Saturday, September 26, 2015


As with most famous artists, there will be artwork attributed to them that is not by them.  In the past week there have been three such pieces on Ebay.  Luckily, they are so obviously not Caniff that fans should not be fooled.

This recently sold for $90.  The seller claimed it was a spot illustration by Caniff drawn on a coaster and the figure on the left is Pat Ryan.  He dated it as from 1942.  While to me it in a way resembles Caniff's college style, it in now way looks like how he was drawing in 1942.  Also, he didn't sign it, and I can't tell if that's a signature at the bottom or not.  Below is how Caniff was drawing Pat Ryan in 1942 - 

Did you ever copy art from the comic strips?  I did it as a kid.  I lot of aspiring artists did it as youngsters.  I've read a few interviews where famous artists talked about copying Caniff strips.  This next piece was being sold on Ebay as a 'rare pencil drawing' by Caniff - 

I asked the seller about how he knows it's by Caniff.  He told me he thinks it's Caniff because several people told him it looks like Caniff and it's dated.  Not signed, of course, but why worry about authenticity when you're trying to sell bad art for $300?

I'll say this for it, the date is accurate.  Here's the panel the artist used for reference from the "Terry and the Pirates" Sunday strip dated 11/14/37.

This is the one that's a mystery to me.  It's not Caniff, but it is Steve Canyon and Princess Snowflower. My guess it's a tryout strip done by someone looking to assist Caniff. I've seen a couple of other tryout strips, and  Caniff did have an assistant on the strip from 1953 (Dick Rockwell - read more about him here).  Any sharp-eyed readers know who it is?

The thing that bothers me about these auctions is that the seller is asserting they are pieces by Caniff.  Only the third seller is saying "attributed to."  The rest aren't concerned with accuracy, only making a sale. Buyer beware!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


ACE is a brand-new magazine covering the world of comics.  ACE is an acronym for All Comics Evaluated and is edited by Jon B Cooke, the man behind "Comic Book Artist" and "Comic Book Creator" magazines.  The first issue features an interview between Cooke and legendary Marvel artist John Romita, Sr.  How did Caniff's art influence Romita?  What Caniff storyline led to the death of Gwen Stacy?  Find out by ordering ACE #1 from your local comic shop.

Leonard Nimoy passed away in February.  Nimoy was a guest actor on the "Steve Canyon" TV series, appearing in episode 17 as a Control Tower Sgt.  The episode was called "The Search" and debuted January 15, 1959.  This episode is available on Volume 2 of "The Complete Steve Canyon on TV" DVD series, which is available here.   I don't know if Caniff ever drew Nimoy, but he did draw Steve Canyon as a Vulcan for the cover of the 1974 San Diego Comic Con program, which can be found here.  

Hillsboro, Ohio is not only the birthplace of Caniff, it is also the seat of Highland County.  Their paper of record - the Highland County Press - recently ran this article about their favorite son as part of a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Highland County Historical Society.

This Society is definitely something I'd like to check out the next time I get back to Caniff's Hillsboro.

Cartoonist Irwin Hasen passed away in March at the stunning age of 96.  Hasen drew comic books during the Golden Age, primarily for DC Comics, where he co-created Wildcat.  Hasen is best known as the artist of the long-running "Dondi" comic strip.  "Dondi", which he co-created with Gus Edson, was about a foreign-born war orphan brought to the U.S.  It ran from 1955 to 1986, during which time Hasen was an active member of the National Cartoonists Society.

Hasen was a lifelong admirer of Caniff.  "Caniff was one of my idols," Hasen told Roy Thomas in a 1999 interview, "he kept it simple and he knew how to tell a story."  Hasen was the 1969 recipient of the Silver T-Square award from the NCS, an honor Caniff received in 1957.       

Dark Horse is continuing their series of artist-centric Warren collections with this tome devoted to the work of Alex Toth.  Creepy Presents Alex Toth collects all of his horror stories for "Creepy" and "Eerie" magazines.  Toth was a Caniff devotee and friend, while Caniff himself was a big fan of Toth.

The latest issue Comics Revue (Feb 2015) reprints the "Steve Canyon" strips from June 10th to July 7th, 1973.  It's the conclusion to the storyline that's come to be known as "A Prisoner of Love."  Other highlights from the issue are "Flash Gordon" by Mac Raboy, "Tarzan" by Russ Manning and a "Barnaby" episode guide.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The Complete Steve Canyon Volume 5: 1955-56 came out last month on January 20th.  These exciting years feature the return of old friends and loves, some new ones, and the introduction of Steve's kissin' cousin - Poteet!  Little did Steve (or Caniff) know that this young gal would be co-leading the strip in later years.  The book includes an introductory essay by Bruce Canwell on what Caniff was doing in that era, replete with examples of artifacts of the time.

The December 2014 issue of Comics Revue reprints the Steve Canyon daily and Sunday strips from May 13th to June 9th, 1973.  Steve is on assignment in an unnamed Asian city to follow up on the rumor that a U.S. official with top secret info has gone missing in the mountains.

Also in this issue are "Tarzan" by Russ Manning, "Flash Gordon" by Mac Raboy and a four month continuity from "The Phantom" dailies of 1960.  Ask your comics dealer!

John Ellis of the Milton Caniff Estate has been giving updates on the release of Volume 3 of the "Steve Canyon" TV series on DVD.  Here's the update from February 8th.   Ellis has been restoring this series frame by frame and his long trek is nearly complete.  He hopes to have it out in the next couple of months.

Hermes Press announced the upcoming release of volume two of  "Terry and the Pirates by George Wunder".  Volume One appears to have sold out, as Amazon has none and they sell for cover price or better on Ebay.  Don't expect two full years of continuity from the title, as the first volume was under 14 months of strips.  I felt the first volume was terrific adventure stuff, thought Wunder stumbled in his attempts to match the Caniff wit, and Pat Ryan was kind of a third wheel.  I'm interested to see how the strip progressed.  The book is scheduled for release on March 10th.

The current exhibit at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum focuses on comic strip syndicate King Features.  King of the Comics: William Randolph Hearst and 100 Years of King Features.  The exhibit will examine the newspaper magnate and a century of bringing newspaper comics to the masses.  The promotional material for the exhibit doesn't mention if anything from "Steve Canyon" will be included.  Even though "Canyon" was owned by Field Enterprises, Field had a distribution deal with King, and it was treated like a King strip in their promotional materials.  I hope to get up to the exhibit this month, and I'll let you know!