And now, as Monty Python would say, for something completely different! Ordinarily, I introduce you guys to authors of fiction…mostly of the thriller genre. Every once in a while, I might throw in a ghost hunter or cryptozoologist from time to time because of my own interest in the subject (not to mention it being a primary theme in my own series of novels). But in my cyber-travels of networking among the author and paranormal community, I have come across some really amazing individuals that are hard to classify. Terri Garofalo is one of these amazing people. I originally met Terri amid the wonderful fans of the SyFy Channel TV show DESTINATION TRUTH. Immediately, upon getting to know her, I knew Terri was someone with a fantastic sense of humor. A look at some of her comic strips and I was immediately hooked. I knew that one day, I would have to introduce you guys to her and her strip ENTITIES-R-US…to my knowledge, one of the only comic strips that deal exclusively with paranormal investigations made popular by TV shows such as DT, Ghosthunters, etc.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Terri and show you some samples of her comic strips as well!
(Terri features a cameo appearance by Destination Truth host Josh Gates…who seems to be having problems with the Bermuda Triangle…as well as portable cartoon holes. lol)
Here’s a brief bio about Terri:
Terri J .Garofalo is the author and artist behind the breakthrough paranormal cartoon, Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic. She fine artist, graphic designer, illustrator and humorous wordsmith by day, and rabid cartoonist as well as paranormal investigator by night. Find the Entities investigation team and their ghostly friends haunting the web at http://www.entities-r-us.com. Terri has two published books, Entities-R-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic – Paranormal Humor for the Ghost Hunter’s Soul and Can I Ride – My First Book About Riding Horses.
Terri Garofalo has been cartooning since the Jurassic period. Early on her work was published in newsprint and magazines. Her first cartoon Wabbit Hutch went to committee with United Features and was considered for syndication. During the 1990s Terri turned to hockey humor, and her comic Puck was the highlight of a weekly newsletter she penned for hockey fans. Puck was a regular in Hockey Weekly and other related publications. Several comic strips later with the advent of the web comic, Terri was excited to find a place where she could publish daily and her readership began. Many of her avid fans and supporters are cast members from Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International – SyFy, Ghost Adventures – Travel Channel, Paranormal State – A&E, Ghost Lab – Discovery – which insinuates that what she writes and draws has got punch to it.
(Snake bite kit, check. IV pouches, check. Pens and erasers?? D’oh! Destination Truth medic and paranormal investigator makes a cameo in this comic strip.)
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Terri about her comic strips, humor, ghost hunting, and a bunch of things! Here’s what she had to say:
1) The big question first…why cartoon paranormal investigations? How did that come about? What was the inspiration?
I started a comic called In Spirit where a fellow named Woodsworth retreats to a trailer in the woods only to discover he is not alone. The last guy who tried that was still there in spite of having an altercation with a barbecue and gasoline. Skeptic, Woodsworth decides to get rid of the unseen foe and hires in a goofball bunch of ghost hunters, Entities-R-Us. Needless to say, they ran away with the strip. I extracted Arno, Merv, Erna and Vlad to create a whole new comic.
2) Now, you have some really interesting characters in your strips. Can you tell us about a few of them (including my particular horn-helmeted favorite)?
Ahhh, A Thor fan! He’s become quite popular these days.
Arno Alkaloid is the adventure-eager team leader. He is deeply intrigued by the world’s mysteries. He knows one day he will discover Atlantis. (I gave him some of my life passions.)
Merv Schwermble is the spazzy tech specialist. Not many people can claim the Magic 8-Ball as a paranormal investigation tool. The best way to describe Merv is “don’t try this at home.”
Erna Eggleston is a medium-sized psychic… Well, maybe taller that that. (For some reason, I’ve decided to draw her taller.) Erna is the Zen master, the grounding force.
Vlad, a demonologist with vampire leanings, is an unknown quantity. Is he a vampire? Or is he just a potential sociopath? It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for…
Vera is NOT quiet. She’s got a Wiccan sense of humor and a bad attitude since she still takes personally all the persecution of all witch kind. Vera is perpetually an investigator in training since she can’t master her anger issues.
Thor is a ghost of a Viking… and before that, a Visigoth. He is an ancient party animal who hangs out with his sidekick Carl. Together they terrorize the boys on Ouija Nite with frat pranks and falsehoods.
Carl is the ghost of a Roman soldier who was brutally hacked up by Attila the Hun in his last life. Carl is a bit light in the loafers. He has never propositioned Thor because Carl just isn’t into horns.
The Entities-R-Us office is haunted by Ms. Henpeck, Arno’s old Kindergarten teacher, who swore to haunt him for all the trouble he caused in class. Also, there is an imp infestation – small, mischievous, nature spirits.
I’ve been cartooning since the Jurassic period. The summer of after ninth grade… 1978? I read a bunch of “Peanuts” books by Charles Shultz. I decided I wanted to create a comic strip. I started “Wabbit Hutch”, a strip that nearly made it into syndication later on.
4) Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the cartooning/art world? Who do you look to as a hero in the field?
Charles Shultz is the biggest inspiration hands down. I am also a fan of Berke Breathed, Gary Larson, etc. I also take inspiration from Warner Bros cartoons and Monty Python.
Artwise, I’m a fan of Marcel Duchamp (anyone who can call a urinal art is okay in my book.) Leo DaVinci was probably the most creative designer ever. Ralph Steadman is probably the coolest illustrator ever. His drawings for Hunter S. Thompson’s books are magnificently expressive and INSANE. I have a soft spot for insanity.
5) Besides your own, what are two or three of your favorite comic strips and why?
Bloom County – because it’s like my cartoons on steroids. I wish I’d go to the edge as well as he does. The Far Side humor ROCKS. Peanuts – the simplicity and the expression are second to none. If you can pull off subtle humor, then you are a real cartoonist. I really appreciate good humor. It’s nice to be proficient in drawing and execution, but if the humor isn’t there, you don’t have a good comic strip.
6) Besides drawing comics about the paranormal, do you ever actually investigate? Tell us about some of your experiences?
I definitely investigate. I am a member of a group, but I do more freelance work out of convenience. My personal experiences in living with ghosts are far more thrilling than the investigations.
One of the most significant experiences was my first one. I recount it in my first book and on the Entities website. Basically, I was pinned down in my bed, unable to move and whispered to. This went on for several nights until I stood up to it and told it to cut it out. After that it would actually help me by turning off lights and shaking my bed if I forgot to set my alarm. His name was Earl. He died in the room of the apartment I was living in at the time. He was quite handy.
I’ve had numerous experiences, caught some amazing EVPs from various places. I’ve seen an apparition, shadow people, etc. It never gets old. So far my favorite place to investigate is the Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, NY. The place is significantly haunted. The ghosts expect to be investigated and often cooperate. One of the coolest EVPs I picked up came from there. “WANT TERRI,” was what a spirit alleged to be Vince said. It was freaky.