News From the World of Comic Strips

The big comic strip news is Dan Schkade‘s all-new, reinvigorated Flash Gordon.

Dan sat with Zack Quaintance of The Beat for an interview.

DAN: We’ll be travelling all across Mongo in the wake of this global revolution. We’ll spend time with the familiar royal characters of course, like Prince Vultan, Witch-Queen Azura, and Queen Fria, who I find particularly interesting. But we’ll also dig into the lives of people who weren’t born to royalty — workers, prisoners, soldiers without a war to fight in. Flash Gordon is a guy who’ll try to make friends with anybody, and we’re going to use that to tell some personal, human stories, even if the subjects of those stories are literal aliens. We’ll also have death matches, high-atmosphere dogfights, murder mysteries, and at least one enormous betrayal. Not a single day will be wasted.


Mike Manley had a recurrence of cellulitis and spent some time in the hospital. So, as he did last year, Bret Blevins stepped in and gave his friend a helping hand on Judge Parker.

Once again, Mr. Blevins stepped in and did the week of the judge like the superhero he is I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that or him as a person.

No word on when the Blevins strips will appear (maybe December?).

above: a Judge Parker from years ago by Mike Manley with inks by Bret Blevins.

Mike is home and recuperating. No mention from him on The Phantom art though he does thank Scott Cohn as a good friend. Scott spelled Mike last year.


David Finkle, comic strip creator and teacher.

“I mean, I set up a studio in my bedroom to draw comics when I was in third grade and I mean, I don’t think I have really significantly stopped drawing comics since then,” he said. “I did them in college for the college newspaper at Stetson. I was in the Daytona Beach News Journal for 18 years, and then I downsized because it was getting a bit stressful. So, I downsized to the DeLand Beacon, and now I’m just online.”

Finkle was nominated as an A+ Teacher for the way he shares his passion with students.

Spectrum News 13 devotes a segment to teacher/cartoonist David Finkle (with transcript).


Collected Curtis

The award-winning comic strip Curtis will be featured in a new book in a partnership between King Features and Drawn & Quarterly.

The book will be a collected edition of favorite strips over the years from the classic syndicated comic by artist and writer Ray Billingsley.

Tom Devlin, executive editor at Drawn & Quarterly, says the publishing house was thrilled to get the chance to publish a book with King Features on Billingsley and the Curtis comics.

“Ray Billingsley is an all-time great cartoonist,’ said Devlin. “Rereading Curtis you realize that the strip is not just a daily laugh but a whole world, the creation of a living breathing boy who argues with his father, has an unrequited love interest named Michelle, has a best friend named Gunk who’s absolutely puzzling. With a lesser cartoonist, they would just exist for punchlines, but in Ray’s hands, we care about each and every one of them.”

The Licensing Letter has details.

The latest work featuring strips from Curtis is coming to shelves in February 2025


On the subject of funnies and books…

The new Charles Schulz biography Funny Things by Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi.

In this case, the story is told in the comics form. No, wait, that’s not saying enough — Funny Things tries something even harder, using not just the comics format but the comic strip format. There are probably 800 strips in here, mostly “dailies”, each six of those followed by a “Sunday”, each one made as a sub-unit in itself.

Peanuts and Charles M. Schulz aficionado Nat Gertler reviews Funny Things.

The strip leans heavily on keeping Schulz the lead character, and doesn’t chase down side alleys of being a history of Peanuts rather than a biography of the man. The art may be intended to invoke Peanuts, but its style reminded me more of Doonesbury… which is fine, as this is more in line with that latter strip’s talking head nature than with the often-kinetic Peanuts.


Georgia Dunn shares some sad news.

I have some unfortunate news to share. After much consideration, the Man and I parted ways this summer and our marriage has ended. Our shared focus remains our children and raising them. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this time as we navigate the changes around this decision and move forward separately.

July 16, 2023: the last mention of “The Man” in Breaking Cat News


More books by comic strip creators.

The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht debuted at #3 on last week’s USA TODAY’s Booklist.

This week the book doesn’t make USA TODAY’s Booklist of its top 150 best sellers. (hat tip Brian Henke)

The book has dropped out of the Top Twenty spots at Amazon as of this posting.

The New Yorker reviews The Mysteries and Bill Watterson.

“The Mysteries” is clothbound and black, about eight inches square, with gray endpapers. The title font looks medieval; the text font looks contemporary. Words appear on the left page of each spread: one or two sentences in black, surrounded by a field of white. The images appear on the right, taking up most of the page, framed by a thick black line. Some of the illustrations appear to be photographs of small clay sculptures alongside elements composed in graphite and maybe paint—but the materials aren’t specified.

Friend of site Mike Rhode also reviewed the book.

The book isn’t cartooning – the book is post-cartooning, it’s what you do after you’ve reached the pinnacle of cartooning / caricature and are looking for something creatively new. This is exactly the type of thing you see in other cartoonists through the years – they turn to sculpture or painting, because they’ve said what they wanted to in comics.

That said, it’s a minor book from two great artists.


While Keith Knight was in Germany he Zoomed an interview with Donnell Alexander and West Coast Sojourn.

I’m actually going to launch a Kickstarter to fund some animation, because everyone’s like, When are you going to do something animated? There are a couple of characters from The Knight Life, my daily strip, that I held aside and didn’t develop for the show, that I’d like to develop for their own show. Folks will be hearing about that soon. The more money we raise, the more animation we can make. I would love to say, Here, I’ve written a script that has totally defined the characters. I’ve been in a writers room now, I believe I know what it takes to have consistent characters that we can develop over time. I’m looking forward to having some fun.

Elsewhere is the opportunity to get a Keith Knight 2024 calendar featuring his Life’s Little Victories strip.

One thought on “News From the World of Comic Strips

  1. I got a good chuckle out of the “New York elbow” punchline in that Flash Gordon strip. That was well done.

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