Need some comic relief? Try the ‘Pickles’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Need some comic relief? Try the ‘Pickles’

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

For the Nevada Appeal Opal and Earl Pickles are the main characters in the comic strip created by Brian Crane that bears their last name.

Brian Crane felt like he didn’t really have anything to say about life and the world until after he turned 40.

He knew he could draw, he loved art, but never imagined himself ending up where he is today.

He worked in commercial art and graphic design before undertaking a career at an advertising firm. Then after his 40th birthday he began looking through his sketchbook for characters to create his own comic strip.

That’s how Opal and Earl Pickles – and the comic strip that bears their last name – were born.

“I didn’t see any senior citizens as the focus of comics and thought people could relate to that. I see similarities with my family and neighbors,” Crane said. “When I started, I didn’t think I’d get syndicated. When I did, I didn’t think it would be popular, so my expectations have always been pretty low.”

The strip was named “Best Comic Strip of 2001” by the National Cartoonists Society and Crane was nominated as cartoonist of the year. His strip currently appears daily in more than 500 newspapers nationwide.

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Crane will present a lecture about getting started and working as a comic strip author at a free lecture at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in Marlette Hall on the campus of Western Nevada Community College.

“Pickles” features a modern family that deals with the ups and downs of growing older through the experiences of its main characters, Earl and Opal Pickles. They share their experiences with their daughter Sylvia, her husband, Dan, grandson Nelson, and a dense dog and sly cat named Roscoe and Muffin.

Crane said he enjoys the positive reaction his strip causes in readers, as long as you don’t ask him which one is his favorite.

“That’s like asking which one of my children I like the best,” Crane said. “The animal strips seem to strike a cord with people, especially with cat lovers.”

Crane’s lecture, titled “Comic Relief,” is the second featured event in WNCC’s 2006-2007 Cultural Series: “Faces, Voices & Stories.”

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

If you go

What: “Comic Relief” free lecture by “Pickles” creator Brian Crane

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Marlette Hall on the campus of Western Nevada Community College, 2201 W. College Parkway

Call: 445-3000