Friday, November 9, 2007


Milton Caniff was the greatest adventure comic strip artist of all time. Before radio and television, most people got their news from newspapers. A strong selling point of the paper was the comics section, and a big part of that was a daily dose of adventure from comic strips that told adventure stories in a daily continuity. Strips were printed at a much larger size, and one comic strip on Sunday might take up the whole page. Caniff, with his eye-catching artwork, clever plotlines, snappy dialogue and attention to realism, is regarded as the master of the adventure strip. He's best known for his two titanic triumphs, Terry & the Pirates and Steve Canyon. Caniff achieved his greatest notoriety during WWII, where his strips and newspapers flourished in tandem with radio (there was even a 'Terry' radio drama). 'Canyon', initiated with a big media splash in 1949, continued into the 1980s, surviving declining newspaper readership and the shrinking of the comics page until Caniff's death in 1988.
Caniff is was born in Hillsboro, Ohio, raised in Dayton, and cut his art teeth in Columbus, working for the Dispatch while attending OSU. Caniff's art, letters and papers were the foundation for OSU's Cartoon Research Library.

I write all this by way of introduction because I have more to post about Caniff. Born in 1907, this is the Caniff centennial, marked by events at OSU and the long-awaited release of Caniff's biography by R.C. Harvey, a 900+ page epic that I'm about 8/9 of the way through.

So, all I can say is 'more to come', though likely haphazardly. That's why I encourage you to subscribe. Checking back for posts will just frustrate you.

1 comment:

John Ellis said...

Hey Matt! Great to see your blog and piece on Milton...and looking forward to seeing more. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

John Ellis
The Milton Caniff Estate