Chris Monroe once imagined illustrating the cover of TV Guide. Today, instead, she provides weekly laughs in an eccentric comic strip and charms kid readers in books about a clever monkey.
As a post-college freelancer, Monroe was encouraged by a supportive art director to do a weekly comic strip. Now fifteen years later, Violet Days runs in the Friday Minneapolis Star Tribune and Duluth News Tribune, as well as a national comics monthly.
The strip is hard to explain but easy to laugh at. In six concise panels, Monroe tells wacky stories from her youth, provides seasonal trivia (such as the things skeletons do after Halloween), or muses on the odd fates of celebrities.
Her drawing style is deceptively faux-naif. Any doubts about her skills can be disproved by the Monkey With a Tool Belt books, which feature Chico Bon Bon and his inventive skills on detail-packed pages. The character was inspired by Monroe's years working at a Duluth hardware store.
"I know a thing or two about flanges and flappers," she boasts. Monkey might be going into animation, and Monroe is working on a book for Minnesota humorist/playwright Kevin Kling. "I stay pretty busy," she's happy to say.