Ripley’s Cartoonist John Graziano Believes


Only days remain until Ripley’s Believe It or Not turns 100.

Founder Robert Ripley launched his unbelievable career of discovering the world’s oddities on Dec. 19, 1918, when he published his first cartoon, “Champs & Chumps.”

Or maybe a few days earlier.



GoComics recently sat down with the current “Believe It or Not!” illustrator John Graziano, who took the helm in 2004 and is only the seventh illustrator in the cartoon’s history (including Ripley himself).

The seven illustrators would be Leroy Robert Ripley himself, the brothers Paul and Walter Frehm, Don (Rose is Rose) Wimmer, and currently, the aforementioned John Graziano. Um, I guess Clem Gretter and Clarence Thorpe make up the balance. Other nominees are assistants Bob Clarke, Joe Campbell, Art Sloggatt, Carl Dorese, and Stan Randall (per Wikipedia); and Lester Byck.


above: the first Graziano Ripley’s panel from May 31, 2004.


From the “Graz” interview:

I took over the helm of illustrating the cartoon in May of 2004, with the first published date of my work being Sunday, June 27, 2004. Most of the illustrators since Ripley have used a detailed, realistic style mixed with some “funny” bits that are decidedly more cartoony in nature.

John continues:

Sabrina Sieck [the cartoon’s researcher] provides the voice of the feature panel, researching and discovering new odd facts and tidbits that are unbelievable, just like Ripley used to do in his day. The facts are provided to me as a list, and I choose three items for each daily and four [items] for [each] Sunday panel, trying to think about how a particular group of facts will come together.

The full interview is at GoComics’ blog.



Ripley’s Miscellany: