Charles Schulz 1922-2000

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On the eve of his final strip being published, Charles Schulz passed away in his sleep at his home in Santa Rosa, California. He was 77 years old. When he was diagnosed with colon cancer in November of ’99 he decided to end the strip so he could concentrate on getting better. Deciding that the Peanuts comic strip would not continue without him at the helm, Schulz stipulated in his contract that the syndicate could not hire someone else to draw the strip in his place. The last daily appeared on January 3, 2000. The last Sunday, February 13, 2000.

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I was fortunate enough to meet Charles Schulz at the Reuben awards in New York back in 1996. Some common ground we shared was that we were both native Minnesotans. When I mentioned that I had just started doing Flash Gordon but it wasn’t in many papers, he responded by saying that when he first started Peanuts he wasn’t in too many papers either.

He was an inspiration to me growing up, not only because of his enormous talent, but because he was a native Minnesotan – someone from the same background who made it, who drew cartoons for a living. When interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg back in the ’90s, Schulz once said, “I always wanted to be suave. Y’know, I’m from Minnesota… there’s no suave people in Minnesota, it’s too cold.”

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He may have not considered himself suave, but he was definitely a shining example of someone at the top of his field. Schulz put his whole heart and soul into his art, and because of that, Peanuts is the gold standard of how good a comic strip can be.

He’ll be sorely missed.

-Jim Keefe

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Cartoon I drew November of ’99 for a get well card.

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E. Simms Campbell – 1932 Map of Harlem

E. Simms Campbell (1906–1971)
The first African-American syndicated cartoonist, particularly known for his illustrations for Esquire magazine. – from Biography.com

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Pic from Ariel S. Winter’s blog.


The following is a map of Harlem he drew in 1932 – at the end of the Jazz age.

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To see more of the detail, here’s a larger version you can click on.

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For more on E. Simms Campbell, check out the following link from
the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.
Found in the Collection: E. Simms Campbell Letters

There’s also a great retrospective at Ariel S. Winter’s blog.

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Flash Gordon – Queen Aura

Today’s Flash Gordon strip (2/8/2015) originally ran on October 20, 2002.
(Click on artwork to see larger.)

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The aspect I really had fun with in this storyline was bringing back Aura’s devilish side.

To give some context, here’s how Aura was portrayed by Alex Raymond in 1941 in a storyline after Ming had been deposed as Mongo’s ruler.

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Compare that to this excerpt from 1935…

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And make sure to click on the black and white of Raymond’s artwork so you can zoom in and really see the lush line work he employed. In most reproductions of Raymond’s work the printing usually misses out on this.

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A quick mention also that my version of Aura is greatly influenced by Stan Drake and his work on “The Heart of juliet Jones”. He could draw beautiful women like nobody’s business. For comparison, here’s a pic of Aura I drew followed by some Stan Drake strips featuring Juliet’s younger sister, Eve.

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(Click on Stan Drake strips to see larger.)

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For more of Stan Drake’s work I highly recommend the Juliet Jones collections put out by Classic Comic Press.

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All for now – deadlines are looming…

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My Mutant Superpower

A quick picture of the bone spurt on the middle finger of my right hand from holding drawing tools for so many years.

My body mutates to suit my needs – just like the X-men!

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And the yellow skin isn’t jaundice – it’s from watercolor.
Just saying…

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Jim Keefe – C2E2 2015

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Mini Joe Kubert School Reunion

Surprise guests came to visit this past weekend (thanks to Deb’s planning).
Just like old times – and I mean that in the best of ways…

GQKubiesStanding: Mark McMurray and Brian Bilter – Sitting: Jim Keefe

 

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John Romita

January 24 is John Romita’s birthday (born 1/24/1930).

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To celebrate, here’s just a few of the iconic Spider-Man images he’s drawn over the years, grabbed off the web from ComicArtFans, Heritage, Romitaman.com and elsewhere.

(Click on pics to see larger.)

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Iconic moment from Amazing Spider-Man #50 (July 1967) used for the 2004 Sam Raimi movie, Spider-Man 2.

Iconic moment from Amazing Spider-Man #50 (July 1967) used for the 2004 Sam Raimi movie, Spider-Man 2.

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A legend in the field (and one of my personal favorites),
here’s wishing John Romita a Happy Birthday!

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For more John Romita art, check out…
John Romita – Creating Mary Jane
Holiday Greetings – Stan Lee & John Romita
John Romita Artist Edition Volume 2

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