In the bleachers by Steve Moore

Steve Moore is an American cartoonist, best known for his sports cartoons of which 'In the Bleachers' (1985) is the most well known. He is also active in the field of animation, creating the 'Alpha and Omega' franchise and the animated feature film 'Open Season' (2006), which was based on some episodes of 'In the Bleachers'. As a children's book writer and illustrator, Moore is notable as the author of the 'King of the Bench' series. He should not be confused with Steve Moore, the British comic writer (1949-2014), who created 'Axel Pressbutton'.

Early life and career
Steve Moore was born in 1965 in Colorado and grew up in Southern California. Although he drew cartoons in his school books as a child, he actually wanted to become a veterinarian. He studied this profession at Oregon State University, but eventually changed his subject to journalism, graduating with a master's degree. After college, Moore worked as the sports editor for Maui News in Hawaii. In 1985 he was hired as an editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he wrote articles about sports, news and features for eleven years. He was additionally writer/news editor for the Lake Oswego Review. Moore eventually took an interest in cartooning, inspired by his main graphic influences B. Kliban and Gary Larson

In the Bleachers
On 1 September 1985 the first episode of Moore's sports-themed series: 'In the Bleachers' (1985-2018) appeared in print. Most episodes are one-panel cartoons, but some have made use of comic strip sequences too. There are no recurring characters or focus on one particular sport. Gags can revolve around professional sportspeople, but also regular people playing a game. 'In the Bleachers' proved popular. Between 1985 and 1995 it was syndicated by Tribune Media Services, until the Universal Press Syndicate, Universal Uclick and Andrews McNeel Syndication took it over. In order to concentrate more on 'In the Bleachers', Moore in 1996 resigned as editor for the Los Angeles Times. 

Around the same time he created his sports-themed comic series 'In the Bleachers' (1985). The comics are often one-panel cartoons, but have made use of comic strip sequences too. There are no real recurring characters or focus on one particular sport. The feature proved popular and was soon syndicated through Universal Press Syndicate to about 200 papers worldwide. Moore eventually resigned as editor for the Los Angeles Times in order to concentrate more on 'In the Bleachers'. One cartoon depicted an "annual instant gratification zero-mile fun run", in which the athletes don't have to run, but receive their award - a T-shirt- instantly. In a case of life imitates art, it inspired a real-life sports contest held in Philadelphia, titled the 'Philly 0.0.-mile road race'. Just like in the cartoon participants simply show up at the race, don't run and receive a T-shirt and other gifts instantly. A portion of the proceeds from this non-competitive event are donated to charity. 

The series ran for more almost 33 years until on 9 July 2018 Moore announced his retirement, due to essential tremor, a neurological disorder. Since 2018 'In the Bleachers' is continued by Ben Zaehringer.  A compilation of 'In the Bleachers' is available in the book  'The Best of 'In the Bleachers'. Steve Moore's Funniest Sports Cartoons. A Classic Collection of Mental Errors' (Little, Brown & Company, 2003). 

In the bleachers by Steve Moore

Animated media adaptations & other films
In 2002 'In the Bleachers' was adapted into an animated TV series by Ed Wexler and Gary Katona, who work for the Walt Disney Company. These 15-second long shorts led to a full-blown, but shortlived animated TV series, 'Metalheads' (2003-2004), created by Moore. It was set on an academy where all students study to become knights. 'Metalheads' was a co-production with TV-Toonland, CBBC and the German TV company ZDF.

In 2006 Jill Culton and Roger Allers directed 'Open Season' (2006), with Moore as co-producer. 'Open Season' is a 3-D animated feature film based on the hunting-themed episodes of 'In the Bleachers', though from the perspective of a group of forest animals who try to defend themselves against game hunters. 'Open Season' featured celebrity voice work by actors like Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Gary Sinise, Debra Messing, Billy Connolly and Jon Favreau. The picture was released by Columbia Pictures and received mixed reviews. Nevertheless it did well enough at the box office to three direct-to-video sequels and a video game spin-off. 

Moore was also involved with the production of another succesful animated franchise, namely 'Alpha and Omega' (2010). In collaboration with directors Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck, he wrote a love story about a male and female wolf from two rival tribes. The picture was distributed by Lionsgate Films and featured voice work by Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover and Christina Ricci. Despite bad reviews, 'Alpha and Omega' spawned seven direct-to-video sequels and one video game adaptation.

King of the Bench
Steve Moore is the writer and illustrator of 'King of the Bench', a children's book series about a boy who is average in sports. Moore has described the books as "autobiographical". So far, four titles have been published by Harper/Collins: 'No Fear' (2017), 'Control Freak' (2017),  'Kicking and Screaming' (2018) and 'Comeback Kid' (2018). 

Graphic contributions
In 2014 Steve Moore made a graphic contribution to the anthology comic book 'Tarzan and the Comics of Idaho #1' (2014). This was a project to benefit the Friends of the Boise Public Library, a group which supports the public library of Boise, Idaho. The book promotes 'Tarzan' by Edgar Rice Burroughs, with tributes to the 'Tarzan' comics created by Harold Foster. It features other graphic contributions by artists like Charles Soule, Dennis P. Eichhorn, Todd Clark, Allen Gladfelter, Dame Darcy, Randall Kirby, Steve Willhite, Scott Pentzer, Jim Sumii, Julia Green, Jon Kiethley and Shanae LaVelle. It was succesful enough to inspire follow-up issues.

In the bleachers by Steve Moore

www.inthebleachers.com

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