What He Does: if you asked me to pick the best comic strip in the city I would definitely put Jason Poland's Robbie and Bobby right at the top of the list. His work is lighthearted and imaginative, but it's also extremely daring the way Poland allows himself to use the lack of limitations offered to a cartoonist on the Internet. To say nothing of it just being cool to see the adventures of a boy and his pet robot.
You can blame Mario Paint for Poland's career. During sleepovers at friends' houses Poland would use the old SNES game to draw dogs being abducted by aliens and flying pants, often cracking himself and his friends up so loud that it woke up angry parents.
While attending the University of Houston Poland applied three times for an open spot doing cartoons for the Daily Cougar. Robbie and Bobby was his third attempt and the one that got him set up doing the strip. Now it's a long-running artistic enterprise.
Why He Likes It: "All my coworkers live on the Internet." Author's Note: Amen, brother.
What Inspires Him: Poland's biggest inspiration is death. Well, mortality, which is just death plus the anxiety of waiting. Our slow fall toward inevitable demise is what drives him. Kind of an odd muse for such an upbeat cartoonist.
As far as personal heroes, he has two. The first is his wife Julia and the second is retired basketball center and former greatest rapper in the world Shaquille O'Neal. Finally, someone else that realizes the subtle brilliance of Kazaam.
If Not This, Then What: "I'd probably grow my hair out and become a beekeeper - the world needs more wizards."
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If Not Here, Then Where: "I'd take my wife and cats with me to my friend Keith's place in Toronto. We'd all crash on his couch and watch K-pop videos. They also have Kinder Eggs there."
What's Next: Well, in addition to the ongoing concern that is Robbie and Bobby Poland is putting together a project called Shaqzine. It's 70 pages worth of comics, art, prose and poetry inspired by Shaq from 50 different writers and artists. It's not as cool as that Charles Barkley RPG someone made, but it's a start for sure.
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer