Quincy cartoonist Brian McFadden has one more reason than most to hope the fiscal cliff disappears as a news story — he said it’s hard to finish an edition of “The Strip,” his cartoon for the New York Times Sunday Review, without resorting to “hacky metaphors.”
“I’ve done meta-comics about trying to do a comic without drawing a cliff,” McFadden said.
The 33-year-old Brockton native started his web comic, "Big Fat Whale", 11 years ago while working as a computer-aided design engineer. What started as an outlet for his sense of humor led to publication in alternative weeklies, and, later, the New York Times.
McFadden said he thought it was a joke when he was contacted by the Times in May 2011, since he was a “total unknown.” He works from Quincy, so he hasn’t run into Sunday Review colleagues like Paul Krugman or David Brooks.
‘They’re probably offended there’s a comic up there with their prose,” McFadden said.
Big Fat Whale, which started as “juvenile, scatalogical humor,” became more political, and reached a peak of about 10,000 readers per day, leading to the Times gig, which is McFadden’s day job.
“With the Times, I can’t just throw my opinions out there,” he said. “I actually have to read the news and know what I’m talking about. I have to seem smarter than I am.”
McFadden creates the comic digitally, using a Wacom tablet and stylus to draw strip over about three days. He uses Twitter as an editing tool.
“It’s a good way to get rid of dumb jokes,” he said.