The vast majority of the cartoons are my own ideas. Most of my ideas come to me in spurts. I remember once, as I was driving home, I was able to think of a whole term’s Verts. Usually, however, it’s one Vert at a time, and some are few and far between.
In the beginning, in fear of not meeting all 42 cartoons, I would ask people for joke ideas. I soon began to realize that if I was to maintain a consistency, the jokes would have to be my own. I immediately began a brainstorming list — writing down bits and pieces of ideas for future strips — funny or not. A few of my ideas were “modified” from other cartoonist’s ideas. I think most cartoonists do this to some degree or another. How many variations have you seen on the “desert island” or “shrink’s couch?” The “Adult Spine Book Store” cartoon [panel 27] popped into my head after seeing a hilarious cartoon of a cow walking out of an adult book store with a milking machine. “Leonardo daVert” [panel 37], of course, is fashioned after the famous “Canon of Proportions” by Leonardo daVinci. The “daVert” panel came to me while visiting Cambria, California, where I came across a Disney™ poster entitled “Leonardo daMickey.”
Sometimes, the cartoons will write themselves. I’ll be drawing a particular cartoon with a certain joke in mind, and then at the last minute, I’ll change the caption…usually for the better.
Some of my ideas are plays on the “bone” word/idea; some are double meanings of words; and some are everyday things that are put into the context of a spine’s life. Other ideas are pictorial opinions, while some refer to certain LACC classes or instructors. Panel 3 was inspired by my APPLLE class (Adjustive Procedures for the Pelvis, Lumbar and Lower Extremities) — it seems that no one comes out of that class the same way they went in. My Functional Anatomy and Biomechanics course was responsible for panels 15 and 16. Dr. Schultz was a direct inspiration for panel 8; Dr. Bustin got a plug in panel 5; and panel 31 was inspired by the Histology Guru himself, Dr. Goubran.
Many of the panels have sexual references/innuendos. These were cartoons that made me laugh the most, but were also the ones that I feared having rejected [panels 2, 7, 13, 20, 27, 35, 40]. Only two such cartoons were actually rejected [panels 41 and 42], and it was probably due to the fact that I discussed the ideas first with the editors. I soon learned to let the cartoons speak for themselves. Most of them snuck by.
Few of my cartoons have direct chiropractic references. Originally, I though that Vert would head in this direction, but he seemed to work better on the themes already mentioned. There were a few cartoons, however, that poked fun at certain chiropractic techniques. These ideas were inspired by my Specialized Chiropractic Procedures course [panels 29, 32, 34]. I catered to the DACBR’s in several of my panels [5, 1o, 12, 18, 19 , 22, 27, 33, 35, 40]. And yes, some of the Verts were cheap puns — more of a panic on my part to produce enough cartoons before the new term started.