't sign their name. But when they are writing to point out my ignorance, they include their full name, job title, and address. That way I can mail a letter of apology and ask them to be my life coach.
I'll post more funny letters about this comic, if any.

EDIT: Hey, the engineer wrote back...
Hey Thanks for the reply ...
I had forgotten about this. anyway .... I stand corrected (maybe) . 12o'clock would also be correct twice a day... but you could argue that 5o'clock is both 5am and 5pm .. they are both on the same day but there is only one 12 noon and you can say 12midnight is the start of the next day ...so in a 24 hour period you can have only one 12o'clock or 3 in a 48hr period ( using that logic).
What do you think ..?

My response:
I think you might want to check that logic again, James. If midnight is applied to the start of the next day, that means THAT day starts with a 12 midnight and has a twelve noon. That's twice. The next day will also start with a twelve and have a twelve noon, and so on to infinity. So every day will have two 12's. A 48 hour period will have four 12's.
They test us on all this stuff before becoming cartoonists.

EDIT: The letters keep coming...
Included are my responses in blue. I try to keep my response at a politeness level greater than or equal to that of the letter I received. It's not easy.

Subject: Clock Repairs
Your cartoon about clocks that don't run was half right. "In fact", a stopped clock shows the correct time twice a day . . . once in the AM and once in the PM.
I assume that mine was not the only message on the subject.
(Name Omitted)
National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors . . . memb.#582**

Nope, you weren't the only person to write me. "In fact", many other people misunderstood this comic. You see, the comic is a play on the old phrase "even a broken clock is right twice a day" (referring to someone that is usually wrong, but sometimes has the right idea). The clock in the cartoon is SO broken, it's right only ONCE a day. Of course, this is impossible; hence-> humor.
-Tony Carrillo
National Association of Clock Comic Writers... memb.#1

Subject: Oops! You get an F Minus on this one...
A comment about your F Minus cartoon that appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel on October 10. The cartoon depicts a clock repair shop and the proprietor is saying to a lady "I'm afraid this clock is too badly damaged to repair. In fact, it's only right once a day." Any typical clock with a dial face shows only twelve hours, which means a broken clock will always display the correct time twice per day. My schoolteacher wife says you get an "F Minus" on this one.
(Name Omitted)

Kingston, TN

Uh, teacher... I'd like to contest that grade. You see, the cartoon is based on the old phrase, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day". The clock in this comic is SO broken it's only right ONCE a day, which is of course, impossible: that's what makes it funny.
If you'd like to stay and study after class, maybe I can give you some extra credit.
Thanks for the email!
-Tony Carrillo

Subject: Clock
A clock that is only, right once a day, must be a 24 hour clock. The back ground shows only 12 hour clocks. A 12 hour clock that is stopped is right twice a day.
(Name Omitted)
Charlotte NC 28226

Yes I know, Guy. The comic is play on that old phrase, "even a broken clock is right twice a day". The clock in the comic is SO broken, it's only right once a day. Of course this is impossible, which is why it's a joke.
But thanks for playing our game!
-Tony Carrillo

So this is my day. Tired of it yet? I am.

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Sep 28, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup: 9-10

Click here to read the comics from September 10th through the 23rd

9-10: I used to have a very realistic looking fake cockroach that I used to have lots of fun with. Whatever happened to that thing?

9-11: I don't like shoe shopping. I've never gotten used to the idea of taking off my shoes in public. Every time I tried on a new pair, I was afraid someone was going to walk around the corner and say "Hey! What are you doing?! That's obscene!" and I'd have to explain myself while awkwardly trying to put my shoes back on. That's where the idea from this comic came from. By the way, this is a picture of the shoes I bought. I like them. Very comfortable.

9-12: I don't laugh at my own drawings often, but the image of a robot happily doing the Charleston got to me. It's such a funny dance anyway.

9-13: This comic contained a reference to my favorite coffee shop, Gold Bar in Tempe, AZ. I actually work on F Minus there quite a bit. I got some free coffee out of it too.

9-14: A nod to my pal Macy Hanson; Insurance slinger, and one of the funniest guys I know.

9-17: Art imitates life: This rollerskating guy exists, just the way I drew him (aside from the wagon). I actually saw this guy skating down the street; sweater, tiny shorts, fanny pack and all. He even had the push-sticks with tennis balls at the bottom to help move himself along. I tried to get a picture, but I missed it. I still kick myself.

9-19: Look how cool those people on the left are. They are so cool.

9-20: Abstract art and I have never gotten along.

9-21: An appropriate end to the age debacle. George Phenix told me he liked this one.

9-23: The first day of fall! It just got cool enough here in Arizona to roll the windows down and turn off the AC in the car... at night. We've pretty much stayed below 100 degrees for a while now. Actually, I'm not sure I know what fall weather is really like.

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Can I see some ID?

Today I received my official membership to the National Cartoonists Society. It even came with an identification card. I'm not sure what it's for, but here are some things I'm going to try to get by showing this card:

  • Free movies
  • Free small popcorn at free movies
  • Discount rates at all state parks (Void in Tennessee)
  • Access to 'Employees Only' section at any business
  • Free medical care
  • One extra week for all library book check-outs
  • Half-price Rooty-Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity at participating IHOP restaurants
  • Magicians must reveal their secrets to cardholder
And finally, I think it should get me out of one speeding ticket every year.

One problem. Did you notice anything wrong with the card? My last name is spelled wrong. It says Carillo. There are supposed to be two 'R's. Here's a little memory crutch for my last name:
"Double R, double L; If you can't spell it, go to hell."
I know, it's a little harsh, but it rhymes. And it's easy to remember. Actually, my name is more often spelled Carillo (one R) than any other way, including the correct way. Notice the spelling on this poster from the Reuben Award Weekend in May: It might be a little hard to see, but it's another single R situation. That was the NCS too. But here's the weird thing, on the envelope the membership came in, my name was spelled correctly! Go figure.
Any other suggestions for what I should try to get with my card?

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F Minus in New Times

Yesterday, the Phoenix New Times released their Best of Phoenix issue, and they named F Minus, Best Syndicated Comic Strip! Included is a little blurb about F Minus. Also, check out this questionnaire filled out by yours truly.

Book news: Supposedly the F Minus Book will be available in stores September 30th, but we'll see. You may want to call your local bookstore to ask how many copies they have. Here's a Borders Locator.

I think the book signing will probably end up being sometime in December, before Christmas. It will be at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ (also a Best of Phoenix winner).

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Sep 9, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup: 9-1

Click here to read the comics from September 1st through the 9th

9-1: Several librarians wrote me praising this comic. The comic includes a little bonus joke about bookmarks, but I don't know if anyone under 18 remembers the phrase "Be kind, rewind". I guess I'm getting OLD!

9-2: I wonder how many Jennifers are in a one mile radius at any given time. Makes you want to name you kid something like Rastleflam.

9-5: I think the most disturbing juxtaposition of all time was when Bob Dylan showed up in a Victoria's Secret commercial. Whose genius idea was that?

9-6: This comic caused a lot of confusion and some incredible interpretations. Here are some possibilities sent to me by a fan:
-Two old men who are wealthy but perhaps empty and shallow decide late in their life to do soul searching, and of all things, about something to buy. With the irony being they're next to the fireplace (symbolizing hell).
-The older men were conservatives and liked to buy American and that the waiter was referring to imports that the man had bought in his soul searching. Thus the hypocrisy.
-It was a play on words and that he had been searching for a soul. (possibly the soul he was purchasing was that of the Asian waiter).
-The man had been shopping for something his whole life and had finally found it, but he was now old.
What do you think?

9-7: This one's already been talked to death.

9-9: Weird timing on this one, huh? Fans might remember The World's Worst Grandpa from a comic back in January.

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Oh Grandpa, you don't mean that.

A friend of F Minus sent me this hilarious image. Wouldn't it look great on a T-shirt? By the way, today's F Minus was done weeks ago, and is completely coincidental.

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Sep 8, 2007

Beautiful Northwest North Carolina

Hey all,
There's an article about F Minus in the Winston-Salem Journal right now. They are testing out F Minus for about a month I think. They also have a web-poll, so make sure you vote for F Minus. Or, you know, whoever you want... (wink!)

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Sep 7, 2007

Hate Mail: Large Font Edition

A while back I did a comic that made fun of band nerds. I got a flood of hate mail. "Your jock mentality is why music programs get no respect!" one angry band nerd wrote. Another told me they were going to try to get me censured by the American Music Educators organization of... whatever.
Here's the kicker; I was a band nerd. I played the saxophone for the school band for eight years. The idea that I have a "jock mentality" is hilarious to me (and probably to my P.E. teachers).

Over the last few years I've made cartoons that poke fun at children, models, fat people, skinny people, lawyers, doctors, rich people, hobos, artists, clowns, cheerleaders, teachers, astronauts, mothers... pretty much anything you can think of. What is amazing are the different ways these groups react to being featured in F Minus:
I make fun of band nerds and they complain. Later I do a comic about jocks, and they love it!
A comic about cheerleaders incited hate mail. When I made fun of lawyers, I got requests for framed copies for the office.

I do a LOT of comics making fun of teens and college students, and they are probably my biggest group of readers. But today's comic featured an old man...

This morning I got a few emails directing me to this blog by George Phenix. I'll wait here while you read it...

Here's something that I've noticed in about 80% of angry readers: The offended person will assign meaning to my comic that helps his/her argument, but was not actually in the comic. Mr. Phenix states, "It crosses the line and ridicules older people who might be suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or dementia."
Of course, nowhere in this comic are any of those diseases mentioned. I'm not sure where he got that.

Mr. Phenix also poses the question:
"Why don't the elderly in America get respect? Because of crap like this cartoon."
I would suggest that the reason old people don't get respect is not because of cartoons like this, but because of their reaction to cartoons like this. Case in point: Mr. Phenix's blog. What if, instead of grumbling and complaining about cartoons about old people, Mr. Phoenix posted comics such as these on his blog for old folks to read and laugh at? (My grandma loves when I do comics about the elderly.)

The most revealing part of Mr. Phenix's blog is this: "I really like the dark humor in Tony Carrillo's new cartoon strip called F Minus. It's sometimes edgy, sometimes oblique and nearly always right on. But today he's gone too far."

I'm glad Mr. Phenix likes F Minus, and I don't want him to stop reading. But I think that last sentence probably should have said,
"But today he made fun of me."

It's the same thing I told my fellow band nerds. What do you do when someone is laughing at you? Laugh with them.

You may be saying, "But Tony, you're not old. How can you make comics about old people?"
Well I've got some news for you. I recently found out
that... I am aging. Apparently, it's a condition I was born with. It hasn't really affected me negatively yet, but from what I've read, age will slowly wither my body until I am an old man. And according to my doctor, this condition is fatal. So to cope with this news I've decided to confront the issue head on, and joke about it. After all, they say laughter is the best medicine. So come on old folks, heal with me!

(P.S. "Make it hurt."? What the...?)

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Sep 5, 2007

Comics I Don't Understand

I found a great website recently, Comics I Don't Understand. It's a blog where people can go to post and discuss comic strips that have confused them. There are several F Minus comics on there. Some of the explanations that some people come up with are absolutely hilarious. So far, on each F Minus comic that has been posted, there's at least one person that gets it right (sort of). Some of them seem absolutely sure they've got the answer, and they couldn't be more off. I love that F Minus is a frequent visitor. If it gets to the point that my comic is easily understood by all, it's time to quit.
I've gotta say, it takes some guts to post something on that site. It's a pretty bold move to publicly admit that a comic strip has gone over your head.
At first I was tempted to post an explanation for each of my comics on the site, but I think it's more fun to let the discussion continue.
I also got one comic in a special section called The Ewww Files.

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Aug 18, 2007

Friend O' Feminists

Check out this blog that identifies F Minus as a feminist ally. This is great news considering I've been labeled sexist against BOTH genders at one time or another. I don't discriminate based on sex, race, or religion. The truth is, jerks come in all kinds. (note: I think this blog is positive towards F Minus. It's a little hard to tell. What do you think?)

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Aug 14, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup: August

Click here to read the comics from August

8-1: I've never really understood the purpose of
saloon-style doors. They don't keep out bugs or the weather. You can lock them, but then people can just crawl right underneath. I guess if you need to toss somebody out, they are convenient because you don't have to open them. But again, why have doors at all? Somebody figure this out for me.

8-3: I've had this idea in my sketchbook for a long time, but for some reason I never felt like drawing it up. But I'm glad I did, it got some good feedback. The hard part was thinking up different small businesses.

8-4: Someone down my street got TP'd recently but they only got hit by two or three rolls. Seems pretty lazy. It inspired this comic. It's been a long time since I've gone TPing. Too long.

8-6: I think I might be the first person to put full-frontal male nudity in a newspaper comic strip, and nobody complained. Of course, I have no way to prove this.

8-7: My brother is learning to play the banjo. So that's where this came from.

8-9: Sometimes a comic looks exactly as I picture it in my mind, and this comic is one of those times. Something about they way the kids are sitting turned out just the way I hoped it would.

8-10: I feel like this should have already happened to someone in real life and shown up on Youtube by now. But it hasn't. I checked.

8-11: I haven't even thought about what the security guard was actually up to. "Watering the plant"?

8-12: Happy birthday Dad!

8-13: I love drawing swords, arrows, and armor. I think I'll start another comic that takes place in medieval times.

8-14: The guy holding the ice cream cones was going to be named Justin, but after I drew him I thought that he looked like my best friend in elementary school, Dustin. Dustin and I were an unstoppable force when playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time for Super Nintendo. He also had a three-legged dog. Ha!

8-15: I got several emails from people that really liked this comic. I should do more "bad parent" comics. There are too many good parents in the comic pages.

8-17: Some people were confused by this comic, and others really liked it. Luckily, we live in a country where both groups are tolerated.

8-18: I had to look up succinct. My friend Liz won a spelling bee in high school, and then they spelled her name wrong on the marquee announcing her win.

8-19: The truth: I don't like roller coasters; I kinda like the dentist. Fun fact: Every time I go to the dentist, I hear Kissed By a Rose, by Seal. Every time.

8-20: The truth: I worked as a costume character for seasonal events. I have been a chipmunk, monkey, frog, duck, and I was punched in the head while wearing the bear suit. That's an experience.

8-21: The dude on drums is wearing a Stone Groove shirt, which is a band in Arizona that I just happened to find performing on Mill avenue one night. They rock.

8-24: I like drawing people dancing, because everyone looks ridiculous dancing, unless you are a very attractive girl. And even then, it's still a little strange.

8-26: All I want to say is that stained glass window took a LONG time to color, thank you very much. The nun took about two seconds.

8-28: This was like four comics in one. I should have come up with a few more and made it a week-long series. Oh well, live and learn.

8-30: Can anyone really die of an unnatural cause? Something to think about.

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Aug 3, 2007


If you haven't joined the F Minus Fan Club yet, you missed out on a chance to win an F Minus ink stamp. But that's okay, because you still have time to join before the next contest, coming up soon.

If you have joined but you didn't hear about this contest, re-send us your current email address.

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F Minus Weekly Roundup: July

Click here to read the comics from the past month

Okay, I haven't done the roundup in a while, so here's a quick overview of the last month or so:

  • July 10th: I brought back the Business Raccoon from a previous comic. I just like his style. Now we find him in a social situation. And apparently he's in a relationship.
  • July 12th: Hate Mail! Here's the letter I got on this one:
    "The cartoon with the two bears, one of them with a leg in a steel-hold trap, is highly offensive to those of us who champion animal rights and abhor the use of such barbaric, horrific contraptions."

    What can I say? I don't like them either. If there is anyone out there who decided that steel-hold traps are a GOOD thing because of this comic, please seek psychiatric help immediately.
  • July 15th: There was some confusion on this one. The chimp is NOT SMOKING! He's just playing with matches. Lots of people thought he was smoking. My Nana thought he was smoking pot, specifically.
  • July 18th: Is it clear that it's an ear he's holding? I wasn't sure. I made it a little bigger than normal to clarify things. I always enjoyed drawing ears in school.
  • July 21st: This calculator comic was inspired by the movie Terminator 2, Judgment Day, which I recently watched again. It has been a favorite of mine for years. Here's a classic exchange:
    Lewis, the Guard: Hey Gwen, you want some coffee?
    Gwen: No thanks. How 'bout a beer?
    Lewis: Yeah, right. Hey, I got a full house!
    Gwen: That's good Lewis.
    Lewis: Must be my lucky day...
    (the T-1000 impales his head)

  • July 23rd: Hate Mail! The Manners Competition comic incited some discussion in the editorial page of my local paper. Someone said it was "disgusting". Once again, I am in complete agreement with my enemies. The next day, a few people wrote in to defend me. Thanks, guys! I'm just glad Paris Hilton didn't get arrested that day, or I never would have been a topic.

  • July 24th: My mom did NOT think this was funny.

  • July 26th: My girlfriend has some sandals with little bows on them, and that got me thinking.

  • July 30th: This was another one I was a little worried about. Is it clear that those are those cut-out things you stick your head through for photos? Also someone thought this was a gay couple. The person with the camera is supposed to be a woman. Sigh.

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Jul 12, 2007

Pre-order today!

The F Minus Book is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The book will be available September 1st, just in time for the holidays.
It contains the first year of F Minus, plus some comics from the college years.

I'm planning on doing a book signing in my hometown of Tempe, Arizona at some point. I'll let you know more about that later.

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Jun 29, 2007

These things write themselves.

Every morning I read the newspaper (East Valley Tribune). It helps me come up with topics for cartoons. But sometimes I find something that seems like it's already supposed to be a joke. Like this ad I found today:

Look at that stupid kid! He can't hit a thing! They actually show him swinging and missing. What a loser. This product is for the Dad who is tired of chasing pitch after pitch, not to mention chasing the dream of an athletic son. I think this makes me laugh so much because that was definitely me in little league. Here's my slightly altered version of the same ad:

I think this is a little more accurate.

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F Minus Weekly Roundup 6-18

Click here to read the comics from June 18th through June 24th

Monday: What is it about kangaroos that make them fighters? And what is it that makes me love that?

Wednesday: This comic is for my sister Veronica on her birthday. Here's the only problem: When family and friends see this, they assume I'm going to put them in a comic too. So they eagerly look for it every day, and every day is a disappointment. Plus I can't give a character in my comic the same name as someone I know or they assume the comic is about them! Oh well. Happy birthday, Ronz.

Thursday: Happy birthday, Katie! (My other sister.) Also: today is the summer solstice. Notice the beach theme? Yeah, nothing is left to chance around here.

Friday: The prisoners have made a couple of appearances now. From the previous comic we know the one with the phone is named Mark. I haven't named the grouchy one yet. Suggestions?
Sunday: Stephan Pastis, creator of Pearls Before Swine, recently asked me if I ever draw characters from other comics into F Minus. I never had, so I decided to put his guys (Rat and Pig) into this comic. By the way, isn't that a nice looking beach? My mom liked this comic.

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Jun 22, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup 6-11

Click here to read the comics from June 11th through June 17th

Monday: Playing darts is one of the many ways I get mentally prepared for comic-creation. I've got a dartboard on my wall at home. There are so many little holes in the drywall that if I pushed gently on the board, I'm sure the entire wall would collapse.

Tuesday: I went to an eight dollar automatic car wash and I had to finish the job with paper towels at a gas station afterwards.

Thursday: Happy Flag day! I think we should have gone with the cat flag. That cat really has a can-do American spirit, don't you think?

Friday: I just noticed that the intern has that same spirit as the cat.

Saturday: I bought a junky old treadmill for forty bucks and it's taking up a lot of room. I'm thinking about replacing it with a fish tank.

Sunday: Happy Father's day! My dad says this is what I said to him when I was born.

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Jun 12, 2007

Too good to pass up.

Hate Mail!
I got this one this morning, y'all. As always, this is exactly as I received it:

why is the jerk ALWAYS the male? why is the butt of the joke ALWAYS the male, and NEVER the female? is this still the 1960's? are you drawing Your Father's Cartoon?!
why do you hate men? i have three children -- all boys, unfortunately -- and I do not let this NY Daily News in my house. Not only does it have your own man-bashing cartoon, but also Out of the Gene Pool and the one with the old lady who hides her old husband's eyeglasses in the cat litter. this is supposed to be funny, but it is Domestic Violence.

It was unsigned (of course) but I noticed in the email address his name is John.
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time I've been called a man-hater. It's really caused me to re-examine myself, and find out what sort of sexist prejudices I hold against... myself...

But this letter raises some questions:
First of all, can someone tell me if men were seriously oppressed in the 1960's? That's what John seems to imply. I wasn't alive then, so I don't know.
Second, if this guy loves men so much, why is it unfortunate that all his children are boys? Does he hate his sons?
Finally, this letter really sounds like a cry for help. Something about that last line suggests that John may have some first-hand experience with litter abuse.

To be honest, I love getting emails like this. These incoherent ramblings are just what I need to start the day right. That kitty-litter comic sounds hilarious!

Here is my reply to John's letter:

As a strong modern woman, I feel empowered by drawing comics that toss a proverbial pie in the face of my male oppressors. I wish things were like back in the 60's, when women ruled supreme, and men did our bidding. You say it is unfortunate that all of your children are boys, and I agree with you. You should start them on Estrogen pills right away! There might still be time to save them. Look out men of the world! Hide your glasses, because we have kitty litter, and we are prepared to do what is necessary!
-Tony Carrillo

I'll let you know if he writes back.

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Jun 11, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup 6-04

Click here to read the comics from June 6th through June 10th

Monday: Here's something about me you may not know; I really like to play mini-golf.

Tuesday: I have a pretty vivid memory of those play-land things at fast-food restaurants. They kind of freaked me out. I think the bright colors reminded me of clowns.

Thursday: I like using the word "Jerkface". That's all I have to say about that.

Sunday: The first time I sketched the spider, I drew it more "cartoony" and less realistic. But spiders are just too cool looking, and I had to draw it right. I think it's funnier that way anyhow. By the way, that's a tasty looking hotdog, am I right?

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F Minus Weekly Roundup 5-28

Click here to read the comics from May 28th through June 3rd

Tuesday: I heard F Minus was picked up by the Idaho Falls Post-Register and that got me thinking about potatoes. I love when anything gets me thinking about potatoes.

Wednesday: What I like about this comic is that everyone is so happy. I think most of the people in my comics are not happy. Therapy time!

Thursday: I've fallen in love with the Creepy Old Bum, and so has the nation. For extra points, can anyone tell me how many comics he's been in now?

Saturday: This comic stars my beautiful girlfriend Lindsay, who has been giving me the stink eye for a while now because she has never been drawn into a comic. I was saving it for a special occasion! Happy birthday, Linz! (My girlfriend is not currently seven years old; this comic stars Lil' Lindsay) Incidentally, I've had several summer birthday kids tell me that this comic meant a lot to them. I myself am a winter baby.

Sunday: I like drawing "historical" comics, but I don't like doing research. So the results are often disastrous.
I spent a long time trying to get these uniforms to look right, and I finally had to look up a picture of an archer. I think they turned out pretty good. I've been thinking about getting a crossbow, by the way.

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May 31, 2007

F Minus Weekly Roundup 5-21

Click here to read the comics from May 21st through May 27th

Monday: I know I'm going to alienate some friends here, but Monday's comic is for all the people that make you take your shoes off before coming in their home. What's the point of having a floor? Why not just attach monkey bars to the ceiling so we can all just swing around and never touch your precious carpet. You know what I'm going to do? Next time I get invited to your house I'm going to fill my shoes with motor oil and dog poop before I put them on. Then you'll beg me to keep my shoes on! HAHAHA! This is why I have no friends...

Tuesday: Hate Mail! I won't bother posting all the hate/love mail that I got on this one. I'm sure you can imagine what was said. Nor will I post my responses. All I have to say is that is one messed-up looking bird in that box.

Thursday: I giggle when I think about what those glasses might look like in real life. Upon reflection, I think I should have done this comic in color.

Friday: I knew I was going to be in Florida on this day, so I wanted to do an alligator comic. I spent a summer in Florida a few years ago, and I was dying to see an alligator. I never saw one. I even drove down "Alligator Alley" and got out every few miles wearing steaks on my shoes, but never saw a thing. Just some bullfrogs. I'm still angry with Florida about this.

Saturday: I was buying a tuxedo when I came up with this one. Is anyone else tired of hearing about penguins? There are a lot of other great birds that are getting ignored. (see Tuesday's comic)

Sunday: Another thing I'm tired of. Televised card games.

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May 28, 2007

Reubens Weekend

Here are some of the photos from the 61st Annual Reubens Convention in Orlando, Florida. I had a great time and it all went by much too fast.
Here's a view of the courtyard at the Ritz-Carlton. The weather was perfect.

When I arrived, I received a tote bag full of toys, comic books, etc. The type of thing you'd only get at a cartoonists convention.

The cocktail party begins.

This is Stephan Pastis and Erin Friedrich. Stephan won the award for best newspaper strip for his comic Pearls Before Swine. Erin works at Andrews McMeel Publishing and is working with me on the F Minus book, coming out this fall. By the way, how many cartoon legends can you find in the background? I count four so far...

Mark and I, with Rob and Amber Harrell. Rob's strip is called Big Top and he is also a painter and illustrator.

Mark Pett starts to lose himself in the music.

Lindsay and I at the award banquet. Behind Linz is cartoonist Sam Gross. He had the room next to mine and we met on our balconies. He informed me that he had decided to wear a jacket to the party. I was only a little bit afraid of him.

Mark Tatulli was nominated for best Newspaper Strip for his comic Lio. He also draws the strip Heart of the City. I had fun hanging out with Mark, and I got to meet his great family.

Hilary Price won the panel category for her strip Rhymes With Orange.

Kieran Meehan came all the way from Scotland for the awards. Check out his hilarious comic, A Lawyer, A Doctor, and a Cop

Two of my favorite people, Mary Anne Grimes and Lisa Klem Wilson.

My name was spelled wrong on the poster. Never a good sign.

Greg Evans, of the comic strip Luann.

Rick Kirkman of Baby Blues.

Jean Schulz, wife of legendary cartoonist Charles Schulz.

I got to sit next to Dave Blazek and his wife Eileen at the awards. Check out his comic Loose Parts.

Mike Lynch doesn't smile for photos.

Bill Amend wins the Reuben for Foxtrot

Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury

I'm looking forward to next year!

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