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Local artists create 'new, fresh' comic strip

Zoe Greszler • Jul 10, 2017 at 1:00 PM

A local man and his girlfriend have displayed their artistic talents for the community. Their avenue of choice: Comics.

For some time, Edison and EHOVE graduate Tyler Voltz’s comic strip “Individual Academy” has been featured on Mondays in the Norwalk Reflector.

Voltz, 26, of Milan, has joined forces with Nikki Skaggs, 22, of Norwalk, to create a new weekly comic.

“Tick and Flea” relates the humorous struggles of a cat with a procrastination problem and an intelligent dog. 

The comic strip debuts on Page A-3 of this newspaper.

“It’s about a cat and dog who live together in an apartment,” Voltz said. “They have to deal with the fact that one of them’s a cat and one of them’s a dog but they have to set their differences aside to be best buddies and live together and pull through.”

Voltz said he and his girlfriend have put a lot of thought into the characters.

He described Tick as “a lazy slob, like any cat” who works as a paperboy. 

“He’s a procrastinator,” Skaggs added.

Flea is smarter than his roommate and attends college.

“But he still has dog-like tendencies like biting the mailman or pooping in the yard or drinking out of the toilet,” Voltz said. 

“Individual Academy” has run its course, Voltz said, adding the comic “was too hard to draw and it took up too much of my time out of my week.”

When he realized it was time to move on, inspiration came to Voltz from a popular comic and his favorite TV show — Cartoon Network’s “The Regular Show.”

“So I wanted to try something new and something fresh, something that would take less time to draw. I was looking through comic books for inspiration and I was reading a lot of “Garfield.” I loved Garfield’s relationship with Odie because I love cats and dogs and how very different they are. That’s when it hit me — What if a dog and a cat lived together in an apartment? And what if they had a lot of differences and they still had to get along with each other?”

Skaggs loved the idea and already had a few ideas and jokes in mind for the comic strip. Now Voltz creates the art and Skaggs comes up with a lot of the content.

“We get a lot of inspiration from different cat and dog videos on YouTube,” she said.

Creating one strip to be published in the Reflector, as well as on the Tick and Flea Tumblr and Facebook pages, usually takes about five hours, Voltz said. First he draws the comic out by hand, then digitizes them using computer programs Microsoft Paint and Gimp. The black and white version is printed in the newspaper and the color versions are published on social media.

Voltz said that comics are something he enjoys and hopes others will too.

To follow the comic and Voltz and Skaggs’ progress, visit the Tumblr and Facebook pages “Tyler Lee Voltz.”

“Tick and Flea” will continue to be published Mondays in the Reflector.

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