My next step was to head back to my local paper. My thinking was that I could get a job doing some freelance spot cartoons for them and that some syndicate executive would then see them and say, “That guy should be doing a syndicated comic strip!” Or something like that. I figured I’d work out the details once I’d gotten my foot in the door. This time I’d go there personally, instead of mailing in my submissions, so I could explain why they couldn’t live without these cartoon illustrations. I showed up and was ushered to the desk of the managing editor, James Dauble. As luck would have it, I had taken along my sketchbook, and as Dauble looked through it he noticed some of the sketches I’d made while at school. As a way of inculcating the idea with the students that they needed to keep a sketchbook, I’d get mine out from time to time and sketch the students . . . except that I’d add humorous captions or word balloons. When I was in junior high we used the Reader’s Digest in English class, and the moment I got my copy I’d go through it and add silly word balloons to all the people in the ads. My sketchbook takes were just an extension of that. Dauble liked them and asked if I’d consider doing a cartoon for a new page they were starting called the Teen-Age page. His mouth had barely stopped forming the question when I agreed. He then introduced me to Shannon Kaiser-Jewell, editor of the Teen-Age page, and we set up a time for me to bring in some cartoons. I had gone in seeking a job doing spot art and had left with my own cartoon.
*From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. One