Her Beau Proposes in ‘Bo’ Comic Strip

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By: Dave Astor

For one day, the WP in WPWG stood for “wedding proposal.”

Washington Post Writers Group cartoonist John Kovaleski used his “Bo Nanas” comic yesterday to pop the question to his girlfriend. Jocelyn Swigger’s answer: “Yes.”

The couple have been busy celebrating their engagement, but E&P finally reached Kovaleski today to find out the story behind the romantic ‘toon.

As Kovaleski tells it: “I woke Jocelyn in the morning and lied and said I got a phone message from [WPWG comics editor] Suzanne Whelton saying there was some grammatical problem with today’s strip. I told her I might be able to change it for Comics.com to reload but it was too late to change it for the papers. I said I needed her to look at it — she has an English degree and often proofs strips for me. … I had her get online and open it up while I strategically knelt beside her. She said when she read it she was just trying to proofread so it took her a moment after reading the words ‘will you marry me?’ to realize that the two characters were the cartoon versions of us I always draw. She then put her head in her hands before she turned to me and hugged me and said, ‘Of course.'”

The couple spent the rest of yesterday at Coney Island in Brooklyn (where Swigger lives) and had their engagement picture taken in a photo booth.

Kovaleski, who lives in Spencerport, N.Y., said he’s yet to hear much reaction from readers and client editors — “but a lot from friends, family, and other cartoonists.”

No wedding date has been set, but the ceremony might be next summer.

Swigger, 32, is a pianist and teacher who just got a position as a visiting professor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, where she and Kovaleski, 41, plan to move. The couple, who have been dating for more than four years, met when Swigger was a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., which is close to Spencerport.

Kovaleski — whose “Bo Nanas” comic was launched in May 2003 — concluded: “I’m pretty lucky to get to do something I love for a living and use it to tell the woman I love just how much she means to me.”

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