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OUT THERE

He draws the comic strip of your dreams

May 25, 2003|Michael T. Jarvis

Every week, cartoonist Jesse Reklaw turns the dreams of strangers into reality with his collaborative comic strip "Slow Wave" at www.Slowwave.com. "I wanted to do a weekly comic strip but I didn't want to do it by myself," says Reklaw, 32, who started the "dream diary" site in 1994. "Friends started sending me stories and I liked their dreams the best. Dreams offer more interesting visual ideas. Each one is a challenge."

Reklaw's strip is syndicated nationally in 14 newspapers; he now receives about 30 dream submissions each week and has amassed a database of 5,000 dreams to draw from. "I go for the stranger ones," he says. "People say to me, 'I never have dreams that strange.' "

Each collaborator shares top billing with Reklaw. "They offer me their dreams for free so I figure I should give them some credit. I've read hundreds of their dreams. It's like getting to know someone inside out."

Reklaw sees patterns in the submissions. "I get dreams about the president or famous stars because they are all relevant. I got a lot of dreams from women about Bill Clinton, as well as men who viewed Hillary making lewd passes at them. I try not to analyze the dreams -- it ruins the humor."

His book "Dreamtoons," a compilation of "Slow Wave" strips, notes that he was "born in Berkeley where his hippie parents sold bread from a cart on Telegraph Avenue" and that he went on to study painting and digital art UC Santa Cruz. He earned a master's degree in computer science from Yale."

Reklaw has occasionally included his own dreams under a pseudonym but omits his recurring nightmares. "I have dreams where I'm reading dreams and where I'm drawing the strip. Usually the dream is kind of panicked-based. I complain sometimes, but this is a dream job."

-- Michael T. Jarvis

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