PANAMA CITY — Panama City native Gary Brookins admits he’s a Plugger.
“Oh yeah, I’m a Plugger,” said Brookins, who sketches a syndicated comic with the same name. “(Pluggers are) the 90 percent of the people that do 100 percent of the work. It’s just the everyday folks that are plugging along with life with a sense of humor.”
Pluggers publishes in 80 newspapers nationwide and is America’s first interactive comic drawn from reader-submitted ideas from Pluggers across the country.
Still not sure of what a Plugger is? Flip to the comics page.
Brookins will highlight his hometown Pluggers for a full week beginning Oct. 26, and is encouraging locals to send in examples of themselves living the proletariat Plugger lifestyle.
Brookins’ week of Panama City Pluggers will publish in conjunction with an exhibit at the Bay County Library highlighting 30 years of his editorial cartoons and Pluggers comics submitted by Panama City readers.
“I’ve gotten some outstanding ones from Panama City,” Brookins said. “It’s prime Pluggers country down there.”
His favorite Plugger of all time illustrated, “You know you’re a Plugger when you begin to look more and more like a garden gnome.” Another favorite stemmed from, “Pluggers know they need to mow the lawn when there’s crop circles on it.”
“I can’t tell you how many of those things I’ve done,” Brookins said.
Just in time for election season, the library exhibit, titled “Presidential Politics and Patriotic Pluggers,” will also host an artist’s reception on Oct. 23 where the public is welcome to meet the man behind the pen and ink.
Brookins received thousands upon thousands of Pluggers ideas each year. He has even received international submissions from places like Israel, Hong Kong, Brazil, New Zealand and Africa.
Although lately a lot of comics have reflected Pluggers problems among senior citizens, Brookins said the Pluggers lifestyle spans all ages. He has received ideas from Pluggers as young as 6, and choosing what to draw varies from day to day.
“It’s just kind of my mood for the day — what strikes me as funny,” Brookins said. “That’s the fun thing about Pluggers is people send stuff that they really do.”
The brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly, Brookins bought the rights to the Pluggers comic about 15 years ago and has been the sole producer of it ever since.
Brookins, a graduate of Bay High School and what was then Gulf Coast Community College, spent 30 years as a syndicated political cartoonist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and also sketches the comic “Shoe,” which is distributed by King Feature Syndicate to more than 600 newspapers worldwide.
“I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember,” Brookins said. “As soon as I could pick up a pencil, I started cartooning — that’s just what I do.”