Wishes and More – Superhero Winter Ball 2016

Marriott City Center - Minneapolis, MN - February 27, 2016

Marriott City Center, Minneapolis, MN – February 27, 2016

Throwing the spotlight on Karla Blomberg and all the hard working staff and volunteers at Wishes and More®, a Minnesota based charity group that grants wishes to children with terminal and life-threatening illnesses.

Held at the Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis, this year’s Winter Ball theme was a Gathering of Superheroes. Guests were encouraged to dress the part in their favorite costume or attend in black-tie style for a Bruce Wayne Gala.

In attendance was former Minnesota Viking, celebrity chef and singer (turned incredible Hulk) – Esera Tuaolo

Esera Tuaolo

Esera Tuaolo

He not only donated a chef dinner for the auction (that went for $4,000), but lent his singing talent to the entertainment for the evening as well.

Here’s some quick pics of some of the other volunteers and guests in costume…













My donation to the live auction was a drawing of Rey from Star Wars. With a starting bid of $65, it was over $150 before bidding closed.


And even though the Winter Ball is over, you can still help out by just going to wishesandmore.org


And last but not least I want to thank David and Jen Bresler for the invite to the gala, and also their generosity in hosting a table.

Jen And David Bresler

Jen And David Bresler

You guys are the best!


Quick note that all pictures were taken by Daily Bugle staff photographer, Peter Parker and copyrighted 2016 to the Daily Bugle.


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Cartoon Art Scams

When you work on comic character that’s known worldwide the door to scam artists suddenly gets thrown wide open. Take the following…

Years ago, when I was doing Flash Gordon, I received a request for some drawings from a guy who had a sick grandma who grew up reading (insert character’s name here) – it was one of her favorites! He wanted one Flash Gordon drawing for his Grandma, and if possible, another two for his kids. The weird part? He wanted it on uncirculated sheets of two dollar bills.

Sounds fishy I know…


Regardless, I rolled the dice and thought it was quirky enough that it might actually be true – drawings sent.

Months later I got a letter from Popeye cartoonist Hy Eisman (one of my teachers from the Kubert School) informing me I had just been scammed. Enclosed with the letter was an insert from a catalog with cartoon art for sale. The art was drawn on (wait for it)… uncirculated sheets of two dollar bills.

Web version of catalog page - via sarasotanumismatics.com

Web version of catalog page.

And how did Hy Eisman find out about it?

Web version of catalog page - via sarasotanumismatics.com

Web version of catalog page.

Suffice it to say, my days of giving people the benefit of the doubt was over.

Now some people argue that once you give away a piece of art to a fan, what they then do with it is out of your hands. Well… that’s true – but to intentionally misrepresent why you want the art (sick relative) in order to flip it for profit is where that line of reasoning goes off the rails.


Al Williamson once told me a story of his disillusionment when he gave away a drawing to a young fan at a convention – only to find out later that the kid was a plant that a comic art dealer was sending around to scam cartoonists out of as much free art as possible.

Al Williamson in his studio inking a Star Wars movie adaptation – October 1998.

Now Al was known as one of the nicest guys in comics, so the kind of individual who would take advantage of his generosity can best be described with one word…


I’d also like to add that back in the day, it actually took some effort to scam artists as you had to resort to mass mailings, postage, etcetera. Today they can reach hundreds with just copy, paste, send.

And some of these scammers are just plain lazy.
When I was doing Flash Gordon sometimes I would get email from a “fan” asking for artwork that never mentioned my name or the strip I did, but it would clearly state that they read my strip every day (it only appeared on Sunday) and they thought it was “one of the funniest strips around!”

Because Flash Gordon is primarily remembered for it’s zany slapstick gags…


That said, I’m not in the spotlight like some of the hot artists currently out there, so I can only imagine the headaches they have to deal with – be it Adam Hughes having to put a halt on convention sketches or Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner announcing a 5 book free signing limit. You can only be jerked around so much before you have to start putting up fences to safeguard yourself.

Another headache for cartoonists are hacks blatantly stealing their work and selling it as their own. The poster child for this kind of plagiarism being Rob Granito.


Countless examples of this keep cropping up – most recently spotted was Hakan Ozcan ripping off Ron Garney.

And for the outright bizarre there’s the case of Shia LaBeouf plagiarizing Daniel Clowes back in 2013 – then apologizing via a skywriter and tweeting a cryptic message…

And I haven’t even touched on all the fake comic art on ebay…

These kind of activities have been brought to light more and more of late due to vigilant fans and pros putting a spotlight on these hacks via posts on the internet. And as the number of comic cons grow more needs to be done on the part of convention organizers to weed out these crooks.

But I digress…

Back to drawing requests…
For the most part, time constraints prohibit me from fulfilling requests for sketches and donations for auctions. With the advent of e-mail, there are just too many requests and too little time.

And the thought of neglecting paying work so I can draw something for a “fan” who just wants something he can flip and put on ebay that he got from me for free..?



A few of the responses I’ve gotten since posting.

From Nancy and Muppets Cartoonist Guy Gilchrist:


From Don O’Malley (Off of Facebook):

I am sorry that a few have ruined it for the rest of us.
Years ago I was a comic con and Paul Gulacy was a guest. He was working on Shang-Chi for Marvel. My brother, and two of my cousins along with my self stood in line to get him to sign a book for us. We were 14 at the most. Two large men told all of us that Mr Gulacy had only time to sign one book each and we were to ask no questions of him. A third man with them was talking to Paul as we were waiting. He was having Paul draw a Shang -Chi. I had Mr. Gulacy sign one of my books and as I asked him if he would ever work on a Shadow book? I was glared at by all three as Paul stopped to speak to me.

Years later at a comic store the same man was showing off his collections of art, he was so proud of the fact that he would go to cons and have his two friends block others from asking for a sketch, autograph or ask questions, so he could have more time with the artist. It takes all kind!!


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Uncle Whit and Aunt Pat

You end up using a lot of friends and family as reference when drawing comics. Take the following Flash Gordon page from October 31, 1999.

Quick story synopsis: Ming’s attempts to conquer the Earth by means of a gigantic space portal in Boston linking Earth to Mongo has failed, but Flash and Dale are now literally worlds apart – Flash on Mongo and Dale on Earth. Lisa (a woman who befriended Flash) is one of the few on Earth left who knows what really happened…

Click on image to see larger.


Lisa’s character is based on a friend my wife went to school with who’s name is also Lisa.

The elderly couple are my Uncle Whit and Aunt Pat (they have since both passed away). This page was an homage to them as they always supported my comic art career. An artist herself, two of my Aunt Pat’s pieces of sculpture were chosen for juried exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My Uncle Whit was a poet and educator.

They faithfully picked up the Boston Herald each Sunday to see my work on Flash Gordon. This even though they subscribed to the much more “respectable” Boston Globe – my Aunt told me stories of my Uncle Whit sneaking out at first light on Sunday morning to go out and grab a copy, being careful not to be seen.

My Aunt Pat’s support of my comics/art career went farther back than that though. When I was a kid and my local Minneapolis paper stopped running the Spider-Man newspaper strip (which I had been diligently clipping out every day) she clipped them from her Boston paper and sent them to me every week for the next two years.
(More about that in a previous post.)

And even though she came from a Fine arts background, my Aunt Pat never differentiated to me between “high art” and the “low art” in regards to comic art (that I got later from teachers at the local art college). She just kept faithfully sending them to me so I wouldn’t miss out on any of the John Romita comic art I loved so much.

Best support I could have gotten and I’ll always be grateful for it.

Pat and Donald Whittredge

Note: To see more of my Flash Gordon work, just go to FlashGordon.com

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Cartooning Advise from Jose Delbo

The following is a quick memory of a cartooning class taught by Jose Delbo from when I was a student at the Joe Kubert School.

A student was getting critiqued – during the critique Jose stated that the student needed to spend more time on his work. The student responded that he had already worked on the page for two weeks. Jose replied, “How much of that time was actually pen to paper.”

Never forgot that insight. Doesn’t matter how much time you have to work on something if you’re not putting pen to paper.

Jose Delbo - 2011 Pic by Andrew Satterfield - Cincinnati Comic Expo

Jose Delbo – 2011
Pic by Andrew Satterfield – Cincinnati Comic Expo

More on Jose here – Jose Delbo at SpringCon 2012

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Keefe Studios – 20 Years and Counting

I’ve been doing freelance since I attended the Kubert School back in the late 1980’s. I started working at King Features Syndicate on staff after graduating the Kubert School in ’89 – so as far as job sites and resumes, I always listed my freelance as officially starting in 1996 with my first big gig, Flash Gordon.

So when I recently started getting congrats on 20 years at Keefe Studios from LinkedIn, two things sprung to mind.

1. Wow, it’s been twenty years already.
2. How do I turn that feature on LinkedIn off?

As a special treat I thought I’d post some of the pics of the office party here at Keefe Studios in celebration of 20 years. Enjoy!




So here’s to 20 years at Keefe Studios! GO TEAM KEEFE-WOOOHOOOOO!

Due to popular demand
– One person (Terry Beatty) suggested it – 
Here’s an action packed animated gif
that captures the office party in all it’s glory!



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The Business of Cartooning

Original posted on 11/28/2012 – updated on 1/21/2016

The following is a resource page for Cartoonists/Comic Artists I’ve put together in regards to the business side of the profession. It’s culled from various sources that I’ve found helpful or informative over the years. It doesn’t cover everything, but it can be used as a starting point.

Originally I had a whole section on “Work for Hire” but that ended up needing a whole post of its own: Work for Hire – The Fallout

If there’s any links you’d like to suggest I add, just email me at jim@jimkeefe.com.
I’m always on the lookout for items that are off my radar.

Breakdown of categories that follow:

1. Comic News Blogs
2. Contracts
3. Resources/Articles
4. Print On Demand Publishers
5. Self-Publishing Resource Articles
6. Convention Resources
7. Cartooning Schools and Organizations
8. Financial Aid

1. Comic News Blogs:

2. Contracts:

3. Resources/Articles:

4. Print On Demand Publishers:

5. Self-Publishing Resource Articles:

  • JasonThibault.com
    The Definitive List of Comic Publisher Submission Guidelines
    Jason Thibault – Circa 2015
  • The Master List
    Comic Book and Trading Club stores.

6. Convention Resources:

7. Cartooning Schools and Organizations:

8. Financial Aid:


For more info, check out Working Professionally as a Cartoonist.
It’s a resource page that includes all my work related posts on cartooning.

It includes, Pricing your Work, Tools of the Trade, Recommended Books on Drawing & Cartooning, and much, much more…

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Motivational Misinformation

Just saw this recently on Facebook…


I HATE memes like this.
Like Rickman woke up on his 46th birthday after being a plumber all his life and decided to become an actor.



Here’s the real scoop…

As a teenager Rickman won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School in London, where he appeared in several school plays. He then studied graphic design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. After graduating, he started a graphic design company, Graphiti, with some friends. He met his lifetime partner Rima Horton at age 19 while in the amateur Group Court Drama Club.

At age 26, Rickman decided to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Rickman supported himself through his two years at the RADA by taking freelance design jobs and by working as a set dresser.

At age 32, Rickman joined the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in The Tempest and Love’s Labour’s Lost, among others. Moving on from the RSC, Rickman spent much of the rest of the 1980s acting in BBC serials, radio dramas and repertory theater.

At 39 Rickman had the starring role of Le Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a part that playwright Christopher Hampton (who adapted the script from an 18th century French novel) developed with the actor specifically in mind – Rickman then performed the unforgettably villainous role first in London and then on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination.

At age 46, Rickman was tapped for his first Hollywood film role as the evil terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988). “I got Die Hard,” Rickman later recalled, “because I came cheap. They were paying Willis $7 million so they had to find people they could pay nothing.”

All info from Biography.com – Alan Rickman

Then, if you are aware of Rickman’s prior work there’s the added insult that none of that mattered until he “made it” on the big screen – Tinseltown – HOLLYWOOD!


They do the same meme about Jack Kirby…


Skipping over co-creating Captain America at the age of 23, and his wealth of work and artistic innovations in the 1940s and 50s.

Drives me CRAZY! – makes me want to find whoever wrote such simplistic drivel and knock some sense into them…


Marvelmasterworks.com has posted a sequential timeline of Jack Kirby’s comic book work. It’s too long to post here, but just for fun check out Kirby’s published work prior to the 1960s and the Marvel Age of comics (the images don’t seem to load, but the list is all there).

JACK KIRBY: A By-the-month Chronology 1938-1949
JACK KIRBY: A By-the-month Chronology 1950-1959

The lesson to be learned?


No, that’s not it either…

Just try to remember that it’s a lifetime of work that goes into a career, not necessarily the fleeting moments the public remembers.

Also there’s the old “one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration” saying of Thomas Edison’s. (Just try not to think about that whole Edison/Tesla debate too much regarding that.)

That’s all for now as deadlines are looming. But before I go I want to leave you with these words of wisdom from LinkedIn…


My link to what I think of that line of gibberish can be found here.

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