Instructional Guide to Push-Ups
medium. ink and colored pencil on paper
by. Dave Shevlin
location. Buffalo, NY
Welcome to Ice Cream Social, the summer's socially distant group art show, featuring creators and makers from all walks of life, coming together to share their love of the greatest treat known to man. Each week through Labor Day, come chill with new artists as they discuss a wide range of topics spanning their personal journeys, art, pop culture, and, of course, ice cream! Halfway through our frozen adventure, I'm proud deliver yet another potent flavor, this time from amazing artist in illustrator Roberto Duque, as well as shake up the toppings a bit for a sit-down with content creator – and admitted non-artist – Dave Shevlin.
Previous Ice Cream Social flavors include digital art by comic book creators Brendan Albetski, Marcelo Biott, and Adam Reck, as well as a fun sketch from #AuGhost creator Jeff Somogyi, masterful embroidery from Zach Gesford, the ultimate ice cream sandwich from sandwich swami Deli Fresh Threads, pyrographic wonders from Michael O'Shields, crocheted wizardry by Chelsey Scully, a fantastic oil painting courtesy of Maria Solias, and a colorful triptych from jack-of-all-trades Wally Tautz.
I've never interacted with an ice cream truck
Dave! Welcome to Ice Cream Social. This artboost has been a moving target since Day One, but providing a platform for creators has always been the aim, so why not also include content creators of the written word, in addition to visual artists? What is it that motivates you to write?
Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this Ice Cream Extravaganza! My motivation for writing is my fanboy passion honestly. I really just want to talk about the things I love, be it comic books, video games, movies. I have way too much useless nerd information stuck in my head that I had to share it somehow.
In my late teens, I decided I wanted to be a writer, but after some failed attempts at creating my own comic book universe, I realized I'm way better at writing about the things I love, rather than creating new fiction. I don't really think of myself as a good writer, so much as I am an enthusiastic writer.
You've parlayed that enthusiasm into a burgeoning collaborative site, Comfort Food Comics, (and accompanying podcast) that has given a number of guest writers a platform to voice their critiques, and unlike many outlaw comic sites, you even offer a nominal payment for these writers' efforts, which is simply amazing.
Yes! I know full well I'm more privileged and well off than a lot of other people and I want to share the wealth, so I've been trying to offer payment to anyone who takes the time to help support the Comfort Food Comics brand. I'm now at the mindset that I want to pay to bring the comic articles I would want to read into existence. I hope the public enjoys the content as much as I do.
Good man. Like a traditional artist, you wear a number of hats as the creator and content manager of CFC. You're writing, editing, uploading, promoting, hiring freelancers. Is there one particular task you prefer over the others? Conversely, is there something you can't bear to deal with?
My favorite thing about running this site is giving others a platform to write about their own personal experience for their personal top Comfort Food Comic. I love reading these heartwarming tales of nostalgia and what personally affects others in this comic medium. So, I guess you could say I love editing the most. One thing I can't stand, because I hate being a pushy person, is hounding people to get pieces after they've agreed to do one.
Talk about some of your own nostalgic comic moments.
I'll never forget being a kid and finding Spider-Man: The Parker Years on a shopping trip with the family to the mall. I was able to experience years of Spidey history from just one book! A life-changing experience. Another fave is Green Lantern vol. 3 #59, where Kyle Rayner has to get over the bad things in his life and soldier on. He can't forget to live, and live happy. I read that at a real crossroads in my life.
Is this sort of feeling you get when you reminisce where you go the name "Comfort Food Comics from in the first place?
That's right! To me the absolute best comic books are the ones you have a profound, personal attachment to. Either they were special childhood treasures, or you were reading them at an important time in your your life. There's a billion sites that want to analyze the craft and skill of comics, but I want to carve out a little niche of the internet exploring how comics make you feel and why they matter on an emotional level. Nostalgia, love, and that cool factor.
It's funny how things as different comic books and food can evoke similar reactions and trigger the same kind of warm memories. What's the ultimate comfort food to you?
My ultimate comfort food is a tie. There's porcupine meatballs - meatballs with rice mixed in them, in a tomato sauce which my Mom always made. The other is snowcaps. Sliced hot dog pieces inside mashed potatoes with a thick layer of cheddar cheese on top. This was something my Grandma made and now every family member makes.
Hot dogs inside mashed potatoes. I had to write that out to make it real. Do you grill the hot dogs first?
Absolutely not. You put it all together and bake it for a spell. It cooks the hot dog pieces, warms the mashed potatoes even more and melts the cheese to be a gooey delicious top.
The only logical follow-up question to this is, why did you make this up?
And how did you manage to create so many recipes to populate across the web to bolster the believability of this prank?
Ask Grandma Alice. She's the one to bring this cooking tradition into the Gaiser/Shevlin family. Try it out everybody, you won't regret it.
To be frank – get it? – the photos I'm seeing are not unappetizing. And I also used to eat white rice with French dressing, so I'm no one to talk at all. I never expected to learn about hot dog recipes here at Ice Cream Social. Which reminds me... we need to talk about your piece, "Instructional Guide to Push-Ups". Is it daunting to be a non-artist trying to render an idea in images instead of words?
It is nowadays. As a kid, I spent most of my time at the coffee table drawing on long stacks of that old computer printer paper that was stuck together. Remember that? For many years, I was dead set on becoming the next Jim Davis with my creation Wuff the Dog. For about the first 12 years of my life, it was just an inevitability I'd be some type of artist. I even was sort of on par with my old childhood pal Lee Nycz (fellow contributor to The ColleXion, an X-Men-themed trading card set) who was the artist in our school. My art skills stalled out a very long time ago. I can really wow them at game night Pictionary, but when it comes to wading into the professional art sea like this, I feel like I showed up to a funeral in shorts.
Whoa! We've known each other about a year, and I don't think this has ever come up. Do any Wuff the Dog archives still exist?
The actual set of three panel strips, no, sadly. I did a series of Wuff garden pun one-offs for Grandma Alice and my mom. Stuff like "Beefsteak Tomato" [where] Wuff being intimidated by a large tomato with muscly biceps and a tough guy face. Those still exist somewhere. I was a comedic master, let me tell you.
So what made you decide on drawing the classic 90s Flintstones Push-Up pop?
The Push-Up is the ultimate cool treat on a hot summer day. There's nothing quite like that sweet taste. I'm really only here for the orange flavor. The genius of the Push-Up is it's also like a mini game. You have to literally "push up" to reveal your hidden treat. It's brilliant really. I'm so thankful they still exist today, and you can buy singular ones at just about every gas station. I went with the 90's Flintstones branding because that's my childhood. It's bonkers how many children's food got an ancient Honeymooners rip-off cartoon as their mascot. The Flintstones suck besides that one episode where they actually got Cary Grant to voice Gary Granite. Anyways, these ruled. I even liked the ones when they added Nerds into them.
How many tries before you got Fred to a place you were happy with?
I've always had shaky hands since I was a kid, but it's been awhile since I sat down to draw and the shakiness is only worse now. A lot of very squiggly first attempts happened before I got to the inking stage. I'm happy with my version. Mine is a little more doughy and round. The hard part was drawing two versions of the same Push-Up in this piece. Luckily those two Freds don't look too wildly different from each other.
It's my belief that there are no mistakes in art, and its easy to spin shortcomings into advantages. In this case, the shakiness of the lines is symbolic of the unsteady ground on which The Flintstones founds themselves in the early 90s, archaic animated gods whose sun was setting as they gripped onto one last gasp of commercial success. Ironic, that as they were being pushed out of the TV spotlight by fare more contemporary to the youth of the time, it was a cross-promotion with a frozen confection that asked children to literally push the ice cream out that was The Flintstones final lap in pop culture. Dave, what a powerful choice with the wonky line work!
Thanks for stealing my next interview answer. Obviously that was my stylistic intention. No follow up questions, please.
If you were in a position to buy a single serve ice cream product now, and these Flintstones pops were on the menu, would you grab one? Or would something else would call your name?
If I see a Push-Up, it's pretty much guaranteed I'll buy it. That's a character fact you could print on my cardback. Fun fact, I've never interacted with an ice cream truck.
I grew up in the country where I never even knew such a thing existed. We'd take a family drive into the outskirts of town to Scoonie's where we'd always get our custard treats. It wasn't until my late teens or 20's, after I had moved, that I actually saw ice cream trucks, and heard their signature jingle. I have no memory of ever buying from one, and I certainly don't have the energy to rush out of the house nowadays. I do enjoy hearing that blaring clown music, though.
There's a lot to unpack here, but first, what was your favorite purchase at Scoonie's?
The Twist of course!! Half vanilla, half chocolate, all custard on a cone.
This has been the most outrageous interview so far. I'm obligated to ask you the following questions, as I've done every other time, but all bets are off now. Sprinkles or jimmies?
Sprinkles, I suppose.
Rainbow or chocolate?
You already said you're a cone guy, so tying back into the Push-Ups, do you say "sherbet" or "sherbert"?
Ahh, this will be yet another long-winded answer. Growing up, we were one of those well-off households and had a huge extra freezer in the pantry/laundry room. That freezer, almost magically, always had a big tub of rainbow sherbet in it. My dad always called it "sherbert," so for the longest time I thought it was "sherbert." My world was rocked when I saw that was incorrect. I've told this fact to countless people, including my wife, who didn't know or refuse to believe it. I'm a sherbert man. I only say "sherbet" when I'm doling out did you know facts to people.
An iconoclast to the bitter end. Well, that would usually be the end of our conversation, but I've got to go back and revisit this lack of ice cream truck experience. I'm going to name a standard ice cream truck menu item, and you're going to tell me if you know what it is, and if you've ever had one.
I annoyed everyone around me by learning of it's existence a few years back and freaking out! I finally hunted some down and really enjoyed them. What a perfect concept!
I had to google it.
Oh that's my jam. Another instant gas station buy. Love those.
Thank God. The Screwball.
Haha, I've never seen this in my life.
Firecracker and/or Bomb Pop.
I did have those as a kid. Always a delightful, patriotic treat.
It's getting dicey, so on that high note, this is a wrap. Thanks for sharing your time and Dr. Katz drawing style, Dave. It's been fun, but dessert is over.
Yabba Dabba Do
From 1960-66, The Flintstones aired 166 episodes, the most for a primetime animated series until it was overthrown by The Simpsons in 1997.
“It was this mythological sort of thing animators had heard of it, but nobody had actually seen it. So we sent out teams of researchers to look for it all over. It was like the search for the Holy Grail.” –Mike Lazzo, Cartoon Network’s head of programming, on tracking down The Flintstones unaired pilot, which finally saw the light of day in 1994.
Alan Reed, the original voice actor for Fred, came up with "Yabba dabba do!" He credited the line to his mother, who used to say, "A little dab'll do ya."
Pebbles, introduced in the third season of The Flintstones, was originally going to be a boy, until a toy company convinced Joseph Barbera to change his mind. The company sold over 3 million Pebbles dolls in the first two months of production.
The Flintstone Kids was a short-lived 80s spin-off in the vein of Muppet Babies, reimagining the cast of the original series as children.
It debuted September 6, 1986.
Danny DeVito turned down the role of Barney in the 1994 Flintstones film. He recommended Rick Moranis for the part.
Mel Blanc received a voice credit for his role as Dino, despite having passed away five years prior to the film's release. Dino's dialogue and sound effects were taken directly from the 1960 cartoon series, and Blanc was initially not credited at all. His estate filed a million-dollar lawsuit, which was answered with an apology for the studio and an offer of $500. Eventually, a proper settlement was reached, and the legendary voice actor appeared in the credits of subsequent video releases.
The latest Flintstones property, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, debuted on Boomerang's UK affiliate in February 2020.
Good Hu– I Mean, Worst Joke Ever. This isn't even a joke. It's a statement.
Why didn't the
It didn't have any wheels.
Shevlin's Comfort Food Comics includes editorials from writers recounting their favorite comic book memories, the character-centric Perfect 10 reading lists, the Dish of the Week, X-Men-specific X-Tra Sauce articles, and more. Shevlin co-hosts the branded podcast with lifelong friend Dan Molfese, and the two – one an expert, the other a novice, relatively speaking – banter about comics for hours on end.
Flintstones Push-Ups debuted in the early 90s, and are still sold today, albeit without the Flintstones branding.
Somebody give Shevlin's abandoned creation, Wuff the Dog, a home.
East Wisconsin's favorite son, Dave Shevlin, is the editor-in-chief of Comfort Food Comics, and its accompanying podcast and social feed. Follow him on Twitter for extensive threads about comics, anime, video games and the like, and get a taste of the hot dog-flavored passion flowing through his mashed potato veins. His jokes are bad. His heart is good.