|Author(s)||Theron Heir (2001–2012)|
Darrin Bell (2012-2018)
|Illustrator(s)||Darrin Bell (2001–2018)|
|Current status/schedule||Concluded daily strip|
|Launch date||September 3, 2001|
|End date||June 1, 2018|
|Syndicate(s)||United Feature Syndicate (2001–c. 2011)|
The Washington Post Writers Group (c. 2011–2018)
|Publisher(s)||Andrews McMeel Publishing|
|Genre(s)||Humor, technology, politics|
Before being syndicated, Rudy Park was published in the late 1990s in the San Jose Mercury News' former Sunday magazine, SV, and other high-tech magazines. It was picked up for syndication by United Feature Syndicate in 2001. Around 2011 it switched syndicates to The Washington Post Writers Group (which also distributes Candorville).
Theron Heir a.k.a. Matt Richtel, wrote the strip from 2001–2012, when he announced he was taking a year-long sabbatical to focus on other projects. Illustrator Bell at that point took over the writing duties. Although the intention was Heir would return to writing the strip after the one year sabbatical, there is no indication he has done so and Bell has continued the writing and illustrating duties.
Rudy Park and Candorville exist in a shared universe. For a period in 2017, the strips were amalgamated while Bell was dealing with health and exhaustion issues. In June 2018, Bell ended Rudy Park, although characters from that strip will continue to appear in Candorville. At the end, Rudy Park was only appearing in a few dozen newspapers.
Story and charactersEdit
The strip started in early 2001, when its principal character was laid off from his job at a dot-com company but eventually found a new job as a barista in a coffee shop/internet cafe, the House of Java Cybercafe. Because of its early allusion to the dot-com bust, the strip occasionally takes on current events but in a more lightweight manner compared to Bell's other creation, Candorville.
The strip usually focuses on Rudy and his nemesis Sadie Cohen, a frequent customer and octogenarian who disdains Rudy's love for new technology. Other characters include: Armstrong Maynard, Rudy's cheapskate boss; Randy "The Rock" Taylor, a neurotic ex-athlete that frequently hangs out around the bar; and Rudy's Uncle Mort, an aging social liberal prone to protesting in the bar with his trusty bullhorn.
In January 2007, the strip's creators had Mort die of a heart attack, just weeks after his wedding to Mrs. Cohen. He died during a heated argument with Donald Rumsfeld, who had begun visiting the cafe after his ouster as Defense Secretary. For reasons yet to be revealed, Mort came back to life in February 2009.
Two collections of the strip have been published: Rudy Park: The People Must Be Wired (2003), and Peace, Love, Lattes: A Rudy Park Collection (2004).
Rudy Park: The People Must Be Wired takes on the fast pace of the technology-driven world, our obsession with materialism, and the foibles of cultural and political icons. The story takes place at an Internet café, following the lives of a regular cast of characters, including Rudy, the café's manager, who believes in all things Internet, the healing powers of consumption, and the conviction that inner peace lies in having the latest technological gadget. Rudy must deal with his new station in life, his entrepreneurial boss, and an odd assortment of regular patrons, like Mrs. Cohen, an irascible octogenarian who challenges Rudy at every turn. The café is also a crossroads for contemporary issues and celebrity and political visitors, such as John Ashcroft, who monitors people from his home inside a pastry container at the cafe, and Senator Tom Daschle, who is afraid to draw too much attention to himself, lives under a table.
- Scheinin, Richard. "News: 'Rudy Park' comic strip makes a comeback Monday in the Mercury News," The Mercury News (September 16, 2009).
- Gardner, Alan. "MATT RICHTEL TAKES YEAR SABBATICAL FROM RUDY PARK," The Daily Cartoonist (April 13, 2012).
- Degg, D. D. "THE AMALGAMATION OF CANDORVILLE AND RUDY PARK," The Daily Cartoonist (June 16, 2018).
- Degg, D. D. "CANDORVILLE/RUDY PARK AMALGAMATION EXPLAINED," '"The Daily Cartoonist (October 21, 2018).
- Astor, Dave. "‘Rudy Park’ Cartoonists Discuss the Death of a Comic Character," Editor & Publisher (January 12, 2007).
- "Rudy Park by Darrin Bell and Theron Heir for February 05, 2009 - GoComics.com". Gocomics.com. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2019.