It’s not like I’m doing work. Yet, despite all those would-be self-imposed roadblocks, here he is, still drawing and writing “Drabble,” the comic strip he syndicated into a few hundred newspapers when he was still a student at California State University, Sacramento in 1979.“I work pretty much every day except Sunday,” Fagan says. “And I love it. And now maybe see his protagonist, the hapless college student Norman Drabble, make the jump to the stage as a musical comedy in similar fashion to his hero’s iconic character, Charlie Brown? Schulz? How did a kid who collected “Peanuts” books grow up to become a close friend of that strip’s creator, Charles M. I’m totally opposite of the thought ‘I hate Mondays.’ I love Mondays.”So how did all this happen?
I still can’t. “I liked to think that those ‘Peanuts’ kids lived right around the corner in my own neighborhood, even though it didn’t snow in Inglewood.“I always enjoyed imitating the artwork and trying to draw the characters and seeing how close I could get it. And they’re very difficult to draw. In one of his fondest childhood memories he recalls how his mom often took him to the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, and on the way home always stopped at the same bookshop to let him pick out a new collection of “Peanuts” cartoons.“I would get lost in those books,” he says. I can’t draw my own characters very well, now that I think about it.”
His drawing was never all that good, he says in what soon is apparent as Fagan’s typically self-deprecatory manner. “It’s still kind of crummy,” he says.Fagan, who grew up in Inglewood, had no idea what he wanted to do after graduating Mission Viejo High School in 1974. “I said, ‘Oh, no, I wouldn’t know how to do that,’” Fagan says. “No thoughts, total dumbbell, you know.”And when a friend at Saddleback College suggested he put himself forward for an opening as a cartoonist on the school paper, his deep-rooted shyness made him dismiss it out of hand. To hear Kevin Fagan tell it, he probably never should have made it as a successful comic strip creator.
I have them all out in my studio still.” Always modest, Fagan credits everyone from his mother, Billie, to his musical collaborator, the jazz pianist David Benoit, while seeing himself as the beneficiary of a series of fortunate events – though isn’t there an old saying about one’s luck being self-made?“I read the comics in the newspaper but I started collecting books when I was a kid,” says Fagan, 60, a married father of three grown kids. “The ‘Peanuts’ books and ‘Dennis the Menace,’ ‘B.C.,’ and a lot of those.