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The PENMEN Comic Strip with Penman the Optimist Since 1989

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PENMEN ran in national newspaper syndication as a daily comic strip in black and white. The comic strip published in full color on Sundays in papers such as The Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Even The Sun in Malaysia ran PENMEN.

The T-Shirt brand, Grin Big! incorporates much of the PENMEN color and feel seen by millions in the Sunday comics during the 1990's. The first PENMEN apparel sold with black ink on white t-shirts was in 1990. On that shirt Penman was wearing the very same t-shirt that he wears printed on Grin Big! T-Shirts today.


Before Grin Big! ™ there were PENMEN® Posters, PENMEN® T-Shirts, the PENMEN® Comic Strip, and the PENMEN® Book. The ever present message of optimism and positivity was expressed through Penman's exploits and creator Gary Blehm's speeches to schools encouraging kids to "Be Positive and Follow Your Dreams". The fact that Blehm had first began working on his optimistic character in [...]

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Penman the optimist is a fisherman. Fishing has a lot to teach us about optimism. Sometimes you catch a big fish and sometimes you don't. It's optimism that keeps you fishing until you bring in that big bass. Follow your dreams the same way. Never surrender. Never give up. Just keep on fishing until your [...]

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Penman the optimist loves the great outdoors. He has been sustained by the power of optimism since 1989. Take a look at our optimistic t-shirts celebrating positive vibes and outdoor recreation. Join Penman on his next camping trip.

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Gary Blehm, The Optimist Since 1989. Be Positive and Follow Your Dreams with the Power of Optimism

There is always a reason to smile. Find something you love to do and give it everything you've got! That's how you spread the power of optimism. That's how you make your own trail. That's how you become genuine. That's how you become unique. That's how you become an original.

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Climb Every Mountain with Penman the Optimist and a Grin Big!™ T-Shirt

Climb Every Mountain with Penman the Optimist and a Grin Big!™ T-Shirt. Sometimes it's not enough to climb only one. You may need to climb two at once. Multitask with the power of optimism and keep on climbing. Nobody said success would be easy. You must keep going and never, ever give up not matter [...]

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​Beat the Heat in a Grin Big!™ t-shirt from PENMEN® Studios

Beat the Heat in a Grin Big!™ t-shirt from PENMEN®  Studios. Karma's a Beach when you play it fair and keep your eye on the glass half full. Living life with a positive mental attitude is like spending every day sunbathing on a tropical beach. 

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Be Your Own Boss and Climb Your Own Ladder with Positive Vibes and Optimism

Be your own boss and climb your own ladder with positive vibes and optimism. Startups are not easy but if you're positive and you work hard you can get to the top. Never give up. Keep climbing. You can do whatever you put your mind to with the power of optimism and a positive mental [...]

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