From Bono to Gaga

July 30th, 2011

It’s happened again. I seemed to be in the right place at the right time for a celebrity sighting. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t get that excited about such things. However, whether spotting someone like Bono or Lady Gaga, my inner journalist takes over. And although I don’t carry a camera, I do have a smart phone (I also often carry a sketchbook, but I’m fairly certain not even celebrities on the B list would wait around for me to do a sketch.)

Once, upon spotting U2‘s Bono at a bar in my Omaha neighborhood, I followed him outside to snap a photo. Unfortunately, my attempt to capture his image didn’t go so well. (Read about my attempt here.)

bono, jeff Koterba

This past Monday, on the very day I was celebrating 22 years as a full-time cartoonist (that’s at least 7000 deadlines, I’m guessing. Gulp.), I went for a walk and came upon a small crowd gathered in front of KFAB studios, a few blocks from where I live. As I approached, Lady Gaga arrived—she was there to give an interview. Memories of my botched photo attempt of Bono, of course, quickly came to mind. Coincidentally, Lady Gaga was standing just yards away from where Bono stood for my “photo” of him.

I have several good friends at the Omaha World-Herald who happen to be talented photographers. Their jobs seem glamorous. They get to cover everything from wars to championship sporting events, often gaining access to people and places the rest of us can only dream of. They also get to spend a great deal of time outside, not stuck at a desk or drawing table. There have been times when I’ve even fantasized that maybe I should have taken up photography. But then, all it takes is a moment like the other day, when I find myself among screaming—and in some cases, crying—fans, that I remind myself that I’ve made the right choices career-wise.

Here’s one attempt (Did I mention I was in sweaty running clothes? Humbling.)…

Jeff Koterba, Lady Gaga


Example number two why it’s good I didn’t become a professional photographer…


Finally, with the exception of someone’s giant hand that got in the way, a bit of success (though she’s probably thinking, “Who’s the dude in the sweaty workout clothes? Even the guys from TMZ dress better than that…”)…

Quirky side note alert: the way Lady Gaga’s hair is swirled around her face reminds me a little of the cover of Lisa Glatt’s novel, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That. 

Farewell, Space Shuttle

July 21st, 2011

I’m pleased but saddened by all the attention the space shuttle is getting these days. While it’s reassuring to know that there is still a fervent interest in space exploration, it’s heartbreaking that the United States has no plans in the near future to send humans back into the heavens.

Here’s a recent cartoon on the topic:

Jeff Koterba, cartoon, moon landing, space shuttle

And here’s an excerpt from a previous post you might enjoy:

When my memoir, Inklings, was released in November 2009, I had no idea that I would soon get the opportunity to write a new ending. At the same time Inklings was hitting bookshelves, astronaut Clay Anderson was making preparations for his second flight into space. Little did I know that just a few months later, I would be making my way to the Kennedy Space Center where I would watch space shuttle Discovery launch into space with two of my cartoons on board.

One of those cartoons was of Dogie—a dog character I had created as a child and one that plays a significant role in my book. Now, Dogie would have a chance at redemption. (For trivia buffs: according to NASA, the sketches that flew aboard Discovery marked only the second time cartoons made it into space. The first being sketches created by Peants creator Charles Schulz.)

jeff koterba, cartoon, space shuttle, snoopy, dogie the doggie, dog

On April 5, 2010, space shuttle Discovery—with Dogie the Doggie an extra crew member—was launched into orbit for a two-week mission.

After returning from the launch I had a discussion with my wonderful literary agent, Amy Moore-Benson. Why not write an epilogue for the paperback edition, she suggested, one that would come out later that year? My editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Tom Bouman, loved the idea and before long, a new epilogue was written and added to the paperback, released in Novemember, 2010.

jeff koterba, jeffrey koterba, inklings, memoir

Buy Inklings with the special space shuttle epilogue here!