• Shannon Hayes

'Hortoons' creator lends humor, talent to 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. logo Favorite alligator charac

Dave Horton, creator of Hortoons, reveals the 8th Annual 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. logo depicting an upright alligator running for the finish line on a Sanibel-sunny day.

Horton has created the previous six 10K Race logos – all bearing the loveable characters from his cartoons and marked with his wit. “There is just something funny and terrifying about a running alligator,” said Horton. So, he thought a forward running alligator design would be nice for the front of 10K Race t-shirts.

“I've read that alligators can run up to 25 mph for short distances, but you can avoid them by using the zigzagging serpentine pattern. I'm pretty sure if I were in that horrible situation I would most likely panic and throw the serpentine pattern out the window,” said Horton.

Horton has been cartooning since he was a child growing up in Illinois. His father, who worked for the government, would bring home scores of unwanted paper – from letterheads to newsletters. Horton would draw on them, “as much as I wanted to,” he said.

Horton doesn't have a favorite place to draw. “The good thing about being a cartoonist is all you need is paper and pencil,” he said. “You can make cartoons just about anywhere.”

Awarded Best College Comic Strip from his Alma mater Illinois State University, Horton went on to be an artist and writer for Hallmark Cards. As a member of the National Cartoonists Society, Horton has had the pleasure of meeting some of the most respected names in cartooning such as Peanuts creator Charles Schultz.

“I was playing golf with Charles Schultz and two others,” Horton recalled. “There was a foursome of cartoonists ahead of us. I hit a long drive that barely missed Mort Walker. I could see the papers now, 'Cartoonist kills creator of Beetle Bailey.'”

Horton said it would have been fun to meet the late Walt Disney, who is regarded as an international icon in animation.

Horton's Hortoons has become a popular comic in which he gives wildlife human characteristics in humorous settings. When he first moved to Florida, Horton was developing a cartoon called “Petshop.” He tried to sell it to the papers, but they suggested he try a Florida-themed cartoon.

“I'm obsessed with alligators, raccoons, turtles and birds and other wildlife,” Horton said. “Giving them human characteristics sometimes makes funny conflicts with people.”

While most cartoonists use computerized drawing pads to create their work, Horton uses the old-fashion technique of brush and ink. His cartoons can be found at hortoon.com, where a complete collection of prints, books and t-shirts is available for purchase. The Hortoon 10K Race logo will appear on the front of t-shirts worn by runners, race posters, as well as make an appearance in each announcement published for qualifying race sponsors.

“We enjoy the logos Dave creates,” F.I.S.H. 10K Race Committee Co-chair Nancy Bender said. “His artistic talent and sense of humor are undeniable. We are grateful for his contribution.”

“It is through the tremendous support from businesses and individuals like Dave Horton that allows F.I.S.H. to fulfill its mission of neighbors helping neighbors,” Bender said. There are a variety of 10K Race sponsorship slots available – Gold, Silver, Bronze or Friend. For Gold to Bronze sponsorships, your name or logo will appear on the back of t-shirts featuring the Hortoon race logo and worn by the runners, as well as all banners and printed 10K materials. Friend sponsors will be included on all banners and 10K materials. Anyone who is interested in becoming a race sponsor should contact Nancy and Pete Bender at benderlaw@juno.com or 239-472-5220. Deadline in Sept. 15.

#10KRace4FISH #Hortoons #DaveHorton #FISHOFSANCAP

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