The “Minimum Wage” Story…

Have you ever been so fed up with your job that you dreamed of quitting? That’s how I felt back in 1988. I was so frustrated that I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a syndicated cartoonist. Just like my heroes Charles Schultz, Al Capp and Gary Larson. I envisioned the day my current boss would open the paper and read my daily comic, stunned at my success.

I did a little research, and found out that the standard newspaper cartoon submission was 36 comics, which was six weeks worth. Everyone could relate to working a minimum wage job! I drew on my experiences being a waiter, grocery store bagger and dishwasher. After some experimentation, “Minimum Wage” was born. I was filled with inspiration. Old memories of my younger working days flooded back as raw material.

I also tried to make my comic look different. My panel wasn’t a square or a circle, but a combination of both. Instead of ink and paper, I drew the strip on my mac, using the Macpaint program. My computer looked like this:mac

And the program I used looked like this:


After working for a few weeks, I printed up spiral bound booklets of my comic strip at a nearby Insty-Print, and mailed them off to the major cartoon syndicates. I submitted to United Feature, United Media, Universal Press and others. My hopes were high as I waited in agonizing anticipation.


One by one, the rejection letters began to arrive. I wish I kept a few to show you, but at the time it felt good to throw them away. They were all form letters, anyway. They thanked me for my submission, but my work wasn’t suitable at this time.

comic letter

It was a good thing I kept my day job.

Looking at these comics almost 30 years later, I can see it’s not a brilliant strip. On the other hand, some of these still make me smile. You’ll also notice it’s from a different era. Leroy, my only character, knows nothing of the internet or cell phones. But he does understand the frustrations of low paying employment. Don’t we all?

And so I present to you my humble little vintage comic “Minimum Wage.” I hope it brings you a smile or two.


Spencer Bernard