Comics and Cartooning in the News

Mr. Smith Goes to The Big City

In a 180 of the usual, Snuffy Smith and Loweezy are going to visit Barney Google.

From the Comics Kingdom blog:

This week, Snuffy Smith is going to the big city to visit Barney Google. That’s right, the tables have turned and the Hootin’ Holler Mountaineer is leaving the Kentucky Hills to visit his best pal in (you guessed it) the BIG CITY!

Mr. Trudeau Explores the Hudson Valley Doonesbury at 50 event on December 3 with Garry Trudeau at Oblong Books.

© G. B. Trudeau

To celebrate the release of the ultimate Doonesbury package – Doonesbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury – Garry Trudeau will talk with David Stanford of Andrews McMeel Publishing (and Oblong Books!) about a half-century of his celebrated comic strip.

When: Thu., Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
Phone: 845-876-0500
Price: FREE
Register to participate at the Oblong Books site.


Mr. Ficarra Frowns on Virtual Creative Conferencing.

John Ficaara, MAD editor for 38 years, thinks virtual meetings curb creativity.

© EC Publications

A typical day at MAD consisted of the staff crammed into my office riffing on the news, asking “What if?” and desperately trying to come up with something…anything… to fill pages in the next issue. Sometimes the ideas flowed effortlessly, but there were plenty of other times when they didn’t….

But you know what else happened? Relationships were formed, body language was read. Familiarity and trust were established. Off the cuff remarks were heard (and not clipped because two people were talking at once) and energy and momentum were never stymied because of a freezing of the Wi-Fi or the barking of a family dog.

And sometimes, when we were lucky, some really great sausage got made. Two examples come to mind…

John writes an opinion piece on personnel comaraderie for The Times Union.


Mr. Honeycutt Has Harsh Words for The Year of The Pandemic

If I told you that a grawlix infestation is inevitable, you’d probably respond with something to the effect of, “What the $#@! are you talking about?”

The polite way to express these words on a page is through the graphical bleeping of swear words called a “grawlix.”

Beetle and Sarge from this past Sunday © King Features

Picture Cathy, with her eyes so close together that they touch. She hasn’t had her coffee yet, and “Ack!” just won’t suffice. You see, she has just attempted to dye her hair, and it turned out the same green shade as a pickle.

Instead of “Ack!” in this situation, Cathy lays down a “%#@$!” or maybe even a “$@&*!” Those are examples of grawlixes (or grawlices … both are correct plural forms of grawlix).

Curtis Honeycutt, writing for a family paper, says “good %@#&$ riddance” to 2020.


Praise for Messrs. Calvin and Hobbes and the Once Ubiquitous Newspaper Funny Pages

As to no humongous surprise, when it came to Watterson, his art somehow makes every day dramas palatable, even humorous, populating his comic strip with characters who, years later, still comprehend the greatness and the power to make us laugh.

Now, it’s the standard to which all other modern comic strips are compared, to the dismay of many a cartoonist.

The daily paper was an omnibus format, a potluck. Even if you picked up a paper for something you already knew you wanted — the sports section, the crossword, Dear Abby or the latest dispatch from an Op-Ed columnist you absolutely despised, but couldn’t stop reading and that was the key to the success of what appeared in the comic strip.

The physical act of separating the sections and leafing through the pages meant that you might stumble onto something you weren’t looking for, perhaps even something interesting, well-done and in general, worth knowing about.

That same dynamic applied in microcosm to the comic page.

That’s how many first discovered Bill Watterson’s beautifully sublime “Calvin and Hobbes” sometime into its first year of publication.

Matthew Rizzuto rhapsodizes about the glory days.


Oh well, at least we have the remastered Lola – illustrated:

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