Mary Schmich, Jim Toomey, Roz Chast, Ed Koren, Jeff Smith


Mary Schmich, newspaper columnist and the last writer of the Brenda Starr comic strip, went on the radio to talk about a recent column that generated some negative feedback.

But the first 5 minutes of the interview deals with the end of Brenda Starr. After 25 years Mary had tired of the never-ending daily chore and decided to quit the strip. She says with that the syndicate decided to end the strip rather than find another writer.

Oh, that column? It was about the good old days of her youth:

In the America of my childhood, the Crayola box contained a crayon labeled “flesh.”

Flesh was intended to approximate the skin color of people. People, if the Crayola box was to be believed, came in one color, a pinky beige.

In the America of my childhood, we proudly learned that we belonged to a nation of immigrants. The immigrants came on transatlantic boats from places like England, Ireland, Germany, Poland. They were mostly pinky beige.

The column (“Ah, the America of my Childhood. So full of Bunk and Bigotry”) can be read here.

The radio interview, with the first five minutes about Brenda Starr, is here.



A partnership between a UGA professor and the creator of the “Sherman’s Lagoon” comic strip has resulted in a new short film series, “The Adventures of Zack and Molly,” which highlights the Gulf of Mexico and the importance of healthy oceans.

“The Adventures of Zack and Molly” follows the story of a young man who is more interested in the small world of his smartphone than the larger world around him. Zack’s online request for a roommate is answered by Molly, a tech-savvy Dumbo Octopus on a mission to tell the world about the importance of the deep ocean.

The three video series is  from the team of

Samantha Joye, UGA Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of marine sciences and Jim Toomey, an award-winning cartoonist and filmmaker who created the popular comic strip “Sherman’s Lagoon,” which appears in over 250 daily newspapers in 20 countries and six languages.

The University of Georgia newspaper carries the story.




Ed Koren continues his book tour in The Green Mountains, stopping temporarily to talk to local alternative newspaper Seven Days.

The cartoons in In the Wild don’t specifically mention Vermont or New York City…

Still, Vermonters and New Yorkers alike are bound to recognize the typical, iconic settings of Koren’s cartoons: a dinner table, a cocktail party, the front porch of a general store.

Koren didn’t select the cartoons that appear in the book; that was done by Margot Zalkind Mayor, his editor and publisher at Button Street Press in Newfane. Her idea, Koren explained, was to compile cartoons that traverse what he called “the DMZ between urban and rural existences, which I cross back and forth quite a lot.”

Read the profile here.




Famous Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith continues working the characters, now as children’s books. Bone was a smash comic book hit in the 1990s, but that was after the syndicates had refused to take on his Bone comic strip.

Q: You had a strip in [Ohio State University] The Lantern.

A: It was proto-Bone. It was actually Bone, but I didn’t call it Bone. I called it Thorn, because it was about the little Fone Bone’s crush on this princess, a human. … I did that every day for five days a week for four years, and it was great practice.

Q: What did you do after leaving college?

A: Initially, I thought I would try to get the strip I was doing in The Lantern syndicated in newspapers in the mid-’80s. I just didn’t find a syndicate that was digging it.

Columbus Parent interviews Jeff here.



The School of Visual Arts is honoring Roz Chast with a 2018 Masters Series Award and Exhibition.

“The Masters Series: Roz Chast” will be a comprehensive retrospective of Chast’s celebrated career and include her cartooning and illustration work, selections from her more than 20 books and a hand-drawn mural, as well as examples of her personal work, including notebooks Chast kept in high school, embroideries, hooked rugs and hand-dyed pysanky, or Ukrainian-style Easter eggs.

Emma Allen, the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, has a second- or third-hand story about Roz Chast …In 1978 Chast sold her first work to The New Yorker, a surreal bit of humor called “Little Things.” Arrayed throughout the hand-drawn panel are a series of nonsensical shapes, each labeled with an equally nonsensical name—a “redge,” a “sood,” a “spak.” It’s hard to imagine a gentler gag—and there was some precedent for this sort of absurdist, punchline-free humor in the magazine—but not everyone associated with the publication was won over right away.

Not long after, Allen says, “an older cartoonist asked [then] art director Lee Lorenz if he owed Chast’s family money—so big was the scandal caused by such small things. By now, of course, it’s abundantly clear that the debt is all on our end.”

(“Little Things” merchandise is now available on a wide range of items.)

The SVA does a nice profile of Roz here.

“The Masters Series: Roz Chast” will be on view at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, from Saturday, November 17, through Saturday, December 15, with a reception on Thursday, November 29, 6:00 – 8:00pm. Chast will also give an artist’s talk at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, on Wednesday, November 28, 7:00 – 9:00pm. All events are open to the public.