Lusby fan makes a bang in the NFL as a cartoonist
Thursday, November 19, 2009
John Tayman of Lusby was a single dad trying to support his family as a union electrician before he had "a little bit of a life epiphany" in the early 2000s and decided he would rather do what he loved to do than "what I had to do for money."
Tayman didn't want to have a boss for the rest of his life and, he said, saw "the revolution" and an opportunity to be creative in working with computers. So he left his job and, with a little nest egg saved up, enrolled in fast-track computer science courses at the Career Computer Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He received a certificate in Web design and computer graphics and has since made a career designing Web pages and online advertising.
However, he has gained far more notoriety for his hobby -- a Web site called Bang Cartoon that Tayman said draws about 2 million visitors a year.
Tayman is a lifelong fan of the National Football League and, in particular, the Washington Redskins. He had always liked to draw, so he applied his newfound computer skills and began creating online cartoons.
His first, in 2003, was about Redskins owner Dan Snyder raiding the New York Jets' "chicken coop" by signing away or trading for a number of players. Although Tayman said the cartoon had pretty lousy production values, it was a hit online and prompted him to begin Bang Cartoon.
"Our motto is 'Helping you waste time at work since 2003,' " Tayman said, adding that the Web site doesn't make him much money but does wonders for his design business.
His clientele has included Redskins halfback Clinton Portis, the New York Mets and the Association of Tennis Professionals. Tayman has also done work for several businesses closer to home, including the Bay Net, Chesapeake Lock & Safe and Blades School of Hair Design in California, Md.
Bang Cartoon has been featured on national television and given Tayman a fair measure of notoriety in the NFL. When Detroit Lions Coach Jim Schwartz was the Tennessee Titans' defensive coordinator, he sent Tayman a letter detailing how the locker room "stopped and watched when new cartoons came out."
Tayman also has received his share of criticism. One cartoon that poked fun at the Philadelphia Eagles for always losing in the playoffs resulted in an avalanche of hate mail from Eagles fans. He adds, though, that since he published a cartoon about former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens breaking his leg, he's gotten more site hits from the Philadelphia area than almost any other.
"I've made quite a few enemies . . . but they usually turn into friends eventually," Tayman said.
When Tayman started making cartoons, he tried covering all sports but soon discovered that the NFL "trumps them all" when it came to subject matter and popularity. His topics revolve around NFL news, which has recently given him plenty of opportunities to satirize his favorite team.
"They're horrible," he said of the Redskins. "They don't even look like they belong in the NFL. They really don't."