Get ready, Cherry Poptart is coming back

The 70s were an incredible time for Undergrown comics. From here we saw an incredible amount of characters emerge. Inside them Cherry, come and discover the future of character with their creator.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Larry Welz, creator of Cherry, and had the opportunity to ask him some questions. Without further delay, here we leave you this interview.

C506: Hi Larry, it’s nice to chat with you. In the first instance, we would like to know, how was Cherry born?

Larry Welz: In the 1970s, “underground” comics proliferated, done by young people rebelling against the stifling “normal” culture of postwar America they had been brought up in, doing things that were considered unacceptable in “polite” society, having fun with taboo subjects.

Mad comics and Mad Magazine had instilled in us the idea that authority was to be mocked. At the time, pretty much every comic book company had a title like Archie Comics, wacky teenager antics. Archie had been pursuing Betty and Veronica for 50 years and still had not gotten laid.

I thought to myself “What if there was a comic that that presents real teenage situations as if it was fun, and normal?” That was a revolutionary concept then. So I gradually pieced together some clichés and ironic gags, called it Cherry Poptart, did a cover that looked like those other comics and gave it to Ron Turner at Last Gasp in San Francisco. I had thought of it as a one-off, but it actually sold well, so I had to do some more.

C506: And once the character was established, we want to know, who is Cherry?

Larry Welz: I’ll have to admit that she is… not based on, but inspired by Little Annie Fanny ( Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder still doing it for me). Her basic image is stolen from Melody of Josie & the Pussycats.

I really haven’t developed her that much as a character, so I guess that leaves her open for the reader to fill in the blank with themselves.

At a ComiCon once I had a fairly butchy lesbian come up to my table, point to my books, turn to her partner & say “She’s based on me, you know.” Oh hell yes. Cherry’s iconic, like Betty Boop. What she actually represents is the Maiden aspect of the Goddess. Goddess has 3 aspects; the Maiden, the Matron, the Crone. So Cherry’s actually kind of a fertility symbol, flowers grow in her footsteps, fights break up when she approaches, suicidal teenagers change their mind if she walks by. Cherry is the Love Goddess; it’s an evolutionary thing, that’s why the urge is so strong.

C506: And finally, I found out that Cherry will make a comeback after a well deserved break, would you like to tell us a little about how she will come back?

Larry Welz: In the 1990s we changed our publisher to Kitchen Sink Press. That didn’t work out. We self-published a couple more books. The whole comics industry went into a slump, distributors disappeared. We moved from the wine country in California to Roswell, New Mexico.

I started a sign shop and painted carnival rides, mostly funhouses, mirror mazes, and darkrides. Painted some murals around Roswell. I was dealing with the immediate concerns of survival and didn’t have time to make a comic book.

Years passed. We moved to Albuquerque to be near our grandkids. I quit painting rides, after 35 years of it, so I had to come up with something else. I painted stage scenery for community theatres in Albuquerque for a while and finally decided to start doing a webcomic that would turn into a graphic novel.

C506: Thank you for sharing with us and we hope to have you here again very soon.

Expect more from Cherry very soon and don’t forget to follow C506 to keep in touch with your favorite artists.

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