I'm so happy to be interviewing my nephew, Dan Misdea, The New Yorker cartoonist. (How great is that?)  Let's start with you telling us about your journey of becoming a cartoonist, from drawing a MUTTS title panel at age seven, to drawing gags for The New Yorker and now having your first children's book published.

Well, I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist after drawing for MUTTS. I guess I already was one, but I also wanted to explore other interests as I got older. Sports and music were huge parts of my life and still are. Eventually, I got my degree in Economics and took an accounting job out of college.

Several years into navigating the corporate world, I got the itch to pursue cartooning again. So, I left my job and started submitting to The New Yorker while working on The Light Inside.

I sold my first cartoon after about 18 months and now my picture book project is published and out in the world. It wasn’t a straight or easy path by any means, but I’m glad it led me back to cartooning. I feel really lucky.

Tell us about your wonderful new wordless graphic novel for kids, The Light Inside. What inspired it? I know your mom always loved Halloween and made it a very special holiday for the family.

Yes, I think it starts with my mom. Halloween was a big deal in our household growing up and the themes and characters surrounding the holiday often end up in my sketchbooks. When I doodled the jack-o-lantern character one day, I felt like there was a story to be told through him.

OK, since this interview is for mutts.com, I'm going to put you on the spot. Besides the one with your own title panel, what's your favorite MUTTS comic strip and why?

Just one?

For me, it has to be the one where Earl asks a contractor to put an addition on his dog house. The contractor is based on my dad, but I’ll never forget how thrilled he was to see it. The best comics or cartoons are ones that trigger a memory.

Everyone in our family is pretty artistic and very funny. Do you think being creative is in our DNA?
Of course it is!

Thanks Dan. I'll end by quoting Charles Schulz: “Keep drawing those funny pictures.”

— Patrick McDonnell



Comments (2)

I loved reading this interview! It just goes to show you, when your life’s calling is not answered, it just keeps calling and calling, until you answer it! What surprised me most, is he was able to recall his favorite MUTT’s strip, which I find, quite impossible frankly!… there are wayyyyyyy too many, and possibly every single one I must say warm my heart, make me ponder the message and fall in love with the characters even more! Thank you MUTT’s❤️❤️❤️🐾❣️🙏🏼


(…smile, hearts…)

Gunnar Jensen