I was born in Germany, but my parents lived in Belgium, and so did I. (It's not like I had much of a choice.) We moved to Germany when I was in third grade.
As a student I was into computers and started a video game development company called Amok. I programmed a few games myself, but then later after Amok had grown a bit, I just acted as project manager for games like Pot Panic and Woody The Worm. Some of our games were even published by a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.
I also started a digital computer magazine on disc, which was the first of its kind. It was called Sex'n'Crime, but it didn't have anything to do with either. It was just a catchy title. It featured all the latest gossip from the computer scene. In a way, I guess you could say Sex'n'Crime was the grandfather of today's blogs. Sex'n'Crime was distributed freely online, but later it was also published by Gong Verlag, Germany's largest magazine publishing house.
At the height of it's popularity, my digital magazine had about half a million readers around the world. And it spawned an avalanche of copycats. After a while there were hundreds of digital scene mags. Even today, several years later, Sex'n'Crime's influence can still be seen in the hacking/cracking scene. For example, I invented the term "IFFL" which came to be a widely used term back then, as well as the word "graphician" (a blend of the words graphics and musician) which is still widely used among computer hackers today.
After I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English literature and German literature, I thought about becoming a special ed teacher.
In Germany they still have a draft and all males are required to join the army for basic training for one year. I was a conscientious objector, so instead of military service I performed 18 months of alternative civilian service as a teacher's aide at a school for mentally handicapped children.
But instead of becoming a teacher, I moved from Germany to New York. While waiting for my work permit, I started to draw cartoons to pass the time. Eventually I decided that I might as well try making a living with my scribblings. (If Disney can do it, so can I! Ha!)
I submitted my first batch of cartoons to King Features syndicate and immediately made a sale. I didn't know at the time how rare that is, so I figured "hey, this is easy!" But freelance cartooning turned out to be harder than I had anticipated. Some weeks I might sell some cartoons and make a nice living, other times I might not sell any cartoon for a month.
So I needed a day job. Well, actually it ended up being a night job. I drew cartoons in the day time and drove a New York City cab at night. That was quite the adventure - and great inspiration!
I love driving, so I actually enjoyed driving a cab. It was like going sight seeing and getting paid for it. But at some point it just wasn't safe anymore because too many cabbies got mugged or killed. So I figured I'll have to look for a real job.
I ended up drawing cartoons for a small newspaper in Manhattan. After a few weeks I was promoted to art director and oversaw the production of the paper.
Working at a newspaper is a lot of stress - so I quit that job when my first cartoon book, The Truth About Cinderella, was published. It wasn't a particularly good book (alright, it was crap!) but it reaffirmed my desire to be a freelance cartoonist.
Things began to pick up and my cartoons were published in many newspapers and magazines across the US, like the National Enquirer, Saturday Evening Post, SUN, Medical Post, Physician, Funny Times, American Police Beat, as well as in magazines in Germany and England. Deike Press, Germany's largest syndicate, distributed my cartoons to hundreds of German newspapers while King Features syndicate distributed them in the US.
I also had a few more cartoon books published and contributed cartoons to about 20 other books.
Eventually my cartoons even ended up in a bunch of museums, like the Museum of Modern Art in Tehran, Iran and the Cartoon Art Museum in Boca Raton.
As much as I enjoyed the bohemian lifestyle as a freelance artist, the economic realities of being a freelancer just plain suck. So I decided I had to get a regular 9-5 job again after all.
I started out in the art department of a small newspaper in Brooklyn. After only a few weeks I was promoted to production manager and once again oversaw the pre-press production process, layout and art design of a newspaper.
Meanwhile I discovered the internet and started to publish my cartoons on this website. First it was just a little thing on the side, but soon my site got so popular that I ended up making more money with my cartoons online than with my newspaper job. A LOT more. So I quit the newspaper job and I've never looked back.
I've been fortunate enough to make a great living with my cartoons. But when a hobby turns into a job, and you don't do it for yourself or for the sheer joy of it anymore, but to put food on the table, then even your favorite hobby can become a burden.
So I "retired" from cartooning a few years ago. The cartoons on this site are all a few years old already.
I got back into video game development again for a little while, just for the fun of it. I was sick and tired of all those unimaginative Flash games that are nothing more than the umpeenth clone of Pacman or Space Invaders or Tetris. So I published a few games under the label Amok Entertainment. My favorite one of those games was Bubble Fun.
Nowadays I like to spend my time traveling around the world, and investing in real estate. It gives me the opportunity to travel and make some money at the same time.