My friend David Mruz passed away this week. I first remember meeting David at the BIG FUNNY show, where we had a bunch of art hung up inspired by the newspaper comics of the turn of the previous century, as well as many examples of Sunday pages from that period. David introduced himself and gave me some 100+ year old Happy Hooligan sheet music, just because he thought I would appreciate it. This sort of amazing casual, generous kindness was something that has come up frequently in the remembrances of David I have been reading online.
In the years since then, I always sought David out when I would go to the local comic conventions to sit around and shoot the shit for a while, as it was always one of the big highlights of the shows for me. David was a delight to talk to… he had an incredible enthusiasm for comics, and for the history of cartooning in Minnesota specifically. I am really going to miss getting to talk to him.
You can read a wonderful remembrance of him by his good friend of 50 years Joel Thingvall here and learn about all the wonderful things David accomplished (such as running the first comic conventions in Minnesota back in the 70s, and as a founding member of the Minnesota Cartoonist League).
Back in 2011, Britt Aamodt and Barbara Schulz interviewed me for a project of theirs collecting oral histories of Minnesota cartoonists. I recommended they interview David, since he knew more about the history of cartooning in Minnesota than anyone else I ever met (and probably knew more on that subject than anyone else ever has). Britt and Barb have given me permission to post the interview here. It does a nice job capturing David’s character and enthusiasm, and it will teach you a hell of a lot of things you did not previously know about cartooning in Minnesota. Rest in peace, David.