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The three original comic strips from Bill Watterson’s surprise guest stint last month on Pearls Before Swine will be displayed this week at Comic-Con International before they’re sold at auction Aug. 8, with proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The collaboration, which came at the suggestion of the Calvin and Hobbes creator, marked Watterson’s return to the comics page after a 19-year absence. Pastis teased readers that the week’s storyline would “contain a mind-blowing surprise,” but didn’t reveal what it was. Nevertheless, some fans quickly uncovered clues that some of the strips were ghost-drawn by Watterson.
The original Wonder Woman comic strip will be collected for the first time in August in IDW Publishing’s 196-page hardcover Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Strip 1943-1944.
It’s part of the March 2013 partnership with DC Entertainment and the Library of American Comics that includes the Superman and Batman comic strip collections. Unlike the other two superheroes, who had lengthy tenures in newspapers (even if the Caped Crusader’s was broken up into three major runs), Wonder Woman’s was short-lived, lasting only from May 1, 1943 to Dec. 1, 1944.
To answer a question that many people have been speculating on: Yes, Bill Watterson did contribute to Pearls Before Swine this week.
The creator of the comic strip, Stephan Pastis, confirmed on his blog what many people have been speculating — the Calvin & Hobbes creator did indeed return to the comic strip page and teamed with Pastis on three strips this week.
Comparing the experience to searching for Bigfoot, Pastis describes how the collaboration came about. It started with a comic strip tribute to Watterson (see above) and Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis, who worked with Watterson on The Art of Richard Thompson, giving Pastis Watterson’s email address. Pastis didn’t think he’d get a response.
On Monday, cartoonist Stephan Pastis kicked off a new Pearls Before Swine arc by teasing that this week’s strips “will contain a mind-blowing surprise.” That tantalizing tweet, coupled with artwork in a decidedly different style and a couple of potential dialogues, led some readers to speculate that parts of the storyline are drawn by none other than Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.
At The Daily Cartoonist, Alan Gardner lays out some of the evidence, both for and against, and rounds up some of the Twitter chatter on the subject. He acknowledges, “I’m not fully convinced that it is Bill.”
“See Something, Say Something,” the biweekly comic by David Rees and Michael Kupperman, was missing Sunday from The New York Times’ Week in Review because, Kupperman says, editors deemed its subject matter “too sensitive.”
The strip, titled “Testosterone Entitlement Theatre Presents the Man Babies in ‘Hashtag Harassment,’” addresses specifically critics of the recent “#YesAllWomen” Twitter hashtag, and more broadly male entitlement.
Derf Backderf, creator of the acclaimed memoir My Friend Dahmer, has ended his weekly comic strip The City after 24 years.
“I’m ending the strip so I can concentrate full-time on graphic novels,” he announced today on his blog. “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.”
While minicomics are a fixture of conventions, and increasingly the Eisner Awards, it seems doubtful we’ll encounter microcomics in artists alley anytime soon. Still, cartoonist Claudia Puhlfürst‘s “Juana Knits the Planet” is leading the charge.
The 12-panel comic strip has been etched onto a single human hair using a focused ion beam, ” a very sharp and high-speed jet of matter is produced and directed towards the hair to etch it — similar to a fine laser beam.”
For two months this winter many of us were swept up in HBO’s True Detective and the serpentine search by detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart not only for a serial killer but also for the meaning of life and the nature of good and evil. And while not everyone was satisfied with the ending, most of us remain enthralled with the writing of Nic Pizzolatto and the existential nihilism of Matthew McConaughey’s character.
And now we can experience both again, in a decidedly different form, with Time Is A Flat Circus, which combines dialogue from the crime drama with panels from the long-running comic The Family Circus. It’s as terrific as you imagine.
The mission statement for Stripped!, a documentary by Dave Kellett (Sheldon) and Frederick Schroeder, is about forging a common history between webcomics and newspaper funnies. Not comic books, interestingly. I suppose that makes sense, as the most popular webcomics (xkcd, The Oatmeal and Penny Arcade) most closely resemble the four-panel forebears. It’s starting to become standard practice, by the way, to refer these sort of webcomics as “gag-a-day” or “short-form.”
Still, it’s a delight to explore this oft-neglected corner in the world of sequential art. The days of the celebrity cartoonists like Milton Caniff and Al Capp are long past, as depicted in archival footage where they were treated as major celebrities on early TV shows. However, the list of interviewees for Stripped! are still recognizable industry titans: Lynn Johnston. Jeff Smith. Greg Evans. Jim Davis. Mort Walker. Cathy Guisewite, who hilariously has the letters “AACK” hanging in her home. And one name that brings the directors to the point of fanboy glee, Bill Watterson … the first time he’s allowed his voice to be recorded. (Charles Schulz may no longer be with us, but his influential presence looms over the entire documentary.) It’s wonderful seeing the faces of the creators behind so many iconic characters. They gather here to reminisce, sharing crude doodles drawn as a child, their cherished influences, and the highs and lows of working under the syndicate system.
Washington Post readers looking forward to a new installment of Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine in Sunday’s newspaper instead found a rerun after editors pulled the latest strip over objections to the use of the word “midget.”
In the strip, which did appear on the Post’s website, Goat and Rat are discussing how the acceptability of some terms changes over time, with “flight attendant” replacing “stewardess,” “housekeeper” succeeding “maid” and, yes, “little person” becoming preferable to “midget.” It’s a setup for the duo’s meeting with Willy the Word Decider, who’s tasked with determining which terms are acceptable.
Although few seemed to realize it, Little Orphan Annie has been missing for nearly four years, a victim of both declining readership and a murderous war criminal. But in June, the comics page’s greatest detective will set out in pursuit of the plucky young heroine.
In a curious crossover by the Dick Tracy team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks will hire the detective to find Annie, who was last seen June 13, 2010 in Guatemala, the captive of the Butcher of the Balkans. While the fugitive criminal boasted that he has slaughtered “many,” he refused to kill Annie and instead pledged to take her with him on his travels.
Since then, a distraught Warbucks has searched the globe for his adopted daughter without success, leaving him with only one option — Dick Tracy.
“Joe and I have planned Annie’s rescue for some time,” Curtis said in a statement, “and we’ll deliver action-packed, over-the-top thrills and chills as the two features combine their casts for what we hope will be the most historic tale in comic strip history.”
Dean Mullaney has a bit of good news for fans of former Popeye writer and artist Bobby London: The next volume of the Library of American Comics’ collection Popeye: The Classic Newspaper Comics by Bobby London will include the first three weeks of the abortion-themed sequence that got London fired — and six weeks’ worth of unpublished strips that were never sent out to newspapers.
Here’s what happened back in 1992, as related at the time by London in an interview with the Comic Art and Graffix Gallery: After writing a strip in which the Sea Hag said “Drat! There goes Roe v. Wade” without getting any pushback from his editors, London figured the topic was fair game and created a storyline in which Olive Oyl, who has a serious Home Shopping Network addiction, gets a baby robot she doesn’t remember ordering and decides to send it back. Despite the fact that the robot is a spitting image of Bluto, Popeye’s arch enemy, Popeye wants her to keep it. Two clergymen overhear them arguing and jump to the wrong conclusion, that Olive Oyl is “in a family way” by Bluto and wants to get an abortion (although the actual word is not used in the strip — the clergymen just call it “the A-word”). One clergyman muses that she must keep the child, and when the other one points out that Bluto is the son of Satan, he retorts, “You fool!! Without Satan, we’re out of a job!! No Satan, no US … You dig?!!”
More than a year after city council approved the proposal, officials in Dundee, Scotland, today unveiled the sign for Bash Street, honoring the long-running comic strip from The Beano.
Created by U.K. cartoonist Leo Baxendale, the strip debuted on Feb. 13, 1954 as When the Bell Rings before becoming The Bash Street Kids in 1956. DC Thomson & Co., the Dundee-based publisher of The Beano, asked city council in November 2012 to name a previously unnamed road in the Marketgait area after the comic.
The renewal of Garry Trudeau’s Amazon Studios comedy Alpha House means there won’t be any new weekday Doonesbury strips until at least fall. New Sunday installments will continue to run for the time being.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist announced in May he would take a summer sabbatical to work on Alpha House, a political satire about four senators who share a home in Washington, D.C. New Sunday strips reappeared in September, but daily versions were delayed until November; according to the Chicago Tribune, vacation repeats began running this week.
“As I discovered last year, the demands of producing the show are considerable, and my efforts to return to the daily strip while we were still in production had to be abandoned,” Trudeau said in a statement released this morning.
He declined to offer a return date, saying, “There’s no way of knowing how many seasons of Alpha House lie ahead. I could be back drawing Doonesbury full-time in the fall.”
However, Trudeau acknowledged to The Washington Post that the break from Doonesbury may have a price: “A hiatus comes with uncertainty, of course: I can’t assume I’ll be welcomed back a year or two from now.”
We’ve seen cartoonist Bill Watterson’s advice transformed into words of inspiration, but this may be the first time one of his strips has been used in a courtroom.
The Rochester, Minnesota, Post Bulletin reports that when it came time last week to give instructions to a jury considering the case of 20 silica sand protesters charged with trespassing, Winona County Judge Jeffrey Thompson turned to a classic Calvin and Hobbes comic.