Comic Strips and Cartoons and This and That

Smidge and Friends by Ayla Kreelak

The weekly Nunatsiaq News has introduced a new comic strip by a young local cartoonist They also introduce cartoonist Ayla Kreelak:

Kreelak’s comic strip, which started as her own personal project, offers a glimpse into Inuit culture from the perspective of a young woman who aspires to be a graphic artist. We get these peeks by seeing her characters Smidge, Vicky, Lejo, Boneskin, Jessie and Dante. Some of the situations her characters get into were inspired by Kreelak’s own friends, she said.

© Ayla Kreelak

Nunatsiaq News is going to publish one of her original comic strips every Saturday for three months. If readers like them as much as we did, who knows?

Read the story here. Read the comic strip here.


Bonus Pat Bagley Cartoon

Robert Kirby, The Salt Lake Tribune’s longtime “religion humorist,” is retiring after 25 years with the paper.

Longtime Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley also drew up a retirement-themed piece for Kirby:

© Pat Bagley/Salt Lake Tribune

“But it’s time for me to go. I’m retiring. I have far more time behind me than I do ahead, and there are other projects I want to pursue.”

Read about it here.


It’s A Greeting Card Charlie Brown

Mr. Shapiro went to work for Hallmark in 1958, and followed Peanuts in the Kansas City Star after they picked it up in 1959. He says he felt the philosophy in Peanuts would be perfect for greeting cards. He pitched the idea to a cool Joyce C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark. Others on the executive team were more receptive to the idea and persuaded Mr. Hall to give Peanuts a try. A contract was signed with United Media and four prototype cards were produced.

© Peanuts Worldwide

Over the years, Mr. Shapiro learned that Hallmark was the only licensee allowed to develop new editorial content for its products (with Sparky’s approval, of course).

The Hallmark and Peanuts relationship as told by Jean Schulz.


Secret Agent Mad

Inkspill reveals a Peter Kuper secret:

Word has reached the Spill that Peter Kuper‘s first MAD cover appears on the magazine’s Spring 2021 issue. Mr. Kuper, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2011, has been a MAD contributor for 26 years, writing and illustrating one of that magazine’s iconic features, Spy vs. Spy.

© E.C. Comics

From the League of Comic Geeks comes more classified information:

Mad #18 is [an] all-espionage issue, featuring Peter Kuper’s final installment of Spy vs. Spy! Celebrating the 60-year-saga of Antonio Prohías’ sneaky secret agents, we revisit the work of the artists and writers who contributed to this iconic cartoon, including Duck Edwing, Bob Clarke, and Dave Manak.


Bazooka Joe Has No Depth Perception. Why?

In 1952, [Woody] Gelman was hired by the chewing gum (and now trading cards) company, Topps, to help lay out the 1952 Topps baseball cards. Gelman was then hired as the head of Product Development at Topps, with [Ben] Solomon as the Creative Director. One of the first things that they did was to basically copy their own Popsicle Pete idea. They approached Wesley Morse with the idea.

© The Topps Company

“Bazooka Joe has become the personification of the lowest form of humor. And this is why he’s one of the most widely known comics characters on the planet. Sure, the jokes were cornball. But that’s their appeal.”

Brian Cronin’s story of Bazooka Joe’s creation ends with the eye patch rationale.


Thirty Years of Armstrong and Bentley

By way of helping to celebrate Black History Month, we take a look at a couple of 30th year anniversaries. Robb Armstrong, it sez here in this promotional blurb, is the first Black cartoonist to have a comic strip with Black characters to run for 30 consecutive years.

Herb and Jamaal, by Stephen Bentley, syndicated now by Creators Syndicate, has been published daily since 1989. JumpStart also began in 1989, but Herb and Jamaal started a few months earlier, in July.

Herb & Jamaal © Creators Syndicate; Jumpstart © Ruff Sketch Inc

R. C. Harvey gives us the history of two pearls of the comics pages.