with T. R. Miller (Cartoonist)
by Wim Boyler
Sept. 7, 1996; Interview #1
I caught up with explosive new talent, T. R. Miller, Cartoonist, to pick his brain. Truly, he is one of America's fastest rising talents in cartoonery.
WB: First of all, I'd like to know how you pronounce the name of your cartoon character, "Luhey." Is it pronounced "Louie" or is it Loo-hay or, like the town in Kauai, Li-HOO-ee? This question has been driving us nuts.
TRM: Luhey is pronounced Loo-ee.
WB: Could you list some of the names of the better known publications (besides Wormblower, in which this interview is being published) that your cartoons have appeared in? You must be a very busy guy if you send out photocopies of your cartoons to ALL the 'zines in FactSheet 5!
TRM: I have been published in Affaire De Couer magazine in '94 & '95. I've been published in Manna Forty Inc., "The Choir" Insert for Atlanta, GA newspapers in '96. Those are more well known.
WB: How long have you been a professional cartoonist? Tell our readers about "Cartoonerama," the school that you attended. Is it located in New Brunswick (NJ, TRM's home state) ? How many years did you study there?
TRM: I'm not considered a professional cartoonist by most people because I don't receive a paycheck, only a copy of the magazine I'm published in. "Cartoonerama" is a correspondence school for cartoonists that is directed by Leo Stoutsenberger. It contains 24 lessons and all are drawing assignments. I received a diploma when I graduated. It is currently located in Portland, Maine. I studied there for one and a half years.
WB: Which artists and cartoonists do you most admire and why? What would happen to Luhey if he were to ever meet Beavis and Butthead? Would he like them?
TRM: I admire Leo Stoutsenberger, director of Cartoonerama because he made a good living at being a professional cartoonist and that takes a vast amount of talent. Luhey would like Beavis and Butthead if he met them because Luhey is very amiable and they would get along just fine.
WB: What is your astrological sign? What is Luhey's? Do you believe in astrology? How old are you?
TRM: I am a Scorpio. I think Luhey is a Pisces....but I'm not sure I believe in astrology. That's a subject I'd have to think more about. I can't give my exact age, or too much personal information until I know more about you.
WB: What kind of music do you like? Do you listen to music when you create cartoons? And what do you think of today's music scene? Who is your favorite band and/or musician?
TRM: Recently I was listening to the oldies radio station with music from the 1950's to the 1970's! The old time groups from yesteryear are still my favorite. I don't have a favorite band or musician. Today's music is great. But, the old time classics I feel are far superior!
WB: Luhey seems to like outdoor sports quite a bit. He also seems to like big trees and plants. Will we ever see him indoors, in front of a computer or watching TV?
TRM: You might see Luhey indoors in some cartoons he appears in. But, he enjoys the outdoors quite a bit. And, it helps the seasonal 'toons for scenic affect if he's outdoors.
WB: Does Luhey have a wife or girlfriend? Does he have any dog or human friends? Because he always seems to be alone. Don't you think that Luhey must be very lonely?
TRM: Luhey has no friends or wife or girlfriend. He's a loner. And, he is never lonely. He enjoys it that way.
WB: Why does Luhey wear clothes? Other famous cartoon dogs like Snoopy and Pluto don't wear any clothing. Is he naked (except for his hat) in the sailboat in your 'toon "Happy Sailin'"? And why doesn't he have a tail most of the time (only in one 'toon did he sport a tail)? We think he'd be happier without any clothes. And a tail. He'd like a tail.
TRM: Luhey's wearing lots of clothes in the "Happy Sailin'" cartoon, except has on no shoes. I like to put clothes on him to give him more character.
WB: Are you a full or part time cartoonist? If you have a day job what is it? Since you live with your parents, isn't that difficult for such a creative, temperamental person (you) to live with other people who may not understand or appreciate the mind of an artist?
TRM: I'm a part-time cartoonist! I help around the house quite a bit! I emjoy living with my relatives. I have my own room and draw my cartoons without any problems.
WB: Maybe New Jersey county fairs are different than the ones in Minnesota but here they won't let a dog enter the fairgrounds unless it's a seeing-eye dog. So what gave you the idea to have Luhey enter a dog treat cake at the fair? Why didn't he win a prize?
TRM: Luhey entered the County Fair to add some wnthusiasm to his cooking interests. I never thought that dogs weren't permitted at County Fair's (sic).
WB: Are you really Luhey? Or is everyone Luhey? Or is only Luhey really Luhey?
TRM: I think alot of people relate to Luhey!
WB: Finally, if there is a message that you would like to share with all the readers of Wormblower magazine, please share it with them now
TRM: My final thought is that I try to find humor in this world in which we all share and live. I hope that my Luhey cartoons enrich someone's life or bring a smile to someone's face!
(Whoa! This had been a difficult interview. Granted it was conducted via mail so there was no opportunity for spontanaiety or interaction. Even so, TRM was not volunteering much beyond his minimalistic responses. Perhaps a future interview would help to shed more light upon this zany and elegant, old-fashioned 'toonist of 'zine 'toons).