Pseudo-Gannett Cartoonist Profiles Series: John Rose

The Staunton News Leader is part of Gannett’s USA TODAY Network, and so their comics page will now consist of that newspaper’s choice among a selection of comics as handed down by headquarters in Gannett’s effort to standardize the group’s funnies. Unfortunately Barney Google and Snuffy Smith by local cartoonist John Rose, which The News Leader has carried for all of John’s 22 years on the strip, is not included on The Gannett 34 list.

So The News Leader created a work around:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Snuffy Smith can now be found on page 2A of The News Leader’s print or e-editions.

To celebrate Barney Google and Snuffy Smith and John Rose staying in the paper News Leader editor Jeff Schwaner profiled John and Barney and Snuffy.

John Rose was eating a nutritious breakfast of Cocoa Puffs when the phone rang.

The year was 1998; the young Rose was trying to get a foot in the door of the comic strip biz. A few weeks earlier he’d come back from a comics convention, and there a friend had told him comic strip artists often had inking assistants to aid them. Rose decided to do some samples of his inking, and chose to draw characters from the Snuffy Smith strip. He sent the drawings, along with some of his own art, to the strip’s author, Fred Lasswell.

During that fateful [breakfast], he picked up the phone and heard an unfamiliar voice. “John, this is Fred Lasswell.”

John Rose’s caricature of the News Leader editor

More from John about appearing in his local paper:

“I feel bodaciously blessed, that I get to do this every day. And especially for local readers,” Rose said. He loves visiting the schools and encouraging young artists. “That really makes me happy because I can always point the students to get the newspaper here and read the strip, and that’s how to get young people to read something. Yes, read newspapers, anyway!”

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