Bud Grace Retiring – Piranha Club Comes to an End

After 30 years Bud Grace’s Piranha Club has come to an end.

Piranha Club Sunday page for January 28, 2018.

When the comic strip started it was originally called “Ernie.”
Here’s the very first Ernie Sunday from February 7, 1988.

The strip’s name was changed to “Piranha Club” in 1998 (overseas it is still known as “Ernie”). Bud gave the reason for the change in this excerpt from a Q&A moderated by Suzanne Tobin of the Washington Post.

Bud Grace: ‘The reason is because we tried a promotion here in the States, and we thought that by changing name we might pick up some papers. That didn’t work, so now I’m going to change my name to Bill Watterson.”

From that same Q&A, when asked if there was any Robert Crumb influence in his drawing style, Bud responded,

I started drawing in an underground style, originally. While I can’t draw nearly as well as Robert Crumb, I’m not surprised you can see the influence. I was also influenced by underground cartoonist Kim Deitch.”

In 1989 Bud Grace received the the Adamson Award presented by the Swedish Academy of Comic Art as Best International Comic-Strip Cartoonist – and in 1993 he won the National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben Award for Best Newspaper Strip.


Bud Grace Fun Fact:

•Born in 1944, Bud Grace received a doctorate in physics from Florida State University before turning to cartooning.

From the National Cartoonist Society member album.


I was lucky enough to meet Bud Grace when I worked at King Features on staff as the colorist in the Comic Art Department. Cartoonists that didn’t come in regularly to drop stuff off because they didn’t live near New York (we’re talkin’ pre-internet here) we’d get the chance to see if they stopped in before the annual King Features Christmas party.

Bud always reminded me of Groucho Marx when I’d see him at King. If you ever saw a Marx Brothers film, the energy would always pick up a notch when Groucho entered a scene. It was the same with Bud.

Here’s Bud Grace and fellow Comic Art department veteran, Jerry Craft, from December of 1992.


When you worked in the Comic Art department at King you got to see the originals before they saw print. Here’s an example of an Ernie strip circa 1995 pre-edit.

Bud of course knew that the above strip wouldn’t make it through editorial without a change to the language in the last panel. That he sent it in anyway was what made him a favorite in the Comic Art Department up at King.

Here’s another example from 1995 where editorial actually made Bud change the drawing.


And so with the final strip on February 3, 2018, we bid adieu to the Piranha Club.

Fortunately we don’t have to say adieu to Bud Grace. You can still check in on Bud at BudGrace.com. And I’d make sure to check if I were you as info on upcoming book collections will be forthcoming.

From Bud’s blog – February 3, 2018…

“Speaking of books, the publisher has been screwing around like crazy. The only book available right now is my Guess who Got Lucky collection of magazine cartoons. I’ll try to get things straightened out this week. Sorry.

Whatever you do, don’t buy any books from scalpers. A reader said he saw one for sale on Amazon for 90 bucks. Geeze!”

So stay tuned!

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Mort Walker 1923-2018 – RIP

Mort Walker (September 3, 1923 – January 27, 2018).

In memory of Mort Walker – My pic with cartoonists Mort Walker, Greg Evans, and Ray Billingsley. Circa 1992 at the King Features Christmas Party.

I’m biting my lip in this shot because I was just the young pup on staff at King standing next to three guys in the big leagues. My hobbit like size and ill-fitting suit just adds to the magic.


And here’s a 24-year-old Jim Keefe with Beetle Bailey up at King Features circa 1989 (when the offices were at 216 East 45th Street in New York).

As the colorist on staff at the time, I colored Beetle with Pantone sheets that had an adhesive back that you’d lay down, cut out, then burnish down.


I’ve been coloring Beetle for close to 30 years now (first on staff and now as a freelancer). My heartfelt prayers go out to Mort’s family and friends during this difficult time.

-Jim Keefe

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Wolf’s Baja by Craig MacIntosh.

Pictures from Robert Trail Library’s “Meet the Author” Series in Rosemount, Minnesota,
January 18, 2018. Spotlight on Craig MacIntosh. Craig talked about his latest action/thriller: Wolf’s Baja

As the previous artist on Sally Forth, Craig was my mentor when I took over the strip back in 2013. He’s an all around exceptional artist and writer.

For more info on Craig, check out his website at cjmacintosh.com

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Ted’s Karaoke Moment

For more on coloring the comics, check out the following.
Coloring the Sunday Comics
Coloring Spider-Man

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Happy New Year!

Saying goodbye to 2017…
Wishing everyone good health and happiness for 2018!

-Jim Keefe

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Francesco Marciuliano on 20 Years of Writing Sally Forth

Check out Francesco Marciuliano’s blog Medium Large
as he looks back on twenty years of writing the Sally Forth comic strip.
It Was 20 Years Ago Today

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Happy Holidays

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