Comics and Their Creators: All-True Stories

Illustrator Robb Armstrong sometimes calls his time at Syracuse University “The Syracuse Years,” like a flashback chapter in a comic book.

On Sept. 30, Armstrong will return to Syracuse University to receive an alumni award for his long career in comics. He previously received the George Arents Award from S.U. for excellence in his field, as the creator of “JumpStart,” one of the most widely syndicated comic strips by a Black artist or any artist, which follows the daily joys and trials of one African American family.

© Ruff Sketch, Inc. profiles cartoonist Robb Armstrong including behind the scenes episodes:

One of the school administrators had a daughter who was in her 20s and hustling for newsprint inches. Her name was Signe Wilkinson, and a decade later she would become the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. She agreed to let Armstrong apprentice for her.

“I was getting lots of pats on the head in those days, like ‘Oh boy, you really love this cartooning stuff,’” said Armstrong. “But Signe was like, ‘Yeah, we can take this way further.’”

She critiqued his work and dragged him along with her to go knock on newsroom doors. Sometimes she would sell her work, sometimes the editors would show her the door. “But she was unflappable,” said Armstrong.

“I definitely felt that I could do that,” he said. “She made me feel like I could do it.”

MSN also carries the story for those not getting beyond the Syracuse paywall.


More Behind-the-Scenes Stuff.

© King Features Syndicate

One of those establishing shots that just takes forever to layout and draw. I look back at the comic strips from the 30s and 40s and the amount of work/detail put in and I just don’t know how they did it on a weekly schedule. For the entire strip check out

Jim Keefe and Francesco Marciuliano are good at sharing.


You know those generic horoscope and fortune cookie bromides?

This Peanuts personality quiz is nothing like that.

Answer the 10 questions in this Peanuts quiz to discover which character you are most like. Whether you are kind and loyal like Charlie Brown, imaginative and dramatic like Snoopy, or…um, assertive like Lucy, every character had something lovable about them.

© Peanuts Worldwide


As we gird ourselves for the coming wave of AI and its consequences (which have been part of human discourse since science fiction became a genre), artists are trying to adapt through serious experimentation and satiric commentary. Brian Fies’ latest graphic novel, The Last Mechanical Monster (Abrams Books), falls somewhere in between as a human tragedy of a man who has gone awry with a wicked compulsion for nurturing mechanical intelligence as an extension of himself and a personal reckoning.

Steven Heller interviews cartoonist Brian Fies on his webcomic turned graphic novel.

First of all, why, after doing your previous, more emotionally weighty work, did you decide on this comically apocalyptic theme?
I like “comically apocalyptic” very much! I kind of needed to remind myself that although comics can be as mature and serious and adult as any literary medium—which is pretty much my wheelhouse—sometimes they should still just be fun. I wanted a palate cleanser that didn’t involve cancer, disaster or compiling 2,000 pages of research. It’s also straight-up fiction, which I hadn’t really done before. It was a refreshing stretch for me. And fun!

© Brian Fies


Cartoonists! Live! In Person!

© Cathy Guisewite

There are limited spots still available for this year’s in-person Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, slated Oct. 20-22 at the University of Dayton.

This year, one of the keynote speakers is a Dayton native known for the comic strip that bears her name: Cathy Guisewite.

“I grew up during the Erma Bombeck era and that seeped into my young mind,” she said. “She dumped real life on the page, and I started doing that. Every problem I had, I could use and get back at people and sort things out with my mother. It’s therapeutic to do the kind of writing Erma did. Making observations about real life.” interviews Cathy Guisewite ahead of her appearance.


© Charlie Daniel

Join the crowd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 8 at River Falls Park for fun, games and a picture and handshake with Charlie Daniel, Hall of Fame cartoonist and community leader.

According to a press release, Daniel will be coming home from Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be autographing his well-known cartoon, Weldon Rock Star, and having his picture taken with admirers young and old.

The Daily Herald celebrates the Charlie Daniel homecoming with a short profile.