Thursday, June 19, 2014


photo by Chad Frye

Russ Heath was the recipient of the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Reubens.  The Reuben Awards Weekend is held every year by the National Cartoonists Society.  This year's weekend was held May 23-25 in San Diego.  Heath has had several health issues the last few years, which forced him to cancel a convention appearance in 2013.  Fortunately, Heath was able to attend, accept and be the subject of a panel moderated by Mark Evanier.  Sergio Aragones presented the award to Heath, in recognition of his long art career.  Heath told the Washington Post that he's been humbled and honored to be recognized by his peers.  

Morrie Turner, the 2003 recipient of the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, passed away on January 25th at age 90.  Turner was the creator of "Wee Pals", a comic strip that had an integrated cast of minority and white children.  He began the strip in 1965, growing in readers and papers as his message of racial inclusion matched up with the zeitgeist.  He continued to draw the strip up until his death.  If you're a fan, "Wee Pals" originals frequently turn up on eBay, usually selling for under $10.

Hermes Press finally released "Terry and the Pirates by George Wunder: Volume One 1946-1948".
finally released.  Originally announced for July 2012, the book came out in February.  The dates on the cover and a previous press release were slightly deceiving.  The book does not reprint a complete two years of strips, as in the Caniff Terry volumes from the Library of American Comics.  Wunder's first strip was December 30th, 1946.  So, we get two days of 1946.  Then the book ends on February 15th, 1948 when the third storyline wraps up.

Focusing on the positive, the material that is here is beautifully reprinted, particularly the color Sundays.  There is a brief text piece from comics historian Ron Goulart, as well as pages reprinting examples of Wunder's original art.  As for the stories, Wunder patterns his art and storytelling after Caniff, gradually making the strip his own vehicle.  While he does bring back old favorite characters, the focus is on the new ones he's created.  This is good and bad, as Pat Ryan, once a co-star, becomes an afterthought, and three's a crowd in what's essentially a buddy strip for Terry Lee and Hotshot Charlie.  Overall, I appreciate Wunder's skill in handling a near impossible task - following the greatest adventure strip artist of all time.

No word yet on a volume 2, but there is hope.  Amazon is almost out of copies, so perhaps this was a good seller.

The April 2014 issue of Comics Revue is out.  This issue reprints "Steve Canyon" strips from Jan/Feb 1973.  It's the beginning of a story that takes Steve to Israel to investigate an archaeological dig that may double as a secret military installation.  The issue includes Mac Raboy's "Flash Gordon," Krazy Kat and much more!

Two Milton Caniff originals of "Terry and the Pirates" Sunday pages are part of a new art exhibit.  The exhibit is called Eye of the Cartoonist.  It is at the Wexner Center for the Arts, which is right next to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  We told you about this exhibit, and it's sister exhibit "Modern Cartoonist: the Art of Dan Clowes" in our last issue.  "Modern Cartoonist" features the work of Clowes, and "Eye of the Cartoonist" showcases artists from the Cartoon Library who had an influence on Clowes.

The first piece is from July 4th, 1943 and it features military nurse Taffy Tucker in a sequence that provocatively features her nude in silhouette.  To read about the (fully clothed) nurse who inspired Taffy, click here.  The second piece is from October , 1941 and is from one of Caniff's most famous Terry story lines - the Death of Raven Sherman.