Tuesday, July 7, 2009


My son Noah and I visited the National Museum of the Air Force last week. One of the things I wanted him to see was the Milton Caniff display, which is tucked away on the second floor by some offices. I was disappointed to find that the exhibit was gone! Fortunately, better days are ahead for these formerly obscure Caniff items. Museum senior curator Terryl Aitken informs me that they are going to split the display, with the 'Terry & the Pirates' items going in the World War II area and the 'Steve Canyon items moving to the Cold War area, both on the main floor where they'll have more visibility. When they do, I'll have it covered for you!

The National Aviation Hall of Fame will induct its class of 2009 at an Enshrinement Ceremony on July 18th in Dayton, Ohio. The Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award will be presented to the Apollo astronaut crews on July 17th at the NAHF President's Reception and Dinner. Twelve of the surviving Apollo astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin and Gene Lovell, will be there to accept the award. Tickets to both events may still be available. July 20th will be the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

As I reported here, the 'Steve Canyon' reprint series from Checker BPG has changed to a new, square format with the strips reprinted at a larger size. This started with the '1955' volume, and you can see sample pages on Checker's website. The '1956' volume is late, according to Amazon.com, but due soon.

Alex Raymond was a fellow cartoonist and friend of Caniff (or, if you believe Dave Sim, his erstwhile rival. Raymond is best known for creating Flash Gordon, but his last strip was about a modern detective named Rip Kirby, which he drew after his return from military service in 1946 until his fatal car accident in 1956. Sim has raved about Raymond's brushwork on 'Kirby' in his Glamourpuss series, as well as lamenting that newspaper reproduction as well as the scarce reprint material have done a complete disservice to Raymond's level of detail. That should be rectified by new reprint volumes coming from IDW and the Library of American Comics, the same publisher who brought you The Complete Terry & the Pirates. 'Terry' series editor Dean Mullaney is helming the project, bringing to life a somewhat forgotten triumph of illustration.

The new Bringing Up Father reprint collection from NBM has a few Caniff connections. NBM publishing reprinted the entire run of 'Terry & the Pirates' in the 1980s/90s under their Flying Buttress imprint. Bill Blackbeard, who edited the 'Terry' series for NBM, is on hand to write the book's foreword. R.C. Harvey, author of theCaniff biography, writes the introduction. 'Bringing Up Father' is a classic comic strip by George MacManus that debuted in 1913. It features the exploits of Jiggs, a common made turned rich who misses the common life, and his wife, Maggie, who wants to climb the social ladder but his foiled by Jiggs' lack of decorum with society folk. This volume is one of three reprints under NBM's new Forever Nuts imprint, the other two being Mutt & Jeff and Happy Hooligan.

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