If you're like most Phillies fans, you've surely spent hours wondering would happen if Charlie Manuel's hair became demonically possessed or the Four Aces got attacked by a bear. Well, that's what David Jablow and Jon Goff are counting on anway.
The local duo--Jablow an illustrator from Roxborough, Goff a standup comedian--have teamed up to produce Dugout Phunnies, 20-page black and white comic book about Philadelphia's favorite team. Issue number one of Phunnies is available at comic shops Brave New Worlds in Old City and Locust Moon Comics in West Philadelphia, as well as online at Etsy.com.
"We started working on it in January," explained Jablow, who lives on Roxborough Avenue. "I've known Jon for years. He's a funny guy, and we've talked a couple times about meeting up and doing a comic or something. And the Phillies are a common interest--we're both big Phillies fans--so we decided that would be an appropriate subject for us."
Creating the comic was a collaborative effort: Goff wrote the stories, Jablow animated them.
"When I was thinking of ideas, I'd think about Dave's art, which I really enjoy," Goff said. "I wanted to come up with ideas that I thought would fit his style, so I came up with the idea of basing them sort of on horror comics and really classic cartoons."
"We'd just bounce story ideas off each other," Jablow added. "Jon would write these couple paragraph long plot synopses, and I would sketch them out and put them in panels. I'd send them back to him and he would write in the narration. That's the creative process."
Once the comic was written and animated, rather than looking for a publisher, they went down to Staples and printed a few hundred copies.
"It's not a very professional operation," Jablow joked. "We didn't really know what the demand was going to be. We knew the market was going to be sort of a niche within a niche. We imaged there would be some interest, but we figured we'd start small and then we could always print more."
The co-authors also, mostly owing to the scale of their operation, made no effort to get permission from the Phillies or Major League Baseball before printing. They're unbothered by this.
"We shot first asked questions later," Jablow admitted. "I've been seeing so much Phillies memorabilia and paraphernalia, shirts and stuff all over town, that my assumption is that the Phillies don't really care. The comic is all ages appropriate--there's nothing racy or slanderous in any way that might raise an eyebrow. But we're really just crossing our fingers that if anyone higher up, if Ruben Amaro gets wind of it, they'll just laugh it off."
While the pair's creative ambition is considerable, their commercial aspirations are much more modest.
"My ultimate goal would be for the team to somehow get a hold of a copy, read it, and laugh," said Goff. "But at the very least I'd like to sell enough of these that Dave can make his money back."