Category Archives: All Posts

4-Panel Pastis Pastiche

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.

GoComics

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.

Click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

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.

ChrisSparks

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.”

Lee Salem

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.

Pearls

Separating Truth from Fiction

The 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film went to “A Separation,” and rightly so. This Iranian movie about the collision of the lives of two families, and within the families, is outstanding. We watched it on a Netflix Blu-ray rental, but for now it’s available on YouTube. The drama is compelling and universal, but in the second half it’s obvious that the Iranian legal system is not at all like America’s.

Joltin’ Joe under the weather

Joe Sinnott, Jim Steranko, Mark Sinnott

Joe Sinnott, Jim Steranko, Mark Sinnott

Joe Sinnott hasn’t been feeling well lately, and he even pressed his son Mark into service finishing the inking job on the latest Sunday installment of the Spider-Man syndicated comic strip for Stan Lee. Although Joe checked out fine on Monday he’s suddenly come down with a case of pneumonia and he’ll be at a hospital for a couple of days. Mark’s wife Belinda says that Joe should be okay, dehydration is his biggest problem, and I’m looking forward to hearing that he’s home again and resting and back as his drawing table.

More BBC on Sunday

‘Been enjoying a very funny series on BBC Radio 4 from a few years ago, called 1966 and All That. I was happily surprised to hear Eleanor Bron, best known in the U.S. as Ahme in the Beatles movie “HELP!”

And speaking of BBC Radio 4, Brian Sibley has announced on his Facebook page that he’s been given the go-ahead for another series.

After a year-long negotiation, I have just signed a contract with the BBC to adapt T H White’s THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING as six 1-hour dramas for BBC Radio 4 this coming autumn! :-)

THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING was the source material for Walt Disney’s THE SWORD IN THE STONE and Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s CAMELOT.