Friday, January 9, 2009
MILTON CANIFF NEWS
* John Ellis has announced the latest release of the Steve Canyon on DVD project. Volume Two is available now for pre-order (box art above is for Volume One, which is currently available on the same site).
* The National Aviation Hall of Fame has announced the 2009 honorees. Every year they award the Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award. The award is given every year to a group or entity that has contributed to aviation heritage. This year's honorees are the Apollo astronauts.
* The Cartoon Research Library at Ohio State University is home to the Milton Caniff Collection of papers and original art. Last year, the International Museum of Cartoon Art went bankrupt and had to close. What to do with 200,000 pieces of original art? They've been acquired by the Cartoon Research Library, which this month has announced a name change to the Cartoon Library and Museum. While their current gallery space (pictured above) is not very big, hopefully they will be able to find larger permanent display space in the near future. Learn more about the Library when I interview it's chief, Lucy Shelton Caswell, later this month.
* The LA Times' Geoff Boucher has a new profile of Hugh Hefner. Part of the profile covers Hefner's love and failed ambition for cartooning, which is the reason Playboy has always been a showcase for magazine cartoonists and now, along with the New Yorker, the last haven for them. Boucher writes -
I asked him what illustrators he admired the most. "Milton Caniff first and foremost. I actually got got Caniff for Playboy. During World War II, Caniff did a comic strip called Male Call with a very sexy lady named Miss Lace; it was in ‘Stars & Stripes' and ‘Yank’, and it was for the service guys. I knew that some of them had been rejected for being too sexy. So when I started Playboy in summer of 1953, I wrote to Caniff and asked if I could reprint some of the strips, and I asked whether he would supply me with the ones that had been censored and not printed. Those appear in the second issue of Playboy. So my idol, for no particular reason, said yes to a kid that had this impossible dream and was puttering together the first issue of Playboy with literally just $8,000 and no hope."
Hefner reprinted five of the 'Male Call' strips, as well as the art for strips never printed. Caniff sent a letter of thanks to Hef, which was printed in the March issue -
In R.C. Harvey's Caniff biography, which has a generous reprinting of 'Male Call' strips, Harvey told of how the 'Male Call' strips were scrutinized by a Col. Forsberg, the head of Camp Newspaper Services, who sometimes had to say "No" to strip -
"Many of Forsberg's victims saw print in one forum or another in the years after the War. In June 1953, a young man named Hugh Hefner wrote to Caniff for permission to reproduce some of the 'Male Call' strips in an early issue of a magazine he was planning to call 'Stag Party':"We think a lot of ex-G.I.s have a warm spot in their hearts for Miss L (we admit to one ourselves) and would enjoy seeing her again." Hefner also asked if there were any rejected strips available. By then, Caniff had lost track of the original art, but he mailed some photostatic prints that had been used in connection with an exhibit." (click to enlarge)