Frank Chillino – King Features’ Comic Art Production Supervisor

Post Updated November 22, 2014.

When I was hired to work on staff in the Comic Art bullpen at King Features in 1989 my immediate boss was Production Supervisor Frank Chillino (1920-2007). He was the guy who made sure the trains ran on time and when he retired he had 45 years at the Syndicate under his belt.

Frank worked under a number of Comic Art department heads – among them…
Sylvan Byck (1904-1982): Head of the Comic Art department from the 1950s until 1978.
Bill Yates (1921-2001): Head of the Comic Art department from 1978 until 1988.
Jay Kennedy (1956-2007): Head of the Comic Art department from 1988 until 2007.

The following piece ran in Cartoonist Profiles #88 (December 1990) and pretty much encapsulates the history of the syndicated newspaper strip.


Jim Keefe - Frank Chillino - Jerry Craft

Jim Keefe – Frank Chillino – Jerry Craft

The above pic is from the 1993 King Features Christmas party in New York City.
Fond memories…

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2008 Sally Forth/Pearls Before Swine Crossover

The following email exchange is from 2007. I grabbed it from Francesco’s Marciuliano’s blog, Francesco Explains It All. It’s between Pearls Before Swine creator, Stephan Pastis, and Sally Forth’s writer, Francesco Marciuliano.

Hey Francesco…

My name is Stephan Pastis…I do a strip called “Pearls Before Swine”….I’m real sorry to be a bother, but is there any chance i could get a right-facing full body pose of Ted from you?….I’ve looked through the strips online and can’t seem to find one…

I’m doing a series where my main character, Rat, is a concierge at a hotel, and I’d love to have Ted approach him trying to hire a prostitute for the night…he needs a break from Sally….



Okay, I’ve read this message three times and I’m still laughing.

I don’t do the artwork but I can get you said sketch (actually, I can do it for you. I’ve done enough joke strips of the characters that I can draw them pretty accurately). However, there are a few conditions:

1. If this is indeed not a joke–and you are indeed Stephan–can I have the original artwork?
2. For the love of God, please make it a typical prostitute, not a tranny or some 14-year-old Haitian boy. My syndicate will be weeping enough as is.
3. Can I have the original artwork?
4. Ted is still unemployed, so cost will be an issue. With few dollars to his name we may be talking more a quick yank behind the dumpster than anything else.
5. Can I post your email request on my site? I know that may ruin the surprise of the gag but trust me, the fact Ted’s cruising for a woman is going to be enough of a shock to bring in the readers.
6. Can I have the original artwork?


And here’s how it all played out. The March 27, 2008 Pearls Before Swine is followed by Sally Forth for the same date.

Note: Sally Forth artwork from 2008 by Craig MacIntosh.


Click on artwork to see larger.


And now for some quick dirt on Stephan Pastis – sometimes he doesn’t even draw his own strip. The middle panel of the following strip from June of 2014 is ghosted by some up-and-comer named Billy Watterson.


More on that here…
Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.

Personal note – I had the pleasure of meeting Stephan (or as I call him, MISTER Pastis) back in 2011 when he gave a Visiting Artist lecture at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

MCAD recorded the lecture and made it available on Vimeo – so without further ado…


And if that isn’t enough, he has a new Pearls Before Swine collection out just in time for the holidays…


Click on image to purchase on Amazon.

For more on Stephan Pastis, check out  Stephan Pastis’ blog – it features video, interviews, appearances and much, much more. I highly recommend it!

Posted in Bill Watterson, Craig MacIntosh, Francesco Marciuliano, Sally Forth, Stephan Pastis | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Batman, Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson

I recently caught the following work of fiction underneath the title “Real Fact Comics.”
It’s the Bob Kane version of how Batman was created.

With thanks to Stephen Bissette for posting pages he got via Hernán Sergio González.






It is well documented (by Bob Kane himself even) that Kane had colleagues that worked with him on Batman – one of which was Bill Finger.

“Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero … I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say. ‘I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.'”

- Bob Kane from 1990s Batman and Me

Granted, as Kane states, that was 15 years after Finger had died.
In 1965 Kane was more vehement in how little Finger had done.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter Bob Kane wrote to the fanzine Batmania, where Kane refutes the extent of Finger’s contribution.

“The truth is that Bill Finger is taking credit for much more than he deserves… The fact is that I conceived the Batman figure and costume entirely by myself – even before I called Bill in to help me write the Batman. I created the title, masthead, the format and concept, as well as the Batman figure and costume. Robin, the boy wonder, was also my idea – not Bill’s.

The only proof I need to back my statement is that if Bill co-authored and conceived the idea, either with me or before me, then he would most certainly have a by-line on the strip along with my name, the same as Siegel and Schuster had as creators of Superman. However, it remains obvious that my name appears on the strip alone, proving that I created the idea first and then called Bill in later, after my publisher okayed my original creation.

…in all fairness to Bill, I will admit he was influential in aiding me in shaping up the strip, and there are certain characters Bill created, aside from my main characters’ and many other characters that I created, including the Batmobile. It’s been 25 years now, and truthfully, time sometimes blurs the memory and it is difficult to separate, at times, the myth from the truth, so that I cannot blame Bill too much if at times his memory “clouds.”

Interesting that Kane lays all the fault of “time sometimes blurs the memory” at Finger’s feet and not his own.

Also interesting that Kane states that if Bill Finger had created anything, “…he would most certainly have a by-line on the strip along with my name” –  yet later laments years after Finger’s death. “I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.”

Words that were too little too late to aid Finger who died poor and alone at age 59.
Note: This according to Marc Tyler Nobleman’s blog.

Then of course there’s Kane’s epitath written on his gravestone.

    “God bestowed a dream upon Bob Kane. Blessed with divine inspiration and a rich imagination, Bob created a legacy known as the Batman.”


The following rebuttal is from Ty Templeton.

“Without Bill writing the scripts and shaping the visuals, we don’t have Robin, Bruce Wayne, the Bat-cave, the Batmobile, the Penguin, Gotham City, the Signal, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred the Butler, Wayne Manor, the Batarang, Catwoman, the basic look and color scheme of the Batman costume, the Joker, The Riddler, The Scarecrow (as well as Green Lantern, Wildcat and a host of other characters!)

But Bob Kane, did, in fact, come up with the name…so let’s see….”



Next up is Jerry Robinson - the man who came up with Batman’s most memorable villain, the Joker.

Jerry Robinson with some of his iconic art.

Jerry Robinson with some of his iconic art.

“It was Robinson, who started working on Batman in 1939 with Kane and Bill Finger, who came up with the name “Robin” for Batman’s sidekick, and he was the creator or key contributor to the first and formative appearances of enduring characters such as the Joker, Two-Face and Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler. As comics historians now credit writer Bill Finger with co-creating the Caped Crusader, they also acknowledge that the polished, high-verve style of Robinson is clearly evident in many issues that do not bear his name.”

-Los Angeles Times — Jerry Robinson obituary

The Joker's first appearance from Batman #1.

The Joker’s first appearance from Batman #1.

Jerry Robinson was also a champion of artists’ rights. In the 1970s he helped lead attempts by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster to seek compensation for Superman – a character they created.

In an interview with the Village Voice, Robinson talked about the lengths he went to in order to get this accomplished.

“So I called everybody I knew, as did [comic-book artist] Neal Adams. We got write-ups in Mexico, London, Canada, the Washington Post, and the New York Times about the plight of Siegel and Shuster.

All of that fed into negotiations with Warner [Communications]. The [first Superman] movie was in production — that was the big leverage for us. They didn’t want any bad publicity. We met every day with their lawyer. Jules Feiffer recommended his lawyer, who we got pro-bono. I called Jerry with progress reports, and we’d gotten settlement money for them, lawyers’ fees, health plans, and annuities for so much a year, and we were trying to improve each of those. Toward the end, Jerry [who’d had a history of heart attacks] said, “Settle for the best you can. It’s no good if I’m gonna pop off tonight — I need it for my wife and child.” So I knew the next day we had to settle.

[Warners] wouldn’t give the credit back. But that was the thing that had to be done, just to give the artists back their humanity and self-respect. Imagine, their own creation didn’t have their names on it.”

- NY Village Voice — Jerry Robinson, Creator of the Joker, Dishes on Superman

Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel seated. Neal Adams and Jerry Robinson standing.

Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel seated. Neal Adams and Jerry Robinson standing.

When the interviewer  from the Village Voice brought up Bob Kane and his habit of taking credit he didn’t deserve, Robinson’s thoughts immediately went to Bill Finger.

He (Bob Kane) didn’t even give Bill Finger credit. That’s the thing that disturbed me the most. That’s why I founded the Finger Award in his honor [in 2005]. We give it to a writer who’s passed on and to a current writer, in his memory.

I credit Kane and Finger together — they really co-created Batman. The first Batman stories, when the mythos was created — Gotham city, the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents — that was all Bill. He set the scene.


The fight for creator credit and compensation in comics has been an ongoing battle since the industry began. The winner for the most part has been the publishers and corporations who have deep pockets and retain expensive lawyers. Things are definitely better than they have been in the past, but I don’t know how much that is actually saying with how bad it was to begin with.

For more in that regard, check out these previous posts.


For more on Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, I recommend the following…


 Bill the Boy Wonder by Marc Nobleman


Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics by N.C. Christopher Couch

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Comics Revue 220 – Flash Gordon and the Phantom

The following is a cover I did back in 2004 for Rick Norwood’s Comics Revue.

Comics Revue #220 - 2004

Comics Revue #220


The following are the steps from roughs to finish.



The first step are the roughs – this is where you get a feel for the figures and layout. My roughs tend to vary on how complete they are. This is somewhat of a mess, but crucial in giving me an idea of what the finished drawing would look like.


The next step is pencils – which means finding reference and tightening up the drawing. When you’re inking your own pencils you don’t have to have them as tight as when you’re pencilling for someone else. All the pertinent info should be there though – just needs refinement.


The next step is inks. This is my favorite part.
The trick is to ink the form, not just trace the line.


For color on this piece I went old school and colored it using the blue line method. This is where you take the black line art and (in photoshop) change it to a light blue. You then print the image onto watercolor paper for coloring. The reason for the blue line is so that you have a clean black line when the color and line art are combined.


The last step is combing the black line and watercolored art in photoshop. I opted to take all the black line art in the background imagery and make it a little grayer to push it into the background – touch up the color as I saw fit – and call it a night.


For more covers I’ve done for Comics Revue, check out the following.

Comics Revue – June 2012
Comics Revue – February 2013
Comics Revue – December 2013

Want more? Just go to my Portfolio Page.

And for more info on Comics Revue, just check out:

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Flash Gordon by Michael T. Gilbert

Today’s Flash Gordon strip (11/9/2014) originally ran on July 21, 2002.
The guest artist was Mr. Monster’s own Michael T. Gilbert.


Click on image to see larger.

Not enough you say?

Okay – next up is a Flash Gordon/Mr. Monster mash-up
Michael and I did for an article Michael wrote in Alter Ego #20

Initial layout - Michael T.Gilbert

Initial layout – Michael T.Gilbert

Pencils - Jim Keefe

Pencils – Jim Keefe

Finished inks and tones - Michael T. Gilbert

Finished inks and tones – Michael T. Gilbert

A Flash Gordon commission piece via Comic Art Fans


And last, but not least, here’s Mr. Gilbert with his
Comic-Con International 2014 Inkpot Award.


No better way to end it than that…

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Cartoonist Jeremy Dale – RIP

 Jeremy Dale with wife, Kelly.

Jeremy Dale with wife Kelly at DragonCon 2010.

Sad news, just heard that artist Jeremy Dale has passed away.
I’m at a loss for words – Jeremy was truly one of the good ones. A talented artist and always greeted you with a smile. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Kelly.

Here’s a few news posts for more information:

The Washington Post – RIP, Jeremy Dale
Friends remember ‘Skyward’ creator as big-hearted talent

Comic Alliance – R.I.P. Jeremy Dale, Creator of ‘Skyward’
Geeks of Doom – Comic Book Creator Jeremy Dale Passes Away At 34
Bleeding Cool – Skyward’s Jeremy Dale, RIP
CBR – “Skyward” Creator Jeremy Dale Passes Away
The Beat – RIP: Jeremy Dale
Newsarama – Skyward Creator Jeremy Dale Dead at 34

I’ll leave you with a brief video of Jeremy doing a commission sketch at C2E2 2011.

For those interested, here are two GoFundMe accounts that were set up
to help Kelly with expenses.

Help Out Kelly Dale
Jeremy and Kelly Dale fund

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Happy Birthday, Godzilla!

Godzilla's initial release date - November 3, 1954.

Godzilla’s initial release date – November 3, 1954.

Here’s wishing Godzilla a happy 60th birthday!
To celebrate, here’s a look back at the Forth family going to see the 2014 release…









Posted in Francesco Marciuliano, Sally Forth | Tagged , , | Leave a comment