Our guest author is David Lanzafame. David is a freelance writer from Oak Forest and a graduate of Columbia College’s Journalism Masters program. He’s written for numerous local publications including Suburban Life and 22nd Century Media, and enjoys writing about comics, video games, movies, roleplaying games, and all things pop geeky.
Chances are that if you’re on social media, you may have seen the final comic strip of Beardo. In the final strip, we see a young father hold his daughter, as panel by panel the girl grows up and the father grows old. The final panel shows the father with his family, still holding his child, wanting to hold on for just a little bit more. The comic was featured on The Huffington Post on August 23rd and has since introduced a fresh new audience to Beardo, and the world of comic illustrator, writer and musician, Dan Dougherty.
“It was truly an honor to get that kind of attention for the strip,” said Dougherty. “I’ve had my share of successes over the lifespan of the series, and I have been fortunate to have a loyal following. But I’ve never had the reach and the spotlight that comes with the Huffington Post, and it’s been incredible knowing that a lot of new readers are now binge reading ten years of Beardo.”
A resident of the Chicago Suburbs, Dan Dougherty has been in the comic business for nearly 14 years, with 10 of those years dedicated to Beardo, his comedic, semi-biographical comic.
“Beardo was originally a quick creative outlet for me to do quick storytelling after I go home from a frustrating day job as a barista. It was part entertainment, part therapy,” said Dougherty.
Dougherty’s decision to bring Beardo to an end didn’t come lightly. According to him, it was a matter of balancing his time between family, and future projects.
“Beardo has afforded me a lot of new opportunities in the world of comics,” said Dougherty. “I felt it was time to explore them. And with a toddler at home and a baby on the way, my time is stretched thin and I didn’t want to do any work that I couldn’t give my best to. So I felt it was time to put that energy somewhere besides Beardo. It was certainly a hard decision to make, but when I drew what ultimately became the final strip, I knew that if nothing else I had a great note to go out on.”
While Beardo is over, Dougherty’s continuing work in comics and music is hitting new avenues. Currently, he’s continuing his work with the second volume of his more mature, supernatural thriller, “Touching Evil,”, a sequel to “Band Nerds,” in collaboration with DJ Corchin, and a new “secret collaboration,” with comic horror writer and producer, Dirk Manning.
“The first comic I drew that made it to print was ‘Cyclone Bill & The Tall Tales,’ a rock ‘n roll murder mystery that had all kinds of pop culture nods and even the devil himself!” said Dougherty. “It’s as raw and unpolished as it was ambitious, and I still have a soft spot for it.”
At the same time, Dougherty is continuing his musical career with his band, On The Off Chance.
“On The Off Chance is having a great year,” said Dougherty. “We successfully released our debut album, ‘While Shoes, Black Water,’ on CD and vinyl thanks to a great Kickstarter campaign, and we just did a show opening for Barenaked Ladies and Living Colour. We’re set to play Chicago Street Pub next on November 18th. We’ve been playing for about three years now, so it’s nice to start seeing things come together.”
But even with multiple creative projects both under his belt and upcoming, Dougherty’s biggest project is still being a husband to his wife Meg and a father to his daughter Audrey and soon to be second child. Dougherty’s final Beardo, comic reflects how life always changes. “I know I was trying to remind myself with this one that life is fleeting and that the drawing board will always be there, but my days of raising kids are finite,” said Dougherty.
For more on Dan Dougherty’s comics, visit www.beardocomics.com.