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Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

Drew cartoons for high-school and college papers, considered it a hobby until a few years ago. Began submitting regularly to publications once I mastered the art of not taking the constant rejection personally. ALL POSTS

Odd Bluff Inn

See Mark Thompson's entry, then read what the judges had to say.

Garry Trudeau: "Only strip that really clicked for me. The ghost is the star here, although not clear why an English rocker would have expired in a bed and breakfast. Haven't had an edgy cartoon ghost character since Spooky [cousin of 'Casper'], and this one has promise. Like the breezy, unfussy drawing style."

Stan Lee: "I think this has great potential because it's an original theme -- a single mother takes over a country inn, which includes a resident ghost. The gags are good and his timing and pacing are very professional."

Jerry Scott: "I'm a sucker for character-driven comic strips. 'Odd Bluff Inn' interested me because it looks like it's going to be fun to read. The drawing style is not self-conscious or labored. This strip would be very readable within the current space confines of newspaper syndication. It's difficult to judge the staying power of a comic strip on a year's worth of samples, let alone six measly dailies. But the dialogue is sharp, but spare, the characters have potential, the drawing pleasing and clean, and the premise is promising."

Gene Weingarten: "This is my choice for the winner, but only because it's got the best concept and is the best drawn, the most fully realized, the best paced, and the funniest, with the most compelling characters and the best use of sequential art. Other than that, it doesn't have much going for it. Of all the strips, this is also the only one that seems to me to have a rich enough storyline to sustain years of developments. You've got several promising themes: Dysfunctional single-mom family life; past-present culture shock; stoner-rocker and pop culture humor; urban-rural tension. I think this is the real deal, and whole package."

Signe Wilkinson: "Mark Thompson's (do we need another Thompson?) strip had a clever premise that actually seemed to use its characters consistently with some energy. The drawing style is problematic with so many washes un-anchored by any black lines or boxes. He could work on the style, but he seems to have created the most appealing world. 'Keith Richards' was a riot [and should have been in Paul Scolaro's]."

Lalo Alcaraz: "Though the premise of 'Odd Bluff Inn' is too cute by one, I think I'd like to see what happens with the '70s rock star ghost, it seem like comic possibilities are promising."


By Mark Thompson  |  June 14, 2010; 1:47 PM ET  | Category:  Entries , Garry Trudeau , Gene Weingarten , Jerry Scott , Lalo Alcaraz , Signe Wilkinson , Stan Lee
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Previous: Big Daddy | Next: Imogen Quest - Entry Challenge


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I read all the entries by the 10 finalists and "Odd Bluff Inn" was far and away my favorite. Funny, clever, unique with lots of room to grow. Would love to see the WaPo syndicate pick this up.

Posted by: mediamatters | June 29, 2010 1:59 PM
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there can be more than one ghost story in a lifetime or on a planet, Mrs. Muir is a loooong time ago, and I do remember it. The cliche back then wasn't the ghost, but the shaggy dog and the female lead who never slept with anyone. I anticipate this rocker ghost, involving himself in her decisions and helping the kids break rules, yeah, I like it.

Posted by: Harise | June 21, 2010 5:00 PM
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This is definitely a steal from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - and it also looks like a steal of a NEW show that will be debuting in Australia later this year, who ALSO took their idea from GAMM.

The Australian show is called "Spirited" and deals with a woman (a divorced dentist) who moves into a old house that has the ghost on a 1980's rock star inhabiting it. Check out "Spirited" on IMDB (Internet Mobie Data Base) if you don't believe me.

The original series starred the late greats Edward Mulhare, Hope Lange, Reta Shaw and Charles Nelson Reilly - and in turn is based on the movie GAMM with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney and the book, by Josephine Leslie, writing under the pseudonym, R A Dick.

Posted by: ghostfan | June 19, 2010 2:54 PM
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The cartoonist has created little original here. This basically is a rip-off of the classic TV show "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." The house even looks like the house from the TV show. I'm surprised none of the judges noticed the plagiarism.

Posted by: epalladino | June 19, 2010 1:53 PM
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I'm far from a professional writer, but I love a good laugh, and this made me laugh. Even at my age, I always enjoy and look forward to each weeks comics in the newspapers, and I can see myself looking forward to what's to come, as well as who'll be visiting the Inn! Hope to see more soon!

Posted by: bkkboy3 | June 17, 2010 10:02 PM
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I am not old enough to comment on the Ghost and Mrs Muir comparison, but I feel like the only reason this would remind anyone of Beetlejuice is if Beetlejuice is the only ghost story they know - or the one non-gory ghost story, I guess. Haunted house ghost stories are a large genre and long-running tradition and I can't think of any one offhand that involves a 70s rock star, nor any that are comic strips, so this certainly seems like a fresh take to me.

I was very much rooting for an earlier entry before I got to this one, and now I can't even remember what that was. It's immediately obvious that this is, like Gene says, the real deal.

Posted by: 1wombat | June 17, 2010 7:54 PM
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Ditto the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Beetlejuice comments. It's tough to see how this concept could be fresh. What's up with all the entries that include middle aged male rock musicians, living or dead?

Several of the finalists have somewhat forced, boxed in themes. My preference is for comics not centered around a stiff concept - stay at home dad antics, rock star ghost antics, guy in a band antics, rich guy meets poor guy antics...

Unfortunately, the winner will most likely be one of the safe, family friendly, sit com theme strips.

Posted by: thingsfallapart | June 17, 2010 2:42 PM
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I also got Ghost and Mrs. Muir right from the start. I did like it. Lots of charecter development ahead. Also good long term potential involving a wide varity of paying guests and visiting friends/relatives from "the city."

Posted by: olddog1 | June 17, 2010 11:22 AM
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Really nice art style here. The humor is still in low-gear but this one could really pick up steam.

Posted by: comicsfan666 | June 16, 2010 3:24 PM
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This suffers, as does 'Big Daddy', from being too sitcom-ish. I liked the delivery of the Keith Richards line (although we've heard that joke before). Aside from that, nothing very funny going on here being a low chuckle. I'd like to see more of the entries engage in edgier humor.

Posted by: ChrisDC | June 16, 2010 12:46 PM
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This one is fun, but I gotta say I can't stop myself from flashing to "Beetlejuice" when I read it. The whole "the manual says you should be running in terror" thing really clinched that for me.

Beautifully drawn and nice pacing, but I'm not sure if I can get past that connection - I feel like I'm waiting for The Banana Boat Song (aka "Day-O") to show up.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 16, 2010 11:59 AM
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Nice style. Reminds me of Booth's New Yorker style.

Am I the only one here who see's this as an updated version of 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,' because it seems it's a 'dead ringer' to me.

Swapping out the Captain for a dead rock star (there's an analogy there) and making the kids more snarky doesn't change much.
Ill bet it follows many of the old TV scripts later-

Not that original in concept, but I love the drawing style.

Posted by: InkSlingerz | June 16, 2010 11:32 AM
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This one's fun.

I am curious how a ghost manages to type, but the humor has great promise. It's a bit too predictable now, but there's room to grow.

I'd like to start seeing the non-spectral characters develop. If it's all about the ghost, I'll probably move on.

Posted by: MsJS | June 16, 2010 10:27 AM
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