Troubletown FAQs

Is Lloyd Dangle your real name?
Yes, Lloyd Dangle is my real name. My ancestors arrived on the Good Ship Lollypop and a lot of them settled in Pennsylvania and ended up as farmers in Wisconsin and others as gritty workers in the industrial Midwest. Originally our name was “Daniels” but the processing officer at Ellis Island didn’t think it was funny enough. Okay, I made up that last part.

How many papers does Troubletown run in?
Troubletown’s vast syndication hovers around twenty-three papers. God knows it should be in thousands, lots of editors say so privately, but, alas, it doesn’t. Maybe I’m just too uncompromising. Maybe Troubletown is too hot to handle. I think the world is ready for me. Please let your local paper know about it.

Do you get a lot of email, death threats and the like?
I get a lot of colorful email. I think that that is pretty much the norm for any cartoonist political or non. Ever since Reagan emptied out the mental hospitals, cartoonists have had to pick up a lot of that weight. Many believe that cartoonists read people’s minds through extra-sensory means and then publish the contents, which makes them uncomfortable, understandably.
The worst abuse I ever got from my readers was when my son was born and I drew several weeks’ worth of cartoons fawning over my adorable child and commenting on the Troubletown aspects of parenting. I thought the childless urban hipsters were going to show up at my home with torches, they were so vicious. One guy accused me of using up too much of the world’s resources and used the most horrible language! The screeds from right-wingers pale in comparison.

Where do you get your ideas?
Cartoonists, if you can’t find funny things to write about these days, you seriously need to consider a different career. Sometimes it’s literally hard to outdo the reality presented by our country’s leaders. Think of Doctor Strangelove, the most amazing take-off of the cold war era: It would be hard to pull off such a satire today because we already have vaudevillian clowns running the country. That is Karl Rove’s genius.

You pretend to be from Detroit, how does that effect your politics?
Yes, I do pretend to be from Detroit because it sounds so much tougher than being from Ann Arbor, which is thirty miles down the road and doesn’t sound tough at all. My background effects my politics only in that I grew up in a depressed environment where many people were bearing the brunt of our nation’s economic policies, which have really only continued or worsened to this day. Oh, and that Iggy Pop and Bob Seger both grew up there, and that would have an effect on any boy’s character.

You complain a lot, what would you do if you had any power, huh?
Hell, I don’t know. Accept a lot of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and hang out with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Your cartoons have characters that seem to be in spasms of anger. Are you personally in spasms of anger?
Things are not always as they appear in the comics. I have a temper and, honestly, sometimes it scares me. Things that my cats do can throw me into a blind rage. But, other than that, because what I do every day is creative and relatively benign, I think I am in a pretty good, cathartic situation. I don’t know why I like to draw people in spasms of anger, but it makes me feel better and I find that the state of uncontrolled anger looks very funny—on other people.

What gives you the right to make so-called “comics” making fun of our president? Especially at a time of war? Why do you hate America?
I like America, in fact. It’s helpful that English is spoken here, the portions are large, and I appreciate the fact that cartoonists aren’t routinely thrown in jail or stoned to death just for doing and saying what we want. I like George Bush too. If he was a talk show host instead of president he would be funny and just fine, not that I would listen to his show.
I grew up around people who didn’t express themselves much and the message seemed to be that those of us who weren’t “experts” should probably just keep their mouths shut and stay with the program. I didn’t want to do all the work necessary to be an expert. Instead I decided that my perspective, however imperfect, was valid enough to be heard by anyone who would care to listen. Otherwise, what’s the point of all this freedom?

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