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Thirty years ago today, we learned that tigers can be captured using tuna fish sandwiches.
That’s how cartoonist Bill Watterson introduced the world to precocious 6-year-old Calvin and his cynical stuffed tiger (and best friend) Hobbes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The iTunes’ Terms and Conditions agreement has got to be the least-read-yet-most-signed contract in human history. For pages and pages (and a nearly limitless downward digital scroll), it enumerates Apple’s latest subtle shifts in policy regarding the ways we purchase, license and “own” music and media acquired through the most influential online marketplace to date. Who reads those things? Who could even pretend to? Can one even imagine a more arduous task than going through that document, line by line, and trying to parse what exactly it is we are all signing on for?
But ah, the magic of comics. Cartoonist R. Sikoryak, whose work has appeared in Drawn and Quarterly and The New Yorker, is publishing his painstakingly thorough, unabridged graphic adaptation of the iTunes Terms and Conditions agreement on Tumblr. This version of the contract is no mere dry rendering of legalese — instead, Sikoryak has transformed the document into a showcase of styles from talent all across the history of comics, making each page an experiment in the diverse visual language of the medium’s most beloved luminaries.
Sixty-five years ago today, good ol’ Charlie Brown strolled across the comics page, blissfully unaware that he was the subject of Shermy’s admiration and scorn. “Oh, how I hate him!” exclaimed the little boy, who would be all but forgotten in later years.
However, readers didn’t hate Charlie Brown, and eventually Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts grew from just nine newspapers to, at its peak, more than 2,600. Just two days after the strip’s debut, Schulz added Snoopy, followed over the next few years by Violet, Schroeder, Lucy, Linus and Pig-Pen, characters that, unlike Shermy and the original Patty, that have stood the test of time.
If you’re not already experiencing deja vu from a 2016 campaign populated by a Clinton, a Bush, a billionaire reality star who’s often threatened a presidential run, and a gaggle of hopefuls long past their sell-by dates, this may do the trick: Opus and Bill the Cat have thrown their tattered hats into the political ring once more.
It’s of course not entirely unexpected, as Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed credits Donald Trump’s presidential bid with inspiring the recent online revival of the beloved comic strip. You see, in the waning days of the original Bloom County, which ended in August 1989, Trump was fatally injured and his brain transferred into the body of Bill the Cat, the near-catatonic drug-abusing televangelist/heavy-metal superstar/presidential candidate. The tycoon-cat subsequently bought the comic strip and fired all of its characters.
If you think the terms “Latino” and “Hispanic” are interchangeable, well, you’re wrong. But artist Terry Blas is there to help with an informative — and entertaining — comic on Vox called “You Say Latino.” Using humor and elements from his own background, Blas offers a quick-and-easy lesson in language, culture and geography.
To celebrate Snoopy’s birthday (and promote the upcoming animated feature), the producers of The Peanuts Movie have released a video in which director Steve Martino shows us out to draw everyone’s favorite beagle.
Why Aug. 10, when the character’s first appearance was on Oct. 4, 1950? It dates back to a 1968 Peanuts storyline by Charles M. Schulz, in which Snoopy is awakened by Linus in the middle of the night for a “secret mission” that turns out to be a surprise party. Peanuts.com re-ran that series just last week.
Peanuts is celebrating the 47th anniversary of the beloved comic strip’s first African-American character by declaring today National Franklin Day.
It’s a bit of promotion tied to the upcoming 3D-animated feature The Peanuts Movie, but it casts a welcome spotlight on Charlie Brown’s longtime friend, who was introduced by Charles M. Schulz on this day in 1968.
Inside Out, Pixar’s heartwarming animated comedy about the anthropomorphized emotions within the mind of an 11-year-old girl, has struck a chord with critics and audiences alike, earning more than $550 million worldwide. However, more than a few readers of the U.K. magazine The Beano have pointed out the hit film’s premise bears a striking resemblance to “The Numskulls,” the long-running comic strip about tiny technicians who live inside the mind of a boy named Edd.
Long silent about the similarities, the editors of The Beano finally responded today with a special “Numskulls”-themed issue in which Edd goes to see Inside Out. The Numskulls are unimpressed, taking digs at the film — “What am I looking at!? A giant mirror!?” — until they realize the movie is making millions.
Bazooka Candy Brands thinks it’s time for a new Bazooka Joe — Bazooka Joe 2.0, if you will.
The division of Topps has enlisted four artists to develop new looks for the 62-year-old (yet eternally youthful) character, whose tiny comic strips encased the company’s pink bubblegum until a couple of years ago.
Taking on the issue of gender equality, a United Nations organization has launched a competition intended to spotlight women’s rights through comics.
Organized by UN Women, with the help of the European Commission, the Belgian Development Cooperation and UNRIC, Gender Equality: Picture It! is open to residents of the European Union ages 18 to 28. “Show us what comes to your mind when you reflect on women’s rights and empowerment and on the relationship between women and men,” the website states.
Family Circus has been memorably mashed up with True Detective, and Peanuts with Morrissey lyrics, but when will poor, poor Cathy gets its moment in the pop-culture sun? Right … about … now.
Athens, Georgia-based artist Eric Simmons appears to have recognized the solutions to the many mundane problems of Cathy “Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!” Andrews (Hillman) in the profanity-laced comments of comedian Louis C.K. (Honestly, that seems as good of a place as any to find them.) With his Tumblr Cathy CK — “Cathy Comics Enhanced With Louis CK Quotes” — Simmons allows Cathy to finally say what she’s been holding in for the past four decades, which naturally involves several F-bombs, making her strip infinitely more readable.
Over the past few years, Mike Maihack’s adorable Batgirl/Supergirl comic strips have become a holiday tradition. Today, the creator of Cow & Buffalo and Cleopatra in Space is back with a new Christmas edition, in which the eternally cheerful Maid of Might wants to go caroling in Gotham. Which is apparently a lot like trick-or-treating …
“I feel like every Batgirl/Supergirl comic I’ve drawn so far has led up to this one right here,” the cartoonist writes. “Anyhow, Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone is okay if this is the last of these for a while. 2015 is going be a busy, busy year for me.”
Years before his breakthrough works such as Why I Hate Saturn, Kyle Baker was an intern at Marvel. And although he was admittedly a poor fit for superhero comics, his editors saw something in the artist and gave him an outlet in It’s Genetic, a series of one-panel comics for the company’s promotional magazine Marvel Age.
Although Baker would go on to do different things, these early illustrations demonstrate how Baker — to say nothing of Marvel — wasn’t afraid to poke fun at one of the company’s biggest properties. Take this for instance:
Fantagraphics is bringing one of the pillars of South American comics to the United States for the first time.
In August 2015, Fantagraphics will publish an English adaptation of the first storyline of El Eternauta, aka The Eternonaut. Created in the late 1950s by writer and revolutionary Héctor Germán Oesterheld alongside artist Francisco Solano López, The Eternonaut is a rollicking sci-fi tale about a group of people living in the midst of an alien invasion. The story is post-apocalyptic, but veers into the weird with mutated animals, insects and even humans that the group fights just as much as the alien invaders. Midway through the story, the group is split apart due to a malfunctioning time-travel device on one of the alien’s ship, stranding some of the heroes in time and sending them on a new quest to find each other.
With its glacial pacing, signature earnestness and freakishly out-of-scale wildlife, Mark Trail is a fairly easy target for mockery, but the 68-year-old comic strip does have its fans.
Cartoonist James Allen, who worked as Jack Elrod’s assistant for nearly a decade, thought he had a pretty good idea of what those fans wanted: the occasional window into Mark’s family life (with a giant dog or goldfish, perhaps?). So after he taking over the daily strip in April, he set the khaki-clad adventurer on a course to spend a little time with long-neglected wife Cherry and son Rusty. Boy, was that so not what fans wanted.
After receiving several letters from “annoyed” readers, the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine, contacted Allen, who explained: