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Get Ready To Flip! 'Once Upun A Time' returns laughter quite a smile (or: Wanna buy my new calendar of pun cartoons?)

(Note: To skip the backstory below and simply see & order calendars, visit OnceUpunATime.com)

Once upun a time, or more precisely, one score and no years ago, I was an aspiring screenwriter working as a bank teller in Encino, California.

To fill some downtime when there were no customers, I started drawing--more like barely sketching--cartoons featuring puns that came to mind. I'm not sure if it was the absolute first, but a very early one was of Oliver Twist as a world-conquering imperialist asking, "Please sir, may I have Samoa?"

As you can see by clicking here, it wasn't exactly a work of high art. But it inspired me to draw many more pun cartoons and compile them into a calendar--it helped that I was working nights at Kinko's--that I gave to family and friends for the holidays heading into 1991.

Although my illustration skills never reached much beyond rudimentary, I refined some of my production values in creating another weekly calendar for 1992 and went on to make a Once Upun A Time calendar for all the remaining years of the '90s, comprising more than 400 original cartoons.

The calendars seemed to be highly appreciated and complimented by friends, relatives and co-workers who received them (typically 60-100 per year were given out). At various points, I sent copies to Tribune Media Services--after the retirement of Gary Larson's The Far Side--and Recycled Paper Products, but despite being told several times that "you should sell these," I never found a way to do so. And except for an occasional cartoon for a greeting card--another favorite pursuit as you can see here, but using a different type of punnery if at all--I put aside this hobby before the new millennium rolled around.

Until a flood in my condo basement washed away my surplus copies in late 2007, I occasionally shared some of my old calendars with new friends. One of these was my friend Amy who I had met in 2006 when we both lived in Glen Ellyn and worked on some political campaigns together. But honestly, I had forgotten I had ever given her back copies.

Cut to late August of this year. Out of the blue I received a call from Bob Peickert, a mutual friend of both Amy and me, who said that Amy--in the midst of clearing out clutter so she could put her home up for sale (if you want a house in Glen Ellyn, IL, leave a comment and I'll connect you with Amy)--had shown him my calendars and he absolutely loved them. And even better, that he wanted to produce and market them to clients of his Minuteman Press print shop in Glendale Heights, IL.

We had a meeting and it sounded great to me. So I spent the next month drawing a batch of new cartoons just to make it feel somewhat fresh to me; though I certainly could have culled enough decent old cartoons that most people have never seen and the few who did long ago forgot, I still wanted the new edition to have a mix of old and new punography.

Weekly page sample; click to enlarge
In addition to a pun calendar in the style of the weekly desktop planners that I had previously done--with 52 black & white cartoons for 2011 (most years don't begin on Sunday and end on Saturday, so 53 images are more typical); the cover is basically the same as on the monthly version shown at top--Bob asked me to put together a monthly version in color, as many business clients prefer distributing calendars that clients and associates can hang on a wall.

So I added color to some of my favorite cartoons and--with the help of Bob and the staff at his shop, which is handling all orders--I am pleased to re-introduce Once Upun A Time to the world in both Weekly and Monthly editions for 2011. Now available for purchase and sure to make great holiday gifts and/or imprinted business giveaways.

Monthly sample; click to enlarge
Individual copies of each version are just $10--cheaper than most of my mass marketed competition found in bookstores--and drop to as low as $5 per piece for commercial customers ordering in bulk (logo imprinting on the cover is included free on all orders of 25+ calendars).

Please visit OnceUpunATime.com to see some additional examples and place an order. Or you can just call Bob's Minuteman Press shop at (630) 871-6393.

(If you have suggestions for other avenues to sell my pun calendars online or offline, please be in touch.)

Thanks for indulging this self-serving sales pitch and remember to...

Have Plenty of Pun in the Year Ahead!

Once Upun A Time, all cartoons and calendars are the exclusive intellectual property of Seth Arkin. Please do not reproduce without written permission. ©2010. All Rights Reserved.

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