Bellingham cartoonist creates poster for UFO festival

Doug Ogg is hoping his nationally self-syndicated comic panel, “Ogg’s World,” really takes off.

Until then, the Bellingham cartoonist will be busy signing an other-worldly poster at the 60th anniversary UFO festival, which runs today through Sunday in Roswell, N.M.

His poster, entitled “Return to Roswell,” is officially designated to commemorate the incident in July 1947 when an alien-piloted flying saucer supposedly crashed outside the small New Mexican town — followed quickly by a government coverup.

Ogg, 47, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of California, Davis. He also taught graphics at Shoreline Community College.

He and his wife, Laura, came to Bellingham in 2001. Their son, Duncan, 11, just finished fifth grade at Northern Heights Elementary and already has established a Web site for his own writing and drawings.

Question: You seem to be flying high over this Roswell gig. How did you get it?

Answer: “Coast To Coast” (the national overnight radio show) runs my Ogg’s World cartoons (on its Web site) and I get all kinds of outrageous fan letters. I did a cartoon with a Roswell theme and the Roswellians saw it and asked me if I would do a poster for their celebration.

Q: I love your alien flashing the V sign.

A: The Roswellians really liked the poster and they’ve invited me there to sign 1,000 posters. I’m doing it for the UFO Festival Committee charity.

Q: This sounds like fun, although I understand some of those Roswell conspiracy folks take it pretty seriously.

A: Roswell gets 20,000 UFO tourists a year to visit the museum, but this anniversary is expected to attract more than 100,000 people. Among conspiracy controversies, Roswell is second in U.S. history only to John F. Kennedy. I’m honored to be part of the celebration, because I’ve been fascinated by the Roswell story for a long time.

Q: “Ogg’s World” is really hilarious. It seems very much in the tradition of the “Far Side” by Gary Larson. How is “Ogg’s World” doing?

A: I’ve been self-syndicating it to alternative weekly newspapers all over the country starting in 2005. I would love to break into national daily syndication, and I’ll keep trying.

Q: What gave you the idea?

A: I was first inspired by meeting Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) in 1988. He gave me lots of good advice.

Q: What’s this old clipping of you (as a child) laid up with a huge cast on your leg?

A: I’ve always loved doodling and drawing. I would get the comics page and try to draw every cartoon. When I was 6 and living in Antioch (Calif.), my right leg was fractured in a freak accident when a tire flew off a truck. I was in bed most of a year, and about all I could do was write and draw.

Q: Your sense of humor is amazing. This panel labeled “Calvin at 65” with a stuffed Hobbes at his feet is hysterical. Where do you get your ideas?

A: Ideas come to me every day, just observing things around me. It seems like I never run out of ideas. I’m always writing them down, I’ve done more than 200 “Ogg’s World” panels. They’re not really political, but my cartoons do often refer to history and culture.

Q: What are the “Adventure Boys” books you’re working on?

A: AdventureBoys.com has just launched six books for young readers, with characters set in different time periods and designed to harken back to adventure stories as they used to be told from the standpoint of heroes in various media. The stories are designed to get boys away from video games and TV. I provide some of the history, content and activities for the books. These books are based on stories that are designed to provide activities and to link generations. They’re cool stories.