Willamette Week pointed out that Portland cartoonist Josh Shalek is a finalist in the third round of the Amazon.com "Comic Strip Superstar" contest.
Shalek will find out Wednesday, Oct. 28, whether his comic will be selected as one of 10 finalists to be showcased on Amazon.com, where voters will decide the winner. The top vote-getter will receive a $5,000 advance on a book featuring their daily comic strip and have their work syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate, which picks two to four new comics each year for syndication out of a submissions pile of about 5,000.
His submission is a previously unpublished strip called "Tortilla Flat." "Unpublished" is really unpublished, so don't look for it on the internet or in bookstores. But, when I was at the Stumptown Comics Fest I spoke with Josh and picked up his previous effort, a series he called "Falling Rock National Park," which he combined into a couple of self-published books. I bought the one called "Owl and Other Comics" because of the the visual pun from Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." My son and I both read it and we thought it was consistently funny and drawn in an interesting way.
Josh said that he quit his job for a year to focus on drawing comics in the hope that he could make it a full-time job. So far it looks like he's gone a long way toward that goal!
Click here to see more of his work.