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WBAA:
How did you go from Universal Press Syndicate to Cartoon Network?

Mark O'Hare:
"I worked in animation before I began publishing for newspapers. When I was syndicated, I continued drawing and writing for both mediums. I've known colleagues at Cartoon Network for years, some even as far back as school. Many of us attended California Institute of the Arts together."

WBAA:
How is working on an animated series (like your work on Rocko's Modern Life), different from the weekly funnies?

Mark O'Hare:
"I enjoy the animated series work simply because it is so collaborative. The end product is the sum of so many different disciplines - artistic talent, writing talent, design, voice talent, music, sound....Did I forget anything? There is always something new to learn and appreciate from what each talent brings to the table. This crossroads of creativity is so unique to television animation."

"On the other hand, newspaper comic strips are grown from the same seed, but the medium is far more intimate and personal. The creativity occurs on an internal level. Most of the art happens inside your head, for the audience as well as the creator. The art moves directly from the creator's head to the page, and then directly from the page to the reader."

WBAA:
A lot of your cartoons have animals in them. Do you own any pets?

Mark O'Hare:
"I do not own any pets today. Growing up, I had all kinds of smaller animals - snakes, lizards, birds, hamsters, rabbits...whatever my mom would tolerate. She didn't like big animals in the house, so dogs and cats were never a part of my childhood. Maybe that's why I'm fixated on dogs and cats today."

WBAA:
Did you meet any of the creators for those comic strips?

Mark O'Hare:
I never met Schulz or Kelly, but I've met people who have met them. That's not too bad, is it? I shook the hands of people that shook their hands.

"Like a lot of kids, my pets were my friends. I think writing for animals is just an extension of that attachment. It's a universal theme. Everyone at one time or another has had that Dr. Doolittle fantasy - that wish that they could talk to the animals, and vice versa."

WBAA:
What are your favorite comic strips? How did they influence Citizen Dog?

Mark O'Hare:
"I read Schulz's Peanuts. I couldn't get enough of it - in the newspaper, the book collections, whatever I could get my hands on. I still see kids reading the Peanuts pocket books. Right behind Peanuts was Walt Kelly's Pogo. Pogo is my father's favorite. To him, it is the quintessential comic strip. It reflects everything about him - his ideas, his politics, his view of society. He had a complete collection that I would raid at different times. Of course, I mostly enjoyed the funny-looking talking animals and the quality of art. The politics were way over my head. But Pogo was something we had in common, even to this day. It's a middle ground that we can both meet on and enjoy together. We used to drive the rest of the family crazy every Christmas by singing, "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie" every year. Both comics had an enormous influence on me."

 

WBAA:
What is your favorite Cartoon Cartoon Series?

Mark O'Hare:
"Kitty Bobo is my favorite Cartoon Cartoon so far. Everything about it is fresh, original, and fun to watch. I'd enjoy seeing many more of those."

WBAA:
So how does the competition look? Do you ever talk with the creators of the other Cartoon Cartoon pilots?

Mark O'Hare:
"Many of the other creators are my friends and colleagues and we talk all the time. If any of our projects do well, we all win. I hope we all have an impact on audiences."

WBAA:
How is the winner decided this year? Will it still be done by viewers voting?

Mark O'Hare:
"I'm not aware of how development decisions beyond the air date are made. I have heard it involves John Edwards and dice."

The WB Animation Archive would like to thank Mark O'Hare. The Cartoon Cartoon Weekend for 2002 is starting to look really good.

 

Image Sources:

Jeffery Cat Pictures from Mark O'Hare. Click here to see more.

http://www.ucomics.com

http://www.comics.com

Interview by Jimmy "Duncanzits" Kustes on June 10th, 2002

WBAA:
What are your favorite animated series?

Mark O'Hare:
I have two favorite television cartoons right now - Home Movies and Spongebob Squarepants. Both are quality shows that push the envelope of what can be done with the medium. Between them they cover so much of the spectrum of what animation can accomplish.

WBAA:
Can you describe Jeffery Cat?

Mark O'Hare:
"Jeffrey Cat is the only cat in a K-9 unit. He's the underdog that always manages to get the job done. If there's a pet crime committed in your neighborhood, Jeffrey's the guy you call first. He's Eliot Ness with whiskers. Officer Jasper Dog is Jasper's faithful sidekick, who's acute canine senses help lead them to the correct suspect, usually by accident. Dr Oliver Whiskers rounds the team off as the medical forensics specialist. The pressures of his job keep him a bit high strung. He's Quincy in a cat suit."

"The show is Dragnet, Perry Mason, Quincy, Law and Order, C.S.I., and Diagnosis Murder all rolled into one. If Angela Landsbury's cat had his own show, this would be it. It's Murder Her Cat Wrote."