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Andy Moore, creator of "Don't Panic! a college comic strip", photographed at his studio in Boulder, Colorado May 30, 2012. See a video of Andy Moore talking about his comic strip at
Andy Moore, creator of “Don’t Panic! a college comic strip”, photographed at his studio in Boulder, Colorado May 30, 2012. See a video of Andy Moore talking about his comic strip at


Unlike his “Don’t Panic!” comic strip characters Steve and Joel, Longmont resident Andy Moore has graduated from college.
However, that doesn’t stop him from living the college lifestyle.

Moore, 29, said his apartment is lined with comic books and piled with “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” toys, most of which belong to his 4-year-old son. At least that’s the excuse he uses when people question his collections.

“It’s just the two guys, so it’s very much like living in a dorm,” Moore said. “My life hasn’t changed too much since college, honestly, so a lot of that inspiration (works) for ‘Don’t Panic!'”

Moore said he has always been an artist, but he began his first comic strip series “Don’t Panic!” in 1997 as a high school sophomore. After a brief stint in high school, the two main characters Steve and Joel went to college. More than a decade later, Moore is starting to wonder if graduation should be in their future. 

“I am working on a plan for some of the characters to graduate, but there are a couple of characters who will probably never get there,” Moore said. “Joel never goes to class — I think he’s been depicted in a classroom maybe once or twice over the series, so it’s not likely he’s there yet.”

Aside from Joel’s attitude toward classes, Moore said it’s difficult to let go of the topic that provides so many opportunities for humor and relates well to current students and reminiscent alumni alike.

Steve and Joel are college roommates who don Buffalo hats at  University of Colorado sporting events. This may give away Moore’s “Don’t Panic!” location, but not the artist’s alma mater. The Wichita State University graduate said he’s adopted CU — his second choice for college — as his new home and considers himself a Buff after living in Colorado the past four years. 

The character Steve acts as the practical roommate and was developed from Moore’s own personality, he said.

“Everyone says ‘oh, Steve is definitely you,'” Moore said. “What’s funny though is they don’t usually guess that Joel is also based on a different side of me, the one that’s more silly and crazy.”

The character Joel is the slacker roommate who gets into trouble. Moore said Joel is the one who creates the most potential for humor. The character’s black roots and blond highlights are natural — not dyed — and his eyes are rarely focused on the same spot, which gives him a flaky and confused appearance, Moore said.

Both characters are “addicted to caffeine,” Moore said, and drink coffee in almost every story. It’s difficult for Moore to keep coffee out of the strips, he said, since he is constantly sipping on the brewed beverage.

Besides his own experiences and those of his friends, Moore said University of Colorado students and Boulderites inspire much of his work for the “Don’t Panic!” strips. References to local coffee shops and the Bolder Boulder appear in recent editions.

One of his favorite strips was of finals week when the roommates were attacked by zombies while studying at a coffee shop. It turned out the zombies were just other students who were overwhelmed by the pressures of final exams.

CU senior Fonz Marcello said he’s not an avid comic strip reader but, “Don’t Panic!” is familiar and funny for Marcello and his college-aged friends.

“I like ‘Don’t Panic!’ comics because most of them directly relate to college life and I feel like me and my friends can relate,” Marcello said. “Like the one where people post pictures of their food on Facebook. It makes me laugh and really sums up exactly how I feel about it.”

Moore said the comic seems to reach an audience that, like Marcello, doesn’t typically follow comics. The topics are easily translated to young-adult lifestyles, so the strip is fun for comic book geeks and newbies alike.

“I use a lot of pop-culture references that can be really fun and hilarious if you get it,” Moore said, “But it’s not like you don’t understand it if you don’t get it — it’s just funnier if you do.”  

The “Don’t Panic!” title, a reference to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” is what caught CU student Caroline Hale’s attention.

Hale said the pop-culture references and college-related topics grab the attention of a very specific demographic of readers.

“I don’t think my parents would necessarily be able to relate to it, but maybe that’s part of the appeal,” Hale said.

By day, Moore is a graphic designer, who said art has taken over any free time he has left. He is currently illustrating and writing two other comic books, including “Flying Fortress” about a World War II bomber crew that fights zombies. That comic is set to release at the Denver Comic Con on June 15.

Moore shares a new “Don’t Panic!” story a couple times per week for free on his Facebook page and on

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