Beginning next week, the 'burgh will feature editorial cartoons and comic strips in its nitelife section by two local artists.
North Country native Justin McKeon and Will Scheifley, a resident of the city originally from Philadelphia, Pa., will have their respective artwork featured on a weekly basis.
McKeon, whose editorial cartoon "Plattscisity" will focus on random topics in the city, has been creating comics "in one form or another" since he was a boy.
"I still have entire spiral notebooks dedicated to the 'Adventures of Doodlemeister,' a superhero stick man in the vein of James Bond that I created well before my motor skills had caught up to my imagination," said the 26-year-old McKeon.
Since then, McKeon has produced a few comic strips, including one that ran in Syracuse University's student newspaper.
"It's just a fun hobby, and it seems to make a couple people laugh, and that's enough for me," he said.
Scheifley, whose comic strip "Panda and Monkey" focuses on the adventures of fictional characters in places that include Plattsburgh, said he's been drawing for as long as he can remember.
"My mother tells me she spent many hours scrubbing my art work off the walls," said Scheifley, who counts the work of Marvel Comics, the Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy as some of his major artistic influences. "I made comic strips about my classmates and co-workers until I developed my own characters to play the roles."
Though both enveloped in the world of art, their styles are strikingly different. McKeon's art is from a computer-based graphic design standpoint, while Scheifley's is from a freehand drawing approach.
"I don't think I have an art style, unless "novice" is an art style," said McKeon. "I'm not a gifted artist by any means, but luckily cartooning is a medium that rewards ingenuity as much as it does innate talent."
"I call my style Sharpie-Vision because, well, I use Sharpie markers," said Scheifley. "I consider myself a perfectionist, yet I never use a ruler."
McKeon's said the premise of Plattscisity is "pretty simple."
"It's a celebration of all the inside jokes we privately share about this peculiar, yet overwhelmingly familiar city of ours," he said. "Absurd local news stories, the perils of living in a small town, being a 20-something in a town comprised of children and retirees - that sort of thing."
"I love this city, I really do, but it's a quirky place sometimes, and I just think that's worth vocalizing," he added.
Scheifley said Panda and Monkey will introduce readers to the world of the strip's endangered title characters and their friends - which include pigs, cows and chickens.
"I hope everyone enjoys reading about their daily struggles with women, work, health, family and silly trips to Wal-Mart," said Scheifley, adding he'd even be willing to draw readers as characters in the comic strips. "... the 'burgh is a nice place for Panda and Monkey to live and progress. Folks will be able see what they are up to every week."
"Every publication needs a comic strip to provide the reader with a nice chuckle," added Scheifley. "Panda and Monkey will make the 'burgh a little more hip."
"I thought the 'burgh would be a good fit for my style of humor, and accessibility and appeal of a comic, especially one tailored so intimately to the city could serve to draw more readers to the publication," McKeon said of his decision to partner with the 'burgh. "I think my biology teacher would call that symbiosis."
Jeremiah S. Papineau, senior editor of the 'burgh, said he's excited to have McKeon and Scheifley aboard.
"Having both Justin's and Will's talents featured in our new publication will only add to what the 'burgh has to offer its readers," said Papineau. "We don't want to do the same old, same old. We want to make a continued effort to promote local talent and have them be a part of that process."
Suggestions for future comic strips by McKeon and Scheifley may be e-mailed to Papineau at firstname.lastname@example.org. McKeon's work is featured on-line at www.justinmckeon.com; he may be reached at justin.mckeon @gmail.com. Scheifley may be reached at email@example.com.