This was a page of sample strips, either for Universal or United Media. I used the first joke in syndication, not sure about the second, and the third was discarded, along with the mascot suit. I liked the idea of Karl needing a disguise to be his real self (it's initially justified by Karl's part-time job as a professional mascot. When we see him wearing the suit around the house, we suspect it's more than a job.) As the frogs grew more peculiar, I didn't want Karl's attire to distract the reader.
Karl isn't the first character I've drawn who only comes out when hiding. I'm not a furry myself, but I appreciate the idea of finding myself -- being myself -- by playing other characters. We all wear costumes, with or without zippers in the back.
I wrote a lot of strips before Spot the Frog. This was my second or third submission. I called it Moveable Feast, though I think of it as Karl the Carrot; a title format I would borrow later. Not to mention the tie and suspenders and mustache.
I'm not sure why I drew this. It's not a Sunday, it's not a daily. Worse, the joke has nothing to do with the characters. It's not about Karl, it's not about the other guy. It's barely about the joke.
The one teaser never used.
I think this was my last cartoon sale before starting Spot the Frog. And by starting, I don't mean syndicating. I mean working in earnest to create the strip for submission. I was starting to crack from the insecurity of freelancing. I had this fantasy that syndication would instill calm, forgetting that I'm prone to cracking, like any egg, no matter my situation.
Here's how to draw Jerry Orbach: draw Jerry Orbach, then tell the reader that you've drawn Jerry Orbach, preferably in the caption (though this time I'm implying that it's Jerry Orbach by naming his iconic series.) I have zero skill at caricature, though I've drawn several over the years -- James Randi, Stephen J. Gould, Billy Preston -- using my How To Draw Jerry Orbach technique, modified.
There's a reason why kids get their own table.
A customer wasn't satisfied with his model of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, never suspecting that it was actually the Deluxe edition.