Tumbleweeds creator Tom K. Ryan has passed away.
Thomas Kreusch (Tom K.) Ryan
(aka T. K. Ryan)
June 6, 1926 – March 12, 2019
From the above linked funeral home obituary:
Tom began his career as a commercial artist in Muncie, Indiana. His love of the old west and his creative vision merged in 1965 as he created Tumbleweeds, a major nationally syndicated Cartoon strip.
This weekend an abbreviated obituary notice was printed in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
In 1965 Tom K. Ryan took How The West Was Won, turned it on its head,
and created one of the great comic strips of the new post-WWII movement.
Tumbleweeds was a bit different than the other new “intellectual” strips. It wasn’t the gentle introspection of Peanuts, or the sophistication of B.C., and not the political intrigue of Conchy; though, at times, all those could and would be incorporated into Tom’s strip. Tumbleweeds was more sarcastic slapstick.
Adding to the humor was Tom’s ability to fracture the English language with high-falutin’ vocabulary combined with American slang and idioms, all delivered with Ryan’s inventive spelling an’ invented accents, which made reading the gags as much fun as the jokes themselves.
Tom’s art quickly became an unwavering clean and attractive line with little to no backgrounds,
making it perfect for the increasingly decreasing size of newspaper comics.
Back in the day, when visiting my local newsstand, I seldom experienced such delight as when a new Tumbleweeds paperback showed up in the racks. I got (and still have) most of them.
Here’s a few of the very early Tumbleweeds strips before the more lasting style emerged: