Preoccupied with several projects stemming from his widely-popular cartoon Red Meat, Max Cannon says he has not had the time to crack open a book in over a month.
Usually an avid reader, Cannon, who is the mastermind behind sadistic comic Red Meat, said commitments have cut into his social life.
Outside of writing about the lives of his characters in the strip, Cannon is spending a vast amount of time from working on a animation project loosely based on Red Meat.
Recently syndicated, the comic strip has outgrown its meager beginnings five years ago.
"I have no idea how many (newspapers) carry it," said Cannon.
The strip first appeared here in pages of The Arizona Daily Wildcat after Cannon conceded to Joe Forkan, a friend for some 10 years, who constantly hounded him to draw a strip.
"He basically prodded me into doing a cartoon," Cannon said.
After a few months, Cannon's relationship with his editors at the Wildcat soured. Cannon said he then took his strip to the Tucson Weekly, where he had been working as a production assistant. After showing the strip to Weekly Editor and Publisher Douglas Biggers, Cannon was hired and has been writing Red Meat for the Weekly every week since.
"I was pleased to be in the Weekly, which has a huge readership and was seen by many more people which was nice," said Cannon.
After half a decade writing Red Meat, Cannon says his most memorable experience must have been when he received a letter from a reader in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Cannon had recently drawn a cartoon depicting "a big, fat, older cowboy who was jacked up on speed and coffee, who wanted to write his name on a cow with his pee."
Cannon said the reader wrote a barely legible letter, threatening Cannon and unofficially banning him from the city.
"They were giving me advice on how to be a real man in this country," Cannon said.
Despite being banned in Cheyenne and a small Alabama town where the local university administrators threatened to shut down the campus paper if Red Meat kept appearing, the controversial cartoonist said he likes getting feedback from all his readers. Cannon answers all letters and said he would even write back the disgruntled cowboy if he had included his return address.
Cannon said he is also trying to keep up with the a nationwide demand for Red Meat T-shirts. Cannon said he seems to be always filling orders for the t-shirts which feature such regulars as Milkman Dan, Earl and Ted.
Cannon is also working on a book which will feature the best of Red Meat. The book is tentatively scheduled to be released after the first of the year.
Red Meat can be found on-line at the Weekly's home page (http://www.opus1.com/~tw/tw/twhome.htm). Despite being available on the World Wide Web at the Weekly home page, Red Meat can also be found at another site: The unofficial Red Meat page is http://www.emerald.net/soren/redmeat.html#archive
Despite his success with the Web, Cannon has personally never explored the electronic highway.
"I work on the computer all day long," said Cannon, "the last thing I want to do is play on it after work."
Cannon said he'd rather be reading or listening to wacky '60s jazz.
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