It's not every day that Boise Weekly accepts a new submission from a never-before-published author, let alone a cartoonist. And it's even rarer when that cartoonist is just 11 years old.
"I had to send it to you. I know a lot of people read Boise Weekly, and my mom and dad always pick one up," said Ezra Phillips. "I love cartoons and love Boise Weekly and I know that Boise Weekly loves cartoons, too. To me, that's perfect."
You might imagine our surprise when we received a large envelope filled with cartoons, nearly all of them featuring a rather sassy snowman. In a moment of pure serendipity, this particular issue was slated to be filled with snow-related stories and features. We immediately went in search of young Ezra. Ultimately, that led us to his family's home on the Boise Bench. Ezra's father, Adam Phillips, is an English teacher at Fairmont Junior High School, and his mother, Stephanie Phillips, is an English teacher at Boise High. His 9-year-old brother Adam is a third grader at Valley View Elementary, and 11-year-old Ezra is a fifth grader, also at Valley View. He told us he wants to be a cartoonist or an actor, possibly both.
"But I really, really, really love cartoons. My favorites are Jim Davis who draws Garfield and Bill Armend who draws FoxTrot," said Ezra.
Much like Davis and Armend, who center their wildly popular comic strips around familiar personalities—Garfield and the Fox family, respectively—Ezra's comics feature his own recurring main character.
"Well, he doesn't really have a name. He's just... well, he's just Snowman. He's usually not too happy, until he sees human suffering. Then, he's happy," said Ezra, grinning mischievously.
For example, in one of his comic strips, there's some snappy banter between Snowman and a boy named Jack.
Jack: "So, you're a snowman?"
Jack: "And you can talk?"
Snowman: "What tipped you off? My voice?"
Jack: "You're surprisingly not too cheerful for a snowman."
Snowman: "A few fries short of a Happy Meal, aren't you?"
Our favorite drawing that Ezra sent to us shows Snowman getting sliced into three even parts when he walks through an electric fence. When the unwitting Jack tries to do the same... well, see for yourself.
"Yeah, I think that's my favorite too," Ezra said. "Are you really going to print my cartoon?"
Indeed we are.
- Ezra Phillips