This ‘n’ That East of The Mississippi

February 8 is Okefenokee Swamp Day in Georgia

One of Georgia’s seven natural wonders, Okefenokee Swamp has inspired everything from comic strips to rides at Six Flags Over Georgia and has long been one of the state’s leading tourist attractions, but on Feb. 8, the 428,000-acre blackwater wetland will finally get its dues at Georgia’s Capitol as Gov. Brian Kemp and legislators proclaim the date as Okefenokee Swamp Day in Georgia.

The Coastal Courier carries the story with little Pogo on the side:

[I]n 1992 the General Assembly recognized one of the swamp’s own when legislators agreed to designate Pogo ‘Possum as the official “State ‘Possum.” Pogo, a comic strip character, was created by cartoonist Walt Kelly whose Pogo strip was nationally syndicated from 1948 to 1975.

Set in the Okefenokee Swamp, it featured a host of animal characters and poked fun at American culture and politics. On Earth Day 1971, the strip featured Pogo commenting on a polluted landscape: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

More about Pogo becoming the Georgia State Possum 30 years ago come April.


Checking in with Yinzers on Valentines Day.

Cartoonist Rob Rogers and partners bring one of a kind Valentine cards.

“They are not exactly your grandmother’s Valentine greeting card or candy,” said Pittsburgh-based comedian Jim Krenn, who started the card line in 2018 with radio personality Larry Richert and cartoonist Rob Rogers. “We wanted to strike a more casual and fun tone with a new kind of card.”

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review carries this love story.

A third card depicts a heart-shaped football, along with the words, “Roses are red, violets are blue,” and on the inside, “My heart belongs to the Stillers but you’re definitely number two!”

Hockey fans also get some love with a card depicting a penguin hugging the Stanley Cup.

The Valentine’s Day Yinzer Cards are available in the greeting card departments of Pittsburgh-area Giant Eagle, Market District and Hallmark stores and online at


Halfway between The Okefenokee and Pittsburgh, and a bit to the West

In February 2019, at the age of 89, editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel retired from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

At a First Friday event on Feb. 4 at the UT Downtown Art Gallery, Daniel was quick to respond to a question about retirement. “No, I don’t miss the pressure and stress to come up with something in five hours,” he said.

“The technique has changed,” continued Daniel, pointing to an early illustration. “I used ink and brush, and the original was sketched in blue pencil, because that didn’t show up (in print). You can see where I used a razor blade to cut things out and how I added the shading.”

The Knoxville News Sentinel talks to cartoonists Charlie Daniel and Robert Turner.

“It is kind of funny, we talked about this in the 1980s, but if you left it up to artists, we would never do it,” said Daniel Proctor, Knoxville freelance editorial cartoonist, who also attended the First Friday event.

Proctor, who worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel until 2011, said he was encouraged to compete against Charlie Daniel when he worked at the Knoxville Journal. Later when they both worked at the News Sentinel, Proctor said they developed a “good cop, bad cop dynamic.”

Other featured cartoonists included in both exhibitions are Clay Bennett, Marshall Ramsey, Carl Sublett, Ed Gamble, and Danny Wilson.


Movin’ on up … to Maine

The syndicated “Big Nate” comic strip has been running for 31 years. Peirce’s series of chapter books under the same name has sold in 33 different languages worldwide.

Now comes a new chapter for “Big Nate” in the upcoming animated series by Nickelodeon that will stream on Paramount + later this month.

WSCH-TV interviews creator/cartoonist Lincoln Peirce about the animated version of Big Nate.

Peirce isn’t writing the new “Big Nate” show or producing it, but he has had a strong hand in it, working as a consultant and helping re-write and “tweak” scripts.

“Over the years, people have asked, ‘Where does Nate live?'” Peirce explained. “In my mind, he lived in Maine, but I was never specific about it, and one of the things that Nickelodeon said was, ‘We really want there to be a sense of place. We really want him to live in Maine.'”

Peirce had referenced the street where he lives in Portland as the made-up town, Rackleff, in the “Big Nate” world. Nickelodeon took that and ran, researching trees, buildings, and houses in the Pine Tree State to make the animated version of Maine feel real.


Merry Melodies in Maryland

Originally scheduled for January 2021, Icons of American Animation is a dual-venue exhibition presented concurrently at McDaniel College and the Carroll County Arts Council, which are located less than one-half mile from each other in Westminster, MD.  Spanning the 20th century, with over 150 pieces of original animation art, the exhibit promises to be one of the largest of its kind, with an emphasis on notable characters, films, animators, and production studios associated with both film and television.

The artwork is on loan from the Mike & Jeanne Glad and Glad Family Trust.  Mr. Glad has collected animation artwork for over 40 years, and his collection is recognized as one of the most extensive private collections in the world.  Numerous pieces from the collection have been loaned to museums in Asia, Europe, and the U.S., including such notable U.S. museums as the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brandywine Museum of Art.

Warner Bros, Walt Disney, Walter Lantz, UPA, Jay Ward, MGM, and more.

Details at the Icons of American Animation event site, with a downlaodable exhibit catalog.

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