Soldier 'presses on' with military humor
Capt. Richard “Randy” Denman’s dedication to the military is evident in both his prior Air Force experience as well as his current Army service cross-leveled to the 55th Sustainment Brigade from U.S. Central Command. But the Afghanistan-deployed Orlando, Fla. native also has another passion: Drawing comic strips. It’s only fitting that Denman offered his talents to Stars and Stripes, the U.S. military’s premier news source for nearly 70 years, and that we accept. Stripes Okinawa is pleased to debut his comic strip – Press On.
Q: How long have you been drawing comics and how did you get started?
A: About 30 years. I have been drawing since I was 10 and I got my start in an internal newsletter at USCENTCOM (U.S. Central Command).
Q: Is it a hobby, or do you have professional ambitions?
A: Drawing is a hobby of mine and I hope make it a profession.
Q: Do you do any other kind of art and if so, what?
A: Black and white photography, comic art, water colors and realistic pencil illustrations.
Q: How do you come up with the topics you draw in your comics?
A: Personal observations, experiences or stories from friends. Lately, my supervisor MAJ Mazza has been a big source of ideas.
Q: What inspires the humor you use in them?
A: My military experience in both the Air Force and Army, and the funny little things people say throughout the day.
Q: How much time and effort goes into one of your comic strips?
A: It takes at least 12 hours per comic strip if I add color. I am still refining my processes on the computer and I hope to eventually cut the time in half.
Q: What do you hope other service members get out of your comics?
A: If one person gets a laugh out of it I consider it a success. Whether stateside or deployed, the mission can wear you down despite your best efforts and from my experience laughter can help tremendously.
Q: Are there any cartoonists that inspire/influence you?
A: Tons of cartoonists inspire me. If you open the Sunday comic section, just about everybody in there and comic book artists like Jim Lee and Norm Breyfogle.
Q: Anything else you want to mention?
A: The comic is meant to be non-military-branch specific but based on my experience in the Air Force and Army they tend to look a little more that way. I could not have gotten this far without the support of my fiancé, my daughter, family and friends, the man upstairs, fans, and a few people along the way. A few of those people are Matt Fox and his Adobe PS tutorial, Mike the pinball machine repairman/freelance cartoonist, and Dave Dorman who creates the amazing covers on Star Wars Novels, Indiana Jones posters, and other works too numerous to capture in the space provided. Last but not least, though I haven’t attended yet, the Joe Kubert School of Comic Art and Cartooning is a huge source of motivation and inspiration.
Tetsuo Nakahara, Stripes Okinawa