Main | Art magazine | “Lie Down Policeman” is a non-banal and funny comic strip by Dave Coverley with a 30-year history.
“Lie Down Policeman” is a non-banal and funny comic strip by Dave Coverley with a 30-year history.

“Lie Down Policeman” is a non-banal and funny comic strip by Dave Coverley with a 30-year history.

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American cartoonist Dave Coverley is deservedly considered a true master of his craft. For more than 30 years he has been drawing a series of comic strips called “Lie Down Policeman”, which are printed by more than 400 newspapers and various websites. In general, it is hard to find a person in the West who would be unfamiliar with Coverley's one-panel comic strip, and there is every reason for this popularity. Coverley has successfully taken over the status of “king of humor comics” from iconic cartoonist Gary Larson and is already making his own history in the world of newspaper humor.

Creative conceit

And there is every reason for this - Coverley's comics are absurd in a good way, witty, designed for a wide range of readers, but at the same time the artist does not fall to banal jokes and primitive, but popsy topics like adultery, nudity, too personal stories from ordinary life and the adaptation of bearded anecdotes, as many aspiring cartoonists-freelancers sin. Everything is much smarter and more elegant, so Coverley's humor is international, understandable to all more or less educated people around the world.

A proposal for a king

nd it all started in 1994, when Coverley sent some caricatures to the international men's glossy magazine Esquire. In contrast to the usual glossy magazine, Esquire positioned itself as a “magazine for smart people” and willingly printed ironic but not too obvious caricatures, of which Coverley was a great master.

The editorial board liked the comic, but it was impossible to come up with a suitable title for it, and the version proposed by the editorial board did not suit the artist himself, as it clearly hinted at the stupidity of his characters. In the end, Coverley himself came up with the idea to call the comic book “Lie Down Policeman” and under this name it became known to the whole world.

Voodoo Doll

A year later, Gary Larson finished drawing his famous “The Far Side”, and the “holy place” of quality and non-banal one-panel comics was empty. But not for long - Coverley came on the scene and proved to be a more than worthy successor.

How embarrassed are you right now?

According to Coverley, the most important thing in comics is a good idea, which can bring out even mediocre drawing. But if you don't have a good idea, then no amount of artistic execution will help.

There are no dominant themes in his artwork, Coverley says that his artwork is a kind of humorous cartoon about the absurdities of our lives with a good dose of absurdity. “Life is sometimes funnier than any humorist's fabrications, you just have to find the funny in the ordinary and not banalize it,” shares the secret of Coverley's success. “But a joke for the sake of a joke is a bad joke, any comic should make you laugh and then make you think, or at least think to laugh.”

Book Club

The creative process of finding the right ideas for Coverley is not without its pleasures: he just sits with a big mug of coffee on his favorite couch and dreams about everything in the world. However, sometimes it takes a lot of coffee, and as a result it affects his working day - Coverley, like an owl, goes to bed very late and gets up early.

Drinking coffee pots in the morning and then watching TV, drawing and eating chocolate in the afternoon to maintain proper glucose levels to feed the brain.

Pretend to be good

Then his thoughts take free flight, and the result is often an IDEA. But the main thing is that it must be original: Coverley doesn't like to stoop to self-repeating and even draws new main characters in his comics every time, which is a rare exception, because many artists, once they come up with their thing, stick to it all their lives, even to the detriment of their development as a cartoonist.

Overcoming personal fears

Perhaps this approach is what the audience likes: Coverley is always non-banal, original, does not fixate on one theme, but simply draws great comics, where the main thing is the innovative idea.

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