Comic Strips Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Jeffy gets existential in ‘Family Circus’/'True Detective’ mashup

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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.

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The webcomics documentary that’s actually about the funny pages

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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.

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Washington Post pulls Sunday’s ‘Pearls Before Swine’

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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.

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Dick Tracy to set off in search of Little Orphan Annie

dick tracy-orphan annieAlthough 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.”

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New Library of American Comics volume to include censored ‘Popeye’ strips

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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?!!”

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Dundee, Scotland, unveils Bash Street sign

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via STV

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.

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‘Doonesbury’ daily strips go on hiatus, again

doonesburyThe 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.”


‘Calvin and Hobbes’ makes surprise appearance in courtroom

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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.

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‘Dick Tracy’ collection donated to Billy Ireland Cartoon Library

Chester Gould in 1932

Chester Gould in 1932

The family of the late Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould has donated a collection of his original comics strips and other materials to Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The collection includes more than 850 original Dick Tracy daily strips, 64 Sunday strips and the drawing board on which Gould wrote and drew the comic for 46 years. Continue Reading »

‘Shadow Hero’ strip offers a preview of Yang and Liew’s new GN

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While we eagerly await the release of Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s graphic novel The Shadow Hero, a revival of the Golden Age superhero the Green Turtle, Tor.com has posted a seven-part prequel strip by the duo that originally appeared in the comics anthology Shattered. It’s a nice preview of what we can expect from the book, to be published by First Second.

Created in 1944 by artist Chu Hing, the Green Turtle appeared in only a handful of adventures before fading into obscurity. According to Yang, Hing intended for his hero to be of Chinese-American.

“His publishers didn’t think that would fly in the marketplace,” Yang said in a video released last fall, “so Chu Hing reacted in this really passive-aggressive way: He drew those original Green Turtle comics so that we never see the hero’s face. Whenever the hero is on a panel, we almost always just see his cape. Whenever he is turned around, something is blocking his face. [...] Rumor is that Chu Hing did this so he could imagine his hero as he originally intended, as a Chinese-American.”

Check out another installment of the strip below, and read the whole series at Tor.com.

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Rees and Kupperman debut new strip in New York Times

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Although The New York Times doesn’t feature a comics section, it has a long been receptive to comics, history of being receptive to comics. In Sunday’s edition, the newspaper launched a new comic strip by Get Your War On‘s David Rees and Tales Designed to Thrizzle‘s Michael Kupperman. The creators, whose work has been covered previously by The Times, have done their first strip, “Identity Crisis,” satirizing the changing face of political cartoons. For years the Sunday edition has featured a weekly comic by Brian McFadden, but there’s been no word if Rees and Kupperman’s new strip is a replacement or if they’ll both be published in a new schedule.

Here’s Rees and Kupperman’s debut:

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Mindy Kaling’s ‘Badly Drawn Girl’ Dartmouth comic strip riffs on campus life

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Mindy Kaling is best known for her show “The Mindy Project” and her time playing Kelly Kapoor on “The Office,” but did you know she also wrote and drew a comic strip called Badly Drawn Girl during her college years at Dartmouth? The strip — credited to Kaling before she changed her name — ran daily in campus newspaper The Dartmouth from 1999 to 2001, and riffed on everything from campus culture and social groups to academic advisors and dining halls.

Check out some samples of Kaling’s college work below, and head over to the Badly Drawn Girl tumblr for more.

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‘Prince of Cats’ creator teams with Nike for Calvin Johnson strip

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Cartoonist Ron Wimberly is a busy man — but not too busy to try something new.

For the past few weeks, the Prince of Cats creator has been working with Nike and advertising agency Weiden & Kennedy comic strip about Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Launched in September, Calvin & Johnson tells the story of Calvin and how he uses his alter ego (named Johnson) to help manage his life off the field and unleash his speed on the field. The Johnson alter ego is more than just another side of Calvin, as Wimberly states it’s played — in comic form — by rapper/media mogul P. Diddy. If that doesn’t sound like a traditional comic, that’s on purpose; Wimberly says that’s one of the reasons he chose to do it.

“What’s cool about this job is that it’s a comic that you won’t find in a comic book store. It’s not about superheroes,” he told ROBOT 6. “Hell, it’s kind of in the style of yonkoma manga. It stars people of color, made by a person of color. And it’s produced by Nike; they see the value in the medium for everyday folk who are not necessarily initiated in the language of comics. And none of that was deliberate … just happened that way. So that’s cool … rare, but hopefully not for long.”

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Alison Bechdel: ‘Maybe I’ll get back to’ ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’

alison bechdelAlison Bechdel, who’s acclaimed now for her graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, was previously best known for Dykes to Watch Out For, her long-running comic strip that chronicled the lives of a group of lesbian friends (it’s also where the frequently referenced “Bechdel test” originated, although she didn’t coin the term). In 2008, after more than two decades, she placed the strip on an indefinite hiatus to work on her second memoir; however, the cartoonist soon suggested other factors — a shrinking number of gay and alternative weeklies, a changing political climate — contributed to her decision.

But just how indefinite was that hiatus? Asked by Comic Book Resources in 2009 about a possible return to the comic, Bechdel said, “I don’t mean to be coy. I just doubt that it’s going to be really viable. I was able to eke out a living from it for a long time, but I just don’t know if that’s going to continue to be possible. For various reasons, I had to take a break from it. I’m not saying I won’t go back to it, I just think it’s doubtful.”

Now, more than four years later, she’s reconsidering that stance.

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‘Beetle Bailey’ falls victim to military budget cuts

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After 63 years, military cutbacks have finally hit Camp Swampy.

Stars and Stripes, the newspaper serving the U.S. military community, announced this week it has dropped Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey from its daily print edition as the average number of pages shrinks from 40 to 32 due to a number of financial factors that include Department of Defense sequestration cuts and a declining readership.

The newspaper also expects to eliminate an estimated 40 staff positions worldwide next year amid a reduction in print operations “as it tries to accelerate a shift toward digital distribution.”

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