Priest's cartoons add a little levity to life
By Terry Dickson

.- Father Dominick Fullam was drawn to cartooning at an early age but a higher calling erased any aspirations he ever had of becoming a full-time cartoonist.

Recently, however, the St. Martin native, who is diocesan Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia as well as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Woolmarket, was at the Atlanta airport when something happened that rekindled his interest in cartooning.

“I was at the airport in Atlanta drawing a cartoon character on an iPad, and a lady seated next to me asked if I drew cartoons for a living. I laughed and said I was just passing time, but that I used to do a not-so-great cartoon in my high school newspaper,” he said.

“She told me what I'd done looked really good to her. A seed was planted.”

That seed has since developed into a new comic strip titled “Off by a Mile.”

“First I thought of reviving the comic strip I drew in high school called ‘It Ain't Easy.’ I learned that name had been used for both a song and a movie. So I decided to come up with something new and different,” Father Fullam said.

“I wanted the cartoon's title to have the word ‘off’ in it, suggestive of something of a different twist on things. After rejecting ‘Fifty Percent Off’ as sounding like a sales website, I found that offbyamile.com was available. I thought it had a certain ring to it.”

Since then, Father Fullam has tried to crank out a couple of cartoons each week.

“It takes about an hour from start to finish. That's fairly quick because they're not done on paper, and I no longer have to mess with India ink as I did back in high school,” he said.

“As for their origins, these are just thoughts that pop in my head. I've noticed a tendency to have 80s references, TV shows, and songs. I guess that's where my mind is.”

Father Fullam has always been a cartoon aficionado.

“Yes, I do read the funnies and not just on Sundays,” he said. “I miss some of the ones that have been retired or scaled back over the years like ‘Bloom County,’ ‘The Far Side,’ and ‘FoxTrot.’ Over the last year, I've really come to appreciate ‘Zits’--not acne, of course, the comic strip.”

Father Fullam hopes to attract more visitors to his website but, for the time being, he’s still reluctant to invest too much time his recently re-discovered hobby and has no plans to submit his cartoon for syndication.

“Syndication isn't something I'm pursuing or expecting. I have my share of responsibilities right now, and while I enjoy the creative process, I don't think I'd enjoy having to crank these out regularly,” he said.

“Never say never, though. Right now, I'm just trying to create an opportunity for a laugh or a chuckle for whoever wants to join in.”

And that’s what he hopes visitors to his site get out of the experience – chuckles.

“I think laughter is one of God's gifts and that the world can always use a little more good clean fun.”

To check out Father Dominick’s cartoons, visit www.offbyamile.com

 Printed with permission from Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper from the Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi.

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