Have you ever been so fed up with your job that you dreamed of quitting? That’s how I felt back in 1988. I was so frustrated that I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a syndicated cartoonist. Just like my heroes Charles Schultz, Al Capp and Gary Larson. I envisioned the day my current boss would open the paper and read my daily comic, stunned at my success.
I did a little research, and found out that the standard newspaper cartoon submission was 36 comics, which was six weeks worth. Everyone could relate to working a minimum wage job! I drew on my experiences being a waiter, grocery store bagger and dishwasher. After some experimentation, “Minimum Wage” was born. I was filled with inspiration. Old memories of my younger working days flooded back as raw material.
I also tried to make my comic look different. My panel wasn’t a square or a circle, but a combination of both. Instead of ink and paper, I drew the strip on my mac, using the Macpaint program. My computer was the original 512K Mac, and the program I used was Macpaint.
After working for a few weeks, I printed up spiral bound booklets of my comic strip at a nearby Insty-Print, and mailed them off to the major cartoon syndicates. I submitted to United Feature, United Media, Universal Press and others. My hopes were high as I waited in agonizing anticipation.
One by one, the rejection letters began to arrive. I wish I kept a few to show you, but at the time it felt good to throw them away. They were all form letters, anyway. They thanked me for my submission, but my work wasn’t suitable at this time.
It was a good thing I kept my day job.
Looking at these comics almost 30 years later, I can see it’s not a brilliant strip. On the other hand, some of these still make me smile. You’ll also notice it’s from a different era. Leroy, my only character, knows nothing of the internet or cell phones. Still, some things haven’t changed. Minimum wage jobs are still alive and well, along with all their frustrations.
And so, after all this time, I present to you “Minimum Wage.” I hope you enjoy it.
Spencer Bernard is an author, cartoonist, songwriter and musician, based in Minnesota. He is also a Pastor who uses his versatile artistic gifts and a dash of humor to connect with his communities.
Spencer uses his unique author conversational style that fuses a fun- to-read flair with practical storytelling to reinforce the meaning of the bible in everyday life. Spencer is appreciated by readers and his congregation for his intelligent simplicity and spirited approach.
As a cartoonist, his comics are thought-provoking, humorous and uplifting.
In his early career, Spencer wrote a song featured on Janet Jackson’s breakout album, “Control” called, “He Doesn’t Know I’m Alive.” He has also contributed to elite industry projects, including records by David Bowie and New Edition.
Spencer has been music-making with his co-artist and wife, Lisa, for almost a decade. The dynamic duo focus on creating kid’s music which help young people to remember Scripture passages in a fun and memorable way. When he is not helping others to connect with the bible through music, art, or writing, he enjoys spending time with his family, 'creating' anything interesting, and long walks in Gods' playground - the great outdoors.