'Leftovers!', from Weirdo #6.

Raymond Larrett was an American cartoonist, illustrator and designer from San Francisco, also known under his comix artist persona Norman Dog. During the 1980s, he was part of the "new wave" of indie comix creators, and perfectly captured that period's zeitgeist in his regular feature 'Bad Habits' (1981-2007).

Comix career
Norman Dog's name began to appear in alternative publications from the San Francisco Bay Area starting in 1979. He was best-known for his weekly feature 'Bad Habits' (1981-2007), which appeared in a select group of weekly papers, most notably the East Bay Express. Much of the humor in 'Bad Habits' stems from the disconnect between the words and images of the strip; the dialogue and captions were firmly rooted in post-modern existential angst, while the images always recalled reassuring and whimsical 1950s and 1960s comics and advertising logos. If it was in the pop culture of the 1950s or 1960s, it served as inspiration and subject matter for 'Bad Habits': television shows, Hollywood blockbusters and low budget genre films, advertising mascots, and educational science films all found their way into the strip. The black-and-white strip always featured Zip-A-Tone patterned and grey tone screens (comprised of tiny Ben-Day black dots) and often, large Ben-Day dots that recalled the Pop Art comic book panels created by artist Roy Lichtenstein. 'Bad Habits' mixed nostalgic and commercial imagery with self-aware, cynical and surreal viewpoints to create a distinctly anachronistic gag cartoon.

'The Knuckleheads', from RAW #8 (September 1986).

His comix and cartoons also appeared in The Utne Reader, Anarchy Comix, Robert Crumb's Weirdo, Raw, Spin Magazine, Anarchy Comics, The Chicago Reader, Suburban High Life and Funny Times, and in several handmade xeroxed mini-comix (including Dale Luciano's Dada Gumbo #5 in November 1984). Norman Dog's comic strips were generally made in an landscape format, and gave a witty, cynical, self-aware and at times absurd view on mankind, pop culture, bureaucracy, boredom, overreacting and general numbness. A 'Bad Habits' book collection was published in 1984. Norman Dog, ironically nicknaming himself "America's Most Beloved Cartoonist™", continued to contribute his comix and cartoons to the East Bay Express until 2007.

'Curse of the Mysterious Horror', from Weirdo #6.

Commercial designer & illustrator
Larrett later also ventured into illustration and design work. During the 1980s and 1990s he designed posters, merchandise and promotional material for Winterland Productions, a merchandising management company in San Francisco. He made cartoons and caricatures related to acts and franchises like N'SYNC, Backstreet Boys, Marilyn Manson, Pokémon, Universal Films and Jurassic Park, and oversaw a host of other print, video and online productions for the company, most notably their first database-driven catalog for print and interactive disc. After 2001 he did design work for several other companies and products, including marketing materials for consumer kitchen products, CD package designs for Clear Note Publications, pro bono design work for public service organizations through the Taproot Foundation, and eBook design at Stone Bridge Press. Beginning in 2010 he made illustrations for instructional books by Weldon Owen Publishing, including 'Show Me How', 'Show Dad How', 'Show Me How To Survive', 'Show Off' and 'The Total Gun Manual'.

'Bad Habits' (The East Bay Express, 17 May 2006).

Digital production & publishing
Raymond Larrett was a multimedia designer for Kinetech Arts, Kineviz, Inc. and the California State University in Monterey Bay. In 2010 he founded his own publishing label, Puzzled Squirrel Press, which specialized in the publication of humor, history and mind control eBooks. The label also released kindle collections of older Norman Dog work, such as 'The 37 Cartoons You Should Read Before You Die (The Norman Dog Archives)' (2011) and 'Dr. Doofus' (2011). Operating at the vanguard of new techniques, Larrett authored tutorials on Adobe Illustrator for Peachpit Press' WOW! series (2012-2014).

Death and legacy
Raymond Larrett passed away in January 2020.

Comic for Anarchy Comix, by Norman Dog
From: Anarchy Comics #4.

Series and books by Norman Dog in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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