All about the mongoose.

I think that title is pretty self-explanatory. In most of my podcast and radio interviews, I've been asked what the story is behind me creating a cartoon mongoose that likes to perform "puns" and "everyday expressions" in illustration form. It's actually a quite bizarre and interesting one.

Growing up in Hawaii, we didn't have alot of wildlife, and the little that we had was all imported. One of those imports was the mongoose from Central America. It was brought over to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1800s to help bring down the population of another imported animal: the rat. There was one problem with this, however: The mongoose hunted during the day, while the rats were nocturnal. This caused the mongoose to become an invasive species itself, as it resorted to feeding on native birds and their eggs. 

Despite this reputation, I found mongooses to be incredibly intriguing animals as a kid. They have the perfect blend of being "cute" yet "ferocious." Also, it's one of the few animals that hasn't been overused as a cartoon character (not since the 1975 chuck jones cartoon "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi). Of course, my Figure-Of-Speech Mongoose isn't a snake-killer. He started out as "The Traveling Mongoose, a potential mascot for TheBus, Honolulu's privately-run city bus system. When that failed due to a lack of financial cooperation from TheBus, I held onto the character for a few more years, finally repackaging him in 2013 as "The Figure-Of-Speech Mongoose." The new name and gimmick for the character was based on his previous roots: I had created a comic strip and short flash cartoon called "catching the bus," where the mongoose misses his bus, only to pull it back toward him using a fishing line. Since the phrase "catching the bus" is a figure-of-speech, and there are plenty of other expressions like that tailor-made for illustrations, it was only fitting to re-name him "The Figure-Of-Speech Mongoose." 

Since producing four comic-strip anthologies, along with the popular weekly pictionary-style "mongoose mondays" social network games (playable on both facebook and instagram), this furry performer-of-puns has quickly become my favorite original character to write and illustrate. This is due to his flexible persona, as I can put him in any situation and in any outfit. He doesn't always have to wear his sleveless t-shirt and denim shorts, but you'll always see him in a pair of shades. This had helped me expand the character in "mongoose mondays," where you can not only name a 'figure-of-speech" illustration, but also drawings of pop songs, movies, and tv shows. The winner of each game gets a sketch of their choice drawn by me, and gets to choose next week's category.

So if you're a fan of the classic comic strip style of animal characters, puns, pop song, tv, or movie trivia, "The Figure-Of-Speech Mongoose" is "right up your alley." ------I may or may not use that one as an illustration.