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These fans are funny

Duo aim to poke fun at sports enthusiasts with comic strip celebrating its 100th day of publication.

June 10, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Five years ago, writer Mark Bloom was looking for an illustrator for his sports editorial comics and placed an ad on craigslist.org. Mark Wilson answered it, and the two got along so well that a partnership formed.

That creative team worked together for a while, took a break, then started a daily comic strip with a sports theme in late March on their website. Tuesday marks the 100th day of publication for the comic strip “Fans-See This! with Barney and Franklin” on www.fansseethis.com.

Wilson, 38, who grew up in Burbank, thought working with Bloom would be a great way to test putting together his illustrations with someone else’s stories, he said.

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“He’s really creative, writing-wise,” Wilson said. “That’s what sold me on him. I liked his ideas.”

One of Wilson’s favorite “Fans-See This!” strips is “Evolution of Fan.” It’s a play on the Evolution of Man sequence that shows the progression of the ape evolving into man.

“The beginning fan is Julius Caesar lying on a pillow eating grapes, and it continues with the final image of Barney, one of our two main characters, slumped in his couch profile view with a remote and a lazy look on his face,” he said. “So it’s the decline of the sports fan. It’s probably my favorite.”

The comic strip has gotten five thumbs up on StumbleUpon.com, and they get a lot of kudos from friends and family, but when a new person’s name pops up on the website, that’s the gold, Wilson said.

“If we can reach one person, then we’ve succeeded in what we wanted to do,” Wilson said.

Bloom, who grew up in Encino, is an actor and production assistant with a commercial production company.

He came up with the idea of Barney and Franklin, a couple of fans commenting on a game, and each has a little bit of his personality, he said.

“I’ve always been a big sports fan, so Barney, who is very invested in the games, is something I can relate to,” Bloom said.

“But now I’m more like Franklin. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to take a step back and take a more rational point of view toward sports. It’s not life or death, and I know there are more important things in the world than that.”

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