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December 3, 2009

Web Comic of the Month: City Limits

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Written by: Eli
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Welcome to the Web Comic of the Month! On the 3rd of each month I’ll bring you a web comic that deserves to be recognized. Well, at least in exchange for the $5 bribe that I’ve extorted from its creators. This month you have the pleasure of checking out City Limits, an online strip that’s brought to us by Jack Sign. Oh, don’t worry about the strip pictured at the beginning of this article. Jack is in no way implying that you guys won’t achieve your dreams of becoming rock stars, pro athletes, Jedi warriors, ninjas, etc. Keep those dreams alive fellas!

City Limits

This month’s web comic is rather different from last month’s feature, both in its format and style of content. City Limits is presented in more of a traditional comic strip format. Featuring 4 main characters, this strip follows Matt, Karen, Patty & Sam as they make their way through life. Another thing about City Limits is that it’s really funny. I think one of the reasons I like it so much is that Sam & Matt are guys I can relate to. They get into some strange and idiotic situations. I’m sure those of you who can’t personally relate to this will be reminded of someone you know as you read the strip. Also, I’ll admit that there are at least two situations that City Limits portrays, which have also happened to me. One of these situations involves a possum, though mine isn’t nearly as cool as the one in the comic. Yes, there’s a guest appearance by a friendly neighborhood possum. The following sequence shows what can happen when you don’t clean up after dinner, and leave a window open. Is it comic genius, or art imitating life? Find out below. Either way, it’s pure hilarity!

The possum saga

Here is the possum saga (as I have named it).

So, want to know who won the battle of Drippy and the possum? You’ll have to visit the site for the conclusion of the possum saga. One thing you’ll notice is that Jack’s animals, the possum and Drippy the dog, are expressive, and well, pretty cute. Drippy even reminds me of my little dog, maybe that’s why I think it’s cute. Regarding the possum, whereas they may seem cuddly, DO NOT attempt to pet a possum, they can bite and apparently… give you the possum flu. OK, that’s enough about that.

Jack Sign

The creator of this month’s Web Comic of the Month, 29 year old Jack Sign, was gracious enough to chat with me about his life, his web comic, and his thoughts.

Eli: Are you married? Does your wife like City Limits?
Jack Sign: I’ve been married to a lovely woman for 3 years now. She loves the comic and helps me out from time to time.

Jack Sign sounds pretty cool, is it your real name?
My real name is not Jack; Jack was the name of my first dog. Yes, that’s right, I deliberately named myself after a dog.

Do you remember the first comic you ever read?
The Far Side was the first comic I ever read. I was “reading” the ones without words before I could actually read. I love The Far Side. If I could think of single panel gags like that, City Limits might be very different.

What was the first comic that you created? When?
It was called A-town, and it was in college–it was basically City Limits. In fact, I was still calling it A-town when I was making the first 5-6 strips, but I found that there was already a strip called that so I switched to City Limits.

How often do you update City Limits?
Tuesdays and Thursdays–I always try to have at least a B/W version up (if not full grays).

How did you come up with City Limits?
I wanted something versatile, so I could go in a lot of different directions story wize. Coupled with the huge influence that Bloom County has had on me, the format seemed to come along naturally.

Are the characters in the strip based on people in your life?
All characters are fictional. Let me repeat that for my friends and family. ALL CHARACTERS ARE FICTIONAL!!! The main reason for this is I didn’t want to worry about anybody getting mad if a character modeled after them turned out to be a jerk, or Communist, or dead.

Did the possum story really happen?
I grew up in what feels like the heart of possum country, so it was kind of a grouping together of different possum encounters.

Have we seen your work anywhere else?
Not really; City Limits is my main outlet.

What do you do when not creating the next City Limits strip?
A lot of sitting, a lot of watching television, sometimes I do both of those at the same time.

What do you use to make your strip? Hardware, Software, gadgets? Why?
I draw the strip with paper, blue pencil, and ink. After that, I scan it onto my Macbook and then make corrections in Photoshop. I’m kind of a sucker for old school methods. I’m very determined to always hand draw and ink the strip, and never go 100% digital. Although I do love my Wacom tablet, I use it mostly to color and make corrections. It saves me a lot of time.

What’s your creative environment like? Noise, silence, day, night, what?
I work pretty late at night, especially if I have an update the next day. As for noise, I usually have a DVD playing in the background; right now, I’m going through the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

What is your favorite City Limits strip?
It’s Spelling because of things that happened after I posted the comic. You see, in that one, Matt writes an irrationally angry letter to General Mills. I chose General Mills, because I wanted a company that doesn’t cut down the rain forest, that doesn’t use sweat shops, or anything like that. They just make cereal and nobody has a real reason to be mad at them. So I posted the comic; my wife read it and then informed me that one of her cousins (who’s wedding I would be attending in a couple of months) not only works for General Mills but works in the public relations department. So the crazy letter might have ended up in her hands if it were real. It was a complete coincidence which I thought was hilarious.

Do you have any tips for aspiring web comic creators in our audience?
First, just start doing it; the hardest part is starting. Second, don’t get down on yourself if you’re not getting a lot of viewers right off. I almost thought it was freeing to have no viewers. It allowed me to experiment and flat out suck sometimes. Third, if you NEED someone to look at your comic who isn’t a relative, here is how you get some cheap views: get a Deviant Art page and plaster it with your url. Then fill the gallery with DC and Marvel pinups. Wonder Woman, Jean Grey, and Harley Quinn are the standard (put a Catwoman in there too for me). That will attract people to your deviant page and a good number will check out your website. Now, I can’t guarantee they will come back again, but you will have some views on your site.

You’re given the chance to do a mini-series for any character from comic history; who do you choose? Why?
I don’t know his official backstory in the DCU, but I’ve always thought that Alfred has a few good stories in his past. If I got 10 minutes to pitch a story to Dan DiDio of DC, I would pitch a sort of Alfred “Year One” about how he becomes the Wayne’s butler.

Person you’d love to get the chance to work with on a comic?
It would defiantly be an artist, that way we could write it together and then they would have to do all the heavy lifting of drawing the darn thing. Sam Keith would be excellent to work with–I love his work. Every time he comes out with a new mini-series, I squeal in joy.

What are your goals/future plans for City Limits?
Honestly, I don’t have that many; don’t get me wrong, it would be fantastic for it to become popular enough for it to be my full time job. But right now, I just enjoy doing it. I guess my only real long term goal is to keep having fun.

What’s your favorite comic book right now?
I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve been dying to get my hands on Fool by Christopher Moore. I’m a big fan of his, and it’s the only book of his I haven’t read.

Favorite comic movie?
Batman Returns, Danny DeVito as the Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Michael Keaton as Batman. What more do you want?

Why has Batman been so important to you?
As a kid, I always rooted for the villains. Not necessarily because they were evil–I just thought they were cooler. How anyone thought He-Man with his fur lined tighty whiteys was cool is beyond me. Almost all the heroes then were big, boring, “the more you know” boy-scouts. And then there was Batman. He lived in a cave; he threw sharp objects; he could disappear in a flash of smoke, and he was scary. He scared criminals in a way that Spider-Man or Superman never did. He was such a departure from everybody else. He was scarier than most villains, and I was just hypnotized.

Who’s a better duo… Matt & Sam, Batman & Robin, or Rorschach & Nite Owl?
It depends on the objective. If it’s sitting around and being kind of jerks, Sam and Matt all the way.

Who’d win in a battle royale between Matt & Sam vs. Alfred (Batman’s butler) & Jarvis (the Avengers butler)?
Like I said earlier, I think Alferd has some tricks up his sleeve. I’m not that familiar with Jarvis, but I’ve always thought of Sam and Matt as wildly out of shape. So I’m going with the Battling Butlers.

What’s the one book you’d want to have if stranded on a deserted island?
One flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest. Everyone should read that book. Not just watch the movie. Read the book!

I’d like to thank Jack (Pete) Sign for giving us some of his time, and for giving us our Web Comic of the Month for December. So, please go check out City Limits. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Have you, like me, had an encounter with a possum, or perhaps another small mammal that creeps around at night? What about that fateful day when you finally realized a dream was dead? You know, the one when you realize that you’re never going to become a genuine Samurai warrior. An astronaut. Crocodile Dundee.


City Limits Comics |  Cast of City Limits |  Possum Saga conclusion |  citylimitscomics@gmail.com




  1. Eli

    In case anybody was wondering, no possums were injured during the writing of this column. 🙂

  2. billy

    Cool getting an interview Eli! The concept as you said is very relatable to most people (me included). Who hasn’t had something crazy involving a wacky critter invading their home?

  3. Great interview! Now can you bribe him to get his ass to work on my movie poster! haha

  4. Eli

    Well Kevin, that depends. Can I have a tiny appearance in the movie, a la Stan Lee???

  5. Yes, but I can’t pay you and you have to pay your own way to Seattle.

    And Sam is totally based off me. You’ll see when you meet me. haha

  6. Great interview Eli!

    I’m a fan of this strip and check up on it weekly.

    I agree with Jack (Pete): Batman Returns kicks ass!!

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