Comic Strips Odds an’ Ends


Spider-Man and the Very Cold Day

What’s a comic strip fanatic to do when record low temperatures prevent those wussy newspaper delivery kids from getting the newspaper onto your front porch?

My memory is that it was still -25 the next morning when we did NOT get a newspaper. The papers had always been delivered around 5AM but that morning, even by 8AM there was no sign of ours, nor were there any visible in neighbors’ yards.

What to do? I was a completist and had to have that strip!

If you were Steven Thompson in 1977 you got

dressed appropriately–Two pair of underwear, two pair of socks, two shirts and two pairs of pants, a sweater, snow boots, a knitted face mask, a scarf, and two pair of gloves, one of which contained the precious dime I would need to open the rack and get my prize.

And off went the teenager to get his Amazing Spider-Man tearsheet.



Garfield Gets Out of the House

After nearly 30 years in its current location, [Paws, Inc.] employees are transitioning into a work-from-home model, said Kim Campbell Beasley, Paws, Inc. director of public relations.

The estimated 11 employees still working in the building will be out by June. The decision to close the Albany studio was a financial one, Campbell Beasley said.

“Technology has changed the way we operate our worldwide business,” she said. “Our building and the large campus … were no longer essential to our business. We felt that moving to our work-from-home business model was the fiscally responsible thing to do.”

…as employees were aging into retirement, some of the jobs those workers once held were no longer needed in a digital age. Additionally, because the company has been producing Garfield for 40 years, an abundance of art was available for use, Campbell Beasley said.

“We had a ton of resources from our book publishing, from the comic strip, from calendars, so it got to be where we weren’t really needing to create as much new art because we had so much already in our art bank,” she said.

And technological advances have changed the comic industry over the years. The Garfield comic strip went digital eight years ago, so some permanent positions like an airbrush artist and 3D molding artist were no longer needed, Campbell Beasley said.

All about the transition at Ball State Daily.



Popeye at 90, As Strong As Ever

Popeye, who turned 90 years old this month, is still going strong, an iconic cartoon character who has nearly 10 million fans on Facebook. And for his birthday, he’s being reintroduced in comics and videos for a new generation.

…King Features is celebrating the sailor – who still has his trademark bulging forearms, though not always his corncob pipe … Plus, King is letting top guest artists draw the comic as a nod to Segar’s famous “Popeye’s Cartoon Club,” where fan art was shared in the strip.

Comics Riff’s Michael Cavna interviews Liniers on having the honor of drawing an episode of Popeye’s Cartoon Club comic strip:

When I was a kid in Buenos Aires, they showed the Fleischer Studios (animated) shorts after school, and I loved them. I remember eating some spinach, which I hated, thinking I was going to grow instant muscles. It didn’t happen, and I hated spinach for a long time. I loved Popeye, though!

If you don’t want to use a Washington Post freebie (the above link) or you have already used your monthly allotment, here’s the interview via Plain Dealer.



Mike Norton Has Given Lil’ Donnie a Timeout

Mike Norton‘s acclaimed Lil’ Donnie comic strip hasn’t had a new installment since Christmas, and the one before that was a Thanksgiving issue.

Norton has slowed down on the comic because he’s suffering from a condition more common than the flu: Trump fatigue.

“The nonsense is so absurd that even making a joke is not as funny as the actual thing that’s happening,” says Norton. “So I have to do really weird things like make strange movie or comic book references that nobody is gonna get anyway. So it’s a lot more difficult now. Plus, it’s been three years now, almost, and I’m just tired of it. I’m tired of this guy.”

The Chicago Reader talked to Mike about Lil’ Donnie and Battlepug.



A Bodacious Birthday Bash

John Rose tells us in this Comics Kingdom blog posting that there are plans afoot for a Barney Google/Snuffy Smith celebration this Spring.

“I am really looking forward to celebrating the 100th bodacious birthday of our Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip in June of 2019! Barney Google is turning 100 and I couldn’t be more excited! We are working on a really fun story to celebrate his centennial birthday. Stay tooned!”



Randy Enos Flashes Back to National Lampoon

Randy Enos’ Chicken Gutz comic strip ran in the back of National Lampoon.
Randy remembers good clean fun at the magazine in his recent column.

(Yeah, I eventually got around to connecting to that opening image by Michael Kaluta. That was the National Lampoon’s logo for their back of the magazine “Funny Pages” section.)



Which Menacing Dennis Came First?

It has often been noted that Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace in the U.S. and David Law’s Dennis the Menace in the U.K. were released to the public on the same day (March 12, 1951). Now, finally, it has been decided which Dennis the Menace came first.


Stanley Link’s Dennis the Menace in 1943!