A very Happy 88th Birthday to Joltin’ Joe Sinnott! Silver Age comics fans will be pleased to see Joe celebrating with his contemporaries, comic strip and DC Comics artistic stalwarts Joe Giella and Sy Barry.
Political cartoonists no longer have the influence that they enjoyed for many decades, if not a century, but the ones that remain continue to ply their craft. Jerry Holbert of the Boston Herald did this cartoon, about the recent lapse in White House security, which saw publication locally.
But before it reached national syndication, the editor at Uclick requested a change in wording.
I checked, and watermelon-flavored toothpaste does indeed exist.
It’s been twenty years since Robert Crumb relocated to France, and he’s still there. The introverted yet irrepressible cartoonist/record collector/musician, who is equally profound and profane, is featured on this week’s edition of the syndicated radio program American Routes.
One of the first comic books I bought after my family moved to Massachusetts in 1968 was Marvel Super-Heroes #18, featuring the introduction of an oddball band of space rangers called the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Written by Arnold Drake and drawn by Gene Colan, the original incarnation of the Guardians was a one-off try-out story that went nowhere for decades. Today, a completely revamped version of the team includes a 1970’s Marvel character called Star Lord, who is played by Chris Pratt in a big, new movie that is getting generally favorable reviews. A Pratt saving the galaxy is something I’ve gotta see.
And where did Groot the tree character come from? He’s one of Marvel’s old, pre-Fantastic Four monsters.
Last week, Denro tipped me off to a half-price sale of Criterion videos at Barnes & Noble. I picked up the Blu-ray release of “Kiss Me Deadly” for twenty bucks. It’s based on a Mike Hammer story by Joe Sinnott’s longtime buddy, Mickey Spillane. Mickey was supposedly not happy with the ending, where director Robert Aldrich managed to bring the Cold War into the story, but I think this quirky and murky movie is both entertaining and fascinating. The whole thing is on YouTube, for now anyway, and I suggest kicking it up to full screen mode at 720p and kicking back.
Every day I receive a large selection of comic strips from GoComics in one of my e-mail bags, for which I pay a smidgen less than $12/year. One of those strips is “Pearls Before Swine,” by Stephan Pastis (yes it’s Stephan, not Stephen). Last week, on Wednesday, I saw this.
The second panel of “Pearls” sure looked like it was either Pastis trying to draw like Bill Watterson, or perhaps it was by Watterson himself, but maybe just a bit out of practice. On Thursday I had no doubt that we were seeing the return of Bill Watterson to a syndicated comic strip for the first time since December, 1995, when he brought “Calvin & Hobbes” to a poignant, if early, end.
On Friday, Michael Cavna, The Washington Post’s comics blogger, made the official announcement. Pastis tells the back story at this link. I’ve stitched Watterson’s four panels together into a single strip.
For myself, what makes Watterson’s return to (what those older than myself call) the Funny Pages truly special is its connection to cartoonist Richard Thompson, whose Parkinson’s Disease prevents him from continuing his own superb comic strip, “Cul de Sac.” The original art from last week’s “Pearls Before Swine” will be auctioned and the proceeds donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I am, for personal reasons I have been asked to keep private, hooked into Michael’s disease and his foundation, and that was even before “Cul de Sac” first appeared in The Boston Globe.
The connection between Thompson, Pastis, Watterson, and M.J. Fox is Chris Sparks, the guy behind Team Cul de Sac. This is Chris enjoying holding onto the original art while he can. It will be on display at the Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC from June 20-22.
Watterson seems to be slowly entering the public eye again, through his art, if not in person. Besides drawing the poster for the documentary “Stripped” that I mentioned back in February, he drew this picture in recognition of the recent retirement of Lee Salem. Salem was the guy at Universal Press Syndicate who bought “Calvin & Hobbes” but who missed seeing the potential in “Dilbert.”
Here’s another look at the “Pearls Before Swine” original art. I’d love to know what Watterson uses when lettering, because the ink on his originals never looks very black compared to the line art. If it’s a type of India Ink he must dilute it.