IN Conversation with Cartoonist Brian Gordon

Local cartoonist Brian Gordon has been trying hard to make you laugh in the middle of this odd coronavirus culture via his sentimental, yet foul-mouthed cartoon ducks. (Yes, ducks.) Gordon uses his Fowl Language webcomic series as an outlet to vent about parenthood and the trials and tribulations of being a dad. Sorry—check that—currently a shelter-in-place-homeschool-your-kids-self-quarantined-slowly-losing-his-mind dad. (Sound familiar?)


We caught up with the ever-clever artist to find out how things are going at Casa Gordon, and more importantly, if being trapped at home is giving him plenty more “what the duck?” material. (It is. Trust.)

First of all, how are you doing?
“Oh, just great, thanks!”

Second, how are you really doing?
[Weeps quietly. Rocks back and forth in the fetal position.]

Is there extra pressure right now to be funny—since that’s what people seem to need these days?
“I think most people are just grateful for a distraction. I’m just happy that my work might offer a brief, cathartic chuckle in an otherwise bleak news landscape.”

Your comics are very clever, very slice-of-life. How has your tone changed?
“I’m not sure the tone has changed, just the context. I usually just focus on the mundane frustrations of parenting and the ongoing attempts at being a functional adult. Now I’m writing about mostly the same things, only with the added fears and challenges of doing it under quarantine.”

Since we’re all in this together, what has response been since you started quarantine humor? We can call it that, right?
“Why not? As for the response, I’d say it’s been 99 percent positive. There have been a few vocal people who aren’t quite in the headspace to laugh over anything right now—and I don’t begrudge them that. Everyone is handling this pandemic as best they can. Personally I’ve found relief in staying busy to find something to laugh about in all this darkness.”

Does having the whole family home give you more (new? better?) fodder for your cartoons?
“Oh, for sure. For instance, I’ve written many cartoons over the frustrations of just getting my kids to do their homework. Now I’m responsible for teaching them and assigning the homework, too. Additionally, all the other typical frustrations (getting them to eat, exercise, go to bed, etc.) are all a little different and heightened under quarantine. The coronavirus and this quarantine are absolutely horrible, but being thrust into a world of new challenges and fears certainly provides lots to write about.”

Finally, since we went into lockdown, what’s been your best work? And why?
“I wrote one about trying and failing to teach my kids math that seemed to resonate with lots of folks. I think we’re all just trying our hardest to maintain some normalcy in these most abnormal of times. Unfortunately, for some of us—being really bad at math is our normal.

Speaking of which, is home college-ing a thing? Because if my kids are gonna be dependent on me for their education much longer that might be their only option.”

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