Labor Day Quick Hits

Sally From Peanuts Made Me a Better Teacher

Sally, the younger sister of Peanuts’ Charlie Brown, did not perform well in school. She wrote reports the morning they were due. She failed multiple exams. As an overachieving child, I attributed her poor performance to laziness. But now that I’m an educator, I understand where she was coming from.

Kevin Wong credits Sally Brown with making him a better teacher.



The Early Comics Series of the International Syndicate
Part 1: The Hunt Begins, with Tweedledum, Tweedledee and the Other Triplet


Baltimore’s International Syndicate was one of the earliest distributors of newspaper cartoon content, starting in 1899*. Unfortunately their output is hard to track because the syndicate very rarely displayed a copyright on their material.

Allan Holtz begins a new series uncovering more very early comic strip syndication.



Wayno’s Strip Search

As some readers have noted, many of our client newspapers run Bizarro in a horizontal space that would normally accommodate a regular comic strip. So, for every daily panel, we also create a “landscape” version of the gag. This involves repositioning elements, adding or editing line breaks to the dialogue, and creating additional art to fill up the space. It usually takes a half day to do the strip conversions for a week’s cartoons.

Wayno takes a turn at telling what’s involved in reformatting last week’s Bizarro dailies.



The Toon State: Cartoonists Find Sanctuary in Vermont

A joint drawing, a spontaneous “jam,” created by Edward Koren, the previous Vermont cartoonist laureate (holding the pen and laurels), and current cartoonist laureate, Alison Bechdel. 

Vermont is the only state with a cartoonist laureate—a title granted every three years at an awards ceremony attended by the congressional delegation at the Vermont State House in Montpelier. As the first to hold the title in 2011, James Kochalka assured Bechdel that she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do. Kochalka, a musician as well as a prolific cartoonist, whose boldly colored and deceptively simple work spans family friendly as well as R-rated fare, went on to mention a litany of workshops and kids programs he conducted across the state while he held the title. Bechdel piped up, “Well, I’m not gonna do that!” eliciting chuckles from the audience.

Cynthia Close, for Art New England, checks in with Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies and Edward Koren, Alison Bechdel, James Kochalka, James Sturm, Jason Lutes, Steve Bissette, and Harry Bliss.



R. C. Harvey’s Rants & Raves

Bob Harvey must think it’s Christmas, he’s giving away a couple more weeks of free reading at his site. Including his recently posted (September 1)  news and reviews of comic strips, comic books, Mike Hammer, the San Diego Comic-Con, a liberal (literally) dose of “editoons,” and other August events.

More freebies until September 15, check it out.

That includes his look at V. T. Hamlin, creator of the Alley Oop comic strip.