Burger Butler, the Complete Series (w/commentary)




Dear Reader


Burger 1



“This is an acceptable debut. You were able to establish your characters and premise right off the bat, and end it with a perfectly reasonable joke. Your composition is a little sloppy (particularly where the Burger Butler clashes with the grey bush), but these things tend to improve with time and practice.”


I think that, for the most part, this is a fair assessment of my strip. However, I resent the suggestion that I’m am an inexperienced cartoonist. Let me tell you, buddy–I’ve put the work in!


Burger 2



“I am a little concerned that this joke is too similar to the one preceding it. While I understand you’re still settling into these characters, I must warn you that this is a bad habit to fall into when writing a daily strip.”


I don’t really see the similarities the syndicate’s editor is referring to here. Sure, it may follow a somewhat parallel structure–but what joke doesn’t? I’m going to have to plead ignorance on this one, because I honestly don’t know what he’s talking about.


Burger 3



“Surely you recognize that this joke is identical to the one in your first strip. It is not a bad idea to create a “confidante” for your human character, but this introduction is quite clumsy. Who is this person? Why are they there? I also think it is unwise to have a cartoon without an appearance from its titular character this early in its run.”


Oh Boy. Here we go. I’d like to say, emphatically, that this is not a re-tread, but rather a variation on a theme. I was attempting to use this premise as a spring-board to introduce a new character with whom the “human character” could commiserate about Burger’s attitude. And on that point, what’s so “clumsy” about this introduction? Would you rather I had him just come out and state his name for the audience? Because I tried that in a later strip, and you didn’t like that either.


Burger 4



“Typically, when a cartoonist goes on vacation, they work ahead of schedule or hire a guest artist take over temporarily. They never write a strip that says “no strip today,” and especially not when they’re only four days into a series. Furthermore, as your syndicate, we would be the ones handling all of the merchandising for the comic.”


What makes me most uncomfortable about this note is how flatly he announces that the syndicate would hold the merchandising rights to my characters. He wants to make it crystal-clear that I wouldn’t have ownership over my own intellectual property. Disgusting.


Burger 5



“The inclusion of a new character at this point seems a little desperate, and it appears that your Burger Butler character has completely abandoned the smart-alecky personality that you established in your first three strips. What gives? Also, I think it’s important to note that this new character of yours never appears again.”


Well whose fuckin’ fault is that, asshole?

SaturdayBurger 6



“I don’t think I need to tell you how appallingly derivative this cartoon is.  Additionally, It raises several logistical problems, such as:

1. Where did that giant peanut come from?

2. Are your Burger Butler and Jim(who is far too similar to Garfield’s “Jon,” by the way) characters pals now?

3. Where’s the goddamn joke??


How can someone achieve such an important position at a syndicate and not have the ability to differentiate between a rip-off and a homage? Clearly, I’m paying homage to Charles Shultz’s legacy with this strip, just like the Burger/Jim relationship is a homage to the Jon/Garfield dynamic.


Burger 7



“We find that our artists like to use the Sunday strip format to tell more visually striking stories than they are able to explore in the more restrictive daily format. It seems that here, you’ve gone in the opposite direction. This cartoon is littered with dialogue, and is pretty sparsely illustrated. The biggest problem I have with this particular strip, however, is the content. You’re not Gary Trudeau. Nobody wants to read about your pet social issue in a cartoon. It’s preachy, it’s boring, and you[re quite obviously reaching at straws, idea-wise. In the very least, tell a fucking joke.”


Oh, so all cartoonists have to approach the Sunday Strip the same way, huh? This is so typical of a stiff Suit talking on behalf of a major corporation. “Gee, God-forbid we allow politics into the funny papers.” This is what’s killing comics page. Greed and stupidity. Nobody cares about art anymore. Nobody cares about free expression, or exploration or evolving the medium. No wonder Bill Watterson quit the business. The whole system is fucked. You have a stranglehold on the entire medium–and that’s just how you like it! That way, if anybody tries to get in your way,  you can crush them…You expect me to believe that Charles Shultz just up and died right after he decided to stop shucking and jiving for you sons of bitches?? Sound like quite the coincidence if you ask me. Pret-ty convenient. He started making too many demands, eh? Worried he’d get in the way of your precious profits, huh?

You people are scum.




“I think that I’ve made it pretty clear from the statements above that we will not be considering “Burger Butler” for a contract. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, which I sincerely hope are far outside the field of of cartooning.”



Brandon Hicks is a writer, cartoonist, and generally unemployed person living in New Brunswick, Canada. He sometimes posts things to his Twitter, which can be found here. Brandon is Comics editor at The Rumpus. More from this author →