Back in 2001, I got laid off from a job right around the same time as Sam Brown, the creator of Exploding Dog. Over the course of that year, as I looked for work and worked to remake a lot of my life, Sam spent much of his time creating illustrations based on captions submitted from his audience. I took a lot of inspiration from the work that Sam did on the site.
We met for the first time later that year at a meet-up for his fans (He insists that I was proclaiming adamantly at the time that I wasn’t into blogging) and have run into each other a number of times along the way, especially at Mark Hurst’s Gel Conference. In some ways, as the popularity of his site has grown, I’ve felt a bit like someone watching a favorite local band start to become a well-known name. Except without the feeling that the artist has sold out.
Back then, I used to check in on the Exploding Dog every few days; It was a nice, simple respite during a time when I didn’t have a lot of them. So I was thrilled to hear that Exploding Dog 2001 has been published, a single book collecting all of the pictures from that year. The illustrations from 2001 were fun and affecting as I’d remembered, and though Sam’s sent me a copy since I started working on this post, I’d have gotten a copy of the book regardless. You should too.