Updates: Dan Martin, RFD, Brandon-Croft

A few updates to some items posted this past week about cartoonists

Dan Martin, Mike Marland, and Barbara Brandon-Croft.

Two days ago we reported on Dan Martin retiring from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

That same day Dan wrote a farewell column to his readers at that paper.

In 1980, I knew the journalism business was no longer in the halcyon, salad days of “The Front Page” era, but to me, it was still like another planet. Staffers sat elbow to elbow. Everyone smoked. Flasks, and the occasional pistol, might be found in the bottom drawers of beat-up, World War II-era desks. Reporters and artists were often tracked down at the Missouri Bar and Grill, where they were doing “research.”

2016 St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo

So after more than 42 years, I’m semi-retiring. I will still draw the daily Weatherbird for the Post-Dispatch as a freelancer. By the way, he turns 122 years old on Saturday, still making him the oldest continually drawn daily cartoon feature in the country.

Lee Enterprises provides Dan’s message without a paywall.

A week ago we noted the final R.F.D. comic strip by Mike Marland.

We were unsure if R.F.D. would continue in rerun status. Apparently not.

Above is the February 1 and February 8, 2023 comic pages of The Mountain Eagle.

As seen R.F.D. has disappeared, as it has from The Estill County Tribune: February 1 vs. February 8.

Below is The Pickens County Courier comics page from last week and this week. We see here that with the ending of R.F.D. The Courier has dropped the Popeye Sunday page and replaced it with a Barney Google and Snuffy Smith Sunday page (from February 13, 2022) in a reorganization of their comics page.

We’ll see if King Features Weekly Service updates their website, but it certainly seems as if R.F.D. is no longer offered to clients.

Also a week ago we saw Where I’m Coming From cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft

getting some notices with the release of her book collecting her life and comic strips.

Since then both The New York Times and The Washington Post has featured Barbara.

In 1989, the cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft wrote to the country’s biggest newspaper syndicates urging them to publish her comic “Where I’m Coming From,” which had just premiered in The Detroit Free Press.

“The integration of the comic pages was long in coming,” delayed by a sort of “limited thinking” that refused to recognize the Black experience, she wrote. It was time for them to carry “a weekly comic strip featuring Black women and created by a Black woman.”

The New York Times carries Robert Ito’s feature article on Barbara and her new book.

Using essays, family photos and assorted ephemera, the book chronicles Brandon-Croft’s rise to fame in the early ’90s, which included profiles on “Good Morning America” and in The New York Times; her slide into obscurity after the strip’s demise; and the relaunch of the strip on Instagram in 2017, prompted by her outrage and consternation over the election of Donald Trump.

Where I’m Coming From by Barbara Brandon-Croft

The trail Brandon-Croft blazed is being celebrated in a beautiful hardcover retrospective, “Where I’m Coming From: Selected Strips, 1991-2005,” hitting shelves and e-sales Tuesday. The overdue salute not only provides a nostalgic trip through the lives of Brandon-Croft’s nine central female characters; the book also includes essays and letters that spotlight just how unique her achievement was…

From The Washington Post is their comics connoisseur Michael Cavna on the book and Barbara.

Today, Brandon-Croft receives fresh recognition from often timely cartoons she posts on Instagram (some are featured in the new book), as well as from recent curated shows, including “STILL: Racism in America: A Retrospective in Cartoons,” which spotlights both her work and her father’s comics.

And Brandon-Croft’s own legacy continues to inspire the next generation, including Bianca Xunise (“Six Chix”) and Steenz (“Heart of the City”), the first two African American nonbinary cartoonists in mainstream syndication. (Brandon-Croft also acknowledges the work of key predecessor Jackie Ormes, an Eisner Hall of Fame cartoonist who in the ’30s became the first African American woman to have a regularly published comic strip.)