“Mr. Pickles,” aka Brian Crane, became about as close to a rock star as one could be at the Carson City Senior Center on Tuesday.
The Sparks resident who has drawn Pickles for 25 years came to Carson City to talk about his popular comic strip and to state a pun, he turned out to be a popular draw.
“Are you Pickles,” one woman asked him before his presentation, going on to tell him his comic strip might as well be about her life. “I never thought I’d be a part of a cartoon, but I guess I am,” she said.
“I get called Mr. Pickles all the time,” Crane said to the Retired Public Employees of Nevada during the group’s monthly meeting. “I don’t mind it.”
Crane’s comic strip, which he draws at his studio at his home, has been in syndication since 1990. The comic strip will mark its 25th anniversary in April. When it began in syndication, the comic strip ran in 24 newspapers. It now appears in more than 900 newspapers across the world, including the Nevada Appeal.
“It’s succeeded beyond my wildest dreams,” Crane said.
Pickles follows the exploits of the senior citizen couple Earl and Opal Pickles and other characters such as their daughter Sylvia, grandson Nelson, dog Roscoe and cat Muffin.
Crane moved to Sparks in 1984 to accept a job with an ad agency. But when he was about 40, he decided to give drawing a comic strip a try.
“I decided to pursue my childhood dream of drawing a cartoon,” Crane said. “Maybe it was a midlife crisis. I decided if I didn’t try it, I never will.”
If it wasn’t for his wife, Diana, Crane said he would have never realized his success. After he was rejected by three syndicates, Crane said he was going to quit, but his wife convinced him not to quit, and Pickles was eventually picked up.
“I owe a lot to her for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” he said.
Pickles has become so popular simply because people can relate to the comic strip.
“You must have a camera hidden in our house,” said Crane about what people tell him.
He said his ideas for Pickles come from “real life with a little bit of exaggeration.”
Crane’s comic strip has turned into other ventures — such as Pickles fabric resulting from Earl’s unwillingness to go to the fabric store with Opal — and he along with his comic strip help such causes as the Nevada Humane Society’s Walk for Animals.
While Pickles doesn’t go into politics, Crane said he was flattered when he was sent a photo of President Barack Obama in the oval office with Pickles on his desk. Crane said he didn’t know if the president actually reads Pickles, but was just glad to see his comic strip on the president’s desk. But he also noted he has a photo of his comic strip lining a parrot’s cage that keeps him humble.
Editor’s note: this story was modified from its orginial verision.