Cartoonist Howard Cruse has passed away.
Howard Russell Cruse
May 2, 1944 – November 26, 2019
With sadness I share that my birth father passed this afternoon after a too short battle with cancer, with his dear friend Pam and loving husband Eddie by his side, among other friends. He is one of the kindest person(s) that I know. May God bless and take care of Eddie, his lifelong partner, Allan Cruse, his brother and all their extended family and friends in Williamstown and North Adams, MA. He left a legacy with his artwork and was a trailblazer in this time. I’m so proud of him and so blessed he was in my life. Rest in Peace Howard and I’ll see you again one day.
Condolences and memories have poured onto Kimberly’s Facebook page,
and onto Howard’s Facebook page.
Howard Russell Cruse, 75 of Williamstown, MA died of cancer Tuesday November 26, 2019 at Berkshire Medical Center.
He was born in Birmingham, AL on May 2, 1944 son of Clyde and Irma (Russell) Cruse.
Howard was a self-employed cartoonist and writer all of his life. He notably founded the gay comics movement in 1980 and published the novel, “Stuck Rubber Baby” that won awards worldwide. He moved to the Berkshires in 2002.
Survivors include his husband of 40 years, Edward P. Sedarbaum and one daughter Kim Venter of Atlanta, GA.
Services for Howard Russell Cruse will be private. A memorial service is being planned for later in the winter.
I became aware of Howard Cruse in the mid-70s with his contributions to underground comix such as Snarf, Bizarre Sex, Dope Comix, and the like. And, of course, through his Barefootz Funnies, which has been noted as the least “underground” comic of the underground comix scene. I would also see him in the “ground-level” comic books like Anything Goes, Comix Book, and such.
By the time he hit his stride with Wendell and Stuck Rubber Baby I was out of the comic books.
Howard also gets noted here for his comic strip work. Yes, comic strips!
Howard began cartooning Barefootz for the University of Alabama paper Crimson White around 1971. During that same time (1970-1972) Howard was contributing a daily panel called Tops and Button to the Birmingham Post-Herald (I was not able to find a sample [update: But Brad Walker did!]).
As the Jerry Bails index notes Howard contributed cartoons to magazines.
His Playboy Funnies contributions (NSFW) seems to consist of comic strip satires.
Rest in peace Howard.
Update: Andy Mangels offers a very nice remembrance/biography at Comic Book Resources.