From Generation Lex to Blundergrads
Washington and Lee alumni from the 1990s will remember a Ring-tum Phi cartoon called “Generation Lex,” by Phil Flickinger, of the Class of 1997.
Phil even collected many of those cartoons in a book, “Invasion of the Bug-Eyed Preppies: A Generation Lex Collection.”
A business administration major, Phil is now an advertiser by trade. He did postgraduate work at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, and he pursues a day job as a brand-strategy director for Venables Bell and Partners, in San Francisco.
But cartooning remains his hobby, and he’s been drawing a college-theme strip, off and on, since graduation. For about seven years, he drew “Lex” and syndicated it independently. After a three-year hiatus, he picked up the pens again in 2008. He jettisoned the main character, Lex, from his previous strip because, as Phil admits on Facebook, “he had become a pain to draw.” He renamed the strip “Blundergrads.”
>Now, five years after he began “Blundergrads,” Phil is taking a big step by launching a Kickstarter project to publish a collection of his favorite “Blundergrads” strips as a book, “Higher Learning from Mistakes.”
You won’t see any strips with copyrights from the first two years, and there are scant few from 2000 & 2001. Why? Overall, my artwork was horrible. My composition was off. My writing was cumbersome, too; I had yet to discover that brevity & levity are correlated. (I still struggle with this.) But you know what? There were some diamonds in the rough that I eventually reworked & redrew. You know what the comic did have from the outset, though? A mission. A heart. A scrappy desire to entertain, regardless of whether it succeeded or fell short. It was resilient. If you’re an aspiring or fledgling cartoonist, my advice is to be resilient.