Berkeley Mews’ creator calls it a dark humor comic series that exposes the seedy underbelly of everything wholesome and pure. “It takes fairy tales and Disney movies and fond remembrances of childhood and turns them into horrible nightmares – but, like, in a fun way,” Ben Zaehringer told Bored Panda.
Ben took some art classes in high school and at the nearby community college, where he learned life-drawing and basic anatomy. “We were also taught to draw cars,” he said. “Cars are the bane of every cartoonist, so I’m glad that I was forced to draw them early.” Now, he’s using these skills to unleash his creative mind, and people think he’s doing a great job. He has about 200K followers on Instagram and Facebook, and this number is constantly growing.
“I’ve been drawing comics for as long as I can remember,” Ben said. “My mom’s cousin, Steve Moore, is a cartoonist, so right away I thought of cartooning as a vocation. My first comics were all in the style of newspaper strips, like FoxTrot and Peanuts, only bad instead of good.”
“My friend Kevin Garvey and I would make comic books every day after school, by folding two sheets of paper together and then filling them in with comics. Mine were mainly parodies of Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, and Kevin’s were these epic, super-funny space operas. When we were done, we’d show them to each other and to our friends. This was the best comics education I ever got. If you are an aspiring cartoonist, make a friend who draws comics (or make your friends draw comics).”
The creator of the series said that disappointment is the main theme in Berkeley Mews. “When I’m writing I ask myself, ‘How can something fun be made disappointing?’ Recurring motifs include: God, Santa, love, death, childhood, and 90s pop culture references. Life moves fast, so I try to only riff on things that are timeless, like Disney movies that get remade every ten years.”