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Creator / John Kovalic

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John Kovalic (born Robert John Kovalic, Jr., 24 November 1962) is a cartoonist, illustrator, and writer. He has worked as an editorial cartoonist, primarily for the Wisconsin State Journal, and his work has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post; he also wrote the superhero parody comic Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink. However, he is primarily associated with the Tabletop Games industry, both as a designer and illustrator for games such as Apples to Apples and Munchkin, and for his long-running comic book/Webcomic, Dork Tower, an amiable satire of the hobby and its enthusiasts.

Kovalic is a co-founder and co-owner of Out of the Box Publishing, which publishes just some of his work. The Dork Tower Web page is the place to go for news of his activities and publications.

Tropes associated with John Kovalic include:

  • Funny Animal: Kovalic's student-years strip, Wild Life, was a Funny Animal strip, and one of the characters, Carson the Muskrat, ended up on the otherwise all-human cast of Dork Tower, with no explanation ever offered.
  • Perky Goth: Gilly, in Dork Tower, is the Trope Namer.
  • Self-Deprecation: Kovalic sometimes couples this with Breaking the Fourth Wall.
    Ken: "Let's admit it, Kovalic's about as organized as a wet mound of marmots."
  • Take That, Audience!: Always done good-naturedly, but Kovalic has an insider's knowledge of his geeky audience's foibles.
  • This Loser Is You: While Kovalic's characters are rarely complete losers, the likes of the semi-competent munchkin Igor, neurotic geek Matt, and ill-fated small furry animal Carson may be subjects for rather wry audience identification. Likewise, Kovalic illustrated Chez Geek, a card game about geeky slackers mostly wasting their time on activities such as playing hobby games — with jokes that can best be appreciated by geeky slackers.