When someone mentions the words comic strip, those silly but endearing Sunday funnies that we all read growing up come to mind. Whether it was the meaningful life lessons found in Calvin and Hobbes or the playful banter between Archie and his friends, it was those ten second joys that always seemed to brighten our Sunday mornings. Byron Lind was no exception. In fact, he liked them so much that he eventually decided to make his own, Cliff Notes.
Byron was a very active student during his time at the The University of Tulsa in the early 80s. He played for the men’s soccer team, was the event artist for the student government, and held his very own spot here at The Collegian as its paste-up artist. “When I worked at the Collegian, we did not have computers yet to do layout and design so all of the ads and stories had to be type set,” he explains. “We then trimmed the art to fit on the layout page and applied a hot wax to the back (through a wax machine) so it could be burnished into place. The completed pages would then be sent off to the presses. Desk-top publishing nowadays makes everything so much easier!”
It was also right here at TU that Byron created Cliff Notes, the story of freshman Cliff Notes and his four roommates. The comic strip follows the five young men as they live out their college lives at James Buchanan University, known for its reputation of “enrolling even the most under-achieving, procrastinating high school graduates.” Often featuring a variety of colorful supporting characters, the comic strip highlights the struggles and challenges that almost any college student can relate to.
When creating his strip, Byron took inspiration from the surrounding campus, including the drunken shenanigans of his classmates and those drivers who can’t seem to tell the road from the sidewalk. He even took inspiration from himself. In fact, one of his favorite strips (pictured below) depicts Cliff so caught up in his thoughts and the excitement of being in a college lecture that he ends up missing most of it, something that Byron often found himself doing. The result was a popular comic strip that spanned over the course of most of his college career and even a few years after he graduated in 1985.
Today, Byron manages his own greeting card company, a product of his love for cartooning, but he hasn’t forgotten his time at The Collegian. In fact, he is currently updating his comic strips, including his favorite one, as well creating brand new ones. He hopes, with the help of some of the biggest syndicates in the country, that one day the nation will love his comic strip as much as he does. “I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to work for The Collegian,” he concludes. “It has opened so many new doors for me. Without it, I never would have created my comic strip. I learned so much, and made so many friends. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.”