They're almost here. John Ellis of the Caniff Estate has announced that Volume 3 of the 'Steve Canyon' TV series on DVD will likely be shipped by December 20th, in time for Christmas. There is still time to pre-order your copy of volume 3 and receive the free slipcase that holds volumes 1-3. You can order it direct from Ellis here.
With the completion of that Canyon project, another begins next month. Steve Canyon Vol.1: 1947-1948 debuts from the Library of American Comics (LOAC), beginning a biannual reprinting of Caniff's classic strip. What a great way to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Steve Canyon! You can pre-order your copy here.
One of the LOAC's friendly rivals in the comic reprint biz, Fantagraphics, recently began their own monumental series, that of Carl Barks and his Disney Duck work. A recent Publisher's Weekly article by James Romberger reviews the first volume, and draws a connection between Barks and Caniff. You can read that here.
Comic book artist and cartoonist Jerry Robinson died this week, on December 7th, at age 87. Robinson is best known as the creator of two essential Batman characters - Robin and the Joker. Some also credit him for the look of the early Batman comics, having started drawing for Batman co-creator Bob Kane in 1939, vastly improving on Kane's limited drawing skills at the age of 17. Robinson went on to do several comic strips - "Jet Scott", "Flubs & Fluffs", "Still Life", "Life with Robinson". He was president of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) from 1967-69 and won their Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. His collaborative biography - "Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics" - was published last year and is currently available at nice discount. Robinson was active up until his death. Last year he published an updated version of The Comics: an Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art, originally published in 1974. One of the early, and essential, works of comic scholarship.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which houses the Caniff Collection, was recently featured in this article by Stan Myers in the Repository, which serves the Canton, Ohio area.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has an online collection of comic books done as a public service. Their Government Comics Collection, run by Prof. Richard Graham, is available online here. Graham has compiled a history of this type of comic into a new book:'Government Issue: Comics for the People'. Caniff was a very civic minded individual, and this is discussed in the book. One pamphlet he worked on - Bullets or Words, can be downloaded and read from this website.