Tagged: strip

The end of THE CITY

The end of THE CITY

I’m ending my comic strip, The City, after 24 years. Here’s the final strip.

I’m ending the strip So I can concentrate full-time on graphic novels. It’s all good. I’m not slinking away from a failed endeavor as a washed-up has-been. I’m leaving it behind in a blaze of glory, as a newly minted, internationally-best-selling comix creator. The past couple years have been the best of my career. After 30 years of toil as a (at best) cult favorite to suddenly find success? I’m loving every fucking minute of it! I simply no longer have the time, nor, quite frankly, the desire, to devote to The City. Typically, it takes almost two full workdays to write and draw one strip. That’s time better devoted to other projects.

Meet Dan Dougherty of “Beardo”!

Beardo is the back to back winner of the prestigious Shel Dorf Award for Syndicated Print Strip of the Year (2012 and 2013), and Beardo is the alter-ego of award-winning writer, artist, and musician Dan Dougherty. ComicMix is bringing the first three volumes of Beardo back into print and adding the fourth book in the series out in time for Christmas. We’re using Indiegogo to take pre-orders, in addition to special items only through this campaign, and the campaign ends Friday.

We talked with Dan about the comic, the crowdfunding campaign, and the people lurking with razors if certain goals are met.

For those who don’t know Beardo, how would you describe it?

It’s about a plucky cartoonist with a sweet beard and a knack for finding the punch line in his own life.

What’s the best thing about doing your own strip?

Making humorous observations about my little world that can also be relatable for public consumption on a daily basis.

And the worst?

Making humorous observations about my little world that can also be relatable for public consumption on a daily basis.

What kind of perks do you get when you do a daily strip like this?  Do other baristas give you free coffee?

Yes, but only because I saved Howard Schultz from a burning building once. At least that’s what I tell them.

Have you ever been recognized by a fan from your likeness to the character?

Only when I’m at comic conventions and standing right next to the books. However, I did have a lady at a school ask me if I knew the Dan Dougherty who does the comic in the paper. I said I knew him, and he’s a real jerk.

What is the strangest fan encounter you’ve ever had?

I’d say check out the comments section on my gocomics page, I get some interesting people who seem to thrive on using the comic as a flimsy segue into whatever wacky non sequitur is rattling around in their mind. Oftentimes it’s more interesting content then the comic that created it.

As we talk, you’ve raised nearly seven times the amount of money you originally asked for, but not enough to meet a stretch goal, which would require you to shave your beard.  Is this good?  Are you relieved?  Would you rather have your beard or the money?

The goal we original set was low just so we could ensure we’d make it. In hindsight, I wish we would’ve set it higher to give people something to rally around, because releasing four books in a year is a lofty goal that requires some serious coin. That being said, I’m just happy I have such supportive fans in my corner who would’ve backed Beardo no matter what we were doing, and I wouldn’t trade them for all the beards in the world.

Dennis O’Neil: Meet Lenny Grimmish

Doonesbury photo

So that snot-nose college boys thinks he’s putting one over on me, hah?  Foreign bastard.  I mean, look at his name.  I don’t even know how to say it.  True Dough?  Tree dee- you?  First name Garry?  Yeah, sure it is;  Prob’ly something like Garovitchsky.  You see what he’s doing with his comic strip…did I say comic strip? What I meant was commie strip. Anyway, you see today’s paper?  This Tree-dee-you is reprinting crap he did I don’t know how long ago…twenty, thirty years!

Now, in the first place, I don’t pay for crap that’s that old.  If I read the news section, I wouldn’t want to read about stuff that happened twenty-thirty years ago.  You feed me stuff that’s twenty-thirty years old, what you’re doing is stealing my money ‘cause I don’t pay for stuff that’s twenty-thirty years old.  It’s like them sissy-boys and their wine…just shows how stupid they are, plunking down fifty-sixty dollars for wine that’s fifty-sixty years old.  Not that I seen ‘em do it.  Fella on the train told me about it.  Anyway, his Tree-dee-you is too lazy to do new commie strips so he’s feeding us old stuff, thinks we’re too dumb to notice.

But that ain’t the worst of it. See, the old stuff don’t even look like the new stuff and so what the snotnose is telling us is that his commie strip has changed.  Sure it has.  Damn well told it has.  ‘Cause he changed it!  What he’s trying to do is, the sneaky sonuvabitch, he’s trying to make us think that stuff changes.  Planting the idea in our heads.  Planting the idea in our kids’ heads! So pretty soon we’re going to believe that the earth is way old and not just the six-thousand years we know it is and that evolution is right and holy scripture is wrong and all that dumb type of stuff.  Did I say dumb?  Just look out the window.  See anything changing?  When was the last time you seen your Aunt Sadie change into a monkey?  When did you see a monkey change into Aunt Sadie?  Boy, they sure must think we’re stupid.

Know what I bet Tree-dee-you watches on the teevee?  I bet he watches that Cosmos thing that on Fox on Sunday night and how come it’s on Fox anyway when Fox usually knows better?  Anyway, it’s full of stuff about everything changing and some of it doesn’t even look like anything I ever seen.  Prob’ly whoever’s making the pictures is taking drugs.  Not that I really watched it ‘cause I got better things to do with my time but it came on one night and before I could find the remote I accidentally seen some of it and boy-howdy, I tell you it made me sick.

I gotta go now, but remember, they’re watching you and they’re out to get you.

Photo by NCMallory

Martha Thomases: Disappearing Doonesbury

Doonesbury is going on an open-ended hiatus. Boo.  Hiss.

In the link above, creator Garry Trudeau says, “I’ve done the strip for 43 years — 45 if you include the college edition [at Yale] — and I’m ready for an extended break.”  He wants to spend his time writing Alpha House, his brilliant series on Amazon Prime that stars John Goodman and Clark Johnson.

But what about me?  What about my needs?

I’ve written before about how much I love Trudeau’s brilliant newspaper strip.  I’ve been reading it almost as long as it’s been running in syndication.  Back before the Internets, my mom would cut each strip out of the paper and mail them to me when I was away at school.  That started when I was in high school.  The Beatles were still together.

Since then, I think I’ve read the strip every day it’s run.  Trudeau took some time off over the years, to take a break, to recharge  his creative batteries.  At first, this caused something of a scandal, since no other syndicated cartoonist had done that before.  The risk of losing income through losing audience and subscribing papers was too high.

Trudeau showed it could be done.  These days, cartoonists take breaks when they need them.

I get that intellectually, and politically I’m with them.  No one should be burned out by over-work, whether that work is drawing Pulitzer Prize-winning comics or making fries.  We each deserve to live a life balanced among responsibilities, joys, family and community.  If we’re going to talk about the “dignity” of work, we should treat all workers with dignity.

Having said that, I really resent this break he’s taking.  He made me fall in love with these characters, to watch them live and grow, and now he’s taking them away.  I’ve loved B.D. and Joannie and Mark and Duke and Mike and especially Zonker as much as — no, more — than some people in my own family.

Trudeau promises they will be back on Sundays, at least for the foreseeable future.  I can read my old collections, and the archives online.  It will be like going off to college, where, instead of seeing your folks every day, you call them once a week.  They are still part of your life, just not as much.

Don’t forget to come home for Thanksgiving, Garry.  We’ll save you a seat at the table.

Mike Gold: Superman’s Real Family

Gold Art 131204There was a time when the world could not get enough of The Man of Steel. In the 1950s National Periodical Publications, the name DC Comics went under back then, published seven different Superman titles, five of them every six weeks and two every month. In those days, that was a lot.

Today, of course, Wolverine wouldn’t lift his head out of his own puke for such paltry exposure. But back then, that workload was astonishing – and it wasn’t uncommon to see sales figures on certain of these titles reaching seven figures. Action Comics was shipped at the end of the month and that very issue was re-shipped two weeks later.

Superman had more than just that going for him. In the 40s he had one of the most popular and long-lasting radio shows around. In the early 50s, a time when most cities were lucky to have two television stations and it was common for one of those channels to pick from the offerings of two of the three networks, Superman was offered up in first-run syndication and he captured the awe and wonder of the entire baby boomer generation. We were all glued to the boob tube; it was our crack. And there were a hell of a lot of us, too.

The Big Guy had something else going for him: he was in the newspapers daily and Sunday all across America, including Hearst’s New York Mirror, which sported the largest circulation of any U.S. newspaper at the time. His newspaper circulation made the comics work appear downright skinny.

All this exposure required the efforts of an astonishing amount of talent. By and large, there were three primary Superman artists: Wayne Boring and Curt Swan, who did the newspaper strip as well as Action Comics and Superman, and Al Plastino, who did… well… everything.

To be fair, there were other great talents in this group, legends all. Kurt Schaffenberger, whose work dominated the Lois Lane stories, Win Mortimer, George Papp and John Sikela, perhaps best known for their Superboy efforts (as was Curt Swan), and Dick Sprang on the Superman-Batman feature in World’s Finest.

Gee, no wonder Big Blue was so popular. And, yes, I’m leaving at least a half-dozen artists out.

Last week the last of these awesomely talented people died. Al Plastino, the medium’s best utility infielder, died at 91. He was an artist, a writer, an editor, a letterer and a colorist. He co-created the Legion of Super-Heroes, Supergirl and Brainiac. He drew the Batman newspaper strip in the 1960s, and he ghosted the Superman strip in its latter years.plastino-hap-hopper-2-02-44-150x167-5037260

Al was the go-to man at the United Feature Syndicate, creating a couple of minor features in the 1940s (Hap Hopper, from 1944, is pictured to the right) and doing Ferd’nand for its last 20 years, retiring in 1989. He also stepped in to do the Sunday Nancy page for a while after Ernie Bushmiller died. And there was some work on Peanuts, but there’s a whole story in that one that should be reserved for a later date.

Oh, and he inked Captain America in the early part of both their careers.

Al Plastino was an editor’s dream. A wonderful artist and a fine storyteller, he could do anything and do it on time. His legend as a comics creator alone makes him a permanent part of comics history.

Al, thank you for making my childhood all the more amazing.


THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Return of The Tweaks

REVIEW: Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics

Necessary Evil-SuperVillains of DC ComicsThere are times one wonders what synergies truly exist between parent company Warner Bros and DC Entertainment. Normally, the studio cherry-picks properties it wants from its subsidiary and rarely does DC get something in return. However, as the company planned its mammoth villain-centric fall publishing plans, they managed to corral the studio into helping create and market the just released Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics. The 99-minute documentary features sound and fury but its significance is obscured.

Watching it, I kept wondering who this was being marketed to since casual fans of the movies, television shows, or video games lack the context to comprehend much of what the host of talking heads had to say. Even current readers of the New 52 might be confused by the various iterations of the villains as they have appeared through the years.

With Christopher Lee trying, and not entirely succeeding, at using his marvelous voice to lend gravitas to the overwrought script, we are taken through a series of thematic chapters exploring the nature of villainy. What is entirely lacking is any sort of historic context to put things into perspective.

At first, larger-than-life heroes evolved from their pulp ancestors to tackle four-color criminal masterminds, corrupt government officials, and the occasional mad scientist. Heck, Superman didn’t really meet a serious threat until the Ultra-Humanite at the beginning of his second year. At least Bob Kane was faster to have Batman deal with the Mad Monk and Hugo Strange in his inaugural year. The Golden Age of comics saw a plethora of heroes and heroines arrive without as much thought being put into their opponents resulting in a mere handful of worthy adversaries being revived through the years.

The exception is Batman, where Bill Finger clearly recognized the need for a bizarre rogues gallery, much as Dick Tracy had his grotesque villains in his newspaper strip. It really wasn’t the Silver Age of the late 1950s before other heroes were given a significantly interesting collection of villains demonstrating an evolutionary leap in the sophistication of the premises and storytelling.

GroupYou wouldn’t really know any of this from the documentary which focused more than 99% of its art from the last half-decade or so and all its talk was a jumble so we’d go from someone discussing a theme to someone else discussing a specific bad guy and his ever-changing motivation. In listening to co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, one would think every story has to feature a good versus evil confrontation and each adventure has to end with the hero paying some price for the victory. Such cookie cutter thinking may be one reason why the New 52 has been struggling to maintain readers, prompting its accelerating churn of titles.

The past is represented by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, with a dollop of Paul Levitz while writers Scott Snyder and Marc Guggenheim seem to be the modern era. Then we hear from Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase, neither of whom shows a personal opinion about the modern day bad guys. The Hollywood connection is represented by Man of Steel‘s Zack Snyder, Superman: The Movie’s Richard Donner and future Justice League Dark  director Guillermo del Toro (although Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan or David Goyer would have been nice). Animation is covered by Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, and Andrea Romano and their contributions are interesting. We even have vocal performers Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, Kevin Shinick and Scott Porter on hand to lend their thoughts. The most passionate of the bunch with some of the best lines is DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Second to him is psychiatrist Andrea Letamendi, who brings  fresh perspective and a fan girl’s point of view. (It’s also hard to accept the speakers discussing Captain Marvel’s foes when they keep mistakenly calling the Big Red Cheese by Shazam — I know it’s  a legal issue, but still…)

The tedious enterprise ends with what is essentially a commercial for the Forever Evil event now being released. Overall, this was an interesting attempt to make noise for the entire line but it was such a mishmash of comments, name dropping, and the like that one wonders what its really trying to say.

The disc is lovely to look at thanks to the colorful high definition artwork and clips from comics, animation, and live-action productions. This Blu-ray does not come with any extras which is a missed opportunity.

Nick Cardy: 1920-2013

Nick CardyNick Cardy (October 16, 1920-November 23, 2013) died today after an illness. He was placed in hospice care over the weekend and leaves behind an enduring legacy of memorable artwork.

Born Nicholas Viscardi in New York City, he was raised on the Lower East Side and was already dabbling with art by the time he was six years old. He was painting and having his work published during his early teen years, taking free classes at the Boys Club of America.  Raised in an era of gorgeous magazine illustration, he found inspiration in the works of Charles Dana Gibson, Arthur Petty, Al Dorne, and John Gannon among others. He continued his studies at the School of Industrial Art where he met and befriended Al Plastino.

In 1937, he went to work for an ad agency but two years later joined the Eisner/Iger Studio and drew stories for a variety of publications, notably Quality Comics. Among his regular assignments were Sheena, Queen of the Jungle and Quicksilver. He saw Eisner as a mentor and later joined his solo studio, writing and drawing the Lady Luck feature for the back of The Spirit.

1968_showcase_76After leaving Eisner over a financial dispute, he joined Fiction House producing work for Fight Comics and Jungle Comics among others. Soon after, he served in World War from 1943-46, getting wounded and earning two purple hearts. He was assigned to the 66th Infantry Division, driving a tank in the armored cavalry. After his discharge, he met and married Ruth Houghby and they remained married until 1969. They had one son in 1955, Peter, who died in 2001.

Cardy returned to comic art, sharing studio space with Plastino and Jack Sparling, returning to Fiction House but adding in magazine work. He also took on illustrating the Casey Ruggles comic strip. In 1949, Burne Hogarth invited Cardy to take over drawing the Tarzan daily strip. He continued his work for multiple publishers, including National Comics in 1948. There, he began working for Murray Boltinoff on Gang Busters quickly adding other features.

As the 1950s dawned, he increasingly worked for National, also known as DC Comics. He took over as the main artist on Tomahawk and Congo Bill. During the early 1950s, he anglicized his name to Cardy after prejudice against his Italian heritage cost him assignments.

In 1960, Aquaman was given a tryout in Showcase with the hope he could sustain a title of his own. Ramona Fradon withdrew from the feature to raise her daughter so Cardy took over and became synonymous with the Sea King through the 1960s. And when the Teen Titans proved an enduring idea, he replaced Bruno Permiani as its artist as the group also gained their own title. During the decade his work grew more distinctive and his brilliant design sense made his covers true standouts. When Aquaman was optioned by Filmation for a Saturday morning series, he produced the character sheets for the animators.

ncardyc3When Dick Giordano was hired as an editor, Cardy lost Aquaman to Jim Aparo, although he remained on the covers for continuity. His free time was taken with the critically acclaimed Bat Lash. Cardy continued his experimenting with color and design, adding a cartoony approach that helped make the western distinctive. He also replaced Teen Titans with a long stretch on The Brave and the Bold, proving adept at not only Batman but the remainder of the DC Universe.

TeenTitans_14Under Editorial Director Carmine Infantino, Cardy grew in value to the company. Through the early 1970s Cardy became the line’s premier cover artist, giving the line a unified house style that was highly commercial.
Cardy was growing increasing discontented with comics and DC in particular so by 1975 he was ready to move on. Before leaving though, he did a series of paintings and illustrations for Marvel’s line of black and white magazines.

Modifying his name to Cardi, he reinvented himself as a commercial artist doing advertising work, largely in the film field. When he began doing convention appearances, he was rediscovered and became a popular guest at shows around the country. He excelled at commission work and remained good humored with fans. In July 2005, Cardy was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

His legacy as an illustrator and stylist has thankfully been collected in various DC Archives and Showcase Presents volumes letting modern day fans see one of the finest illustrators grow, evolve and get better through the years.

Our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and legions of fans.


Free Burroughs Strips

You can now Free Sample Strips of each of our All New Comic Strips Series – written and drawn by well known artists/writers.  Strips include THE WAR CHIEF™, CARSON OF VENUS™, TARZAN™, ETERNAL SAVAGE™ and CAVE GIRL™ all for FREE! Check ’em out HERE and see what you’re missing if you’re not yet a subscriber!

All New Strips are created just for the site, added to weekly, and available when you subscribe for only $1.99/month. Click on any sample strip to see full size. Subscribe now to receive Bonus Materials: Original drawings and sketches from all our artists.

Tarzan Swings in the Funny Pages

With Tarzan’s adventures beginning their second century, Dark Horse Comics and IDW Publishing are bringing back some of the Jungle Lord’s greatest comic strips in new collected editions.

Arriving in comic shops July 31:
George Carlin (Writer) and Hal Foster (Art)

Beautifully restored and printed at giant size, this first volume in Dark Horse’s comprehensive collections of Hal Foster’s Tarzan Sundays reprints over one hundred strips on high-quality paper and in eye-popping color, replicating their appearance when they were brand new! Featuring historical essays on Tarzan and Foster, this astonishing volume is a must for every collector! Collecting every Tarzan Sunday strip from September 1931 through September 1933!

* From Hal Foster, creator of Prince Valiant!
* Introduction by Mark Evanier!

Hardcover, 15″ x 20″, 120 pages, $125
Age range: 12
ISBN-10: 1-61655-117-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-61655-117-9

Learn more about Dark Horse Comics’ Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan: The Sunday Comics 1931-1933 HC here.

Coming December 2013:

IDW Publishing is proud to announce that the Library of American Comics will be collecting comics legend Russ Manning’s classic run with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ King of the Jungle in 2013! TARZAN: THE COMPLETE RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS is a four-volume series. The first three volumes will chronologically collect all of Manning’s daily black & white and full-color Sunday strips from 1967 to 1974, while the fourth volume will collect the remaining Sunday strips, which Manning continued to do until 1979.

“The addition of Tarzan to the Library of American Comics amplifies even further that the imprint is the premier archival home for comic strip reprints and collections,” says IDW’s President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein. “Russ Manning’s Tarzan run is one of the real highlights of the modern age of adventure strips and we are extremely excited to be the home of its long-anticipated return to print.”
The series of hardcover volumes will commence May 29th with Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, Vol. 1: 1967 – 1969. Fans will be treated to the first-ever collection of a historic turning point in Tarzan history: when Russ Manning was handpicked by the Burroughs estate to return the strip to its creator’s original vision. Manning put together a dream team of assistants in this historic endeavor, including future comics greats Dave Stevens, William Stout, and Mike Royer, creating one of the most loaded rosters in comics history, and a perfect opportunity for new fans to discover the adventures of Viscount Greystoke.

In his introduction to Volume One, William Stout writes, “Russ Manning was a natural storyteller. He may also be one of the most underrated writers in comics. His beautiful art is so captivating that it’s easy to understand how it might overshadow his scripts. He was as adept with telling Tarzan tales in contemporary Africa as he was setting Ape Man stories in dinosaur-infested Pal-ul-don.”

Reproduced from the Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. file copies, fans can expect TARZAN: THE COMPLETE RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS to receive the same critically acclaimed, award-winning treatment that Dean Mullaney, The Library of American Comics, and IDW Publishing have become renowned for.

Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, Vol. 1: 1967 – 1969
HC, B&W, $49.99, 288 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-61377-694-0

Learn more about IDW Publishing’s Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Volume 2 (1969-1971) here.

Learn more about Tarzan here.
Learn more about Edgar Rice Burroughs here.


Michael Vance Boards the Airship

New Airship 27 Marketing Director, Michael Vance

Well known writer/editor Michael Vance joins Airship 27 Productions staff as new Marketing Director.

Official Release:

Michael Vance has been named Marketing Director for Airship 27 publishing.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have such a talented, experienced writer/editor joining our editorial staff,” declared Managing Editor Ron Fortier enthusiastically. “Michael Vance is one of the most respected pros in the literary community, and having him aboard brings that wealth of knowledge and creativity to Airship 27 Productions. Michael’s contributions are clearly going to allow Airship 27 to fly to new heights. Count on it.”

Vance’s magazine work has been published in seven countries in magazines including Starlog, Jack & Jill and Star Trek, The Next Generation. He briefly ghosted an internationally syndicated comic strip, and his own strip, Holiday Out that was reprinted as a comic book. Vance also wrote comic book titles including Straw Men, Angel of Death, The Adventures of Captain Nemo, Holiday Out and Bloodtide. He is listed in two reference works, the Who’s Who of American Comic Books and Comic Book Superstars.

His thirty short stories about a fictional town called “Light’s End” were published in more than a dozen magazines, and have been recorded by legendary actor William (Murder She Wrote) Windom.

Vance’s published novels include Forbidden Adventure: The History of the American Comics Group, Weird Horror Tales, Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting, Weird Horror Tales: Light End, and Global Star (with Mel Fox and R. A. Jones).

Vance’s weekly comics review column, Suspended Animation, was continuously published for more than twenty years and read by approximately 4,000,000 readers annually.

In his career, he worked in newspapers for twenty-two years as an editor, writer and advertising manager, creating three successful newspaper magazines. He also worked as an advertising copy writer, journalist, historian, graphic designer, in public relations, and as a grant writer. Vance also created the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection housed in the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Paula Valley, Oklahoma, and was a keynote speaker at the Uncanny Adventures of Ookie Cartoonists exhibit at the Oklahoma Historical Museum in Oklahoma City.

Begun in 2004 by comic book creators, Ron Fortier and Rob Davis, Airship 27 Productions is one of the leading companies of the New Pulp Movement; a concentrated effort to keep alive the classic pulp literature of the 30s and 40s while producing newer pulp themed titles by today’s brightest writers and artists. Today the company has over sixty titles, both novels and anthologies, in their ever expanding catalog and all their new titles are available digitally via Amazon’s Kindle. Employing their artistic sensibilities from their experiences in comics, Fortier and Davis has consistently produced the best looking new pulp books on the market today.

The company’s dirigible logo is emblematic of Ron and Rob’s high flying goals; to produce the finest quality books that are always fun to read, again and again.