Earl and Opal Pickles owe their lives to R. Brian Crane, ’73. That’s because Crane created the cartoon characters in 1990. Pickles, voted the Best Comic Strip of 2001 by the National Cartoonists Society, details the everyday lives of an elderly couple.
“Doing a comic strip was what I wanted to do from early on in life, but when I got to the point where I had to choose a major in college, I didn’t think I had the talent,” Crane recalls. Instead, he became a graphic designer and wrote greeting cards on the side, building confidence in his ability to write humorously.
Crane began to sketch characters and fell in love with the Pickles. He drew up a dozen strips and sent them to three newspapers. He was rejected, however, and abandoned his cartoonist plans until his wife urged him to try again. This time Pickles was picked up, and now readers of more than 360 newspapers nationwide read about the pickles in which Earl and Opal find themselves.
Crane has no plans of quitting any time soon. “Whenever I quit doing this for a few days, I can’t wait to get back to the drawing board.”