Tim Downs Blog The Official Blog of Author Tim Downs


What is it about Halloween?

For those of you who only know me as a novelist, you might be interested to know that my first real job was writing and drawing a daily comic strip. My strip was called Downstown, and it was syndicated by the same people that also represented Doonesbury, Cathy, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes (I love to drop those names because it makes my strip sound more famous than it was). What, you’ve never heard of Downstown? Well, that might be because I retired the strip before some of you were even born—in 1986. Wow—I suddenly feel old.

Producing 6 dailies per week plus a color Sunday required a constant search for material. Holidays were a great source of ideas, and one of my favorite holidays was always Halloween. I never seemed to have a problem coming up with gags when Halloween rolled around, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe it was the clever costumes that always got my creative juices flowing, or maybe it was just the childhood memories of good times blowing up mailboxes—I’m sorry, make that trick-or-treating.

I drew about 2500 comic strips during my cartooning career, and with Halloween approaching again I’m feeling a little nostalgic. For old time’s sake I thought I’d dig out a few of my old Halloween Downstown strips and post them on my website. Why don’t you drop by and take a look?

And Happy Halloween.

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  1. I certainly was around in the 80’s and was (selfishly) disappointed when you retired the strip in ’86. You *should* make those old collections available. As yopu know it’s very easy to publish things nowadays without the evil publishers, though I understand graphics are a special challenge. I’m convinced you have a market among the sarcastic set. Check out xkcd’s recent collection. http://store.xkcd.com/xkcd/#xkcdvolume0
    P.S. I hope you still lurk here …. your link above is 404’d.

  2. I don’t remember the year, but the cartoon strip you did at Halloween about little gilrs trick or treating as feminists and a homemaker so fits today’s Hilary Rosen fiasco. I hung a framed treasured copy twenty years ago

  3. My favorite arc was when Laylo snuck into the Olympic Village. I cut out the strip where he carries the American flag and found it in (and I am not making this up) a pamphlet that tells you how to solve the Rubick’s cube.

  4. Tim, your strips were hilarious!! I still carry around one of the strips about the Sacastics Anon meeting. I wish you would bring it back! For those looking, you can get copy on Amazon.
    Doonesbury doesn’t hold a candle to Downstown.

  5. Tim, I was at IU from 73-77 and vividly remember fighting my roommates for the latest daily stupid just to read your strip. It was a delight. I see the gal Kristin above said something about a book. Is there a book of strips available somewhere?

    • Thanks for asking, Tim. Not many people remember my comic strip anymore. There were actually four collections of Downstown published over time, but none of them are readily available anymore.

  6. Tim, I bought the book of Downstown strips at Christmas Conference in Atlanta in the early 90’s. Loved it!

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